We spent 10 days on the island of Tenerife, the largest of the Canary Islands. Unlike its sister, Gran Canaria, Tenerife is green and hilly. The combination eternal sunshine and volcanic soil that covers the landscape makes Tenerife a dream destination for any botanist, hiker, or retired sun worshiper. In the summer, the humid temperatures average from around 26°C – 28°C, and 20°C – 22°C in the winter.
Although we experienced a few cloudy days in the northern capital city of Santa Cruz, we were lucky to find refuge in a gorgeous central west coast port town. Sure, Puerto de la Cruz is a tourist favorite, but locals love it too! No surprise there, since the city has so much to offer. Sunshine, multiple beaches, Loro Parque, an orchid garden, botanical garden, and more.
We decided to spend our first day exploring the lush green beauties of the Botanical Garden and Playa Jardin (Garden Beach). Opening hours of the Botanical Garden are: 9:30 am to 6:00 pm, Sunday - Saturday, with the exception ofJanuary 1st, Good Friday, and December 25th. More information here.
*Tip: The bus ride from Santa Cruz to Puerto de la Cruz takes 40-50 minutes. Take the 103 (fastest) or 102 (leaves every 20 minutes) from Intercambiador.
What amazed us most about this botanical garden is that it needs no greenhouse covering. We've been to a few botanical gardens in Central Europe... this was a completely different experience. A large portion of the plants featured in the main garden are palm trees of various tropical and sub-tropical origins. Asian palms, South American palms, Indian palms galore! It's quite interesting to see the difference in size and shape.
I grew up seeing mostly the skinny and tall California palm tree, so this was a big eye-opener for me. The South-East Asian palms are quite cute!
But don't go to this garden expecting some huge variety of colorful flowers. This garden is very green indeed. Be ready to do a lot of comparing and contrasting of similar plants from different regions of the world. As you can see below, I was a big fan of the banana trees :)
At the back of the garden you will find a wall with water dripping down the etching of the year 1795. This was when the garden was finally completed. Above is an adorable pond with a few small fish and tadpoles.
The only disappointment of the day was in the back corner of the garden, where it appears that many young folks and couples has dug into the trees and bamboo to leave a mark. There are a few signs in the area that ask visitors to "please respect the plants," but it looks like it's just much too late. Here are a few photos of said graffiti.