Ever since I was young, I have had a fascination with the stars and the night sky. I would often wait until everyone in my house was asleep, slip out the back door of the house and lay on the deck, with my headphones in. Any time my friends invited me to a cottage, even better. The more opportunities I got to see a sky full of stars, the better. Growing up in a city, that can sometimes be hard.
When I started traveling, I have always made a point of staying up late and stargazing from wherever I am. It’s incredible to be able to see what the night sky looks like in different parts of the world. When I booked our trip to Tenerife for Spring Break and read that it was one of the best places to stargaze, I knew I had to book a tour to check out the stars from Mt. Teide. Travel Tenerife seemed like the best option for me, after reading their website and seeing what their company was about. As a teacher, I am always intrigued by the idea of learning new things in my travels. And one of the things Travel Tenerife strives for is to teach people about our place in the universe and how to preserve it. Lately, I have been reading up and learning more about ethical travel, and this seemed to be a great fit for the experiences I choose to have on my travels.
Our driver picked us up from a grocery store parking lot in Los Gigantes, which we arranged beforehand, since we were staying in an Airbnb up the coast. We were the first to be picked up, followed by two other couples close by, and then we made our way up. It was crazy to watch out the window as we literally drove through clouds. One second you’d be looking at beautiful trees, the next thing you know, it would be engulfed in a cloud. Once we were a good ways up, we stopped to check out the view at our first stop. There is something so surreal about looking down towards the clouds. We wandered around a little, but had to hop back in for our next stop at 1800m above sea level.
At the next stop we were given more time to watch the sunset. I had never watched a sunset above the clouds before. I have been up mountains and all that, but this was something different. We lucked out and managed to have one of the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen. Didn’t hurt being above the clouds for it. As the sun was making it’s way down, and the colours were fading, we hopped back in the car for the main event (with a quick pit stop if anyone needed to use the facilities).
We were driven to a round about where other tours were parked as well, in order to meet up with Charles and his team. They had their telescopes out and they were setting it up, getting ready for when the light from the sun was gone and we would be able to see the stars more clearly. Some may prefer a more intimate experience watching the stars, as there were quite a few people around, but how can you blame so many people for wanting to see the same thing?
First of all, I have never seen a sky so full of stars in my entire life. I used to get so excited seeing a ton of stars up north in Canada… but this was something more. No photos can do it justice. No words will make you understand. This is something you need to experience yourself. And planets! I have never seen planets. I mean I have an app that helps me figure out what all the bright lights in the sky are, but Charles’ team had a telescope aimed at Jupiter and I saw Jupiter! I heard some people complaining that it was so small, but how far away is Jupiter? I don’t even know, though I am pretty sure they told us. And here we are being able to see red lines on Jupiter, and you are disappointed? How?
Anyways, the guys were quite knowledgable on every aspect of the sky. They pointed out stars, constellations, planets, nebulas, and satellites. They discussed the history and reasoning behind the names of different constellations. They even showed us through their own cameras the nebulas they are able to capture (it was my first real try at Astro-photography, so I don’t have any of my own). It was unreal.
Nick and I didn’t dress warm enough. We don’t exactly have the clothes here with us for a trip somewhere cold. We wore pants, socks and shoes, t-shirts, with hoodies on… it wasn’t enough. Thankfully they provided fleeces, and even a blanket for Nick to wrap around himself. Next time, parkas. There was also champagne, coffee, tea and snacks. Though nothing quite warmed us up. My biggest advice is dress warm, if you think you are dressed warm enough, add another layer. They aren’t kidding around. That part was our fault, we were warned and didn’t take into the account we were living in a hot dry country and not used to cold anymore. But it didn’t ruin our experience, it just could have been more enjoyable if we weren’t shivering the whole night.
I was so impressed with the entire tour. From the knowledgeable guides, the incredible sunset and star filled sky, the little details like fleeces and coffee/tea, I couldn’t recommend this tour enough. Whether you are in Tenerife looking for a relaxing trip, hiking, beaches, or what have you, the Stargazing Experience tour is not to be missed. Next time, if I find myself on Tenerife again, I will definitely be looking into their Sunrise Tour.