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Panoramic photo by B. Hamann EXPERT Taken 22:59, 04/12/2013 - Views loading...


Green airglow and lightpollution over Roque de los Muchachos

The World > Africa > Spain > Canary Islands

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Roque de los Muchachos (English: "The Rock of the Boys") is a rocky mound at the highest point on the island of La Palma in the Canary Islands, Spain. The rocks are found at an elevation of 2,423 m above sea level, not far from the Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos, where some of the world's largest telescopes are situated; the altitude and the dryness of the climate here give rise to excellent observing conditions. The rocks are contained with the Parque Nacional de la Caldera de Taburiente.

From the Roque, one can see the islands of Tenerife, El Hierro and La Gomera.

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Nearby images in Canary Islands



by B. Hamann, less than 10 meters away

Roque de los Muchachos (English: "The Rock of the Boys") is a rocky mound at the highest point on the...

B: Astrophysical Observatory - MAGIC Telescopes

by Uwe Buecher, 260 meters away

Astrophysical Observatory - MAGIC Telescopes

C: The Magic Telescope

by Yvan van Hoorickx, 260 meters away

The MAGIC Telescope Collaboration has built in 2001–2003 a large atmospheric imaging Cherenkov telesc...

The Magic Telescope

D: Observatorio Roque de los Muchachos

by Oscar Blanco, 660 meters away

Panorama circular junto al Observatorio Astronómico del Roque de los Muchachos

Observatorio Roque de los Muchachos

E: The Grantecan Telescope

by Yvan van Hoorickx, 780 meters away

The Gran Telescopio CANARIAS (GTC), is a 10.4m telescope with a segmented primary mirror and a high p...

The Grantecan Telescope

F: The Nordic Optical Telescope

by Yvan van Hoorickx, 1.0 km away

The Nordic Optical Telescope (NOT) Scientific Association (NOTSA) was founded in 1984 to construct an...

The Nordic Optical Telescope

G: The William Herschel Telescope

by Yvan van Hoorickx, 1.1 km away

William Herschel TelescopeThe Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes (ING) consists of the 4.2-m William He...

The William Herschel Telescope

H: roque de los muchachos view

by sergio rondalli, 1.1 km away

roque de los muchachos view

I: Roque de Los Muchachos - Julio 2011

by Hewell Packard, 1.3 km away

Roque de Los Muchachos - Julio 2011

J: Mercator2

by Yvan van Hoorickx, 1.3 km away

The Mercator Telescope is a 1.2 m semi-robotic telescope located at the Roque de los Muchachos Observ...


This panorama was taken in Canary Islands

This is an overview of Canary Islands

Overview and History

The Canary Islands lie off the west coast of Africa and exist as an autonomous community belonging to Spain.

There are seven major islands in the archipelago and one minor island, then several small pointy bits which grumble about their diminutive status. The big ones are Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura, La Palma, Lanzarote, El Hierro, and La Gomera.

The whole group is the result of volcanic activity from 60 million years ago, which is why the beaches have black sand for you to crunch along on. There are no active volcanos at the moment, but one never knows. Another way to say it is that these islands are part of the Atlas Mountain range which can be traced across northern Africa.

At one point in the 16th century the islands were called "the sugar islands" for their production of cane sugar. The economy has since developed wineries, agriculture and now tourism as principal activity.

Getting There

The Canary Islands have six airports in total. Here's a quick reference for the airports. The main international airport is Gran Canaria Airport, the gateway to the islands. It's 18km south of Las Palmas and has EU, International and Inter-Island terminals.


Highway maintenance to the Canary Islands is sorely lacking, ha ha. Ferry service connects the islands to each other, but you can also take a small plane to hop between them.

On the islands you can rent a car but be sure to carry your passport and license with you all the time. People ride bikes and take the guagua bus to get around. (It's pronounced "wa-wa".) Bus schedules can be infrequent or sporadic. Tenerife and Gran Canaria have impressive public transport systems that cover most of their islands.

People and Culture

The Canary currency is the Euro; the islands are one of the farthest outlaying regions of the Euro zone.

The culture is undoubtedly Spanish, but the mainland custom of kissing on both cheeks when you say hello can be abbreviated to only one kiss. You need quick reflexes to get it right. There's an accent that's a little bit different from mainland, and not quite the same as South American spanish either. The saying is that islanders talk "with potatos in their mouth" because of their lazy-sounding pronunciation.

Things to do, Recommendations

Here's a basic look at the main islands. The way we see it, if you need directions for how to have fun on a tropical island full of fruit and fish, you're beyond our help.

The largest island is Tenerife with about two thousand square kilometers and a wide variety of plant life and terrain. It is home to the highest point "in Spain", the volcano El Teide at 3718 meters. Tenerife has excellent weather all year round, with a wide variety of terrain and vegetation including crops such as bananas, tomatos and potatos.

La Palma does not have very many beaches, and they are not very long. Two popular ones are in Puerto Naos on the west side, and Los Cancajos on the east. Most of the island is a biological reserve. It's known as "the green island"; come here for the mountains, sweet bananas and vineyards.

On Gran Canaria you can choose from endless sandy beaches, dunes, mountains and also lush green scenery. This island is home to more than half the population of the Canary Islands.

Fuertaventura has the oldest history. Homer mentioned it in his brief travel guide called "The Odyssey." Its name may come from the expression "What a great adventure!", or possibly, "strong wind." It's only separated from continental Africa by a narrow channel. Fuertaventura has the longest of all the beaches, and wonderful fine sand.

Lanzarote is a Biosphere Reserve under UNESCO declaration, and comprises one of the six universal models of sustainable development according to the World Tourism Organization. Lanzarote is the farthest East of the major islands and has a year-round average temperature of 22 degrees C.

La Gomera sports a National Park with dense forestation, crossed by deep ravines and surrounded by a perimeter of cliffs along most of the coast. Islanders have a special whistling language to communicate across the gorges in the forest.

Text by Steve Smith.

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