In the radiant heart of the Canary Islands, an oasis of lush tropical beauty unfolds, painting a vivid palette of colors and life. This haven, known as the Tenerife Botanical Gardens, is a testament to nature’s artistic splendor. It is where tropical beauty flourishes in abundance, offering an unforgettable journey for every visitor. But before we delve into the captivating world of these gardens, let’s consider the best ways to get there.
The island of Tenerife is well-connected, and there are many options for getting around. One of the most convenient ways is to opt for a car rental. Renting a car provides freedom and flexibility, allowing you to explore the island at your own pace. The island’s roads are well-maintained and signposted, making it easy even for first-time visitors to navigate. However, for a truly unforgettable experience, consider a cabriolet rental. Driving a convertible on the open roads of Tenerife, with the wind in your hair and the sun on your skin, is an experience like no other. It adds an element of adventure and excitement to your journey, and it’s the perfect preamble to the tropical paradise awaiting you at the Tenerife Botanical Gardens.
Established by King Carlos III in 1788, the Tenerife Botanical Gardens were initially created to cultivate species from the tropics with the climate in the Canary Islands being ideal for their survival. Over time, the gardens have grown and evolved, today housing an incredible variety of tropical and subtropical plants from around the world.
As you step into the gardens, the scent of exotic blooms fills the air, and a symphony of colors unfolds before your eyes. The gardens are a living mosaic, each plant contributing its unique charm to the masterpiece. It’s a place where the beauty of nature is not just seen but felt, where every breath is infused with the essence of the tropics.
Stroll through the serene pathways, and you’ll discover a multitude of plant species. The gardens are home to a collection of stunning orchids, vibrant bromeliads, and unique cacti. The magnificent ‘Drago Milenario’, a species of dragon tree believed to be over 1,000 years old, holds a place of honor in the garden.
One of the most striking features of the Tenerife Botanical Gardens is its rich biodiversity. From the towering palm trees to the smallest ferns, each species is a vital part of the garden’s ecosystem. The gardens also play a crucial role in conservation, protecting many endangered species and contributing to global efforts to preserve biodiversity.
Another aspect that sets the Tenerife Botanical Gardens apart is its focus on educational activities. The gardens regularly host workshops and guided tours, aiming to raise awareness about the importance of plant conservation. It’s a place where learning and leisure go hand in hand, where visitors can gain new insights while immersing themselves in nature’s beauty.
The gardens are not just a feast for the eyes, but also a haven for the senses. The sounds of nature – the rustle of leaves, the chirping of birds, the trickle of water from the numerous fountains – all contribute to the tranquil atmosphere. It’s an escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life, a place where you can reconnect with nature and find inner peace.
When it comes to refreshments, the garden’s café offers a selection of snacks and drinks. It’s the perfect place to take a break and soak in the views of the stunning landscape. For a more substantial meal, there are several restaurants in the vicinity serving local and international cuisine.
The Tenerife Botanical Gardens is an enchanting destination that captures the essence of the tropics. It’s a place where every turn reveals a new discovery, where the magic of nature unfolds with every step. It’s a place that offers both relaxation and stimulation, a place where you can truly connect with the wonders of the natural world.
The Palmetum of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, a part of the Botanical Gardens, is a unique attraction that can’t be missed. It’s an artificial hill of 120,000 square meters, specializing in palm trees. The hill offers impressive views of the ocean, creating a picturesque scene that seems to be taken straight from a postcard. The Palmetum is also home to a large system of waterfalls, streams, and ponds, adding a soothing ambiance to the whole experience.
The history of the Palmetum is as fascinating as its flora. It was built on a former landfill that was shut down in 1983. The creation of the gardens started in 1995, and although the development was paused due to lack of funding, the gardens continued to grow and thrive. The first public guided tours were offered in 2013, and the garden was officially inaugurated in 2014. Since then, it has become a popular destination for locals and tourists alike, with school programs and regular exchanges with other institutions.
The entrance to the Palmetum is marked by a building that houses a reception, a small shop, and a palm museum. The museum is a must-visit for anyone interested in the rich diversity of palm species. The Ethnographical Palm Museum, a semi-subterranean structure partly covered in vegetation, is another notable feature. Although it is still under construction, it promises to be an exciting addition to the garden’s facilities.
The Palmetum also houses the Octagon, or El Octógono, a half-sunken shade house designed to host the most delicate species. This area is a dense display of tropical plants, crisscrossed by winding paths, streams, bridges, and waterfalls. It’s a magical place that offers a fascinating exploration of the tropical world.
The living collections of the Palmetum are truly remarkable. As of 2016, it included at least 1853 plant taxa, with a focus on island floras. 420 plant taxa are on the IUCN red list, with 73 being critically endangered and two extinct in the wild. The palm collection is particularly impressive, with 573 taxa, of which 192 are on the IUCN red list and 38 are critically endangered.
Other well-represented families in the garden include Amaryllidaceae, Asparagaceae, Apocynaceae, Bromeliaceae, Fabaceae, Malvaceae, and Moraceae. The collection focuses on palms from islands and the Caribbean species are the most represented. Some taxa are grown in sufficient number to allow ex situ seed production of IUCN species. An outstanding case is Coccothrinax borhidiana, a slow and critically endangered species, represented in the Palmetum by 17 specimens germinated in 1996, now fruiting in the Caribbean section.
The surface of the hill is divided into “biogeographical sections” to host the palm flora from different areas of the world. These sections vary in size between 1,000 and 20,000 square meters, making it a truly immersive experience. Every section is a new adventure, a new opportunity to discover and learn.
Whether you’re a botany enthusiast, a nature lover, or just a traveler seeking to experience the beauty of Tenerife, the Botanical Gardens is a destination that will leave you with lasting memories.