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Top 5 Spots in Tenerife: Teide and Puerto de La Cruz

Ok, here's what you need to know about Tenerife: It's one of the tropical islands that make up the Spanish-held Canary Islands, located just east of Morocco. They're basically unknown to most Americans but Europeans regard the Canary Islands similar to Hawaii. It's a European vacation destination. And yes, it's where my father was born and so was I. We moved to Minnesota, where my Mom is from, when my older sister was 5 and I was 3.

That's your summary.

And instead of getting into a travelogue of the journey, which was a lot of visiting with family and eating A LOT of ham, I'll list out my top 5 places to visit if you're lucky enough to get to this paradise island.

1. Teide 
Teide is the ancient volcano that formed Tenerife and the Canary Islands. In all my trips, I've never visited, so I was please to get a day trip there with my Mom. The park is enormous, once we entered, it took about 40 minutes by car to ascend the park and get to Teide -- or as close as the road comes to it. Second, the first part of the car trip takes you from the arid landscape of the island, into pine and eucalyptus trees (oh the smells were amazing), through the cloud line and into the rocky, volcanic terrain at the base of a volcano. So it's crazy to watch the change. The road is maintained and there are a few hairpin turns but otherwise it's a pretty secure ascent.

Driving Through the Pine Trees - On a Tropical Island!


Emerging from the Clouds and Looking Out at Teide

The Rocky Terrain Around the Park, With Clouds Sliding Over Hills
If you're so inclined, you can book (in advance) a gondola ride to the peak. It looks insane but my sister said she went up with her family and they felt totally safe and the view was stunning.
The Gondola to the Peak
2. Puerto de la Cruz 
So maybe I'm a little biased here, because this is the town where I was born, but Puerto is a great city to be a tourist in. Touristy stuff abounds, with hotels, resorts, the works! Though, not as packed as the south of the island, which is set up almost completely for European tourists. There is, however, a very quaint old town with all those charming balconies. And the views! The views! And don't forget the black sand beaches and blue ocean inviting you to take a quick swim. This is great place to spend some time.

Shopping in Puerto de la Cruz
The View from the Old Town into the Touristy Part.
The Fountain You See in the Distance is Part of the Pools Run By the Hotels.

Next two coming soon ...

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