Canary Islands

The Canary Islands are a popular tourist destination and autonomous Spanish territory located in the Atlantic Ocean. Although the Canary Islands are controlled by Spain, they are closest to the nation of Morocco, off the coast of Western Africa. The Canary Islands, which include Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura, Lanzarote, La Palma, La Gomera, and a host of smaller islands, see more than twelve million visitors every year. The Canary Islands’ capitals are the Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, which are the provincial capitals of Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Las Palmas. The Canary Islands are famous for a number of reasons, including their pleasant climate throughout the year, their historical significance, and the powerful natural beauty of the archipelago. The Canary Islands cover a total area of two thousand, eight hundred and ninety three square miles, and include a population of more than two million, one hundred and seventeen thousand residents. The Canary Islands, or Islas Canarias, are thought to have taken their name from a Latin phrase meaning “Island of the Dogs,” although it is not known whether that term refers to an ancient reverence for canines or a misidentification of monk seals.

The Canary Islands are volcanic in origin, and at least four have seen eruptions within the last few centuries. The location and geographic character of the Canary Islands helped to create the archipelago’s impressive biodiversity and various micro climates. Some of the islands are arid semi-deserts, while others are sub tropical and host pine forests. This biodiversity is on display at the Canary Islands’ four national parks – Timanfaya National Park, Garanjonay National Park, Parque Nacional de la Caldera de Taburiente, and Teide National Park. The Canary Islands have an average temperature ranging between the low sixties and the mid seventies depending on the time of year, although the climate does vary substantially based on elevation and other factors. The indigenous population of the Canary Islands, the Guanches, was the first permanent inhabitants of the archipelago, although the Arabs, Phoenicians, Carthaginians, and Greeks all visited the islands prior to the more recent influence of the Portuguese and Spanish.

Although the Canary Islands also have strong agricultural and construction sectors, the islands’ economy depends heavily on tourism. The beaches of the archipelago are a primary draw for many tourists, as are the various climate types on display and the Canary Islands’ national parks. Many eco tourists and scientists visit the archipelago for its wide range of flora and fauna, including local birds such as the Tenerife Goldcrest, the Blue Chaffinch, and the Laurel Pigeon, as well as the La Palma Giant Lizard and the Canarian Shrew. Scuba diving has become increasingly popular in the Canary Islands, thanks to the impressive variety of marine life and clear waters offshore. The Canary Islands have their own unique sports, such as the shepherd’s jump and Canarian wrestling, although the archipelago also fields soccer and tennis teams. In addition, the Canary Islands are home to their own brand of cuisine, specific types of music, and a rare indigenous whistled language.