El Teide (or Mount Teide, 3718 m) is an incredibly popular mountain but there is a limit for the number of people that can climb it per day. Permits are free but you have to obtain it many months in advance.
There are several areas on Tenerife island that are protected and that require permits. The summit of El Teide is one of them. However, the permit is for the summit alone. You can walk up to the check point which is 163 meters below the summit, and for this you do not need any permit.
The check point is very close to the top lift station on the route to the summit, so this is the only place where you will have to show your permit.
However, guards are there only within the work hours of the lift service, therefore if you are there outside of this interval, there will be nobody to check. There are no locked gates or anything like that, so use your imagination…
Tenerife protected areas
There are several areas in the rain forest zone on the east side of the island where you can pay huge penalties if they find you without a permit. I have walked them all and I know for sure that there are rangers walking in the area. I have seen them, but on some occasions they did not see me.
More about this is available in my numerus texts about Tenerife. You can see some details about the rain forest in my text Anaga Mountains Tenerife where you will find some info about permits. Some of these zones are not for tourists at all.
Strange permit policy for Mount Teide
The situation with El Teide is a bit different in the sense that this is about their attempt to limit the number of people that can get to the summit per day.
Apparently they want to protect the mountain, I am not sure what difference this really makes. Namely, the permit is for the summit only. There may be thousands of people on the mountain every day, I have seen them, and there are no limits of any kind.
In fact, there is no doubt they love them in thousands because most of them are tourists that come with the lift, and this generate a very good income.
The remaining 163 meters of the elevation difference between the lift station and the summit is on a well-maintained path covered with a solid volcanic rock. This part is clearly visible in the picture above. Observe the paths half-circle around the final summit part, here you can walk without permit.
So there is nothing that could really be damaged and increase erosion or anything similar. In fact, these last meters below the summit is the most solid part of all the mountains. All other sides of the summit are indeed prone to erosion, but they are too steep in any case, and those sides are forbidden.
In my view, this summit permit policy simply makes no sense, but there is more to this below.
Where to get permit for El Teide?
In any case, here is the link where you can find all the information you need for the permit, so please have a look:
The permit is free and you can get it very quickly, but this will be for some day that is months ahead, it is always fully booked for the near future. I have used the same link on the only occasion when I had a permit. But this was an overnight climb and there was nobody around to check for it.
What if you do not have a permit? How to visit Mount Teide without a permit?
If/when you come to Tenerife, and unaware of the beauty of Mount Teide, you might want to get to the summit when you see it for the first time.
But this will be late, there is no way that you get the permit during your stay on the island. It is all booked months in advance. So what to do?
Here are my thoughts, note that these are not legal advises, it is up to you what you do. I am just presenting the situation because I am familiar with it. I have lived on the island for one year and climbed the mountain many times.
In short, I have climbed El Teide 8 times in the past, and this was always outside the time interval when the guard is at the check point. As mentioned above, only once I have indeed had a permit, in all other occasions I did not have it.
Here are some tips that you might consider:
- If you want to climb El Teide overnight and to enjoy the sunrise from the summit, you will be there well before the guard comes with the first gondola. I have had several overnight climbs of that sort. You can read this in my text here.
- Also, if you decide to traverse the mountain, you may be at the summit area after the guard is left with the last gondola. You can read how I did such a traverse in this text.
- You can also climb the mountain to enjoy the sunset. I can tell you it can be spectacular. In this case you will be there after the guard has left. This is how a group of us did it on one occasion, read more here.
It seems there is a shortcut, I have not used it and this should be additionally confirmed. But this is funny. From what I have heard, the Cable Car operator organizes guided tours with the cable car return ticket included.
The question is how is this possible if the number of summit climbs is limited and you know well that it is already fully booked for many months in advance? Why would you need a guidance to walk a few hundred meters on a maintained path from the lift station to the summit which you can see all the time?
So they simply allow “reserved permits” to the summit if you are willing to pay. Now you better understand why it is so hard to get a timely permit to climb on your own. And now you may also understand why I really did not care about the permit, and climbed the mountain as it was convenient to me.
⇒ Related: Climbing Mount Teide from Sea Level (0-4 Route)
Where should I stay to climb Mount Teide?
There is only one hut on the mountain, and this is Altavista hut. It is mentioned many times in my texts about Teide. Getting a reservation is even more hopeless than for the summit. So try this year if you plan to travel to the island next year. In any case, here is the link for the hut.
If you manage with the reservation for the hut, this will be your summit permit as well. But note that you can climb the mountain without staying in the hut. This is a perfect day-tour no matter how you do this. I mean without using the cable car of course, but you can do this easy way as well, with the help of the mentioned cable var.
There is also a hotel on the Teide plateau with a car access from three sides. You can see its position in the picture below, this is hotel Parador. You can make reservation on Tenerife island through Booking.com company.
Can you climb Teide at night?
I discuss this separately here because this is want people usually do when they stay at the hut. So they get there during the day and then climb the rest early in the morning to enjoy the sunrise. Make sure you have a torch with you.
Can you camp in Teide National Park?
This is a national park and as far as I know it is not allowed to camp around. However, I have seen a few small surfaces high on the mountain that are covered with a fine volcanic sand. This is unusual for such a harsh environment, and they are clearly used by people who decide to sleep under the stars.
There will be nobody to check this is sure. I can tell you more if you ask in the comment section below.
However, you will be coming from the sea level where it is a permanent spring climate. This may let you to think that you will be warm and pleasant. Nothing can be more wrong.
This is a high mountain and it may be freezing during the night. So make no mistakes.
So this is what I wanted to say about Teide permits and climbs. I hope you realize that I am very familiar with the island and the mountain, and if you have questions of any kind let me know, there is a comment box below. About using a guide you can see more in my separate text.
Did you know that El Teide is only 58 meters lower that Mount Fuji? These mountains are similar in many ways, I was lucky to climb them both.
For more texts of this type, please check under the category Mountaineering here in the site. Check my text about time needed to climb Teide and about other related questions. Read also on how much time you need to walk across Tenerife.
This site is all about outdoors questions and answers and I add texts here on a regular basis, so bookmark it and keep as a reference. Thank you for reading and have a nice day.