on January 25, 2013
Just about 15 minutes drive from Garachico and about 3 kilometres outside El Tanque is the Camello Center. This is a fun place to visit - you get to have a short ride through the countryside on a camel! It is quite easy to find - at the end of the TF1 you follow the TF82 to Icod and it is on the left hand side. It is open every day between 10am and 5pm.The Camello Center is quite small and a family run place. It seemed to be a bit off the beaten track, and when we arrived late afternoon on a Thursday, there were no other visitors. Another English family arrived and 2 French people, but we saw no-one else.There is a very large car-park, a nice cafe/bar where you can sit outside and a big gift shop with just about every camel themed souvenir you could think of. We went to buy our tickets, an elderly man who spoke no English was in there trying to tell us something in Spanish. We eventually realised he was telling us to wait 10 minutes. We browsed around the gift-shop and then a lady arrived who could speak English. We bought the tickets for the camel ride from her. It cost 8 Euros for adults and 6 Euros for children.We were given blue robes to put on, then taken outside to the camels. Each camel had 2 seats in a frame a bit like a see-saw across its back. You get into the seat while the camel is lying down, a little rope goes across your middle and then when the camel stands up - everybody screamed with laughter.The camels were roped together in a caravan, the lead camel was led by a man at walking pace. There were 6 camels in our train and we ambled off around the park. The ride took about 25 minutes and was really good fun. It felt very safe, even for younger children.At the end, they took photos of us on the camel which you could buy in the gift shop for 6 Euros. We really enjoyed this visit. It was a chance to try something completely different and out of the ordinary. Unfortunately during our visit, the weather was very wet and very cold - I never expected weather like this on a camel ride, but it was fun nonetheless and I would definitely recommend it. Afterwards, we drove the short distance to Icod de los Vinos. We went to see the famous dragon tree. It is huge - 20 metres at the base, 17 metres high, weighing around 150 tonnes (not including the roots) and estimated to be about 1,000 years old. Unfortunately a bad tropical storm the previous day meant you couldn't get anywhere near the dragon tree, the best view of it was from a road up the hill. There are other dragon trees, but the whole park area was closed off and there were branches and debris everywhere, so I suppose it was just too dangerous. It is worth going, even just to catch a glimpse of the magnificient tree. The old town of Icod de los Vinos is also really pretty - beautiful, hilly and cobbled streets, lovely architecture and a wonderful place to spend half an hour strolling around.
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