Tenerife, Canary Islands

The Volcano that Haunts the Atlantic

Los Roques de Garcia
The rock formation of Roques de Garcia, in the middle of the Llanos de Ucanca plain.
Cars travel the long straight of the TF 21 road that crosses the Las Cañadas caldera.
falling sun
Sun rays refract on an uneven slope of the Caldeira Las Cañadas.
Above all
The massive cone of the Teide volcano (3718m), the highest mountain in the Canaries, Spain and the Atlantic islands.
Paragliders soar above the valley north of the Teide volcano, with Puerto de la Cruz and the Atlantic in the background.
Bread of sugar
Today's main crater and summit of the Teide volcano, known as Pan de Azúcar.
Lava drains
Patches of solidified lava that once flowed from the main crater of the El Teide volcano.
rolling sunset
Sun about to set behind a cloak of Calima. Dry, dusty mist from the Sahara Desert.
The Lava Vegetation
Resilient vegetation survives the aridity of lava from the Caldeira las Cañadas.
The Resisting Snow
Snow contrasts with the ancestral lava from the Las Cañadas caldera of the Teide volcano.
Sugar Pan
Casal walks along a trail at the base of the Pan de Azucar summit crater.
Tarta del Teide
Motorbike takes the hook of the TF-21 road in front of Tarta del Teide, a peculiar geological formation.
The Dragon Tree and the Volcano
Icod's old dragon tree gleams with age, with the much older El Teide volcano in the background.
El Teide Volcano
The top of the great El Teide volcano, the roof of the Canaries, Spain and all the islands in the Atlantic.
With the Great Sun in the West
PN El Teide visitor photographs the plain of Llano de Ucanca.
Paragliders II
Paragliders hover above the meanders of the TF-21 road where Tarta del Teide hides.
Privileged View
An outstanding view of the surrounding pine forest to the cone of the volcano Teide.
At 3718m, El Teide is the roof of the Canaries and Spain. Not only. If measured from the ocean floor (7500 m), only two mountains are more pronounced. The Guanche natives considered it the home of Guayota, their devil. Anyone traveling to Tenerife knows that old Teide is everywhere.

We left a mere minutes after the sun set behind the horizon.

We were advancing along the crest of Tenerife's imperfect triangle above. Left behind La Esperanza and Lomo Pesado, the road cuts through the vast pine forest that has long dominated the island's intermediate slopes.

For a long time, we see little more than the secular trunks, branches and acicular foliage of the pine canariensis.

The extra-purified, lugubrious and mysterious atmosphere arouses an inevitable morning curiosity. At the wheel, Juan Miguel Delporte enlightens us on an assortment of eras and themes, from colonial times when the conquerors confronted the indigenous guanchinet, to the contemporaries in which multimillion-dollar international cycling teams move from bicycles and luggage to Tenerife.

The times they carry out training at altitude there are crucial to their disputed ambition of triumphing in the Pyrenean, Alpine and Apennine stages of the Tour de France, the Tour d'Italia and the Tour de España, to mention just the main ones.

On both sides of the asphalt, successive aquifers gain volume on the north and south slopes below. In either direction, its final destination is the same, the great Atlantic, still sub-tropical but with waters much warmer than those that bathe Iberia.

We were in the middle of Estio. It had been a long time since a rain worthy of the name had replenished the natural reservoir of Tenerife.

The Inagurual Sighting of Colosso Teide

A few kilometers ahead, the Hope Road and Juan Miguel reveal to us the first of several privileged observation points of the great El Teide peak (3718m).

We went up a small hill. We got rid of the pine forest dictatorship. Onwards, to the southwest, we find the cone of the volcano highlighted on a green base, with its ferrous brown out of step with the sky-blue vastness.

In the lower half of the slope below the mountain, generated by gravitational slide, a whitewashed village thickened with the proximity of the darkest blue of the sea.

Juan Miguel had already warned us before. “This has changed and for you it's not good. The day is not as clear as yesterday. During the night the calima came back in." The phenomenon comes with the particular summer of Canary Islands.

Sometimes it happens way out of season. The dry and torrid weather of the south gains supremacy. invade the Islands closer to Africa, especially from Lanzarote to Tenerife. Except the northern ones, like La Palma. It takes over a large part of the archipelago, laden with dust and fine sands taken from the Sara.

As we usually saw it from July onwards, the name of the island used by the Romans makes no sense, Nivaria, according to the snow cover they got used to seeing in the upper section of the mountain, on the clearest days of the year, even from the African coast, the Carthaginians, the Numídios, the Phoenician navigators were also dazzled by its glimpse.

The Romans were not the first to be inspired by it. Despite the rule of Rome and the expansion of the empire to the western ends of the Old World, the baptism that prevailed has an indigenous origin.

Dragoeiro Icod and El Teide volcano, Tenerife, Canary Islands

Teide Volcano in the distance, with Icod's dragon tree in the foreground.

The enigmatic Guanche Exclusivity of Tenerife and the Canaries

The Guanches called her Tene (mountain) ife (white). It is said that it was the Castilian colonists who later, in order to facilitate their pronunciation, added the error between the two terms.

As Juan Miguel elucidates us, the great enigma is how the Guanches ended up in Tenerife and the other Canaries they inhabited. Upon the arrival of European settlers, no other island in Macaronesia was inhabited.

Even taking into account the relative proximity of the Canaries to the west coast of Africa – 300 km from Tenerife, just over 100 km from Lanzarote – and the proven Berber genetics of the Guanches, remains to be seen how they managed to reach the archipelago with cattle, other domestic animals when they did not have the knowledge to build vessels that would ensure the voyage.

Archaeological finds and organic remains that science dated back to half a millennium BC or even older indicate that, in one way or another, the Guanches will have completed the crossing.

Teide Volcano: Geological Origin and Guanche Mythology

By that time, the great El Teide had long been projecting above Tenerife and the Canary firmament.

The dating of an island is almost always inaccurate but, according to scientific studies, it must have been massive underwater eruptions from about 25 million years ago that generated the archipelago.

Tenerife, in particular, was formed through an accretion process of three huge volcanoes shield, initially on an island with three peninsulas added to a massive volcano, Las Cañadas.

At the time when Tenerife welcomed them, the Guanche cultivated the mythological meaning of the mountain that always seemed to guard them. Without great doubts, spectators and victims of more than one eruption or different volcanic manifestation, the aborigines got used to fear the volcano.

They called it hell, in their dialect, Echeyde, the a term the Castilians quickly adapted to El Teide.

For the Guanche, Echeyde Mountain was the sacred abode of Guayota, the evil demon. They believed that Guayota would have kidnapped Magec, the god of light and sun that he imprisoned inside the volcano, casting his world into obscurity, unsurprisingly the mystification of the phenomenon caused by a significant eruption that, like so many others throughout history, by releasing clouds of ash and dust, it will have blocked the sun.

Always apprehensive about what the volcano had in store for them, the Guanches deepened their mythology. The missionaries who later accompanied the European settlers recorded what the natives told them, that their people had begged forgiveness from Achaman, their God of all gods.

This one, agreed. After intense combat, Achamán triumphed over Guayota. He rescued Magec from the depths of Echeyde, closed the hell crater, and imprisoned Guayota within.

The salvage cap, now identified as the Pilón or Pan de Azucar sub-cone, crowned by the smaller crater of Pico del Teide, has not seen eruptions again. Others took place, with reduced expression, in different areas of the huge volcano. Some took place in the middle of the colonial era.

Cristovão Colombo's In-Person Testimony, an Eruption on the Way to the Americas

On August 24, 1492, hours before setting sail for the West Indies and hitting the Americas, Cristovão Colombo narrated in his logbook: “He set sail the next day and spent the night near Tenerife, from whose summit, which is very high, they saw great flames coming out which, astonishing their people, made them understand the foundation and cause of the fire, adding for respect the example of Mount Etna, in Sicily, and several others where the same was seen. ”

Scientists have come to the conclusion that, on that date, Columbus and his sailors will have witnessed the eruption of Boca del Cangrejo, in the south of the island.

It would have been the fifth of Tenerife's historic eruptions, none of them coming from the main crater of Mount Teide. Others followed in the period 1704-1706, recorded in Fasnia, in Siete Fuentes and which caused heavy destruction in the houses on the seafront of Garachico.

One of Pico Viejo, known as Chahorra, between the beginning of June and September 1798. The last was in 1909, from the secondary volcano of Chinyero. We would have to go through these volcanic focuses on Tenerife.

Until then, we proceed through the TF-24 route.

Soon, free of the green shade of the pine trees, dazzled by the geological wall formed by several layers of lava flows, of different textures and tones, in such a way that it received the informal name of Tarte do Teide.

This pie has its own two viewpoints, both revealing the magnificence of the stratovolcano, even more towering over the immense valley shared by La Orotava, Puerto de La Cruz and several other cities, towns, villages, hamlets.

We stop at one of the viewpoints.

From there, we enjoyed a squad of paragliders rising and gliding, in delicious ellipses between the observatory of the Instituto de Astrophysics of the Canary Islands and the ocean floor, much of the time, with the cone of the mountain in the background.

From the Grand Domain of the Las Cañadas Caldera to the Top of Pan de Azúcar

As the sun also ascended to its zenith, the haze intensified. When we enter the domain of the Las Cañadas caldera, formed by the collapse of the homonymous volcano, its dry mist disappoints us.

We strive to ignore photographic adversity.

We point to the Tabonal Negro sector and then to the base of the cable car that connects 2.356 meters to 3.555 meters from the almost top of the main crater, at the foot of the Pilón de Azucar summit.

We are dedicated to following two main trails laid in basalt, irregular to match and that furrow a rough, even sharp, lava environment between ocher and brownish tones.

We followed what led to the Pico Viejo observation point.

And, on the way back, this led to the viewpoint of the Fortaleza, revealing the northern edge of the Las Cañadas caldera and much of the northern coast of Tenerife.

Together, the two opposing panoramas and the one granted by the trail that connected the starting points, revealed to us a geological imposingness for millions of years in the heart of the island.

In different directions, the boiler was covered with different lava flows, some only stopped by the inner side of its edge.

Moments later, we inaugurated the 1200 meters of cable car descent that emulated lava. Gradually, the cabin brought us back to the TF-21 line.

Ocaso in Calima, in Volta dos Roques de Garcia


Once again for its asphalt, we aim at the southwest corner of the caldera. We leave the road for the open view of the Llano de Ucanca.

Leaning on the parapet fence that separates the road from the plain, we enjoy the western sun hiding behind a sharp patch of caldera and, at the same time, the gradual orangeing of the rival rocks of Roques de Garcia.

A wedding photographer struggled to photograph a couple in the middle of the road in that subdued light.

Sooner than we estimated, the atmospheric background of calima began to take over the great star.

When we look for it already at the La Ruleta lookout, its yellowish ball shines from the blackened sky and seems to roll over the top of the silhouette among the Roques.

Two lovers seated on a convenient slab, let themselves be infected by the volcanic and cosmic romanticism of the moment.

La Palma, Canary IslandsSpain (España)

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The BBC reported that the collapse of a volcanic slope on the island of La Palma could generate a mega-tsunami. Whenever the area's volcanic activity increases, the media take the opportunity to scare the world.
La Palma, Canary Islands

The "Isla Bonita" of the Canary Islands

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Santa Cruz de La Palma, Canary Islands

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Lanzarote, Canary Islands

To César Manrique what is César Manrique's

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Fuerteventura, Canary Islands, Spain (España)

Fuerteventura's Atlantic Ventura

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El Hierro, Canary Islands

The Volcanic Rim of the Canaries and the Old World

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PN Timanfaya, Lanzarote, Canary Islands

PN Timanfaya and the Fire Mountains of Lanzarote

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Capelinhos Volcano, Faial, Azores

On the trail of the Capelinhos Mistery

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Fogo Island, Cape Verde

Around the Fogo Island

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Chã das Caldeiras, Fogo Island Cape Verde

A "French" Clan at the Mercy of Fire

In 1870, a Count born in Grenoble on his way to Brazilian exile, made a stopover in Cape Verde where native beauties tied him to the island of Fogo. Two of his children settled in the middle of the volcano's crater and continued to raise offspring there. Not even the destruction caused by the recent eruptions deters the prolific Montrond from the “county” they founded in Chã das Caldeiras.    
Pico Island, Azores

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Valencia to Xativa, Spain (España)

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Matarraña to Alcanar, Spain (España)

A Medieval Spain

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Vegueta, Gran Canaria, Canary Islands

Around the Heart of the Royal Canaries

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Tenerife, Canary Islands

East of White Mountain Island

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Fuerteventura, Canary Islands

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Gran Canaria, Canary Islands

Grand Canary Islands

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Lanzarote, Canary Islands, Spain (España)

José Saramago's Basalt Raft

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Herd in Manang, Annapurna Circuit, Nepal
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4th of July Fireworks-Seward, Alaska, United States
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Karanga ethnic musicians join the ruins of Great Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe
Great ZimbabweZimbabwe

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2000 meters in Aussie Style

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Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
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Vila Velha Park a Castro, Paraná

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Victoria Falls, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Zambezi
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Sheki, Azerbaijan

autumn in the caucasus

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Alcatraz Island, California, United States
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Alcatraz, San Francisco, USA

Back to the Rock

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Kayaking on Lake Sinclair, Cradle Mountain - Lake Sinclair National Park, Tasmania, Australia
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The Host of the South Pacific

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Boracay, Philippines

The Philippine Beach of All Dreams

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Detail of the Kamakhya temple in Guwahati, Assam, India.
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The City that Worships Kamakhya and the Fertility

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Serra do Mar train, Paraná, airy view
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Curitiba a Morretes, Paraná, Brazil

Down Paraná, on Board the Train Serra do Mar

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Erika Mother

The Philippine Road Lords

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Colónia Pellegrini, Argentina

When the Meat is Weak

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hippopotami, chobe national park, botswana
Chobe NP, Botswana

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Queenstown, New Zealand

Queenstown, the Queen of Extreme Sports

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