Higher altitudes always mean cooler temperatures. The mountains of Tenerife provide cool respite from summer heat and Mount Teide is snow-capped during winter months. Rainfall is always higher in this region, especially on the northeast faces due to the northeast direction of the trade winds. Mist and fog can also develop in any season. The mountains provide many routes for walkers, trekkers, cyclists and climbers.
It is not just the rugged mountain itself that attracts hikers and the like, but the diverse plant life that thrives on the mineral-rich soil created by the ancient lava flows. A wide variety of animal life, many species of which are unique to the island, make Mount Teide their home. As such, Mount Teide and its surrounding areas are part of a protected national park. It was named a world heritage site by UNESCO in 2007.
It is the mountains that create the great variation in weather conditions experienced across Tenerife. The prevailing winds on Tenerife are from the northeast and the mountains are a barrier to them. They force the majority of the rain to fall in the northeast, but mostly on the mountains themselves, before the wind continues to the south side. This has helped the entire cost to be famed for its lack of wet weather. Even in the wettest part of the year, coastal locations north or south generally receive an average of around five or six days with rain per month, comparatively, in the UK it rains on around half of the days in each month. The cooling effect of the trade winds is also kept on the northeast side which is why it is always a few degrees cooler there. Hot, dry weather travelling over from Africa is also stopped by the mountains, keeping these conditions on the southeast side.
The Canary Current is a stream of cool water in the Atlantic that keeps the temperature of the Canaries lower than might be expected at this latitude. It draws up cool, nutrient-rich water from deep down in the Atlantic Ocean. The nutrient-rich water has led to a great diversity of aquatic life including impressive reefs, and this, along with seismic activity creating exciting underwater topography, has led to Tenerife becoming a well-known dive destination. Remember, different seasons see different visitors to the reefs, for instance angel sharks can only be seen in the winter.