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Island of  Variety

It's no wonder Tenerife is one of the most popular destinations for European tourists: 350 days of sun and a subtropical climate are the reasons that the largest of the Canary Islands is also called the “Island of Eternal Spring“. It is located about 300 km/185 miles from the African coast and lies at the same latitude as the Sahara Desert, which is why around five million tourists per year are able to enjoy perfect conditions for extensive beach holidays on this volcanic island.

The Canary Islands as a whole boast over 1700 species of plants and animals, with Tenerife being the most biologically diverse due to its extraordinary climate and geography. What is so special about it? The mountains in the middle of the island, with the large volcano Mount Teide as the highest peak, separate the climate of the two parts of Tenerife and are the cause of the different appearances of North and South. While the North offers a lush landscape, the southern part of the island sees very little rain throughout the whole year and looks more like a desert.

It's hard to imagine that one island can look so different within a rather short distance – the furthest point in the North and South are only around 80 km/50 miles apart. The reason for the varied appearances is definitely the difference in the amount of rain or rather humidity: The North benefits from the trade wind, which is saturated with condensed sea water. This humid air rises up along the north side of the mountainous massif of Teide and causes the formation of a bulky cloud layer in the northern part of the mountain. These clouds usually do not rain off, but release their humidity through a damp mist that keeps the flora in a good stead. Meanwhile the sky over the South generally stays sunny and the air rather dry, as Teide is massive enough to keep all the clouds on its northern side.

Our project is situated in the South, so if there's one thing we usually don't have to think about when planning the next day's activities, it's whether there might be rain. Even if the constantly high temperatures can be wearisome at times, they're also one of the main reasons why we're here: Due to these weather conditions, Tenerife is home to resident communities of pilot whales and dolphins, which remain here throughout the whole year – perfect prerequisites for our Whale and Dolphin project!

By Anna Momberger - Tenerife Field Communications Officer

Frontier runs conservationdevelopmentteaching and adventure travel projects in over 70 countries worldwide - so join us and explore the world!

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