on September 3, 2006
Teide, the world’s third largest volcano reaches 12,200 feet (3718 meters) high and last erupted in 1909. If you plan to visit Teide during your stay in Tenerife, take the first opportunity of good weather – don’t wait until the last moment. The temperature at the top can be significantly colder than beachside. In fact, the day before our visit, it was just about freezing at the top and the gondola was closed. We met a couple on the gondola ride, they have lived in Tenerife for years and each time they attempted to catch the gondola, it was closed -- this was their first successful experience at the top after several attempts.The drive from Las Americas could take anywhere between 45 minutes and 90 minutes, depending upon how often you stop along the way to marvel at this imposing and remarkable landmark. We stopped twice. Once just south of Boce de Tauce / Los Toques and once again just past this highway intersection – and both stops could not have provided a more different view & landscape. At Boce de Tauce, we pulled over on the west side of the highway near a closed gate to a forestry road. The terrain was wooded with pines and other tall trees, the ground was littered with large lava rocks and shrubs, and we found ourselves JUST above the cloud line. We walked west a bit, maybe 10 minutes, and could not believe the view we found. To the east / northeast, was an unobstructed view of Teide. To the west we saw the mountains of La Gomera peaking above the clouds. Continuing towards the volcano, we pulled over at a more official scenic point and were amidst a moonscape – all rock and no vegetation. The lava rocks here blanketed the ground leaving no room for anything to grow. Again, we enjoyed another wonderful, yet different view, of Teide. On the east side of Teide you’ll find the cableway (gondola) up to almost the top. Be warned, the lines can be long depending if a tour bus recently dropped off a crew of visitors. We arrived rather late in the day and there were no lines to be found. The gondola ride was around €25 each (give or take). There was a snack bar, cafeteria and gift shop in the gondola station. Remember to bring a sweater or light jacket and some tennis shoes or light hiking boots. Those with flip-flops or sandals had a difficult time hiking the two paths to the north and south. Plan on a 20 minute hike each way / 40 minute round trip for each of the two paths. The north path takes you to "near the base"-camp hut where permitted hikers can traverse up to the top. The southern path takes you past areas that have active “holes” in the ground where steam escapes, and you can really smell the strong sulfur in the air. Since we were at the top near closing time, we took the last shuttle down and wondered what it would have been like to climb all the way to the top.To climb the last portion between the goldona stop and the volcano peak, you must have a permit. To obtain a permit, you must apply at the official office in the capitol city of Santa Cruz. We were told it is advisable to apply for this permit days in advance. If you are interested in the climb, I would try to get this permit at the front end of your trip in case it takes more than one day to process and approve. This was a grand adventure !
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