Camping above the clouds at Vilaflor
If you are looking for picturesque views and a fine time spent in nature then I can recommend a beautiful spot above the clouds! At 1400m altitude resides the highest village of Tenerife called Vilaflor, and a little further up the road is a camping area called Zona Recreativa Las Lajas. Together with digital nomads we have had great BBQ and camping adventures in this area accompanied with wonderful sunset sceneries above clouds!
Together with my fellow nomads, we've visited this picturesque place twice, and it won't be the last time. The first time we visited this area in the South of Tenerife was during a cloudy week, sky filled with thick clouds. Nonetheless, we had an idea to go camping in the area. Upon driving up the steep mountain, we were hesitant if we would even see each other as the fog was thick without being able to see meters ahead when driving. However, Tenerife tends to surprise its adventurers again and again! Once we reached Vilaflor we drove out of the clouds into a burst of beautiful sunshine and blue-skied scenery, which was surprising as we were pretty sure we would spend the time BBQing and camping in a thick fog.
This camping area is well equipped, with two grilling tables, running water, and a wide camping area. If you go a little further up the hill from the camping area, you can find a scenic spot to view the sunset with mountains behind and an opening to the beautiful islands on the Atlantic ocean ahead. During our first visit, we sat above the clouds watching in awe as the sun went down from this cliff area. It was really romantic scenery while sitting on top of the fluffy clouds on the horizon! On our second visit, there were no clouds, and we could easily spot La Gomera, La Palma, and El Hierro at distance, from this mountain mirador.
As our first night drew closer after the stunning sunset, we set up our grills with live fire and even started a bomb fire to sit warm, grill marshmallows, and sing around the fireplace. However, after our gourmet grilling experience, sitting around the bonfire with live music and singing in a great atmosphere, our party was cut short as a local fire brigade, and forestal authorities busted the great party. They came in apologizing for ruining the high vibe celebration and gave us two options; to put out the fire ourselves or face a fine of 6K if the fire brigade was to do it, but the fire needed to be put out immediately! At this camping area, there are strict guidelines that we were not aware of with one of them listing not to have a live fire after 6 pm. The camping area is dry, and there is a high risk of unattended fire expanding in the surroundings. We were lucky enough that I had a 5L water canister, and some girls had water to put out the fire completely. Well, the fire just got started when the authorities arrived, so we didn't have to see too much effort to take it out. The authorities, however, were nice and considerate! They even stayed around to chill with us as they liked the atmosphere and vibe of our BBQ and camping party. Local Canarian people are great at being laid back, and chill and love to enjoy life just like these authorities. Coming from Finland, it was nice to see this, as back home, the authorities are much stricter, stone-faced, and sometimes can be hard on civilians. But learning from experiences the second time around, we were smarter at the camping area and also advised a neighboring group of people not to create live fires and told them about the consequences they might face if they did decide to continue doing so.
With bellies full of grilled goodies, warm marshmallows, drinks, and just high on our vibe, we still kept on enjoying the get-together, even without the fire. After a while, we got cold and were sitting with blankets, jackets, hoodies, and warm clothes we could find, sitting tightly in a row until I had an idea to keep us warm. Coming from a cold country like Finland, it was clear to me that we had to insulate ourselves, and what better way to do it than take almost 15 of us into nine people's tent. The idea was to create a "sauna" to keep us warm, and indeed the insulation and our body temperatures raised the warmth in the tent to a point we could sit inside with t-shirts. We had a speaker and kept the music going and laughing off the crazy idea of having a party in the tent like teenagers, knowing fairly well we all are perhaps too old for so much craziness. But it was a fun way to keep ourselves warm on top of a mountain. Not soon after, the owner of a nearby tent busted our party as we were making too much noise, and they couldn't sleep next door. The funny part was that they parked next to us, and not in the official camping area, and saw around 15 nomads having fun. Yet still, they remained firm to camp beside us. We tried to turn down the volume a notch or a few until the majority of us got tired. Together with a few nomads, we decided to leave down to the coastline by a car while others stayed the night above the clouds. When stepping out of the tent, I saw a breathtaking view above us; sky ridden with stars and the visibly large Milky Way accompanied by shooting stars! I have never in my life seen such a star-ridden sky as that night! It was stunning, and yes, I made a few wishes upon shooting stars that night! Such a wonderful sight to see if you are looking to find some magic in the dark! Since 2014 Tenerife is recognized as a Starlight Destination in the tourist destination category. There are 88 constellations every night in our skies. In Tenerife, 83 of these constellations are visible thanks to no light pollution in the highest peaks of Tenerife, making Tenerife one of the world's top places for stargazing! So if you want to make some wishes or spend a romantic night under the stars, then there is no better place to find a few shooting stars or even a shower of them at times!
Camping up in Vilaflor is a unique nature experience of its own, with a lot to see when considering it a small village and a camping area near by. Another recommended activity on Vilaflor is to hike a beautiful route called Paisaje Lunar. To know more about the hike, stay tuned as there is an article coming out about our experience on this route.