Beaches, deserts and the highest peak in Spain--my reflections from a weekend on the Canary Island of Tenerife.
In one day, we went from the beach to the desert to the highest peak in Spain, something only possible on the Canary Island of Tenerife. Tenerife is a place that you don’t need a weekend guide for--just a car, bikini and drink in hand. Let the travel diary begin!
As we flew into Tenerife North, I felt like I was flying home, happy to see water and excited to be on an island again. It was a little chilly, so after getting burgers at La Bourmet, Nina, Tiffany and I made our way down to our hostel in Tenerife South where we were meeting our friend Andy. Now let me tell you about this hostel. We were in an 8-person co-ed room with a door that didn’t lock, no lockers, a co-ed shower and only one bathroom for the entire hostel. But despite our less-than-ideal living situation, we knew we were going to make the most of our weekend. After getting settled, we walked down to the beach, got drinks and watched the sunset from the beach.
The next day, we were overambitious and tried to convince ourselves to do a sunrise hike but instead peeled out of bed at around 8:30. Our plan for the day was to hit a few beaches and maybe drive up to Mount Teide, the highest peak in Spain. We got a 4 euro gigantic English breakfast then hit the road. First stop: Playa de la Tejita, a medium-sized beach on the south side of Tenerife. As we pulled up to the beach, we were pleased to find it mostly empty with a scattering of (nude) locals. Despite it being a bit overcast, we laid out our towels to soak up the sun and did so until our curiosity brought us to explore further down the beach. As we walked closer to Red Mountain, we saw on a small map that there was another beach on the other side of the peninsula. It seemed close enough, so we decided to walk. As we did, we were quickly transported from the beach to what felt like the middle of the desert--no footprints, sand everywhere, but a view of a small shoreline in the distance. After a bit of walking, we stepped foot onto the rocks by our new beach. I couldn’t get over how we went from beach to desert to beach in 25 minutes of walking. Only in Tenerife.
After more tanning and with the sun high in the sky, we decided to drive up to Mount Teide. We drove 45 minutes north west to the entrance of Teide National Park. The winding road through the park transported us to a colder forest climate with pine trees and camper vans surrounding us. Then we saw it. There were audible gasps from the car as we caught our first glimpses of Mount Teide. Majestic and snow capped, Teide stood a proud 3,718 meters above sea level making it the highest peak in Spain. Around each turn, we caught glimpses of Teide, amazed by how high it was and how far we were from the peak. Unfortunately, we didn’t make it all the way up with altitude sickness being a concern, but from above the clouds and still not even close to the peak, we could clearly see two of the surrounding islands. As we breathed in the fresh mountain air, I couldn’t help but take a breath of silent gratitude.
The rest of our time in Tenerife was filled with lots of laughs, sand, relaxation and good food. Despite our hostel, our weekend in Tenerife was the stuff of dreams. There were countless times that I couldn’t help but let out a, “Wow! We are so so lucky,” and I truly mean it too. Although I’m writing this travel diary months later, Tenerife still feels like yesterday. Beaches, deserts and the highest peak in Spain--I’ll never forget my weekend in Tenerife.