A mind-blowing unforgettable experience. To be so high above the cloud line on such a small island with the clearest skies and finest year-round climate range on the planet is a rare travel opportunity. No wonder there are world renowned telescope arrays at the summit.
To scale the 2,800m ascent on foot would be for the experienced and committed trekker. There is no bus service, so car hire is the only realistic alternative. There are two drivable routes to the summit, one from the North East side of the island, and a relatively easier and quicker route (1 to 2 hours) from Santa Cruz. The drive winds up through forests with stunning scenery. If setting off in the afternoon on a clear day, there will be points of dazzling sunshine. Near the summit, the treeline ends and the landscape changes to extraordinary red and gold rock formations seemingly not of this planet. There is a small car park on 'top of the world', but no public facilities, so do take your own food and water. It is really all about the unbelievable views. Prepare for a significant temperature change from sea level, but most days it is unfathomably warm and breathless, even in winter. Once every few years the road can be closed for snow for a couple of weeks in January, even though it'll be 20 degrees on the coast.
Can this island really be so extraordinary? Enough for me to move to the east side microclimate.
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