Many people have never heard of the Canary Islands. In fact, Americans rarely visit them. It’s a popular destination for Europeans, but to most of the world the stunning Canary Islands, just off the coast of Morocco, remain a mystery. The island of Tenerife is a geographic wonderland, much like the island of Kauai. In fact, they even share a similar climate. From thick lush forest to lava rock filled desert, it’s a recreational wonderland and a feast for the senses. Tenerife is a stunning crown jewel of Spain’s Canary Islands.
Hiking and Biking
The choices for hiking on Tenerife go on forever. You can choose from a nice short walk along the coast to one of the island’s beautiful lighthouses, or a vigorous hike to the top of one of the many mountains. Mount Teide is an old volcano and towers above the island at 12,198 feet. So from mountain climbing to meandering walks along the coastline, there are plenty of options. The same goes for mount biking. Want to kick your recreation up a notch? Fly down one of Tenerife’s many mountains on two wheels!
Food and Shopping
Tenerife has some incredible food options. My favorite dining experience was at a local fresh fish restaurant. They show you a chest refrigerator with a bunch of fresh seafood choices, everything from barracuda to octopus, and then you pick out how much you want and they put it in a little plastic container and hand it over to the kitchen. Minutes later your food begins to arrive, a little at a time, as soon as it’s ready. We ate sama, which a type of local white fish, lapas, which are a limpet (sort of like muscles), and deep fried baby squid. It was all decadent and the best fresh fish I have ever had!
Surfing and Water Sports
Since Tenerife is an island, obviously there’s no shortage of fun water sports to enjoy. I tried surfing for the first time with my friend Austin that I met at yoga school. He’s not only a surf instructor, but he’s also a lifeguard, so I was in good hands! He chose a long board for me and showed me how to paddle out, choose a wave, turn the enormous board around, and then how to jump up at just the right moment. He also gave me some great safety tips and explained how to handle my board in the wind so it wouldn’t blow away. Well, I never did stand up on my surfboard, but I had a blast anyway. It’s a lot harder than it looks. Kite surfing, sailboarding, snorkeling, scuba diving, and jet skiing are also quite popular water sports available. It’s fun to watch all the large colorful kites floating in the air above the beautiful blue sea.
Tenerife is a recreational wonderland and I’m surprised it’s not more popular with Americans. Next time you plan a trip to western Europe, put Tenerife and the other Canary Islands on your list of destinations. You’ll enjoy every moment of it and will wonder why you didn’t visit sooner.