on January 20, 2013
If there is a place on Tenerife that you must visit before you leave the island, it is Mount Teide. This place fascinated us so much, we hired a car during our first week and spent the day exploring the area, then we did the same thing on our second week. It is fascinating, beautiful and very unusual.Mount Teide is actually Spain's highest mountain, standing at 12,198 feet above sea level. It dominates the entire island, is the first thing you see when you fly over Tenerife and is the main geographical feature. Added to that is the fact it is a dormant volcano! It is the third largest volcano in the world. Only in Hawaii will you find 2 bigger volcanoes.Our son was thrilled and very excited (and a little bit wary if truth be told) about visiting a real volcano. The adults in the party felt pretty much the same way!Mount Teide was actually formed about a million years ago. The last eruption was in 1909, but apparently at the summit right now, sulphurous wisps and steam come out of cracks in the earth. The most famous eruption was in the early 1700's when 2 lava streams destroyed the harbour at the town of Garachico.Mount Teide and its snow-capped peaks dominate the entire area. Wherever you drive and go you will have wonderful views of this stunning mountain. Our son is not usually too interested in beautiful scenery - but needless to say he was amazed to be looking at a volcano!The 10 mile crater - Las Canadas has weird and wonderful rock formations, volcanic ash, lava and more incredible things to see. The main road runs through the caldera and there are lots of places you can stop and get out and explore. At this level, we were just about warm enough with short sleeves, but did wish we had brought light jackets. It does feel fairly chilly at times.The landscape in the caldera is almost lunar like - you would half expect to see ET emerging from behind one of the rocks. It is quite unlike anything I have ever seen before. It is easy to see why they picked this area to film Star Wars, Planet of the Apes and more Hollywood movies.There are fields of lava rocks, we found it a lot of fun (and a great photo opportunity) to pick up some of these huge rocks and boulders - they are extremely light. There are also some fabulously unusual rocks at Llano de Ucana. Roque Chinchado is a must-see place. This rock formation and others nearby are so strange and unearthly. We parked and wandered around this area. There were lots of tourists here, but if you follow the path a little way away and around the back of the rocks, it feels as if you have the whole area to yourself.
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