What are Lava Tubes?
If you’re not sure what lava tubes are, you’re not alone. When a volcanic eruption happens, it not only spills from the top of the volcano (as most imagine), but also to the sides. These outlets formed eventually cool off, dry out, empty and eventually form into lava caves.
The Cueva del Viento, the Wind Cave
In simpler terms, they are caves and tunnels in which lava once flowed. Shaped by lava flows from Pico Viejo, part of Mount Teide, is The Cueva del Viento. Also known as the Wind Cave, this lava cave is Europe’s largest lava tube and the fifth largest in the world. The top four largest are all located in Hawaii.
Just outside of Icod de los Vinos, the Cave of the Wind is on the northwest side of the island. If you want to experience another major Tenerife landmark nearby, visit the famous Dragon Tree (Drago), which is also in the same town. Fifty-nine feet tall and 1,000 years old, the Drago tree is also a must-see on the island of Tenerife.
Spend the Day Exploring
Maybe you want to travel alone, or maybe you’re looking for an interesting and informative trip for the family. Whatever the case, the Wind Cave is a no-brainer if you’re looking for a unique and educational activity for the day.
It’s time to spend the day seeing all that the cave has to offer. Over 17 KM long (12m), you can take a guided tour and explore more than 800 feet of the tube. A visit offers insight into the role of lava flows and you will be able to experience a unique sight – the quirky forms sculpted by the lava.
The beginning of the two-hour tour starts at the Visitors Center, which is filled with information about how they’ve been recently been explored since a woman fell in a hole in the 20th century (1950’s) and how they were formed. The guide also goes into depth explaining the unique sounds of the water, rock movements and rare species of insects and predators that live without any sunlight – including the remains of one of the largest lizards in Europe!
The fascinating geological wonder then continues with a quick presentation by the guide of the volcanic origin of the island, explanations on lava tube formations, and the different type of lavas provided by Mt. Teide. You’ll then begin the actual visit where the guide shows the different types of lava and then continue on to study the cave. After equipping you with helmets, a headlamp, and battery pack, you’ll proceed through beautiful gardens to the main entrance of the cave through a rocky path in line formation.
A highly educational activity for travelers of all ages, you’ll learn plenty of interesting facts and tidbits of information from the knowledgeable guides. Be sure to book in advance, groups are limited to sixteen people – and they sell out quick!
Across from visitor center, have an authentic Canarian lunch with Tortilla Espanola, Carnas del Fiesta, great salads, local cheeses, and potatoes with traditional red & green Mojo sauce and olives. Don’t forget to save room for desert – cactus ice cream with palm honey. Sit back, relax and treat yourself to a glass of local Listra Bianoc.
So put on your hardhat, hiking boots and turn on your lights, it’s time to explore.