In 1788, Carlos III of Spain decided that he wanted some of the exotic plants, flowers and trees from his territories in South and Central America brought over to adorn his palace in Madrid. Trouble was the flora needed a stop-off point to become acclimatized to their new environment. The Canary Islands, with their sub-tropical climate, seemed the ideal choice, so Carlos drew up a Royal Decree on August 17th of that year declaring the establishment of an "acclimatization garden" in Puerto de La Cruz.
Although known officially as Jardín de Aclimatación de la Orotava, or "JAO", it is actually in Puerto de La Cruz (there is a smaller one actually in La Orotava).
It covers around 20,000 square metres, and there are plans underway to double its size, with the addition of landscaping and more modern facilities.
Of course I had to visit. Here are some more pictures:
(Click on the thumbnails)