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Friday, July 05, 2013 (read 593 times)

La Orotava in the North of Tenerife

by Lauren

La Orotava is a Spanish City located on the coast of Tenerife. It is located 5km from the island’s capital, Puerto de la Cruz. Home to most of the TeideNational Park, La Orotava is the city with the largest surface area on the island of Tenerife. The main economic activity in La Orotava is agriculture with more than a fifth of the population harvesting one of three crops (potatoes, bananas and grapes) as part of their full-time occupation. Other economic activities are mainly tourism related.

Tourism in Tenerife

When the tourism industry came into existence in the nineteenth century, La Orotava began attracting many high class individuals from Europe including William Wilde, an Irish eye and ear surgeon as well as an author - and father of the poet Oscar Wilde.

The Gaunches are the ancient inhabitants of Tenerife. They developed their own language, art and religion as well as a social stratum. A tree known as a “Dracaena draco” was the symbol of the Gaunches. They used the reddish resin secreted from the bark to treat a number of medical ailments. Also known as “dragon’s blood” the reddish resin is still used today as a wood stain.

Many words of Gaunche origin are still used today. For example, the word Tenerife was developed from the name of a Gaunche King named Tinerfe. First built in the seventeenth century, La Casa de los Balcones (The House of Balconies) is a house in La Orotava. The building, featuring five wooden balconies, has three storeys and a patio with plants. This house with various living rooms featuring artwork has been a popular tourist attraction for many years.

The North of Tenerife

La Orotava is home to a number of stately homes, many of which have been converted into luxury hotels to accommodate visitors to the north of Tenerife. For example, Hotel Rural Orotava is a picturesque establishment located in a stately home at the heart of La Orotava. From this huge house, you can enjoy beautiful views of the old town, the sea, the mountains and the impressive Teide Volcano. Notably, the hotel was awarded a gold plaque two years running by a local radio station called “Radio Turismo” for its outstanding Spanish cuisine.

La Orotava is part of a breathtaking valley situated in between two volcano craters that stretches from the sea up to the mountains. The valley is filled with cliffs, gullies and ravines. As well as a park area, the valley also contains the capital city of Tenerife that is Puerto de La Cruz and a medium-sized town called Los Realejos. Interestingly, Los Realejos is split into two zones: Realejo Alto and Realejo Bajo. During the Spanish conquest, the Gaunches camped in Realejo Alto and Realejo Bajo was occupied by the Spanish.

Keywords: canary islands,tenerife,spanish islands,teneriffa,language holidays

Posted In: Spain, Tourism


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