Journey to the Patron Saint of Canary Islands

Candelaria is a small coastal town, located on the north east coast of Tenerife.

The village is known for the Virgin of Candelaria, and the Basillica was built in her honour

The massive size of the church dwarfs the small village with a population of just 2,000 residents.

The Virgin of Candelaria is the patron saint of Canary Island and on August 15th, the locals throw a fiesta to show their devotion.

Religious visitors travel from all over the world to visit the main sight of this village, the Basillica.

I was lucky that the Basillica was almost empty that morning. I could stop to admire the brightly colored murals in peaceful silence.

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Back out on the Plaza de la Patrona de Canarias, we wandered passed the nine statues who represent the aboriginal Guanche kings who guard the Virgen of Candelaria. Steel weapons at the ready, glittering in the late morning.

Guanches are the original settlers of the Canary Islands, and I will blog about them next Monday.


Journey to Mount Teide in Tenerife

Our favourite drive tour was our winding journey out to Mount Teide, the largest mountain in Spain.

I expected the drive to include hair raising turns and tiny roads with sudden drops but the experience was a snapshot of breathless views through scented pine and eucalyptus forests

The TF-21, that cuts through Teide National Park, is beautiful road that is well maintained. The roads rises on a steady pace.

The forest ends and roads opens to unique landscapes of colorful rocks interspaced between wild grass and brown barren land.

We stopped to grab a cup of coffee at the restaurant at the foot of the gondola. We starred through the panoramic windows as tourists braved the ride into the blue sky.

The 25 Euro gondola ride takes 7 minutes. The cable car arrived at a rocky perch where we wandered along the mountain pathways to admire the lofty views.

Mount Teide is a great family attraction. If you don’t want to splurge for the cable car the lunar landscape is perfect for hikers of all ages.

Tips for Driving in Tenerife

Let us start with the basics. In Tenerife they drive on the right hand side of the road with the steering wheel on the left of the vehicle (as in most of Europe, except the UK and Cyprus).

The main motorway, the TF-1, is smooth driving, and runs from the south of the island, to the capital Santa Cruz, and all the way out to Puerto de la Cruz. Use this highway when you can.

The most challenging area to drive in Tenerife is on the northwest of the island. the hairpin bends, steep drops and fogged in mountain roads require your constant attention. This area has some of the most beautiful natural sights. The coastal town of Garachico is not to be missed.

Once you leave behind the TF1, and TF5 cruising along Tenerife’s country roads is an enjoyable experience, but the key word is “laidback”. The locals, Tinerfeños, travel slowly and look for every opportunity to stop suddenly and socialize.

We rented a Hyundai Accent for five days. The total cost per day, including taxes and insurance, was $30 Euros. At the time, a GPS was not available. The island is small, and we managed okay after our first trip.

Our most scenic drive tour was our trip to Teide National Park. I will blog about this next Monday.

Pyramids of Guimar

teneriff 169As I stare out the window at the chilly rain my mind drifts back to the tropical island of Teneifife. The island is fondly referred to as the Island of Eternal Spring.

Pyramids of Guimar are located in the town of Güímar, on the eastern shore, about 40 kilometres south of the capital, Santa Cruz de Tenerife

The ethnographic park opened in 1998, which offers six step pyramids on display. It is also home to to the museo Casa Chacona.

The museum is relatively young, and offers some innovative ways to learn how the excavations to the pyramid complex were carried out.

We wandered along a well worn pathway past six pyramids of different sizes. Each section included informational signs. The audio guide tells the story of Tenerife and the Pyramids, in a exciting way.

The sight is off the tourist track and the museum was almost empty on the day we visited. We stopped off the cafeteria for a ice cream for a reasonable price.

Only one disappointment, the research to date could not pin point the age of the pyramids.

The sight is still well worth the visit for tourists who want to more about the Eternal Island of Spring