A Visit to the Canary Islands to See a Mummy with Fluffy Hair and a Parrot Sanctuary Turned into “The World’s Best Zoo”

The Canary Islands are known as the “Hawaii of the Atlantic” due to their year-round warm climate. They are a popular resort destination with about 10 million visitors a year, mainly from Europe. The Canary Islands are an archipelago of seven islands belonging to Spain. Tenerife, the island we visited, is the largest and has the “World’s Best Zoo” as well as the “Museum of Nature and Man”, where mummies of the indigenous Guanche people are on display. The ccTLD (Country Code Top Level Domain) assigned to the Canary Islands is “.ic”.

◆Where are the Canary Islands?

The Canary Islands are northwest of the African continent, off the coast of Morocco and the Western Sahara. The closest island to the mainland is Fuerteventura in the east, about 100 km from the continent. The islands are about 1,000 km from Spain. The seven islands are scattered in the Atlantic Ocean and have volcanic topography, with the newer islands being higher in elevation. The total area of all the islands together is about 7,270 ㎢. Population wise, there are about 2.2 million people living in the Canary Islands (as of 2021), and the official language is Spanish. The currency in use is the Euro.

* As of January 2024

= Table of Contents =

◆Cancel the Rental Car and take an Uber to Explore

◆Excited for a Parrot Show at the “World’s Best Zoo”

◆Crowds of Locals at the Señora de África Market

◆Mummies with Fluffy Hair? The Museum of Nature and Man

◆Michelin-starred Spanish Restaurant – Food in the Canary Islands –

◆Finding “.ic” Around Town

◆Local SIM Speed Test

Cancel the Rental Car and take an Uber to Explore

We arrive at the Tenerife South–Reina Sofía Airport on Tenerife Island, via Lisbon, Portugal flying with TAP Air Portugal. As one would expect, the airport for the “Hawaii of the Atlantic” is very large.

We go to pick up the rental car we booked in advance. The rental car company was “Europcar” located at the airport. It’s a French rent-a-car company with 2,825 locations in 143 countries, owning more than 200,000 vehicles. After presenting my international driver’s license, everything went smoothly. By the way, a Japanese driver’s license is OK in Nauru and Norfolk too.

The car we rented was a Volkswagen family car. But it had a quirky manual transmission and I couldn’t drive it. In the end, we decided to cancel the rental car. There were no fees for canceling.

We got an Uber instead and headed out. In the Canary Islands, the average temperature in January is 22°C. Not too hot, not too cold, just right and very comfortable. And, it’s a lovely sunny day.

About 40 minutes drive from the airport and we arrive at our hotel, the “Hotel Taburiente”. It’s in the northern area of “Santa Cruz de Tenerife” and it was a comfortable hotel with plenty of restaurants and bars nearby.

Near the hotel was a park called “Parque García Sanabria” . It’s a public city park in the middle of the island that anyone can enter for free. The flower clock at the entrance is a well known landmark. 

The streets and buildings in the area feel historic. During the Age of Discovery, Columbus used the Canary Islands as a stopover point on his way to the Americas.


Excited for a Parrot Show at the “World’s Best Zoo”

We head to “Loro Parque”, it takes about 30 minutes by car from the hotel. This is one of the most popular sightseeing spots in the Canary Islands.

We arrive at Loro Parque. “Loro” means “parrot” in Spanish, and when it opened in 1972, it was a parrot park. In 2017, it was selected as the “World’s Best Zoo” by Trip Advisor, the largest on-line travel agency. There’s a rumor that even Michael Jackson visited Loro Parque.

The 135,000 square meter site includes an aquarium and a “Naturavisión” space, with a wide variety of animals, such as dolphins, sea lions, gorillas, chimpanzees, penguins, and killer whales.

Admission is somewhat expensive; 42 Euro for adults and 30 Euro for children. However, the park is home to around 700 species of animals, and of the roughly 800 species of parrots that live in the world, you can find about 350 of them at Loro Parque! Not surprisingly, the park starts with a Parrot Garden.

The flamingos are hanging out in a large enclosure. All the animals are kept very comfortably.

I wanted to take more time with the parrots but we had to move on.

Beyond this door, the parrots and parakeets roam freely. Let’s check it out.

The parrots are chattering and flying around…. Although you can’t touch them, by sharing the same space, you feel like you’re touching them.

In the area off-limits to people, the birds communicate with each other peacefully. They’re just so cute.

You can also come and see all these different kinds of parrots and parakeets.

For lunch, we had pilaf, spare ribs, French fries, fried chicken, orange juice, apple juice, and tea at the restaurant in the park. In total, it cost more than 30 Euro.

In the park, there is a building dedicated to the parrot show called the “Loro Show.”

The show lasts 20 minutes and is only held five times a day. Let’s take a look while we’re here.

As we go inside the building, we see over 100 spectators eagerly waiting for the parrots to make their entrance.

To start the show, a staff member explains the history of parrots. After that, two parrots came out.
It seems like a game is about to begin. The first parrot to collect all the rings on the table will be the winner.

The park staff members rally up the crowd, asking “which parrot will win? This one or that one?” The audience starts to get excited. When the game starts, both parrots try their best to collect all the rings.

There was another show where the parrots flew over our heads. All the shows were in Spanish, but they were fun for everyone, from children to the elderly, so the 20 minutes flew by. The parrot plushies at the gift shop were also very cute. Unfortunately, we were in a bit of a rush, so we couldn’t see many of the animals, but the park facilities were very good and it’s the kind of place you could enjoy all day.


◆Crowds of Locals at the Señora de África Market

The Canary Islands are very close to Africa. Since we were curious about the name, we decided to visit the “Señora de África Market” (hereafter the “Africa Market”), which is about a 15-minute walk from the hotel.

The entrance to the Africa Market. At first glance, it looks so elegant it’s hard to believe it’s a market.

On the inside, the first thing you see is the tall clock tower. It’s surrounded by all kinds of shops and stalls.

Colorful fruits and vegetable on display.

Some produce shops were crowded with many people, even in the early morning.

This is a fish shop. You can find anything you need at this market, from meat, to spices, sweets, vegetables, cheese, and more.

There is also a playground for children in the center.

Down in the basement area there were also many shops and a supermarket. From its name “Africa Market,” I thought it would be a market selling a lot of African things, but it was a very convenient, regular market frequented by locals. I think it’s also a good place for tourists to find souvenirs as it sells a variety of things.

If you get tired of shopping, you can take a rest in a massage chair. Excellent service, right?


Mummies with Fluffy Hair? The Museum of Nature and Man

We heard that the “Museum of Nature and Man” had a mummy from the indigenous Guanche people with fluffy hair, so we had to go and see for ourselves. Admission is 5 Euro.

The museum is large and spacious.

The sign talks about the jaw and dental disease of the Guanche people. Apparently, researching jaw and dental diseases is essential to understanding the diet and health of people in the past, and among the Guanche people dental abscesses were common. According to a study by Marcel Sendrail published in 1983, it is highly likely that people at that time did not realize that abscesses were a disease.

Up to the second floor. There’s something lying there…

Its a mummy. A mummy of the indigenous Guanche people. Unfortunately, it’s actually a replica. According to the staff, the mummy exhibit, which was on display in December 2017, was only a temporary exhibit.

Compared to the real mummy, the hair on the replica seemed a bit too thick and fluffy. The Guanche people arrived in Tenerife around 1 BC, probably from North Africa, and are said to be the original inhabitants of all the Canary Islands.

The Guanche, who developed their own language and customs, spoke a variant of Berber, which is no longer in use. However, thanks to ancient inscriptions, etc. some words are known, such as names of plants and animals’ endemic to the Canary Islands, as well as place names, and so on.


◆Michelin-starred Spanish Restaurant – Food in the Canary Islands –

We decided to have an authentic Spanish meal at the “Restaurante Sagrario”, a Michelin-starred restaurant near our hotel.

First, we were served something like a Spanish omelet as our entrée. It was delicious with just the right amount of salt.

The Iberico ham with cheese (27 Euro) was so delicious we finished it up in no time.

The rest of the main dishes were all seafood. A grilled shrimp dish called “Gambas roja plancha” (30 Euro). It had a delicious fragrance and was cooked and seasoned to perfection.

“Ens templada gambas” is a salad with shrimp, tomato, avocado, and squid ink (24 Euro). The texture was very unique.

A dish of seasoned octopus called “Pulpo a la gallega” (26 Euro.) Easy to eat with a flavor similar to Ajillo.

The “Tiradito de atún,” or fish carpaccio (29 Euro), had little mountains of wasabi (Japanese horseradish), but it wasn’t too strong. It was a little like European sushi. We felt it was a bit too salty, probably because it was served in a lot of soy sauce. Every dish had a powerful flavor. The servers were friendly and helpful with suggestions.


 ◆Finding “.ic” Around Town

Although the government of the Canary Islands has been talking positively about launching the “.ic” domain since 2011, they have not yet put it into use (as of June 2024). Therefore, no one can use the “.ic” domain. The official government website for the Canary Islands uses a “.org”/a> domain. The domain “.org” stands for “organization” and is a generic top-level domain (gTLD) for non-profit organizations.


 ◆Local SIM Speed Test

We used eSIM’s MTX Connect. The speed was 1.7Mbps around Santa Cruz de Tenerife on Tenerife Island.


■List of Places Visited


■For access to the Canary Islands here