The Canaries

The Canary Islands 

May 27, 2023

We arrived in the Canary Islands, “the Canaries” as the locals refer to them on the 24th of May. After a spending a few weeks visiting countries on the coast of West Africa, it was a bit of a relief.  

A Boat Anchored off the Coast of Tenerife

The Canaries are claimed by Spain, and have been for centuries. So landing in Santa Cruz on Tenerife was like landing in Europe. After Tenerife we went on to Arrecife on the island of Lanzarote, also one of the Canaries.

Looking Down on the Coast of Tenerife

The Island of Tenerife

Tenerife is the largest of the Canary Islands. It is also the most populous, with about 1 million inhabitants, or 43% of the archipelago’s total population. It is often frequented by Europeans on holiday. It gets about 5 million tourists (from all over the world) every year.

The city of Santa Cruz, the capital, is charming and clean. In fact it is pristine. It has the amenities you would expect if you were visiting Spain. 

While there, we viewed Mount Teide. Located in Mount Teide National park, a UNESCO heritage site, it stands as the highest elevation in Spain, and the tallest elevation on any Atlantic Ocean island. We also went on a walk on a walkway high up in Santa Cruz overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. 

Mount Teide in the Canaries
A Coastal Walk in Tenerife

After going through Santa Cruz we visited a banana planation where we learned about banana plants. Then we made our way to a well laid out botanical garden before returning to the ship.  

Banana Plantation on Tenerife

Buildings at the Base of the Mountains in Santa Cruz

The Island of Arrecife

Arrecife on island Lanzarote, where we arrived on May 26,  was next. Lanzarote is in many respects very different from Tenerife. While Tenerife is a bit of a playground for European tourists, Lanzarote is far less populated. There are only about 155,000 people living on the island.

Vineyards are a particular attraction of Arrecife. Needless to say, we visited 2 of them in La Geria, a Government protected wine region on the island. One of the unique features of La Geria vineyards is that the soil consists  largely of lava from various volcanic eruptions over the years. Another is that the island is very windy. 

An Arrecife Vineyard Photo

Consequently the wine growers ply their trade by planting  the vines in holes they dig in the lava and then building walls around them to serve as windshields. The vineyards wind up looking like moonscapes. 

An Arrecife Vineyard

We also visited the Monument to the Peasants, Monumento al Campesino, built by Cesar Manrique, a local hero. It is designed to pay homage to the local workers, especially the farm laborers who do the backbreaking work of picking the grapes in the vineyards. It is an impressive display, and well worth viewing. 

Monument to the Peasants of Arricefe
At the Monument to the Peasants

We expect to dock in Agadir Morocco on May 26. That will be our last stop in Africa before we dock on the Spanish mainland. Which means that we will be in Barcelona before too long.