Blend of customs, living fishing culture, paradisiac beaches, virgin nature, gorgeous national parks, little towns where locals try to restore or preserve traditional and aboriginal culture – you will find all of this in the Canary Islands, a natural wonder of volcanic nature. With all these together, this awesome place also offers a wide range of souvenirs that you can buy and take along with you. Create and preserve memories!
1. Cigars from La Palma
Due to emigration from the Canary Islands to Cuba in XIX century, La Palma has adopted the tradition of cigar-making. Discover the art of cigar making in the Museum of Pure Palmero, Museo del Puro Palmero, situated in Breña Alta. In the museum you can learn about the cycle of fabrication of cigars, starting from the secrets of the breeding ground and ending with the process of fermentation of the piles of tobacco leaves. In actuality, the factory elaborates up to 20000 cigars daily. There are 3 types of the classic cigars: Montealto, Albatros and La Primorosa. Each of them can be personalized to your taste.
Don´t get surprised, if you see bananas even in Duty-Free in the airport. In the XIX century, British colonization brought plantations of banana around the islands. Canary cuisine is varied, so get ready to try some new tastes, for instance, dehydrated spicy banana chips. The variety of banana that is cultivated in the Canary Islands, Cavendish, has a special sweet flavor, that made it popular not only in Europe but around the world. Don´t forget to pick up your banana souvenir.
3. Traditional suits
It might not sound very practical, still, even if you have it in your wardrobe and take it out once a year for a party, you will not regret buying it. Traditional outfit varies in different regions, comarcas. It varies in color, the texture of the cloth, cut, and model. If you plan to visit one of the popular festivals in the Canary Islands, the traditional suit will be a good bargain for you.
4. El Majorero cheese
La Majorera is an endemic animal to Fuerteventura island. This is a particularly strong breed, that has even been exported to Latin America and Africa. The Majorera goats produce aromatic and thick milk rich in fats. Majorero cheese is available roasted with gofio (Canarian flour made from starchy plants), rubbed in pimento or with its natural rind, rubbed with oil. You can choose the Majorero cheese to your liking from the wide assortment of Canarian cheeses. The only thing you need to remember about the word majorero is that it is still used to name people from Fuerteventura.
5. Quesadilla hereña
Quesadilla is a typical dessert from the Canary Islands. Hereña points out to its origin, the isle El Hierro. Quesadilla is a type of pastry made of local fresh cheese, salt, flour, eggs, lemon zest, cinnamon, and anise. You can find quesadilla in local markets and supermarkets.
Bienmesabe is a typical dessert from the Canary Islands. Its origin dates to the times of European colonization of islands, which took place in the XV century, when Spain was experiencing the influence of Arab traditions and Muslim occupation that had been lasting for 7 centuries by then. So, bienmesabe is an interesting result of a cultural blend. Its ingredients: egg’s yolk, almonds, lemon zest, honey, and cinnamon endow this dessert with an exquisite taste and light texture. You can try bienmesabe in local restaurants and if you want to bring some of this delight home, you can buy it in gift shops, local markets, and supermarkets.
7. Necklaces, earrings, and lockets from olivine and lava
You already know that the Canary Islands are of volcanic nature. No wonder, it’s here where you can find unique jewelry elaborated from lava and volcanic minerals such as olivine, also known as peridot. In nature, olivine occurs only in olive-green color. Peridot is an ancient gem. It was found in pallasite meteorites, that are left from our solar system’s birth. Ancient Egyptians were mining peridot. They called it the gem of the sun for its strong color and yellowish grey hue. What is curious about peridot is that almost 15 years ago it was detected in Stardust space probe. Stardust as a souvenir, what can be more genuine and original?
8. Un timple
It is a traditional music instrument from the Canary Islands. It belongs to charango family from Sudamericano Altiplano and resembles Portuguese cavaquiño. Timple has a sharp and loud sound. No parranda (a traditional version of a takeaway show, when a group of friends meet up and play music for the local community) can do without timple. Timple originates from Lanzarote and Fuerteventura, but nowadays you can buy it on any island. If you are fond of music and want to try a new instrument, you can check the timple out. Remember that it is a 5-stringed instrument, but sometimes you can find its 4-stringed version. You can find it in gift shops and specialized music shops.
9. Bay leaf
There is a precious national Park in North of Tenerife, called la Ensillada or Bosque Encantado, which stands for Enchanted Forest. It is situated in Montes de Anaga, Anaga Mountain range, the remnants of an ancient volcanic chimney. La Ensillada is one of the best conserved examples of laurisilva, a subtropical forest that is characterized by broadleaf tree species, such as laurel trees. This type of vegetation was characteristic to Gondwana, the ancient supercontinent. Chronologically, this type of vegetation is situated in the pre-Jurassic period which means that it is around 550 million years old. The laurel forest is an ancient treasure, so if you want to have a bay leaf as a souvenir from the Ensillada, remember not to tear any leaves from the trees. If you want to visit the National Park, remember to request a permit in advance. Daily admission is limited to 45 people.
10. Cosmetic products with aloe vera
Aloe vera is an endemic plant of the Canary Islands. Aloe vera has such properties that naturally make it a good plant to use in the cosmetic industry. It is hypoallergenic and widely used in cosmetics, pharmaceutics and for natural treatments.