La Villa de Los Realejos
La Villa de Los Realejos can be considered one of the more privileged counties of the Island due to the fact that almost fifty per cent of its territory is protected by environmental laws.
Some of the more notable protection sites are the National Teide Park, the Corona Forestal Natural Park, the Protected Landscapes of Los Campechos, Tigaiga and Ruiz and the Rambla De Castro, the Montaña De Los Frailes Natural Monument and the Barranco Ruiz which is of scientific interest.
Los Realejos counts with an important historical-artistic heritage that speaks of its past glory brought by its economical riches, the settlement of merchants, the presence of Ecclesiastical orders and the Church itself. Nowadays it still maintains important historical traces of architectural interest both in religious and civilian buildings. Such examples of religious buildings worthy of mention are the churches of Santiago Apóstol (1496), La Concepción (1512) as well as other smaller churches and chapels ranging from the centuries XVI and XVII such as Tagaiga, La Cruz Santa, Icod el Alto and la Gorvorana. Of the civilian sites, one worthy of mention is the Hacienda of the Principes, residence of the Adelantado Alonso Fernández de Lugo, conqueror of Tenerife, where he created an important process using sugar cane which was the first crop introduced to the area. With time, this crop was followed by others, due to the meteorological factors and the fertility of the soil, such as vines, cacti for the cochineal, till today where the banana, potatoes and flowers are predominant.
The Los Realejos County is truly a paradise on earth for alternative sports based on adventure and nature contact. Due to its diversity in natural areas at different heights ranging from the coast to the mountain, combined with its weather that embodies all of the northern side of the island, the existence of clubs, groups and associations related with nature appreciation, make it the perfect destination for all those who love nature.
Icod el Alto
Icod el alto is situated outside the Valle de la Orotava on a flat part of the Tagaiga mountain chain, making it the furthest settlement from the centre of the county.
It has a series of important historical sites of great relevance such as the Casa de la Pared, a country house that played during the centuries XVII and XVIII a very important role in the introduction of new crops such as potatoes that were then taken to the other islands. La Pared welcomed those who travelled the islands such as merchants providing stables, sleeping quarters, food and proximity to the Royal Road which circled the island. It also has a church that dates from the XVIII century dedicated to Nuestra Señora Del Buen Viaje, an idol which inspires great devotion and is considered as the Candelaria of the north.
Icod el Alto is still mostly an agricultural settlement with traditional crops like potatoes and wheat. Rich in customs, it celebrates several festivities through the year, the main one being towards the end of august. The Romeria in honour of San Antonio is also noteworthy.
The National Teide Park
The National Teide Park is the best example of a high mountain volcanic ecosystem in the canarian islands and it has spectacular landscapes unique to the world. Its unique plant life, full of endemic species, includes a dozen of endangered species and invertebrates with exclusive shapes known in only very few species.
La Rambla de Castro
We can find within its boundaries natural elements which stand out due to their scarcity or uniqueness, where scientific interest is centred in small pockets of forests composed by canarian palm trees which speak of ancient vegetation formations. Also, it counts with catalogued populations of protected species of endemic plant life and species of interest the European Union.
Site of Scientific interest Barranco Ruíz
Site of Scientific interest Barranco Ruiz covers an area of 95.6 hectares where the scientific value and conservationism of its natural elements and varied vegetation of character primes over all other interests.
The most notable characteristic of its landscape is that it possesses a very abrupt terrain and therefore encompassing various ecosystems which differ from one to the other due to its conditioning by the existing microclimates, including coastal areas with halophyte vegetation.