Puerto de la Cruz’ Botanical Garden is actually officially named the Jardín de Aclimatación de la Orotava and this name tells you a lot about the history of the gardens. In the 18th century the Spanish crown had conquered lot of overseas territory across the Atlantic ocean. King Carlos III decided in 1788 that he wanted plants and trees in his palace gardens in Madrid from his colonized territories in Mexico, Central America, South America and some Caribbean islands. Problem was that many of those plants needed to be acclimatised to the new environment in the colder Madrid. And so the king decided on the creation of the acclimatisation garden, just outside Orotava. Of course not all plants were suited for the Spanish mainland’s climate and stayed in the Tenerife garden.

Alonso de Nava y Grimón was the first head gardener and the one who overlooked the creation of the garden. Throughout it’s history the garden had times of glory and times of decay. From 1860 to 1893 the Swiss Hermann Wildpret substantially widened the amount of varieties and plants in the garden.

Nowadays the 20.000m2 garden is in top shape and will soon extend and double its size with a whole new landscaped area and facilities, all the more reason to return one day in the future.

The garden itself is a maze of lush planting and some very impressive trees. You’ll find 5000 plant species, 120 tree species and a collection of over 50.000 plants from five continents and thanks to the special climate on Tenerife they can all happily grow together. I do hope that in the future extension there will be also more focus on the unique flora of Tenerife itself, because that is now lacking a bit in the plant displays (They do have a herbarium with over 37.000 specimens related to the canary islands though)

We truly enjoyed this visit and was a welcome break of all the beautiful hikes we did on the island. Very impressive is the huge Lord Howe Fig that dominates the central part of the garden. I will not go too much into detail into all the plants, that’s up to you to explore. Worthwhile to mention is that in Orotava itself you will find a smaller botanical garden with a beautiful dragon tree (Dracaena draco). So for whatever reason you go to Tenerife, hiking or sunbathing, the botanical garden should surely be on your list of things to visit.

Address : Jardim de Aclimatacion de La Orotava, C/ Retama n°2, 38400 Puerto de la Cruz

The smaller botanical garden in the center of Orotava