A wonderful winter break on an archipelago blessed with a subtropical and dry climate, outstanding natural beauty, including exuberant vegetation as well as superb coastal, mountain, and desert landscapes, a rich history and culture, and excellent Spanish food and wine! We stay in a fine 4-star/first-class hotel on the island of Tenerife, but will explore another island, historic Gomera on a daytrip by fast ferry. Daily breakfast and buffet dinner, including wine! The tour is escorted by Jacques Pauwels, PhD, author of Beneath the Dust of Time (London, 2009), who will lecture on the history of the islands, their aboriginal inhabitants, the Guanches, and the role of the Canaries in the voyages of discoverers like Columbus.
Evening departure from Toronto International Airport to Madrid on a non-stop flight with Air Canada. Dinner and a light breakfast will be served on board.
Mid-morning arrival in Madrid, and connecting flight to Tenerife, described by Wikitravel as “probably one of the last European paradise isles, offering lush forests, exotic fauna and flora, deserts, mountains, volcanoes, incredibly beautiful coastlines and spectacular beaches.” Arrival in early afternoon, and immediate transfer to our four-star/first-class Hotel Tenerife Playa, magnificently located on the waterfront in the resort of Puerto de La Cruz, in the middle of the “banana belt” of the lush northern shore of the island (www.h10hotels.com/Tenerife-Playa). Free time to settle in, followed by our first buffet-dinner in the restaurant of the hotel.
Morning walking tour of Puerto de la Cruz. Frequent stops will be made at lookout points along the seafront promenade to view and photograph the rugged rocky coast and the snow-capped Pico del Teide, a huge volcano, with 3,718 m the highest point in the archipelago and indeed in all of Spain. Local attractions include Martianez Lake, a post-modern complex of swimming pools surrounded by vegetation and volcanic rock; Playa Jardin, “Garden Beach,” a black sandy beach; the quaint old town and port with 17th- and 18th-century houses; historic San Telmo Chapel; and Castillo San Felipe Fortress. The afternoon is free to explore the town on your own, shop, or visit one of its museums, such as the Archaeological Museum or the Museum of Contemporary Art.
Full-day circle tour of Tenerife, the largest of the seven Canary Islands, featuring a very green northern part (with countless banana plantations) and an arid southern zone, separated by Teide, a huge volcano. Our itinerary will include the quaint town of Icod de Los Vinos, famous for its particularly impressive (and very old) specimen of the dragon tree, the only survivor of the archipelago’s original flora; the Castillo de San Miguel in Garachico; the resort of Los Gigantes, whose name refers to enormous black cliffs with a vertical drop of over 400 meters; and Candelaria, a famous centre of pilgrimage devoted to the Virgin Mary. Return to the hotel in time for dinner.
Free day. An optional full-day excursion (by fast ferry) will be offered to Gran Canaria, second largest island of the archipelago. This would include visits to the local cathedral and the Basílica of the Virgen del Pino in Las Nieves (Agaete), a scenic drive via Valleseco to Cruz de Tejera to visit the typical shops and enjoy the panoramic view, and, if time permits, a tour of the spectacular Dunes of Maspalomas, similar to the Sahara, and some time in Las Palmas, the island’s capital.
Full-day excursion to Tenerife’s historically most important towns: Santa Cruz, the capital, and La laguna, a university city, with visits to the most important churches and monasteries as well as free time for shopping.
Free day. An optional dolphin and whale watching boat tour will be available, including transportation to/from the port of Playa de las Americas, on the SW coast of Tenerife. The Atlantic waters between western Tenerife and the island of La Gomera are home to giant sperm, minke, white and blue whales as well as common, spotted, and bottlenose dolphins. This evening, optional Flamenco show!
Full-day excursion (by ferry boat) to La Gomera, one of the smallest islands of the Canary group, situated 35 km south-west of Tenerife, a distance covered by fast ferry in about one hour. Our local sightseeing will include a drive through Garajonay National Park, a rare example of “laurisilva,” the humid kind of subtropical forest that covered almost all of Europe in the Tertiary Era, a UNESCO World Heritage Site (https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/380), with stops at spectacular viewpoints and in quaint villages, a demonstration of traditional whistle-blowing, an (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PgEmSb0cKBg), lunch in a country restaurant, and time to explore the island’s capital, San Sebastian, with its memories of Columbus, who, having arrived from Spain, took on supplies here before sailing on his 1492 voyage of discovery to the New World, propelled by the prevailing northeast trade winds. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Gomera)
Morning excursion to Teide National Park, the most visited National Park in the Canary Islands and Spain; with around 3 million visitors annually, it is second only to Mt. Fuji in Japan! Teide was a sacred mountain to the aboriginal inhabitants of the Canary Islands, like Mt Olympus was to the ancient Greeks. (For more information, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teide)
Morning visit to Loro Park, a subtropical garden with an impressive collection of animals, including parrots, monkeys, penguins, dolphins, and crocodiles! Afternoon at leisure.
Morning free, and group lunch, followed by transfer to the airport and flight to Madrid. Arrival at Madrid Airport, and transfer to a nearby 4-star hotel, the Sercotel or similar.
Circumstances permitting, it may be possible to enjoy some optional sightseeing and/or dinner in the Spanish capital.
After a leisurely breakfast, short transfer to the airport via hotel shuttle and non-stop return flight to Toronto, with Air Canada. Departure at 11:00AM, and arrival in Toronto at 1:30PM.
- Return airfare from Toronto to Tenerife, including all airport taxes, fuel surcharges, and security fees; - Accommodation, based on double occupancy, in a first-class/4-star hotel – the single room surcharge is $345; - Transfers and all visits and sightseeing as described in the itinerary; - Breakfast and dinner (both buffet-style) daily, with wine/water included, in the hotel in Tenerife as well as lunch on days 8 and 11; no dinner on day 11 in Madrid. - Airport lounge pass for air-inclusive booking made 90 days prior to departure.
- All items of a personal nature; - Meals not indicated; - Travel Insurance, available upon request.
March 25 - April 03, 2019
LAND ONLY $3,460 CAD per person sharing twin accommodation ($3,325 if paying by cheque)
April 17 - 30, 2019
$4,795.00 from Toronto
April 26 - 28, 2019
$595.00 per person sharing a double room