Behold pristine Caldera de Taburiente, a massive depression rimmed by soaring rock walls that is the stellar attraction in the island's lush national park.
Your tour begins with a scenic drive inland to La Cumbrecita, an elevated viewing area in the southeastern side of the Caldera de Taburiente. The caldera is the world's largest erosion crater, and unlike most calderas was sculpted by water erosion rather than a volcanic eruption. It was here in the 15th century that the invading Spaniards finally defeated the indigenous Guanches people. From La Cumbrecita, you'll gaze upon steep wooded gorges and rocky crags before venturing on a short hike around the caldera.
At the National Park of the Taburiente Caldera visitor center, you'll learn about the area's history, geology, flora and fauna. Although nearly 100 plant species have been found in the caldera, most of the park is blanketed in forests of Canary Island pine trees. You may also catch sight of Gallot's lizards, Barbary sheep, and birds such as the red-billed chough.
Following a snack of Canarian appetizers at a local restaurant, you'll next drive to La Conception lookout for a different view of the island. It serves as a wonderful prelude to visiting the Holy Virgin of Snow church in Las Nieves. One of the oldest churches on the island, it contains a remarkable altarpiece made of Mexican silver, several 16th-century Flemish sculptures and the namesake terracotta figure of the Virgin Mary. Afterwards, you'll return to the pier where your tour concludes.
Please note: This tour includes approximately 2-hours of walking, at times over uneven and natural surfaces. The hike at the Caldera de Taburiente covers just over ½ mile and is optional. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests and those with mobility concerns are cautioned to carefully evaluate their personal level of stamina and ability. Weather appropriate clothing; sun cap; sunglasses; and flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended. The order of the sites viewed or visited may vary.