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Tenerife is the largest of the Canary Islands. Triangular in shape, it is towered over by the volcanic peak of Mt. Teide, which at 12,198 feet is Spain's highest mountain. The slopes leading up to Teide are covered with pines in the north and with barren lava fields in the south. Tenerife's capital, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, is a giant urban center. Forget whitewashed villas and sleepy streets, and imagine the traffic, activity, and crowds of an important shipping port. In the wetter north, mixed among the tourist attractions, are banana plantations and vineyards. In the dry south, the resort Playa de las Américas has sprung up at the edge of the desert. It's especially popular with young couples and singles drawn to the hotels and nightlife.


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