La Orotava

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Villa de La Orotava
La Orotava
La Orotava
Flag of Villa de La Orotava
Official seal of Villa de La Orotava
Municipal location in Tenerife
Municipal location in Tenerife
Coordinates: 28°23′26″N 16°31′29″W / 28.39056°N 16.52472°W / 28.39056; -16.52472Coordinates: 28°23′26″N 16°31′29″W / 28.39056°N 16.52472°W / 28.39056; -16.52472
Country Spain
Autonomous community  Canary Islands
Province Santa Cruz de Tenerife
Island Tenerife
 • Mayor Isaac Valencia Domínguez
 • Total 207.31 km2 (80.04 sq mi)
Population (2011)
 • Total 41,706
 • Density 201.18/km2 (521.1/sq mi)
Time zone GMT (UTC+0)
Post Code 38300

La Orotava is a municipality of Spain, located on the north coast of Tenerife, within the Orotava Valley. It is located 5 km E of Puerto de la Cruz, about 33 km SSW of the island's capital, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, west of the Tenerife North Airport. The population is 41,406 (ISTAC, 2011), its density is 201.18/km² and the area is 207.31 km². The municipality's area is the largest in the entire island of Tenerife. The altitude of the main population centre is 390 m, but the one of the municipality area goes from the sea level of the Atlantic to the 3,718 m of the summit of Teide volcano (Canary Islands' and Spain's highest point), inside the area of the municipality, making La Orotava the highest municipality of Spain and any land born of the Atlantic Ocean.

La Orotava is linked with Autopista TF-5 and the old highway linking Icod de los Vinos and the capital (Santa Cruz de Tenerife). Farmlands are in the valley areas and within the Atlantic, urban areas covers much of the area and the mountain and the hills are to the south. Its climate is vegetation.

The coat of arms or La Orotava was adopted by Alfonso XIII in 1906, the dragoons escorting the drago and the tree of golden apples refers to the mythology of the Garden of Hesperides, believed was located in La Orotava. In gastronomy, La Orotava was honored for the Denominación de Origen Valle de La Orotava or the Denomination of the Origin of the Orotava Valley (Valle de La Orotava) in wines.


It is not known with clarity which is the origin the name of the population, but the vast majority of researchers say it could be due to the situation of the town in the time of the Guanches, who called the area Arautaba or Arautápala. From the point strictly linguistic, Orotava voice belongs to a very advanced stage of deformation of the primary language Amazig, to the castilian.


The Guanches lived primarily in coastal areas and in the vicinity of the largest canyons and hillsides in the valley. In these places food and means of subsistence were easily found. For the Guanches, the highest peak in Spain (Mount Teide), which is situated on this township, was a place of worship.

On the arrival of the Spanish conquistadores, such as Alonso Fernandez de Lugo, the people of Tenerife resisted, defending their way of life and freedom. Tenerife was the last of the Canary Islands to be conquered, in 1496.

The original population not suffered high mortality, for various reasons, such as to have been white, the assimilation of the Catholic religion, much like their traditions, and finally, the resistance to normal disease in Europe and North Africa.


Engraving realized by the French naturalist Sabin Berthelot of the great dragon located in the garden of the House Franchy, in La Orotava. Published in his work "Histoire Naturelle des Iles Canaries" in 1838

The export economy established by the European colonizers after the conquest in the 15th century generated large commercial and passenger movements for decades. The first foreign visitors quickly felt drawn to the beneficial qualities of the weather in the Taoro Valley.

La Orotava has a rich land for cultivation and its economy was based on agriculture for centuries, with products such as wine, tomatoes, bananas and others that were exported mainly to Europe and the UK.

It was not until beginning of century XIX when the tourism industry began. The environment of La Orotava meant that it attracted many researchers and exclusive high-class groups from Europe. At this stage La Orotava was a leading cultural center accommodating many travellers and writers, among others William Wilde and Alexander von Humboldt.

Currently, La Orotava is frequented all year by Northern Europeans, specially during the winter months, due to its mild climate, and is particularly popular over Christmas and the New Year periods.


The Orotava Valley stretches from the sea up to the mountains at 2,000 m which begins near Las Cañadas up to Pico del Teide at 3,718 m is Spain's tallest mountain. The valley includes the municipalities of Los Realejos, Puerto de la Cruz and La Orotava.

La Orotava is subdivided in various locations, among others El Rincón, La Florida, La Perdoma, San Antonio, La Luz or Aguamansa.

Panorama of Valle de La Orotava

Historical population[edit]

Year Population Change
1991 35,142
1996 35,642
2001 38,670 182.93/km²
2002 39,095
2003 39,876
2004 39,909 192.5/km²
2011 41,706 201.18/km²

Sites of interest[edit]

  • El Ayuntamiento (Municipal palace)
  • Mirador Humboldt, after Alexander von Humboldt, from the greatest panoramic attraction over the valley.
  • Casa Molina
  • Plaza de San Francisco
  • La Casa de los Balcones
  • El Teide, which is Spain's highest mountain
  • Iglesia de La Concepción (church), one of the best examples of Baroque era in the Canary Islands
  • Liceo Tahoro, a club with views of the Valley



In literature[edit]

The English author Christopher Isherwood describes completing his novel Mr Norris Changes Trains in La Orotava in the summer of 1934 in chapter 10 of his autobiography Christopher and His Kind.

The English author Radclyffe Hall in chapter 37, section 3, of her novel "The Well of Loneliness" has her character Stephen Gordon state to her love interest Mary Llewellyn,"I'd like to get you right away for a bit, the weather seems pretty awful in Paris. Puddle once told me about Teneriffe, she went there ages ago with a pupil. She stayed at a place called Orotava; it's lovely, I believe – do you think you'd enjoy it?"

See also[edit]

Northwest: La Guancha and San Juan de la Rambla North: Atlantic Ocean, Icod de los Vinos, Puerto de la Cruz and Los Realejos Northeast: Arafo and Santa Úrsula
West: Guía de Isora and Santiago del Teide La Orotava East: Fasnia and Güímar
Southwest: Adeje South: Granadilla de Abona and Vilaflor Southeast: Arico