El Portillo Visitors Centre road sign at km 32,1 also reads Centro de Visitantes above it and can be spotted from far
when approaching it with Tenerife Mount Teide on the horizon.
Tel.: + 34 922 37 3391
You can phone Parque Nacional del Teide Park Offices at: + 34 922 29 01 29 Fax Tel.: + 34 922 24 77 88 for special information.
Its location is 2100m above the sea. This altitude is ideal to show much typical Teide vegetation on the centre's big grounds, except for trees, palms, Canary pines and Laurisilva. Some plants were added when the endemic garden of Hotel Parador was closed, sometime before Christmas 2011. However don't expect too much of a show, as all is still in the making.
A prominent Tenerife website stated that the garden of the Cañadas Visitors center is 4 hectares big.
However, how can this size be true when all of the Cañadas only have 18.990 hectares?
Perhaps, the protected spaces which adjoin El Portillo make up to that size.
Get there from from La Orotava in direction of Granadilla on Mountain Road TF 21.
The 2nd option is from La Laguna and the 3rd is from La Granadilla in the South. More possibilities are given in by Teide walking and driving suggestions. They include a route via Mercedes Forest and more, as well as, how to get to the Visitors' Centre by a public Titsa bus.
Spot Tenerife Tours written on a luxury coach by this National Park attraction. Indeed, El Portillo half way house to Teide is one of its standard destinations..
The centre demonstrates in the most pleasant way how Mount Teide Tenerife with its 3717,98 meters came about. It is all done in the context of the Cañadas which are the only subtropical park Europe's. The film presentations accentuate the importance of the the World heritage Teide National Park and the whole Canary Island archipelago. There is much information about the geography, ecology and of the Island of Tenerife, while it is a good example of Macaronesian evolution and behavior of volcanoes not far from the Mid/Atlantic drift. The highly educational entertainment came into being thanks to the Tenerife National Park Teide park offices.
Please, note that El Portillo visitors centre is not the same as Cañada Blanca Visitors Centre by Parador
del Teide Hotel.
The first is about Teide geological facts and hypothesis while the other centre was related to interaction with man.
Centro El Portillo is much more entertainment by a professional movie on Tenerife, hence, cinema in an unexpected way, than your normal museum.
My friend pointed out solar panels for solar heating and electricity production to me. They covered the entire roof of El Portillo Centro de Visitantes by road mark km 32.1.
Interesting are the sizes of the typical indigenous magnificent fire red Tajinaste flowers also called Bugloss or Echineum Wildpretii.
Notice how big they are compared to my almost 6 foot (1,80 m) tall friend Guenther. He stands right next to some of them just. The picture was taken near the Portillo centre's entrance. More are at the attached alpine park. However, there were no Teide violets, when I was there in 2008.
I took a close up shot of a short Tajinase Echineum Wildpretii which I could catch better with my small lens.
More typical low round bushes called White Brooms or Flixweed which produce golden yellow blooms could be seen from the centre but, without flowers.
We parked our car by a splendid blooming Teide white broom where the 17 km diagonal crater of 'Circo Canadas Teide' begins when your arrive at el Portillo from the north.
"It's so awesome and gives much food for thought", they said.
Later, I forgot that it's called Visitors Centre Portillo. Therefore, I must have, often, driven past. Middle of June 2008, a friend invited me for one of my best day trips to see it.
"You'll feel haunted and intrigued afterwards, I promise", he said.
The show which is a mix between a documentary and tale takes a mere 15 minutes which you see inside the building of the centre in a genuine movie theater. Only, the popcorn seller is missing. Ha!
Photography and art of the short film at Visitors Centre are excellent.
Another feature worth mentioning was access for disabled which also included outside washrooms and toilettes.
Four awards were granted to Portillo Visitors Centre mainly for tourist merit, institutional merit and public relations.
Take refreshments at the centre at its bar. Inquire for road maps at the Portillo de la Villa which is another name for the tourist centre. Ask for mountain trails 'senderos del Portillo', which are perhaps available now.
By the way the zona de reserva is marked red contrary to the light green zona de uso moderado (zone of moderate use) which applies to the other senderos trails except Arenas Negras which is yellow. All this has been established in a big sendero map by the Tenerife Parks Board in 2011.
A bit more photo material is displayed in the corridors of Portillo Visitors Centre.
The Spanish people at Visitors Centre reception may never forget me because I complained about a strange about 2 meter walk way kind of indoors bridge made of thick glass with supporting beams underneath shining through. It gave me the sensation of walking over an abyss with nothing under my feet.
I never knew I had such a phobia...
Earphones make it possible to follow the story on screen at Tenerife el Portillo cinema in different synchronized language versions.
Everything shown in the film is based on most probable scientific facts.
The 'Spirit of the Mountain' of the movie of Tenerife Visitor Centre is kind of a science fiction character.
He keeps you in his ban telling about Teide birth and strange volcanic activities, only 180 000 years ago, of a once estimated 6000 meters high mountainous edifice which transformed Tenerife Island, totally, and left us the much lower Teide.
Don't miss the cinema show at Visitors Centre!
Yet again, Tenerife Island spoils you with one more attraction at El Portillo Centre with entertainment for free.
Seeing El Portillo is part of Tenerife trips we did rounding it off with a generous late trout (trucha) lunch at Restaurant Restaurante Aguamansa when descending the same road before reaching La Orotava turn off. We each had 2 huge baked very fresh trouts with French fries, salad, beer with and without alcohol which cost less than Euros 10 per person in early summer 2008.(prices always subject to change)
We also saw the only Tenerife trout Tenerife fish farm Piscifactoria Aguamansa (Fish Factory Aguamansa) which is on the right just after turning the next bend on our Canadas ascent at an altitude of 1100 meters at km stone #15. Encounter the farm a few minutes from the trout restaurant Restaurante Aguamansa by la Orotava which is Guachinche country-inn with Canary Island cuisine.
Before coming up to Portillo we also visited the large pick-nick spot (zona recreativa)Agua Mansa dedicated to Mr.Ramon Caminero by km 29 mark on the same road F21 mountain road.