¿Llegará la erupción? Todo lo que debes saber sobre el Parque Nacional del Teide
Tenerife cannot be understood without the Teide. With its 3,718 meters of height, this impressive volcano that presides over the interior of the island stands not only as the highest peak in Spain, but also as the third highest volcano in the world. However, beyond the many curiosities that characterize this monument of nature, we find up to 19,000 hectares of an unusual place that you should get to know. Welcome to Teide National Park.
An observatory of stars with an international reputation, an autochthonous flora and fauna that never ceases to amaze us, historical sites such as a bunker from the II World War or an old sanatorium for tuberculosis patients… There are many factors that make the Teide National Park a jewel for its visitors. It is therefore not surprising, that it is currently the most visited in Spain and that UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site in 2007.
Plan your visit to Teide National Park
The first thing you should take into account before venturing to discover the surroundings of Teide is that its average height is 2,000 meters. Even though the days can always surprise one in Tenerife, it is very likely that you need some shelter, sunscreen and appropriate footwear if you intend to walk their trails.
Hotel Suite Villa María offers excursions every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday for those guests who wish to enjoy this experience, crossing the well-known sea of clouds until reaching the Cañadas del Teide -practically on the slopes of the volcano -. This is an ideal plan to be carried out with the family and, without a doubt, the youngest will enjoy.
Whether you choose to go on an organized tour or do it independently, it is extremely important that you are respectful of the environment and that you do not stray off the established paths. By all means, don’t take the liberty of taking stones as souvenirs or moving them around. This way we guarantee that the ecosystem follows its natural course.
The most recommended
There are many plans you can make during your visit to Teide National Park, but here we list some of the most recommended:
– Take the cable car to the top of the Teide to enjoy its privileged views
– The Siete Cañadas or the flowery tajinastes trails (the latter, preferably in May)
– Observation of stars with specialized Guide in the surroundings of the sanatorium
– Go to the visitor’s center to learn about all the secrets of volcanic activity in the area
– Discover the Ucanca Valley from Las Cañadas del Teide
How to climb to Teide’s peak?
A few months ago, we saw a controversial image in worldwide news of a long queue of mountaineers trying to climb to the top of Everest. The truth is that the altitude of Teide is much less than the one of the Himalayan giant, but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t take into consideration its possible risks.
The first thing you should consider is the request for permission to access the peak. If you intend to sleep in the Altavista Refuge, when you make your reservation you will automatically obtain this permit. On the other hand, whether you intend to do the tour with the help of the cable car or on foot, in both cases you will need to make your request to the Teide National Park at least one month in advance.
Once the permit has been processed, we recommend that you buy your ticket in advance. Don’t forget that our Reception Team can help you buy it, so don’t hesitate to talk to us before or during your stay at the hotel. This way of transport only guarantees your arrival to the Refuge area, so it is important that you have permission to reach the remaining stretch to the peak on foot.
The more courageous, they prefer to choose the experience on foot. We are talking about a rather complicated excursion, due to the lowering of oxygen levels and the possible tachycardia problems that this entails. If you’re not sure you can handle it, we highly recommend that you don’t risk it and don’t do it.
Once at the top, and especially if you have decided to sleep in the Refuge, you will be able to admire one of the most spectacular sunrises in the world. What’s more, if conditions are right, you’ll be able to distinguish the seven islands of the Archipelago from above.
Curiosities you must know
Tenerife’s aborigines, the Guanches, considered the Teide (or Echeyde, as they called it) as a sacred mountain in which the Guayota demon resided, enclosed by Achamán to prevent him from terrorizing the island’s inhabitants.
Little did they know, at that time, about the potential of this area of Tenerife for the study of the geology and volcanoes’ behaviour. Its peculiar conditions, in fact, have served for the investigation of possible forms of life on Mars.
Moreover, the Teide National Park has always been linked to the world of astronomy since Charles Piazzy Smyth made great discoveries from the top of the mountain in 1856. This would favour the creation of the well-known Teide observatory and the denomination of Tenerifes’ Mountains on the surface of the Moon, in honour of this episode in history.
Such is the importance of our national park, that the 1,000 pesetas bills -one of the most used before the arrival of the Euro- had the image of the famous volcanic ensemble printed on them; and it has also served as a stage for famous film productions such as Fury of Titans or Ulysses against Hercules.
Will the great eruption ever come?
This is probably one of the most frequently asked questions by locals and tourists alike. Rumours of an imminent eruption are not uncommon in many tabloids. The truth is that the entire Teide National Park is full of eruptive mechanisms of various kinds, so that a possible eruption could not only come from Teide, but also from the geological formations and volcanoes that accompany this setting.
However, the last eruption in the area took place in 1909 and, for the peace of mind of visitors, we should know that most of the volcanoes in Teide National Park are monogenetic – that is, they were formed by a single eruption.
The chances of Teide or any of the other volcanoes in the National Park erupting are a present reality, but current studies and research mechanisms are capable of detecting unusual activity early enough to trigger possible emergency plans. In a controlled situation, living an eruption can be a spectacle and a unique opportunity, just like the underwater volcano on the island of El Hierro in 2011, or the Teneguía, in La Palma, in 1971.