“…but having traversed the banks of the Orinoco, the Cordilleras of Peru, and the most beautiful valleys of Mexico, I own that I have never beheld a prospect more varied, more attractive, more harmonious in the distribution of the masses of verdure and rocks, than the western coast of Teneriffe.”
---Alexander von Humboldt, 1799, German naturalist and explorer
Do you feel like a winter getaway? Jose and Nancy have enjoyed traveling to Tenerife, part of the Canary Island archipelago, over the years as a family and a couple. We would love to share this spectacular island with you. We have created a unique tour designed to bring you into contact with the remarkable variety of landscapes on this special island that once was an essential stepping stone for all New World journeys and exploration of the Americas and beyond. Located 100km off the coast of Morocco, Tenerife enjoys a privileged climate making hiking and walking a pleasurable year round activity.
Tenerife rises out of the ocean and climbs to an impressive 3718m (12,198ft) at its summit, the volcano Mt. Teide, which dominates views of the island no matter where you are. Mt Teide is the highest volcano that rises out of the ocean floor outside of the Hawaiian islands. Jose and I have planned walks in the vast range of microclimates and landscapes including the steep, lush semi-tropical laurel forests of the Anaga Peninsula where the variety of flora make it a botanist’s paradise; the barren, lunar landscapes encircling the base of Mt Teide remarkable for their colors and habitats where the toughest flora and fauna eke out an existence; coastal walks through black volcanic "aa" (malpais in Spanish) rock and flower-laden, cliff paths that give stunning views to the azure waters below. We will also enter the great volcano’s innards and become cavers for an afternoon as we explore the famed Cueva del Viento (Cave of the Wind).
As always Nancy and Jose will weave the history of the island into our walks to understand the aboriginal inhabitants of the islands (the "Guanches"), their conquest at the hands of the Spanish on path to the new world and the remarkable economy of wine and sugar that resulted from the conquest. We will also enjoy the unique Canarian cuisine and their wines which once were the pride of European tables and referenced by Shakespeare himself. Due to Tenerife's unique conditions, the national park around Teide contains one of the world's most important astronomical observation centers. As part of the tour we will explore the heavens from our privileged vantage point with a local expert. January in Tenerife, depending on where you are on the island, can have highly varying temperatures. We will also be going, over the course of the week, from sea level to the summit of Teide (mostly via cable car!). In January it often snows on Teide but at the coast you can be in shorts and swimming in the ocean. Consequently, it's a fun tour with great variety in which you'll want to prepare for several seasons.
Tour duration: 7 days & 7 nights
Walking Level: Medium to Medium Hard. We have tried to select walks suitable for a medium level ability but it is important to keep in mind that the island is volcanic which makes for steep, irregular landscapes that will require stamina, stability, confidence on uneven terrain and, on one walk, control of vertigo. We will be walking between 3km and 11km (1.8mi to 6.8mi) on a daily basis Walking poles are highly recommended for this tour.
Walking Days: 7 total
Tour Start/End Point: La Laguna, Tenerife. The Tenerife Norte airport (TFN) is located very conveniently to the small town of La Laguna where we start and end the tour. Daily direct flights are available from Madrid (MAD).
Group Size: This inaugural tour will be limited to a total of 7 people.
Tour Price: 2325E per person in double accommodation
Single Supplement: The single supplement fee is €215 for this tour.
Departure Dates 2018
15-21 January 2018
BOOK NOW FOR 2018
What is and isn’t included: Trip price includes accommodations (double occupancy), all meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) each day except 2 dinners (Days 3 & 5), pre-departure information, all transportation during the trip, entrance fees to museums and activities as designated in the itinerary is included and Jose and Nancy will accompany the group.
Tour does not include: Airfare to Spain or Tenerife is not included nor is required health/travel insurance or transportation to and from the starting and end point (San Cristobal de la Laguna, Tenerife, Spain). Personal amenities such as drinks and snacks at end of walks or in free time are not included.
Tenerife Island: Lava, Sea & Stars
Day 1 - La Laguna - 6.2km/3.8mi
We’ll meet at our hotel in the town of San Cristobál de la Laguna located 10 minutes from the Tenerife Norte Airport. After our orientation we’ll shuttle east to the coastal loop walk of the Malpaís de Güimar and get our first exposure to different types of lava including “malpaís” or “aa” for its rough, irregular surfaces as we ascend the Montaña de Mar and loop around the Montaña Grande, two young (10,000 year old) volcanoes. We will also enjoy the rich flora that ekes out an existence in these harsh yet beautiful habitats. We return to La Laguna for dinner enjoying Canarian cuisine. (6.2km/3.8mi)
Day 2 - La Orotava - 7.7km/4.8mi
The day starts with a guided visit of the beautiful colonial town founded by the Spanish when they conquered the Canary Islands and Tenerife at the end of the 15th C. Designed on a grid-plan La Laguna (550m) became the model for future colonial architecture in the New World and became an UNESCO World Heritage City in 1999. (1km/.6mi). We then shuttle to the Anaga Natural Park and we will hike from Cruz de Carmen (1018m) to Chinamada (663m) descending through the special laurisilva (laurel forest) characteristic of the lush, humid sub-tropical climate of the northern part of the island.(6.6km/4.2mi) In Chinamada we’ll have lunch at one of the cave houses and then shuttle to the Casa del Vino (House of Wine) in El Sauzal. The Spaniards brought wine culture to the Canary Islands and became major producers and exporters of wine to European tables and the New World. The islands still have a strong wine tradition and we will enjoy the history and a tasting on this visit. We spend the next two nights in the lovely town of La Orotava. Tonight we’ll have dinner together here in a local restaurant.
Day 3 - La Orotava - 7.9km/4.9mi
In the morning we’ll shuttle to the hamlet of Afur (270m) also in the Anaga Peninsula.
Today we do a spectacular, yet hard, hike from Afur down to the Tamadiste beach and then to the village of Taganana. From Afur we descend a beautiful, fragrant canyon full of native plants (cacti, flowering plants, wildflowers) to the beach. We enjoy the beautiful views of the dramatic coastline at Tamadiste and then make a steep ascent back to the cliffs and then progressively ascend along the high cliffs (342m) and then drops into the village of Taganana (226m) affording constant stunning views of the coast. The old terraced vineyards surprise for their location and variety. (7.9km/4.9mi) In Taganana we’ll have lunch at Canarian restaurant and then shuttle back to La Orotava. In La Orotava we’ll visit The Teide National Park visitor center. Afterwards you’ll have free time to explore La Orotava on your own and to have dinner.
Day 4 - Santiago del Teide - 5.1km/3.1mi
After breakfast we shuttle down to Puerto de la Cruz where we’ll do a lovely cliff-walk to the Mirador de San Pedro (172m). This paved walkway connects two points along the coast weaving in and out of small settlements and seeking always to give you stunning views of the coast and the pounding deep blue sea below. The walk ends in an original Canarian palm grove surrounded by banana plantations. (4.1km/2.5mi) After our walk and a refreshment, we’ll shuttle to the spectacular Cueva del Viento (Cave of the Wind) to learn about the volcanic island from the inside. On the visit we’ll become cavers and wear special equipment to descend into the bowels of the earth and this large lava tube. (1km/.6mi) After lunch we’ll visit the coastal town of Garachico, once the major port in the north, but whose fate changed when a volcanic lava flow destroyed part of the town and its port in 1706. Shuttle to the high small town, Santiago del Teide (1000m), and the hotel where we’ll spend two nights.
Day 5 - Santiago del Teide - 10.7km/8.2mi
From the hotel we’ll shuttle to our trailhead that starts at the small agricultural town of San Jose de los Llanos. This wonderful loop hike combines a very interesting array of landscapes from the cultivated fields outside of San Jose de los Llanos, to the lapilli (small lava stone gravel) paths within the peaceful Canarian Pine forest and then opens up to the black ‘aa’ (malpaís) lava flows of the 1909 Chinyero eruption, the last one to trouble Tenerife. Meanwhile we get great views of Teide imposing above it all before we loop back through the forest and the fields to San Jose. (10.7km/8.2mi) We’ll have our picnic at the end of the walk and the return to the hotel where you have the option to have a free afternoon or take a boating excursion to see the famed Gigantes cliffs and hopefully spot the whales and dolphins that thrive in the waters around the Canary Islands. The waters off the southwest corner of Tenerife are an internationally well-known cetacean observation area.
Day 6 - Parador de las Cañadas – Teide National Park - (2.8km/1.7mi)
From Santiago de Teide we shuttle to the Teide National Park and the lower cable car (teleférico) station (2356m/7729ft).*** The cable car will whisk us up to the station (3555m/11663ft) near the top of the Teide Peak crater (3718m/12198ft). According to Guanche beliefs, Guayota, the god of evil and darkness inhabited Teide, one of the gateways to hell and the underworld. We will we ascend to the crater as well as Pico Viejo. (2.8km/1.7mi). After we return back down by cable car we’ll shuttle to the Parador located at the foot of Teide and set in the midst of this high, open and desolate lunar landscape. Today we’ll dine in the Parador and then enjoy a look at the heavens with a local expert from this privileged viewing area. Tenerife’s unique conditions as an island with relatively little light pollution and a latitude favorable for seeing much of the visible sky, has made it a mecca for astronomers and has important international observatories.
Day 7 - La Laguna - 4.3km/2.7mi
After breakfast we’ll walk from the Parador to the wonderful Roques de García (2160m/7086ft) rock formations on a loop walk through the native flora and volcanic rocks which then steeply descends through different types of lava as we encircle these monumental formations left behind after eons of erosion wore down the softer surrounding rocks. (4.3km/2.7mi) Shuttle to the Montaña Blanca to see the lunar landscapes and white lapilli lava stones. We leave behind the lunar landscapes of highland Tenerife and descend back through corona forestal (belt of dense pine woodland) to La Laguna. We’ll have our farewell dinner in La Laguna and spend the night there.
Jose and I have long wanted to share the wealth and quality of Galicia’s prime resources with our clients. Galicia is well-known within Spain for its food culture (see Nancy's article about Galicia for Roads & Kingdoms) as well as its rich cultural heritage and inspiring interior and stunning coastal landscapes.. We have designed a tour to bring you into close contact with the production and enjoyment of its foods and wines focusing on what they do the best: take fresh local products and transform them into straightforward and simple delicacies. Each day we will take walks in the countryside to enhance the food experience and allow you to enjoy Galicia’s breathtaking scenery. This unique tour brings you into close contact with Galician food culture, especially along part of its rich 1200km coastline famed for its stunningly beautiful tidal estuaries known locally as rías.
The tour starts in Santiago de Compostela, Galicia’s political and spiritual capital, where we will explore the famed public market and have a cooking class with a local chef and ends in Galicia’s vibrant port city of Vigo about and 1hr and 15 min south of Santiago.
From Santiago we head west to the coast to spend two nights in the small rural yet maritime Sierra de Barbanza area. We will visit a cannery to hear about one of Galicia’s main seafood industries: the production of first-class canned seafood including mussels, clams, cockles, octopus, tuna, mackerel, squid, hake roe and scallops. We will also take a small boat out into the fertile estuary to visit the aquaculture platforms that produce Galicia’s famed mussels.
We then move south along the coast to spend three nights in the small town of Cambados which hosts the annual Albariño Wine Festival in August. Our accommodation is a restored manor house that also produces its own albariño wine. Over those three days we will dine in two of Galicia’s 13 Michelin-starred restaurants – Yayo DaPorta and Culler de Pau. In Cambados we will join the local mariscadoras (shellfisherwomen) to learn about their trade of clamming firsthand as well as have a cooking class for one of our evening meals. We will also have a wine tasting at a local winery to learn about albariño production.
Our last day, we visit an apiary to learn about Galicia’s bees and honey production. We then head to Vigo, (pop. 280,000) and say farewell as we enjoy a show-cooking experience in another Michelin-starred restaurant Maruja Limón.
Tour duration: 7 days & 7 nights
Walking Level: Easy. We will be walking between 1.8 and 5.5 miles / 3km and 9km on a daily basis on well-marked trails. Walking surfaces vary considerably from asphalt to sandy beach, to forest track and stone and dirt country lanes to pebbled tractor track. Some of the trails have loose cobblestones on the tracks that can be difficult to navigate and require concentration while walking. The countryside is mostly rural, coastal and forested. Expect rolling hills with some brief ascents/descents of five to ten minutes in length. Walking poles are recommended for the uneven sections.
Walking Days: 7 total
Group Size: The tour will be limited to a total of 10 people to ensure a very personal, hands-on experience.
Dietary Restrictions/Limitations/Allergies: The Galician diet places a heavy emphasis on meat and fish. While vegetables are, of course, incorporated into the menus, all of the Michelin meals and cooking classes utilize both fish and meat into the dishes we will be preparing. Please let us know of any food intolerances/limitations/allergies when booking and we will advise you accordingly.
Departure Dates 2018
3-9 Sept 2018
BOOK NOW FOR 2018
Tour Price: 2625E per person in double accommodation
Single Supplement: The single supplement fee is €215 for this tour.
What is and isn’t included: Two cooking classes where will prepare three-course meals (starter, main and dessert and wine): Santiago de Compostela, Cambados (Days 1, 5). Two mid-day meals in Michelin-starred restaurants (Days 4 and 6) with gastronomic tasting menu and wine sampler. One evening show cooking gastronomic menu at another Michelin-starred restaurant (Day 7). Wine tours and tastings in three venues (Days 1, 4 and 5).Visits: Market, cannery, grocery store, boat excursion into the estuary, fisherwomen’s on site clamming activities and apiary. Meals included: Breakfasts from Days 2-8, Picnic lunches – Days 2, 3, and 5 (with lunch on your own in Pontevedra on Day 7), Michelin lunches – Days 4 and 6 , Dinners- Days 1, 2, 5 and 7 (nights 3, 4 and 6 are not included and you can explore on your own). Jose and Nancy will accompany the group at all times. All transport is included from start to finish as outlined in the itinerary, as well as all entrance fees to museums and activities.
Tour does not include: Airfare to Spain is not included nor is insurance or transportation to and from the starting point (Santiago de Compostela) and ending point (Vigo, Spain). Personal amenities such as drinks and snacks at end of walks or in free time are not included.
Weather: In September plan on mostly sunny weather with some cloudy skies and a chance of rain showers sometime during the week. Morning coastal fog is possible. Summer temperatures oscillate between 13-28ºC / 55-80º
Day 1 –Santiago de Compostela
Meet in Santiago at 2pm for our orientation. Walk through Santiago de Compostela’s historical quarter focusing on the food culture and its importance in Spanish and Galicia daily life. En route we’ll stop at a wine bar to have a tasting of three Galician wines with a local wine specialist. Afterwards we’ll walk to the cooking school and prepare our dinner with a well-known local chef. (Walking distance: 2.5km/1.5mi)
Day 2 – Sierra de Barbanza Area
Morning visit to the Santiago de Compostela public market to see the vendors selling everything from fresh fish, meat, vegetables, cheese, cold cuts, flowers and nuts. Transfer to Pobra do Caramiñal to visit the Luís Escurís Batalla cannery where we’ll see how one of the area’s top producers create their very high quality, artisanal seafood products. Afterwards we’ll have a sampling of these delicious products. Transfer to our coastal walk. We’ll have our picnic en route and then finish our walk. Shuttle to the hotel and free time. We’ll have dinner in town enjoying local specialties. (Walking distance: 7km/4.3mi)
Day 3 – Sierra de Barbanza Area
After enjoying spectacular views from the area’s highest hill, A Curota, we will head to Pobra to visit a grocery store and learn what it’s like to shop like a Spaniard/Gallego. After a short hike we’ll have our picnic and then take a boat out to visit the aquaculture mussel platforms. Galicia produces 98% of Spain’s mussels and Spain is the world’s 3rd producer. Return to the hotel and free time. Dinner in town to explore on your own tonight (return on own by taxi). (Walking distance: 6.5km/4mi)
Day 4 - Cambados
Shuttle south to Cambados, Albariño capital of the Rías Baixas D.O., and walk a beautiful section along the coast. Perhaps we’ll see the kelp that may form part of one of our Michelin meals. Lunch at the Michelin starred restaurant Culler de Pau. Chef Javier Olleros pours his love of the ocean and his dedication to acquiring fresh, locally produced foods into these memorable dishes. Check-in to the hotel and visit the hotel’s wine cellar and vineyard that produces albariño (white) and espadeiro (red) wines. You can wander down to Cambados on your own tonight. (Walking distance: 3.5km/2.1mi)
Day 5 –Cambados
We hike along the ‘watermill route’ to the Armenteira monastery. In Galicia the watercourses were lined with watermills to grind corn, wheat, rye, barley and other grains for breads. Picnic along the river. Return to the hotel. Shuttle to a Rías Baixas winery to learn about local winemaking practices and to taste three different wines they produce. We then drive to the delightful Quinta de San Amaro to have a cooking class and dinner with a local chef. (Walking distance: 9km/5.6mi)
Day 6 –Cambados
Free morning. When the tide is right, we will visit the shellfisherwomen of Cambados who created a cultural association to transmit their knowledge of the sea and their profession to the public. These women are working professionals who clam. We will visit them while they are working and learn about clamming in Galicia. Afterwards we will have a leisurely lunch at Chef Yayo Daporta’s Michelin-starred restaurant of the same name. His creativity and innovation with traditional materials is inspiring and delicious. You will have the evening on your own tonight in Cambados. We have a Galician surprise for you tonight waiting when you get back!(Walking distance: 3km/1.7mi)
Day 7 – Vigo
Shuttle to the apiary Apípolis where we will learn about Galician bee keeping and honey production. You’ll have the opportunity to don a beekeeper’s outfit and enter in the apiary to see the bees working up close on the panels. After sampling honey products, we’ll talk a beautiful walk down the Río Lérez into the medieval town of Pontevedra. Enjoy lunch on your own in the popular eating district. Shuttle to Vigo where we stay in a beautifully restored building in the historical quarter. We’ll end our Galician food journey with a show-cooking experience at the Michelin-starred Maruja Limón restaurant in Vigo. (Walking distance: 5.5km/3.4mi)