Category: Tenerife

Whales Tenerife

Tenerife sanctuary of the cetaceans

Posted By : Getholiday/ 148

The island of Tenerife has become the third largest cetacean sanctuary in the world “Whale Heritage Site”, the first point in Europe with this certification.

In recent weeks, the island of Tenerife has officially become the world’s third cetacean sanctuary “Whale Heritage Site”, followed the next day by Dana Point in California. Until now this title was held only by Hervey Bay in Australia and The Bluff in South Africa. I would like to specify that the area declared as such is located in the south-west of the island and precisely in the area between Punta de la Rasca and Punta Teno.

Tenerife dolphins

Tenerife receives the whale heritage certificate

Obviously this is not a surprise, given that the history of this area begins several decades ago with the discovery by Jacques Yves Cousteau, of a stable colony of pilot whales. In 1992 the European Union approved and published the “Habitats Directive”, to create a network for the conservation of marine flora and fauna, with the name of NATURA 2000 so that we could contribute to the maintenance of biodiversity in Europe with sustainable development in harmony with the landscape. In 2001 the area was declared a LIC “Place of Community Importance” which they later called ZEC “Special Conservation Area” and ZEPA as regards birds.

But that’s not all, because this area specifically is included in several protected areas such as the Teno Rural Park with the wonderful cliffs of Los Giagantes (over 600 meters high by 11 kilometers in length) and the Punta Teno lighthouse, the areas of scientific interest of La Caleta and the Isorana cliffs (30 meters high for over 3 kilometers in length), the natural monument of the Guaza mountain and finally the special nature reserve of Punta de la Rasca.

But do you think that in only 22 kilometers (which are 23% of the island’s coastline) we find so many protected areas with a high biological value? A value of this kind assumes 96.5% of the protected areas of the entire coast of the island and 56.6% of the entire Canarian coast.

The municipalities included in the Teno-Rasca area are 5, respectively: Buenavista del Norte, Santiago del Teide, Guia de Isora, Adeje and Arona.

This is also the most touristic area of ​​the Canary Islands by far and one of the most touristic areas in the world with over 6 million tourists a year, of which 1.4 million try the experience of whale-watching, generating over 42 million euros.

The declaration of world sanctuary of the planet for cetaceans makes Tenerife the first and only point in Europe with such a certification. Moreover, it is also endorsed by the sustainability charter, where whale-watching companies undertake to respect marine fauna made up of an enormous number of species. Exactly two years ago, the Cabildo of Tenerife organized the first course of “Guide and interpreter of the medio marino de Canarias” in which I had the pleasure of participating as an official tourist guide of the Canary Islands Government.

Currently, 31 species (of the 90 known) have been cataloged in this marine space, including the immense and undisputed queen of the seas, the wonderful Blue Whale “balaenoptera musculus”. In terms of size, this cetacean of the suborder of the mysticetes appears to be the largest living organism ever to exist on planet earth. With a length of over 30 meters and a weight of over 150 tons, it is the same size as a Boeing 747!

Excuse me, but I did not specify that cetaceans are divided into two sub-orders, which are the mysticetes (cetaceans that have baleen in their mouth) and odontocetes (which have teeth). Below I will describe only a few so that you can appreciate the diversity present: The Pilot Whale, here called “calderon tropical or ballena piloto de aleta corta”, which in the waters of the south coast of Tenerife appears to be, with over 200 specimens, the most abundant cetacean in the “unique thing in the world” area. In fact, a large number of boats leave the port of Puerto Colon and the port of Los Cristianos every day to go and observe this species. The thing that hardly anyone knows is that this cetacean with a very calm air during the day, turns out to be a very active predator at night and due to its lightning-fast accelerations to capture its prey it has been given the nickname of “deep sea cheetah. “. It manages to descend regularly to depths of 600 meters with peaks of almost 900 meters and a maximum diving time of 21 minutes.

Do you remember Moby Dick? It was a “Physeter macrocephalus” Sperm Whale. This cetacean is the animal with superlative characteristics; it is the largest odontoceto on the planet and consequently also the largest predator in the world. It has the largest brain in the animal kingdom and its sonar produces the most powerful sound produced by a living being, 230 decibels!

During its dives, which can exceed 40 minutes, it hunts for other mythological creatures such as the giant squid that even reach lengths of 18 meters. Fortunately, today m is no longer hunted at the same time, thanks to the oil (spermaceti) contained in his head, many cities in the world were illuminated.

Now, however, is the time of the perfect strangers, which are the zyphids. Until now, very little has been heard of this cetacean family which includes about 20 species and that there will certainly be new ones to discover. Think that they can reach depths of almost 2000 meters and remain in apnea for up to 85 minutes.

Their life takes place almost exclusively in the depths of the oceans, rising to the surface only for the time necessary to breathe. Their dimensions are considerable since we are talking about an animal that reaches 7 meters in length.

Obviously, in the area there are not only cetaceans but also 5 species of sea turtles, many pelagic species and among the cliffs of Los Gigantes, the Isorana, Guaza and Punta de la Rasca there are also fish eagles, pelagic birds such as diomedee and many others.

Surely in recent years a lot of awareness has been raised so that tourists and local people could understand what this area of ​​the island really offered, which has always been taken into consideration only for its climate which is the best in the world. In the next few years the speeds of pleasure boats will be reduced, jet-skis will be completely eliminated and marine activities will be limited to the sighting of cetaceans, eliminating sport fishing as well. A marine museum and interpretation center will also be created entirely dedicated to cetaceans and the species that populate this sea area.

With the hope of having been useful to you in this article as well, I remind you that to spot cetaceans you will have to get on a boat that has received authorization from the Cabildo of Tenerife and the Canary Islands government.

Be aware that the use of unauthorized boats also leads to an unnecessary increase in maritime traffic which affects the quality of life of these wonderful animals. Always remember to never throw anything into the sea and always respect the rules to ensure that the whales and dolphins can continue to live in this little paradise called Tenerife.

 

Your official guide of the Canary Islands Government

as well as

guide interpreter of the Medio marino de Canarias

Basso Lanzone

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8 places to visit in Tenerife

8 places to visit in Tenerife

Posted By : Getholiday/ 145

Discover the best places to see in Tenerife! We suggest 8 places to visit absolutely during your holidays in Tenerife.

Browsing the internet to organize your holiday you often find yourself in an infinity of information that makes your choice difficult. Above all because we can also come across pages that give information and data that have little to do with reality.
Today, however, I will give you some advice on what to visit and do on the largest island of the Canary archipelago, which I personally highly recommend visiting before the others.
For what reason? Simple! I list some answers on this. First of all, the island of Tenerife is the largest of the 8 Canary Islands, with an area of 2034 Km2.
It occupies a central position in the archipelago and consequently it is easier to move around to discover the nearby islands both by fast-ferries and by plane. It is the only island to have 2 international airports which are respectively Tenerife North “TFN” (Ciudad de La Laguna) and Tenerife South “TFS” (Reina Sofia). It offers an infinity of hotels, ranging from hostels to 5-star luxury hotels, scattered throughout the territory, which will surely satisfy all your needs. Of course I could keep writing for hours about why to visit Tenerife first but I will do so in one of the next articles.

Once we have chosen the island and the place to sleep, we begin our visit of the places, which before the others, absolutely must be visited in order to understand / discover the island.

8 places to visit absolutely during your holidays in Tenerife.

1

Teide National Park

Visitar Parque nacional del Teide

Undoubtedly an icon for the entire Canary archipelago. It is one of the most visited National Parks in the world. It develops in the center of the island offering a landscape of extraordinary beauty that you will never find anywhere else you visit. The National Park is surrounded by the Corona Forestale Natural Park which protects the Canarian pine which is an exceptional tree that manages to survive fires.
Once inside the park, which can be easily reached starting from San Cristobal de La Laguna, La Orotava, Guia de Isora and Arona, your view will be captured by the immense Volcano Teide which with its 3718 meters is the third highest volcano of the world. Inside we find a wide range of activities including trekking, which for those who love walking can choose 41 paths ranging from 426 meters of Mirador de la Fortaleza to 16,586 meters of sei cañadas. We also find 2 tourist information points that explain in great detail all the various facets of the park, explaining the origins, flora, fauna, human activity before and after the conquest and above all volcanology. We also find a cable car that starts from 2250 meters up to 3550 meters. There are also restaurant services in three areas and also a Parador Nacional “hotel”. Finally we also find the area of the astrophysical and meteorological observatories of Izaña.

For the most romantic I recommend our excursion Teide Sunset Tour (Read more).

2

San Cristóbal de La Laguna

Visitar San Cristobal de La Laguna

The ancient capital of the Canary Islands, declared a World Heritage Site in 1999, how we explain in the excursion that we propose (read more) is one of the most characteristic and best preserved places in the archipelago. Among its streets with straight, perpendicular and parallel lines we find the essence of the Spanish colonial style which was subsequently used in many other capitals in the Americas. Founded on July 26, 1496 by the one called into question by the King, he managed to complete the conquest of the island in the same year with the last two battles of La Laguna and La Victoria de Acentejo.
Walking through its streets we also have the opportunity to enter what were once the homes of the most important families of the archipelago such as the Da Ponte, Nava, Lercaro and many others.
Right in the center we also find many restaurants offering real local cuisine which I highly recommend you try!

3

Anaga Rural Park

Visitar Parque rural de Anaga Playa benijo

Declared a biosphere reserve in 2015, it houses a vegetation of extraordinary beauty. It is located in the northernmost tip, between the municipalities of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, San Cristobal de La Laguna and Tegueste. Inside we find the highest concentration of organisms per square kilometer on the planet !!! Here, thanks to the trade winds that bring a huge amount of water, the Laurisilva ecosystem “laurel forest” is preserved.

During your visit I recommend you to visit the tourist information center obviously to understand what the park offers, then coming out from there a few meters away you will find a fairly short path called the “path of sensations” to see, feel and touch this wonderful ecosystem that it dates back to the tertiary era, when dinosaurs still lived on planet earth.

Going down to the coast on the north side you will be able to visit the village of Taganana, eat in one of its restaurants and at sunset walk and take some photos from Playa Benijo that you will surely be able to take fantastic shots.

4

Santa Cruz de Tenerife

Visitar Auditorio Santa Cruz

Today it is the capital of the Canary archipelago together with Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. Founded on May 3, 1494 as a military camp where the troops of Alonso Fernandez de Lugo landed to complete the conquest of Realenga. For some time it was used as the port of the city of La Laguna. Being a strategic point and port, it received an infinite number of attacks by pirates, privateers and the various empires that concurred for supremacy in the Atlantic Ocean. It was completely fortified sea source with several gun batteries and three castles that made it practically impregnable to attacks! In the city on July 25 the defeat of Admiral Horatio Nelson is celebrated, who on this occasion lost his arm hit by a cannonball. In 1833 it was declared the capital of the archipelago due to its strong economic growth thanks to the huge commercial exchanges of its port.

Unmissable in your visit to the city, the Market of Our Lady of Africa, the auditorium designed and built by Santiago Calatrava, the MUNA museum where the Guache mummies are kept and finally the wonderful beach of Las Teresitas which with its golden sand and its coconut palms will make you fall in love.

5

Garachico

Visitar Auditorio Santa Cruz

Founded by the Italian banker Cristoforo Da Ponte in 1499, it immediately became the main port of the island thanks to the morphology of its bay. Fulcrum of trade between Africa, America and Europe remained in vogue until May 5, 1706 when two lava flows partially destroyed the city but made the bay inaccessible, practically sinking the city in a deep economic crisis.
Today the village has a lot to offer to the visitor, rich in history and stately houses was declared BIC, Asset of Cultural Interest as a historical-artistic whole in 1994 and in 2020 it was included in the list of the most beautiful municipalities in Spain. Surely during your visit you cannot miss a swim in its natural pools of Caleton!

6

Icod de Los vinos

Icod de los Vinos drago milenario

Founded in 1501, before the conquest it was one of the most important Guanche nuclei of the island and remained so even several years later. Being two minutes from Garachico, the territories of Icod de Los Vinos were used for the cultivation of sugar cane in the beginning and then an infinite number of vineyards. The wines of the area were then exported to Europe. Today in its territory in addition to the vineyards we also find banana plantations and this makes it clear that the economic engine of the municipality is based on the primary sector. However, tourism in the historic area, declared BIC “Asset of Cultural Interest”, does its part thanks to the thousands of visits that the millennial Dragon receives, the island’s botanical symbol and natural monument. In the icodense municipality we also find one of the longest volcanic tubes in the world “La cueva del Viento” which can obviously be visited by booking.

During the day you cannot miss a visit to one of the many shops where you will try fantastic wines that are well known and appreciated.

7

La Orotava

Visitar La Orotava casa Lercaro

Once known as the kingdom of Taoro, remembered as the most powerful Guanche kingdom on the island. In fact, at the head of an army of 6000 men, Mencey Bencomo was able to repel the Castilian conquest in 1495 in the battle of La Matanza de Acentejo. Located in the valley that bears its name, this splendid town of just over thirty thousand inhabitants is considered one of the most beautiful of the Canary Islands for its stately houses. Without a shadow of a doubt, we find the most beautiful and worked Canarian-style balconies on the island that centuries ago represented the symbol of the importance of the most powerful families. Declared BIC (art historian) in 1976, it offers tourists noteworthy places such as the Victoria Gardens, the unique church of Concepción, the botanist’s hijuela “a small botanical garden open to the public where we find one of the most beautiful dragons of the Canaries, Casa Lercaro, a wonderful 17th century house that also has a restaurant inside where eating is truly an experience that takes you back in time. You cannot miss a visit to one of the various gofio mills where you will be enveloped by the scent of this traditional Canarian flour. In its countryside you will also find guachinche where you can have lunch or dinner at reasonable prices, the dishes of the island’s gastronomy.

8

Rural Park of Teno

Visitar Parque Rural de Teno

Located in the north-west area, it is one of the least known areas but has nothing to envy to the rest. Its massif, together with that of Adeje and Anaga, turns out to be one of the oldest areas of the island, furrowed by deep ravines and very high cliffs that leave everyone speechless. The locals until a few decades ago still lived in a very spartan way and this has done in. So that all the traditions that we still find today when  discover the area. Places that must be visited within the park are: Punta Teno, which is the most northwestern point of the island. To get there you will have to pass on a road that takes your breath away and which was also used as a set for the scenes of the film Fast and Furious 6. Once you arrive in Punta Teno you can admire the cliffs of Los Gigantes and also one of the best representations of Cardon “Euphorbia canariensis”, a native plant of the island.

A visit to Teno Alto cannot be missed in your day, where you will certainly be able to see free-range goats grazing in a landscape that is totally distinct from the rest of the island.

Obviously, during your visit, you cannot miss a visit to the village of Masca, set in the canyon of the same name that offers a path that leads to its small beach.

I hope I have been of help this time too, but remember that the information I have given in this article is very limited and that of course I will be able to explain in more detail once you come to see me on an excursion or in one of the next articles.

I took as a reference a week of vacation that could be enough to be able to visit the places mentioned above.

So I just have to say goodbye to you with the hope of seeing us in this paradise.

 

Your official guide of the Canary Islands Government nr. 3900

Basso Lanzone

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The island of Tenerife has become the third largest cetacean sanctuary in the world "Whale Heritage Site", the first point in Europe with this certification.

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