The volcano and its surroundings, including the whole of the Las Cañadas caldera, are protected in a national park, the Parque Nacional del Teide. Access is by a public road running across the caldera from northeast to southwest. The public bus service TITSA runs a once per day return service to Teide from both Puerto de la Cruz and Playa de las Americas. A parador (hotel) is also within the National Park along with a small chapel. The Teleférico cable car goes from the roadside at 2,356 m most of the way to the summit, reaching 3,555 m. Each car carries 38 passengers (34 in high wind) and takes 8 minutes to reach the summit. In peak season, queues can exceed two hours. Access to the summit itself is restricted; a free permit (obtainable from the Park office in Santa Cruz, Calle Emilio Calzadilla, 5 - 4th floor) is required to climb the last 200 m. Numbers are normally restricted to 150 per day.
Due to the altitude, oxygen levels are lower than at sea level. This can cause people with heart or pulmonary conditions to become light headed, dizzy, develop mountain sickness and in extreme cases unconsciousness. The only treatment is to return to lower altitudes and acclimatise.
The Teide is the main symbol of the island of Tenerife and the most emblematic natural monument of the Canary Islands. Teide image appears in the middle coat of arms of the island of Tenerife spitting fire on the volcano appears St. Michael (patron saint of Tenerife). Moreover, its image has been widely represented throughout history, from the earliest engravings made by European conquerors, even in typical Canarian crafts objects, on the back of the notes of one thousand Spanish pesetas, current oil paintings and postcards.
As with other major world's natural monuments such as Mount Uluru in Australia, due to its composition Teide (when not there is snow) changes its color and appearance depending on the place from which to reach sunlight. Highlights the deep red sunset and different shades that acquired during the day (beige, gray and even blue among others).
|Coat of arms of the island of Tenerife, the Teide in the center.|