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“Shitshitshit”, I thought, squeezing my eyes shut as my right foot slid out from under me. My hands broke my fall, landing hard on a bed of black volcanic rocks. But before I had time to let out a breath of relief, a gust of wind slammed into me, nearly pushing me off the 2-feet-wide gravel path, which inclined at a 45 degree angle down a steep mountain, with nothing but a sheer drop on my right side.
This was supposed to be an easy hike around Mount Teide national park. Unlike the MadMax Botanical Garden in Las Palmas, this time I had the foresight to ask the information booth to make sure I knew what I was getting into.
Turns out, what the Spanish definite as an “easy” hike and what I define as “easy” are vastly different things.
The path started out easy enough, with scenic views of majestic, snow-capped, Mt. Teide, the tallest mountain in Spain, in the distance.
The black volcanic rock underneath our feet even made us feel like we were walking on the moon.
I was having a great time—until I got to this mountain path.
“Hon”, I called out to Wanderer. “Do you think this is a good idea? Maybe we should take a less treacherous path?”
“There is no other path,” Wanderer yelled as he calmly walked in front of me, sure-footed as a mountain goat. I could never figure out how my husband, with the natural grace of a ballet dancing hippopotamus can glide down a mountain with relative ease.
“Unless, you want to back track—it’ll take us an extra 2 hours and we’ll miss the bus but we could always take a taxi back.”
I did a few quick mental calculations and realized that would have cost 80 extra euros. Screw THAT. We’re getting down this mountain.
A lot of swearing and tumbling later, I’m finally at the bottom.
I turned around and look back up at the winding, narrow path we came down, and all the places I had nearly slid off to my doom.
“That was insane. This is an easy path? If this is easy, what’s hard?”
Wanderer shrugged. “Probably a vertical drop, covered in cactuses.”
“I am giving this mountain a 1 star review.”
“I don’t think you can give reviews to mountains.”
After a long harrowing day, I was relieved we didn’t actually try to climb Mt. Teide itself (the tallest peak in all of Spain), because that hike around the national park was barely scratching the surface and already I was tired, cranky, and questioning whether I could ever trust Spanish safety standards ever again.
Luckily, once we got back to our Airbnb, I was able to enjoy the best view ever from our balcony without worrying about plunging over the side:
For a full week, I ate breakfast, lunch, and dinner on the balcony, just staring at our screensaver-like view, not wanting to budge.
Turns out, in addition to that cliff view, Tenerife also had black sand beaches:
A beach with imported sand from the Sahara desert:
A concert hall by the ocean shaped like a Viking’s hat:
A botanical garden with a breath-taking view of the main city of Santa Cruz (with even flat steps, railings, and even paved paths!)
Salt water swimming pools with cold cold water (kind of reminded me of freezing cold lake Ontario) that wasn’t quite warm enough to swim in but pretty to look at:
After taking in the sights at Santa Cruz, Tenerife’s largest city, we re-located to an Airbnb in the Granadilla area where you can see the famous Montaña Roja (Red Mountain) from our backyard:
Even though the beach was so empty we pretty much had it all to ourselves, the Airbnb also had its own swimming pool, just in case the waves were too rough on windy days.
One thing we’ve noticed in the Canary Islands is how comfortable the locals were with topless-ness. Up and down the beach in Las Palmas, we could see lots of women playing paddle-ball or lying on their towels sun tanning with their boobs on full display (and no, I didn’t take any pictures. Don’t be weird).
And this pool in Tenerife was no different, as we found grandmothers reclining in the sun, their breasts completely exposed. Our host was a woman in her 60s with a big warm smile and even bigger chest. I tried to not stare directly at her nipples as she handed me the keys.
So needless to say, we had the breast experience on Tenerife!
Plus, the cost of living ain’t bad either:
|Category||Cost in USD/couple||Cost in CAD/couple||Notes|
|Accommodations:||$42 USD/night||$53 CAD/night||We stayed in 3 different areas on Tenerife: Santa Cruz, La Matanza de Acentejo, and Granadilla. La Matanza de Acentejo had the best view for only $58CAD/night. There was a bit of a hike to walk up hill to the bus stop 15 mins away but so worth it. We were close enough to public transportation to not need car but just remote enough to be away from the busy-ness of the city. Santa Cruz was the most convenient with a tram right outside our apartment, with restaurants, groceries stores and entertainment all nearby. It was also the best value at only $40/night. Granadilla was the most remote of all the places, with very sparse public transportation but lots of peace and quiet. It was the most expensive at $87/night but we only stayed there 2 nights before our flight out. So on average, we spent around $53/night averaged over 16 days.|
|Food:||$22 USD/day||$28 CAD/day ($18/day for eating out, $10/day for groceries)||Food was surprisingly affordable despite us being on an island. We ended up going to Hyperdino a lot to pick up groceries. We ate out to eat a few times but the food wasn't much to write home about so we went back to cooking.|
|Transportation:||$11 USD/day||$14 CAD/day||With the exception of Granadilla, public transportation was relatively frequent and convenient. Getting to and from Mount Teide national park needed a bit of planning since there are only 2 buses that leave from Puerto de la cruz (a city 30 mins away from our Airbnb in La Matanza de Acentejo), one at 9:30am and another at 5pm. But once we worked out the bus schedule, we ended up not needing to rent a car and only paying $11.20 Euros/person round trip. The easiest way to get around by bus is buying a re-loadable Guaguas card from a convenience store in Puerto de la cruz. This ended up saving us 30-50% compared to paying with cash on the bus each time. The most expensive part of transportation was the 40 Euros/person ferry ride from Las Palmas.|
|Entertainment:||$1.20 USD/day||$1.49 CAD/day||With so much nature all around, the only entertainment we paid for was the combined ticket of the waterpark and botanical garden in Santa Cruz for 7.50 Euros/person. Averaged over 16 days, that's only $1.48 CAD/day.|
|Total:||$77 USD/couple/day||$96.49 CAD/couple/day||For an island with so much to offer (each area we stayed in felt completely different from each other), the price tag is unbelievably low for this Spanish paradise!|
What do you guys think of Tenerife? Have you ever been there?
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