The volcano and its surroundings, including the whole of the Las Cañadas caldera, are protected in the Teide National Park. Access is by a public road running from northeast to southwest across the caldera. TITSA runs a return service to Teide once a day from both Puerto de la Cruz and Playa de las Americas. The park has a parador (hotel) and a small chapel. A cable car goes from the roadside at 2,356 m (7,730 ft) most of the way to the summit, reaching 3,555 m (11,663 ft), carrying up to 38 passengers (34 in a high wind) and taking eight minutes to reach the summit. Queues can exceed two hours in peak season. Access to the summit itself is restricted; a free permit is required to climb the last 200 m (660 ft). Numbers are normally restricted to 150 per day.
Because of the altitude, oxygen levels are lower than at sea level. This can cause people with heart or lung conditions to become light-headed or dizzy, to develop altitude sickness, and in extreme cases to lose consciousness. The only treatment is to return to lower altitudes and acclimatise.
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