Camping on Tenerife

Thu, May 19th, 2011 - By Andrea Montgomery

Although the vast majority of holidaymakers who land on Tenerife head straight for the four and five star hotels, beaches and promenades of Los Cristianos, Playa de Las Américas and Costa Adeje, for some intrepid travellers it’s the call of the wild that draws them to the island.

Driving along the dappled forest road between Spain’s highest village of Vilaflor and Teide National Park, we pull off the road along a dry mud entrance that’s threatening to separate our Fiat Punto from its exhaust, and enter the scented heat of the pine forest. A small wooden sign with the words zona de acampada points the way beyond the picnic tables and small restaurant to a sparse area beneath the trees where the pine needles provide an Axminster-depth carpet.

Frequent campers in the UK, we look around for the marked-out pitches, the shower blocks and the washing-up sinks but all we can see is forest. Finding a shady spot alongside a small ravine, we pull the pine needles into a soft bed, pitch our tent and set off to explore our surroundings. It doesn’t take long for us to identify the available facilities for campers; they run to one water standpipe and a squat-style toilet in a hut. Although it’s immaculately clean, I’m not at all sure how I’m going to, ahem, ‘manage’ the toilet and hope that ‘nature’ doesn’t wait until after dark to call, as a light switch is conspicuous by its absence.

As the afternoon draws to evening we set up our folding table and chairs, take out our monumental sized picnic and crack a chilled beer. This is the life. Evening progresses and four or five more tents spring up beyond the trees before night falls and obscures everything, except the night sky which is a vast Milky Way on which a million lights dance, streaked by the fiery tails of shooting stars. Muffled voices and torch lights slowly dissolve as one by one the campers retire beneath their canvas and utter silence falls.

After a fitful night in which we discover that pine needles, although soft in volume, are apt to make their way through the groundsheet where they morph into sharp pins, daybreak announces itself in shafts of sunlight falling through the trees and throwing shadows across the canvas. We emerge from the tent to the sound of gentle hammering in the distance and bleary-eyed, we follow the noise to the picnic zone where half a dozen woodpeckers are tucking into breakfast on the pine trees, their tapping beaks echoing across the forest.

It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but for those who enjoy escaping to the countryside, a night camping in the unspoilt beauty of Tenerife’s forests will be a night to remember.

Campsites on Tenerife are free of charge but you must book online in advance.

Posted : Thursday, May 19th, 2011 at 6:40 am
Category : things to do
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One Response to “Camping on Tenerife”

  1. […] the Great Spotted Woodpecker. An early morning stroll through the woods above Vilaflor on a weekend camping trip provided us with a sighting of half a dozen of these pretty birds breakfasting on the pines. A […]

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