Garachico is a picturesque village on the north coast of Tenerife. It used to be a very rich village as a sugar merchant lived there, but was almost completely destroyed by a devastating volcanic eruption in 1706. While it was rebuilt immediately after the catastrophe it could never reach its wealth anymore as its port was buried under masses of volcanic debris. Nowadays, it's a sleepy village in the morning before the tourists arrive. Narrow steep streets lead up the hills and offer some nice views on the sea and the tiny island of Gara Chico which gave the village its name. Garachico is the village of statues: nowhere else on Tenerife have I seen as many statues. There is a rather famous one commemorating the "wine uprising" of 1655 when the people of Garachico spilled thousands of litres of wine in the streets to protest against exploitative prices dictated by the British, there is a statue of Simon Bolivar, whose grandmother came from here, on Plaza de la Libertad, and numerous others. Plaza de la Libertad is the centre of the village, surrounded by a monastery, a church and several other beautiful buildings.
Tenerife is a great place if you like sports. I was looking for a sport activity to discover the island and be really in the nature. I have been doing canyoning in France and I really enjoyed it. So when I learn that there where a company here, with a professional canyoning guide, I booked.
I did the Canyon of Los Carrizales. Really, it was amazing ! The canyon is really nice, there are some rappels to do and you can jump too. Ben, the guide was good : he explained really well, he was patient and we had a lot of fun with him. I spent a really great day.
If you are looking for a sports activity and adrenaline, I recommend it !
This is one of the most popular hikes on Tenerife.
It is a hike though a gorge, starting from the village Masca in the north-west of Tenerife and descending all the way to the rocky beach below.
The length of the trail is between 6 and 7 km, and the height difference about 600m.
There are companies that arrange transport to Masca by bus, and many people only walk this trail downhill from Masca to the beach, where you can take a boat to Los Gigantes.
Since we had a rental car, we parked at the parking at Masca and did the hike both ways.
Downhill took us 2 hours and 30 minutes, the way back up 2 hours and 15 minutes. Going up actually was easier than expected! The last steep part back to Masca was pretty tough though!
You don't need a GPS or description to do this hike, just follow the valley from Masca to the sea...
The beauty of this hike has its price: it can get quite busy in the ravine, big groups of (other) tourists may block the path or picture opportunities. If you start before 10.00 you probably will not meet the crowds on your way down, but it may be hard to avoid them if you decide to do the ascent as well!
The GPS track of our descent can be found at the link below. Note that GPS devices may have difficulties getting a signal between the steep cliffs!
Cruz del Carmen is a parking/view point with a visitors center in the Anaga mountains in the north of Tenerife. Several signposted walks start here.
It is in a beautiful region with a lot with laurel forests.
We walked through forest and above a valley to the small village called Chinamada at the shore. This village is famous for its cave houses and did not have electricity until the 1990s. There's a good view point near the shore that is worth the detour.
Part of this walk is described in the PDF "Stepping back in Time; Cruz del Carmen to Chinamada" which I obtained through this website: http://walkingtenerife.co.uk/. You can also download the GPS version of that particular hike here, it is track 39CarmChina: http://www.walking.demon.co.uk/gpxDownloads.htm
To make the hike a bit more of a challenge and to avoid that we had to walk back a large part of the walk via the same road, I added an extra part starting at the village Las Carboneras. Instead of walking back to the start of the hike after Las Carboneras, we walked via the village Taborno and over a ridge back to the parking at Cruz del Carmen.
The total length of the hike is about 17 km, with a total ascent/decent of 950 m. The first part of the walk is mainly downhill, and the second part uphill, making this a hike with a nasty tail.
You can see and download the GPS track of this hike at the link below.
Los Rogues are some volcanic rock formation close to the Teide mountain in Teide National Park.
We only payed them a short visit after we hiked back from the Altavista mountain hut the morning after the day that we climbed the Teide.
At that moment we preferred to quickly go to the beach instead of seeing more rocks :-)
But it seems the site of Los Roques offers some nice opportunities to walk around, there are several information panels as well.
On the other side of the TF-21 road there;s an information center that we did not visit...
Because we were staying overnight in the Altavista mountian hut, we could stay on the summit of Mount Teide after the cable car stopped working around 17.00 h.
If you want to experience the sunset on the Teide, staying tin the mountain hut basically is your only option, unless you want to walk all the way down the mountain in the dark...
The sunset is quite special, as the Teide casts a triangle-shaped shadow over the landscape and/or clouds below.
See the link below for more info.
Some general info:
With its 3718 meters, the Teide volcano is the highest mountain of Spain.
The easy way to the top is to take the cable car, which takes you to 175 m under the summit. Views are already great at this height and there are several view points.
A (much) more challenging way to reach the top is to do a 10 km hike with a 1400 m ascent!
Access to the last 175 m to the top is restricted, only a limited number of people is allowed at once. You need to arrange a free permit in advance if you want to get to the real peak during the times the cable car is working. You can arrange that permit here: http://www.reservasparquesnacionales.es/
If you decide to stay at the Altavista mountain hut, you are allowed to access the highest peak outside the working hours of the cable car without a permit (i.e. before 09.00h in the morning and after 17.00h in the afternoon). The mountain hut is about 2 km from the top and 450 meters below the peak. This means that if you stay at the mountain hut, you can experience the sunset and/or sunrise on the top of the Teide. Costs are 20-24 euro per person. More info about the refuge: http://www.telefericoteide.com/en/altavista/altavista-refuge
What we did:
Since the permits to get to the summit were not available anymore for the day that we wanted to climb Teide, we decided to book an overnight stay at the refuge.
The small parking at the official starting point at the mountain Montana Blanca along the TF-21 road was already completely occupied when we arrived there around 11.00 h (see picture). So we parked our car at a larger parking/view point about 1 km west from the official starting point at 2350 m height.
From there, the first 5.5 km up to 2700 m height are quite easy walking on a 4x4 service road. The next 2.5 km until the Altavista refuge at 3270 m are steeply uphill.
We really noticed that the air was getting thin at this height, resulting in more stops for a rest than usual during our climb, and a slight headache.
About 500 m uphill from the mountain hut there's an interesting ice-cave. It's not indicated with a sign and if you don't know about it you won't find it. This is where a GPS comes in handy! The cave is indicated in the GPS file that you can download via the link below.
After 2 km from the mountain hut you reach the cable car station at 3550 m. There we enjoyed the view and waited until all the lazy tourists that came by cable car went down again. Around 16.30 we were allowed to climb the last 800 m (175 m uphill) to the top.
The stench of sulfur was really bad around the crater at the top. There were only two other people with us when we finally reached the top.
We enjoyed the sun set for some time on the summit. It was quite special to see the triangle-shaped shadow of Mount Teide projected on the landscape and clouds below the top.
Just before it got completely dark we walked down to the refuge. After the sun set it became dark and cold quite fast. Head-lights come in handy while you walk in the dark!
In the mountain hut we cooked some simple food. Don't expect a hotel here...We were stacked with 14 people in a small room in bunk beds. This means people talking, snoring and farting in their sleep. Not my best night's sleep but the incredible experience of climbing Teide and all the great views were worth a sleepless night.
Most people woke up around 05.00-06.00 h in the morning in order to walk to the summit in order to see the sunrise. Since we already had been to the top the previous evening we decided to stay in bed until the crowd left, had a quick breakfast and started our descent around 07.00 h when it was still dark. Two hours and 15 minutes later we were back at the parking, drove back to Playa de las Americas and relaxed the rest of the day on the beach!
Some extra tips:
- Good hiking shoes/boots are a must
- Walking sticks come in handy, especially during the descents in the dark
- Head-light or flash lights recommended, also when you are lucky enough to find the ice-cave!
- A GPS device or description of the hike is not necessary, the trail is self-explanatory. But you may miss the ice-cave without a GPS...
- You can only buy some expensive snacks at the mountain hut, bring easy to cook food such as pasta or canned food with you.
- You have to take your waste back with you if you stay at the Altavista hut, so bring a waste-bag.
- Half a liter of water is 3 euros at the mountain hut, and half a liter of coke is 4 euros. So bring your own drinks...
- The mountain hut opens at 17.00 h and you have to leave before 09.00 in the morning. See the website for actual opening times.
- Use sunglasses, sun cream and a hat against the sun.
- Wear layers and take warm clothes...It gets cold at this height!
See the link below for the GPS track
This part of Tenerife is called Malpais de Guimar, or the badlands of Guimar.
Here the remains of a volcanic eruption dominate the landscape.
We combined this hike with a visit to the Pyramids of Guimar, which unfortunately were closed since it was New Years Day.
The start of the walk is in Puerto de Guimar, and you walk through the lavafields along the shore to the village El Socorro.
Although a sign at the beginning of the trail (see picture) suggests that you can walk in a circle around the badlands, near El Socorro it was not clearly indicated where the right track was and in order to find a trail we had to search a bit. Note that it is not allowed to leave the trails, and that if you follow the GPS track below you'll have to go off-road a bit...
Looking back at the map, it seems that you probably have to go a bit through the village of El Socorro to make the official circle.
We did find a small lava-cave during our search for the correct trail, it is indicated in the GPS file.
Our trail finally took us around the Montana Grande Volcano. I cannot recommend this route as it gets very close to the highway and is not very nice. The track described in the GPS file in the link below was 10 km with a total ascent of about 200 m.
If I would suggest a route (see the picture of the map or the link to the GPS file) it would be from Puerto de Guimar along the shore to just after the Montana de la Mar view point. There you can take a left turn, and walk back to Puerto de Guimar below the sea-side part of Montana Grande.
Do not wear your Sunday-shoes as the sharp lava stones will ruin them!
The Pryramids of Guimar are open every day except for X-mas and New Years Day.
Of course, we decided to visit them at New Years Day and found them closed!
However, we walked around the complex and still had some good looks and photo opportunities, and saved 2x 10 euros entrance fee.
It was good that our main destination were the Badlands of Guimar, where we planned to do a hike through the volcanic landscape.
There is quite some debate about the origin and age of these pyramids, and I advice you to read a little bit about them before your visit, e.g. at http://en.wikipedia.org/
This is a beautiful walk in the north of Tenerife in the forests near Orotava.
Part of this hike is also describes in the PDF file Northern Exposure that I obtained from this website: http://walkingtenerife.co.uk/
I combined some GPS files that I downloaded in order to make the hike a bit more longer and challenging compared to the hike described in the PDF file. The original GPS files are here: http://www.gpsies.com/map.do?fileId=qxbfnzbxiobvncgu and track 03Choza from http://www.walking.demon.co.uk/gpxDownloads.htm.
The hike that we did was 16 km in length with 860 m ascent/descent.
It takes you through forests and a wonderful valley. In the end there's a little detour to a rock formation called Los Organos (The Organ, since they look like the pipes of this musical instrument).
At the beginning there is a parking with a recreational area and toilets. We met several other people during our walk as this is a popular hiking area because of its beauty.
Via the link below you can look at the GPS track and download it.
This hike in the west of Tenerife is 10 km long and has 650 ascent/descent. The trail from El Palmar to Teno Alto is the PR-TF 57 marked walk and is well marked/signposted as can be seen on the pictures.
The first part of this hike from El Palmar to Teno Alto is also described in one of the PDF files called West World that I obtained here: http://walkingtenerife.co.uk/.
Since this PDF described a one-way trail instead of a round trip, I used a GPS track which is a round trip that I found here: http://www.gpswandelenintenerife.eu/203%20Mirador%20de%20Baracan%20-%20Teno%20Alto%20-%20El%20Palmar.html
Actually, the second part of this hike, from Teno Alto back to El Palmar was a lot nicer than the first part, since the second part had wide views over the hills and the sea.
In Teno Alto is a small shop were you can buy fresh goat cheese and local marmalade. We preferred the stronger tasting old cheese over the young cheese...
You can find more info and download the GPS track in the link below.
This is an easy 9 km hike with 370 meters ascent/decent that starts in the tourist resort Playa de las Americas.
The hike is not particularly interesting, quiet or beautiful, but convenient if you are staying in Playa de las Americas and you want something else than the beach.
If you are really into hiking and want to explore the most beautiful parts of Tenerife, I would skip this hike if I were you. It is most of the time close to houses, apartments and a noisy water cleaning facility.
On the picture a big banana plantation can be seen.
The original GPS track for this hike I found here: http://www.gpswandelenintenerife.eu/164%20Playa%20de%20las%20Americas.html
At a certain moment, the original GPS track left the ridge we were walking on, so did we. In retrospect, I think we should better have stayed on the ridge, although I don't know if that would have been possible. These points are indicated in the GPS track that you can download below.
See the link below for more information or to download the GPS track.
About 500 m uphill from the mountain hut Altavista on the Teide volcano there's an interesting ice-cave.
It's not indicated with a sign and if you don't know about it you won't find it.
This is where a GPS comes in handy!
The cave is indicated in the GPS file that you can download via the link below.
The Teide is 3555 meters high, reachable by car until 2300 meters, in park de las Canadas.
It’s a visit to all kind of interests, where the rock formations and the struggle to adapt by the local flora provide unexpected sights. To go to the top you must use the telepheric, working from 9 to 17 in summer and 10 to 16 in winter. In summer you may expect the long lines that made us skip it.
Mount Teide is Spanish tallest mountain and a active Volcano. It is 3,718-metre (12,198 ft)-high and it make Tenerife the highest point above sea level in the islands of Atlantic and the third highest volcano in the world measured from the base on the ocean floor.
It is a Spanish National Park and since 2007 it has been declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
It is a active volcano and the last eruption was in 1909.
The visit is free of admission, you can drive around following the asphalt roads and walk around easily in some designated paths.
We drove starting from the South Western entrance, past Guia de Isora and circle around all the way to the Northern exit toward San Cristobal de La Laguna, but other routes would work as well. There is absolutely no need of a 4 wheels vehicle.
There are two visitor center with toilets, snack bar or self service restaurant and some souvenir.
You can read more about it in my Mount Teide National Park page