After breakfast, we packed up our things and said goodbye to our volcanic cabin. We decided to head back to Santa Cruz the long way, including a stop at a beach on the southern end of the island.
We started by exploring the part of the park near to the spot where the last major eruption took place. Here, the rockers were blacker and the already-sparse vegetation was even scarcer.
The rocks were particularly sharp and uneven, and we were glad to stay on the path.
We were started to get hungry for lunch, so we pressed on. After about 45 minutes, we reached the small village of Vilaflor. We arrived at the tail end of a religious festival. The blocked streets were covered in massive drawings made entirely from naturally colored sand from El Teide.
We had seen many of these colors over the past few days, but in their natural settings the colors blended slowly from one to another. Juxtaposing the sands from distant parts of the volcano highlighted the contrast and extraordinary variety. Clearly, the local artists knew how to use their sandy medium as well.
Remarkably, our children did not walk through any of the drawings. Hooray! No desecration of religious icons! After a tasty lunch, including a bottle of local wine, we continued our descent toward the southern beaches, passing through vineyards and banana farms on the way.
The southern part of the island is packed with hotels and new development for tourists, but we all enjoyed some time at a beach called Playa de las Américas. We drove back to Santa Cruz exhausted but satisfied.