10 Things You Might Not Know About Tenerife

Mon, September 5th, 2011 - By Andrea Montgomery

The island grows self-watering potatoes. In Vilaflor, potatoes are planted in terraces covered with white pumice stone. A natural sponge, the porous rock extracts moisture from  low clouds and then traps it so it can’t evaporate, so there’s no need for watering. Incidentally, the potatoes in Vilaflor are delicious.

Tenerife is one of Europe’s busiest cruise destinations. The port of Santa Cruz receives over half a million cruise passengers a year from 253 of the world’s greatest ocean-going liners, including the QM II who made a stop-over on her maiden voyage in 2004.

Some Tinerfeños still live in caves. Five hundred years ago, when the rest of Europe was wearing hooped skirts with elaborate headdress and building Renaissance palaces, the original natives of Tenerife were still wearing animal skins and living in caves. The animal skins may have been replaced by T shirts but in parts of the Anaga Mountains, the cave is still called home.

It’s a non-stop party island, which may come as no surprise to those who holiday in Playa de Las Américas, but the parties aren’t confined to vodka and Red Bull central – they’re everywhere. From traditional romerías to Carnaval and from Santa Cruz to Cruz del Carmen, Tenerife has a feast of fiestas every month.

There are no trains on Tenerife. Although plans are allegedly afoot to connect north and south by rail, the only current transport links are the roads and the tram system in La Laguna and Santa Cruz.

There are no rivers on Tenerife. Moisture from clouds and rainfall seeps into the volcanic rock to travel beneath the ground. The only lakes on the island are the Erjos Pools in Santiago Del Teide which are deserted quarry workings, the Pools of Tejina – a bird watcher’s paradise and the Lago Martiánez swimming pool in Puerto de la Cruz. Okay, that last one’s not real, but it’s splendid.

Tenerife was home to the beetles…cochineal beetles that is. In the 19th century the island produced colonies of cochineal beetles for use as a food colourant. When artificial dyes came into fashion the trade died out but the prickly pear cactus on which the beetles were raised is still very much in evidence across the island.

There are dragons on Tenerife. Once prevalent throughout Europe, the Ice Age destroyed  Drago trees in all but the Macronesian Islands. Now they only grow naturally in the Canary Islands, Madeira and Cape Verde. Tenerife has some fine Drago specimens in Icod de Los Vinos and Los Realejos and a whole forest of them in Chamorga in the Anaga Mountains.

Tenerife has ancient mummies. The Guanche who originally inhabited the island mummified their important dead, very successfully. You can see the spooky remains of mummies in the Museum of Man and Nature in Santa Cruz.

Tenerife has one of the greatest ratios of land mass to height on the planet. Measuring just 56 km at its widest point and 86 km nose to tip, the island rises 3718 metres over 2034 km². It’s this ratio that gives Tenerife its multitude of climate zones enabling you to travel from sun, to cloud, to snow and back in half a day.

Posted : Monday, September 5th, 2011 at 9:58 am
Category : news
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One Response to “10 Things You Might Not Know About Tenerife”

  1. Alan says:

    Howdy, thats a big tree!

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