Like most tropical islands nowadays, Tenerife is famed for its pristine beaches and tourist heavy night clubs, but this particular resort has hidden treasures. The flora and fauna, fantastical landscapes and diverse wildlife is sure to steal your heart.
Tenerife’s coastline stretches on for 800 miles making it the largest of the Canaries. Sun bathing and surfing take up most of the action here- but the true adventure lies inland.
As you travel inwards, a good pair of walking boots may come in handy as the landscape changes dramatically. You’ll be hiking through the tropical forest and volcanic lava. The Teide National Park covers almost 200 km² of the island, which consists of almost 80% of the world’s volcanic formations. If you fancy a climb, take the northern route of the park and you will find Mount Teide. This ancient Volcano boasts the biggest shadow over the sea worldwide at a height of 12,198ft. Whilst it is still an active Volcano, there’s no need for any concern, there haven’t been any eruptions since 1909.
After the Spanish Conquest, a community of camels were introduced to the island. The camels have inhabited an area near Los Cristianos and Playa de las Américas since the end of the 15th Century and the beginning of the 16th Century. You can see them in action at the Camel Park which they have made their home.
Now as strange as camels on a tropical island may seem, there is something even more extraordinary just around the corner. The park is home to the largest all male troop of western lowland gorillas in the world. Loro Parque has managed to recreate the perfect environment here at Villa Gorilla, which matches up to the gorillas’ natural habitat in Africa. Gorillas sometimes form all male troops when single males can’t attract enough females to join the group; this is the situation here where these primates have made their home on the 3500 m2 area in Loro Parque.
Only 2% of male gorillas in capacity reach the age of 40. This makes resident gorilla; Schorsch older than his home. Schorsch celebrated his 40th birthday in March and the Loro Parque will enjoy its own 40th anniversary on the 17th of December 2012.
If bird watching is your thing then there are heaps of opportunities in a diverse variety of different bird species. The park is home to Crowned Cranes, Berthelot’s Pipits, Blue Chaffinches, Bolle’s and Laurel Pigeons, tiny Tenerife Goldcrests, Yellow Legged Gulls, Hoopoes, Southern Grey Shrikes and Canarian subspecies of Chiffchaffs, Robins, Blue Tits, Grey Wagtails, Kestrels and Atlantic Canaries.
The evidence for the thrilling diversity of the park comes in the form of 14 plant species that don’t grow anywhere else on earth and 70 species of spiders, insects and other invertebrates that have never been spotted anywhere else. It is also home to the Canary Island Skink, Canary Island Lizard and the Canary Island Wall Gecko.
Tenerife also offers an abundance of opportunities to discover the island’s mysteries for yourself. There are hundreds of unmarked and unexplored archaeological sites with remains from the Guanches (the indigenous inhabitants).There are few details about the history of these native inhabitants, apart from that they emigrated from North Africa to Tenerife sometime between 1000 BC and 100 BC and that they brought wheat, barley and domesticated animals with them.
Experience this extraordinary beach destination for yourself. Prices for one way flights to Tenerife start at £51.49pp this January with Fly Thomas Cook.