Walking in Tenerife of Macaronesia is for the most part like venturing through paradise.
The best places are mostly off the beaten track where maps hardly serve for all sorts of reasons.
There are many such most desirable spots but, we also know that getting there may not be that easy.
Imagine Tenerife like an island whose trails are mostly climbing and are known for hairpin bends.
Look at the stones which mean rough walking, as depicted by the Rambla which gets you to the Corona of Realejos. Such pathways resemble the roads of the old Romain empire which were not the best surface for human feet. Generally, such 'so called senderos' circle past obstacle caves or next to a steep abyss towards Spain's highest peak which is rising 5000 meters from the bottom of the sea and almost 4000 meters from the coasts.
Around it are many more elevations, many of which are rugged and steep, while deep, treacherous gorges may separate them.
No big deal for mules or goats, no doubt...
Some mountain slopes, as you find them in Realejos Alto (Upper Los Realejos) are manageable and are not only trot by oxen during its Romerias and other fiestas. All this is quite easy walking while taxis and buses are no problem to find on normal days. There, unexpected surprises like sudden weather changes are problems. However, they can be easily solved by turning into a cheap inn or on working days into a shop.
By the way, the Titsa public bus transport is very popular with many hiking clubs in the north of the island.
The Roques Garcia which are those bizarre Lava contortions in the Cañadas del Teide belong to their most popular walking tours. The pointy 'God's Finger' rock is just one of them. Indeed there, make out people on fairly gentle path ways.
at 09.15 and at 16.00
Puerto de la Cruz
Teleferico del Teide 348 bus at 09.15 and at 16.00
Teleferico del Teide
La Caleta at 09.00 to El Portillo and back at 15.15
Coste Adeje at 09.15 to Teleferico and back 15.40
Los Christianos at 09.30 to Parador Nacional and back at 16.00
Please call Titsa at 922 531 300, as the bus stop to Teide may have changed and even the times may not be the same.
Public bus times mostly apply to departure and pick up spots which please, mind when you enter the well marked walkways below Mount Teide.
Besides, using Titsa bus transport for the goal of walking in Tenerife is very cheap, as you normally get away with €1,25 bus fares for one way depending on short or long distances.
Clubs for walking in Tenerife charge anything around € 15 - €25 depending on individual private guides or group walking ventures. You may ask for discounts when you join on a regular basis.
Planning your own excursions to the tallest peak of Spain Mount Teide and other island locations is an exciting proposition for those with a holiday home in Tenerife. Why? Such people spend at least 5 months on the island and have much time. Doing walking trips where it's easy to keep control where you are going is OK. Also included is info on a backpacker inn by Teide.
Don't do walks which take you into the unknown on your own!
People are not aware how easy it is to go around in circles and totally loose orientation around Mount Teide. Mind its huge area, some of which is off the beaten track.
Water is the most important when walking in Tenerife as the island has no rivers or natural lakes in its forests, bushland and highlands. All it has are Barrancos which fill up with water after rare torrential rains. Farm reservoirs are awkward to get to while their guard dogs could mistake you for an intruder.
By the way, shooting rabbits is off limits without a license to hunt.
Be on the look out for hunting dogs, in case it's hunting season, as not to run into a party.
What about hiking in the Teno Mountains? The following link doesn't give you routes or experiences but leads to other information and photos about the region. There, you see slopes by the coast of the fertile valley of 'Valle de Arriba' or get an idea for hiking Tenerife by the steep, rocky grounds of 'Masca'.
Alternatively, use Titsa public buses to get to Anaga walking trails in the north of the island, unless you have a rented car which is always better for getting there. Information is provided at the main bus info office.
Never overestimate your fitness for Tenerife walks or hikes...
Walking in Tenerife on your own into the unknown is not advisable.
Besides, there is always the problem that you will underestimate your own strength where steep hills in the forests below Mount Teide even at a height of 1500 meters are not to be taken lightly.
Walking along the Cordilera which is the road leading up to Teide would be easy but this is not practical because of road traffic.p
An old TV commercial for renting a car I remember wasn't exaggerating the most rewarding leisure drive right up to Teide. Picture yourself in a cabriolet cruising a new surprising world you've never seen before. Walking in Tenerife may then be reserved for a small area near Spain's highest peak Teide.
Some tours to Spain's highest peak don't only drop you off at a little inn or two on the way but, also allow for time to do some walking in its Canadas.
My friend Guenther who is very keen to lose the size of his belly was invited to join his pal Simon to come along for a day walking trip by Agua Mansa above La Orotava. Simon could almost be called a Tenerife guide.
They took the Titsa bus to get there. They walked from Agua Mansa for about an hour up into the forests past La Caldera. Canary pines with all their birds were a peaceful delight. Interesting indigenous plants were by the way side providing change in the landscape. After about 2 hours they started the descent. Suddenly, my friend's legs didn't want to carry him any longer. Leg cramps followed. Road markers were nowhere when they needed them most. How tell a taxi where to fetch them?. After a short break Guenther pulled himself together and went on bravely. The direction was the coast with Puerto de la Cruz.
However, my friend collapsed after an agonizing 16 km walk. This included the initial climb from Agua Mansa. Not that he needed an ambulance but, this could happen to folks walking in Tenerife in little known terrain.
After a long rest, they continued the downhill walk. Suddenly, they met some local people. After a deliberation, it was decided to ask them for help to get a cab. The slightly strange looking Tinerfeños seemed to know the area well. They called a taxi on Guenther's cellular telephone and explained to the driver how to get there. When the locals heard from where my friends had descended they told them they were locos. (crazy people)
I was invited to this outing. Guess, how glad I was not to have come. Marita, one of my friends went along, too. She, also, had problems with this descent and felt it in her knees, although, she is a very fit 45 year old who often joined Simon on walks. She was only too relieved when the taxi finally arrived.
This group of friends of mine stubbornly tried the same journey again at the end of October 2008. They left early in the morning with the sun standing nice and high promising a good, clean walk. This time they took a taxi uphill to Agua Mansa and started walking in Tenerife pine forests, again. So far so good...
When they were in about the middle of their forest descent big fogs suddenly engulfed them. It didn't take long until they were soaking whet. Guenther's rain jacked wasn't good enough for so much moisture. He was soaked right down to his underwear in the end. So he told me. They managed to get back to La Orotava from where they took a taxi back home.
This easily happens with foreigners. Not to know the island's forests, especially in the north, also means bad estimates of their weather conditions for walking in Tenerife.
Tenerife mists are treacherous and very thick. All were lucky to not have caught a cold from this journey thanks to the otherwise very fortunate Tenerife climate.
Walking routes are seldom marked. Maps are also often not adequate.
Are you after walking in Tenerife adventure and a challenge, anyway?
It can be done at your own risk when taking precautions.
Please, mind that no food and drink are around the island's mountains. Only, guides and some locals know where to find rare mountain fountains such as the one at La Caldera by Agua Mansa near La Orotava.(Bus Stop Line 345 from La Orotava)
The only Parador (country inn/hotel) is near mount Teide.
Rest your feet, legs and above all your knees and experience what it feels like to sleep on the foot of one of the world's highest living volcanoes. Consider spending a night at the Parador de Canadas del Teide Hotel for an unforgettable break in Tenerife's National Park.
Terrain during walking in Tenerife can be tricky. Lunar landscape (Paisaje Lunar) which is a specific area by mount Teide is for real hikers, only.
About 6 years ago, Tenerife media reported on walkers who curiously ventured into an unknown Tenerife mountain cave where they inhaled lethal fumes nobody knows where they came from or what caused them.
A few slipped down ravines when walking in Tenerife.
Accidents like that, always, made the news in radio, TV as well as in other Tenerife media during the years since 2001.
Again, I must stress: Better join a group or, engage a good, well known guide! One of the best is an elderly German whom I believe to be retired now, though.
Maps are available in most stationary shops called Librarias but, can sometimes, only, be deciphered by skilled hikers.
Snakes and scorpions are not living in Tenerife and are, very rarely only, encountered on neighboring Gran Canaria Island.
Bees or hornets can be dangerous in Tenerife Highlands if you unexpectedly stumble upon a hive.
In very rare cases you may encounter Tenerife wild or run away dogs which may suffer from rabies.
On many stretches one can see the ocean when descending from
Tenerife heights downhill which is at least one natural
Mind descending from Agua Mansa in the evening...
This is also when all slopes above the Orotava Valley are covered in fog which is such a surprising experience when seeing it from above. The moment you reach the Cordilera (mountain motorway) coming out from Caldera Agua Mansa (kettle of Agua Mansa) you discover this. Standing under blue skies with tall green ferns in front of you a big fog wall cuts off all sight, suddenly. You can't believe how this can happen. You feel like floating above suspended upon a cloud while the all embracing ocean of Tenerife doesn't seem to exist any more.
I experienced this for the first time when walking down from an Agua Mansa pick-nick to our car.
You would have to walk for miles to penetrate this thick surrealistic looking mist. You would feel like an actor during a spooky movie, almost.
Insider tip for walking:
You could also do something useful
if you preferred climbing the slopes in case you wanted more than walking in Tenerife .
There was this elderly legendary figure in Los Realejos who stalked the island's slopes. He crawled them and climbed them to get to the
litter left behind by a parasite on the cochineal cactus.
He used to scoop up the black bugs with two tins and stuffed them into a huge sack he carried on his back. He did this for a living.
This particular bug is producing a substance which delivers a beautiful purple die. Collecting, bottling and selling this die was a Tenerife bread winner for many for a long time.
Try a Tenerife hike from Montaneta de frailes of el Monasterio to Puerto Cruz which means mostly descending and isn't too hard to do...
2013 news for the Rambla de Castro
Please don't use this hiking path until further notice, as it is being totally revamped and not just repaired!
Later, you may do a coastal hiking trip again on the Los Realejos Rambla de Castro a coastal stretch mentioned and shown in Tenerife history which is rather a legend. Walking in Tenerife by Rambla de Castro can be dangerous, though. Slippery stretches and potential landslides may occur after heavy rains.
The worst which repeats itself comes before the Barranco Romantica I and is exactly below Hotel Panoramica Gardens a hotel with one of best panoramic views in Tenerife North. How get to Rambla del Castro?
Take the bus #354, #353 or, during week days #381.
Tell bus driver: " Avisame parada antes Panoramica Garden Hotel..."
Get off the bus after the curb by the trash bins at the big pine in the corner of la Longuera.
Continue on the main road La Longuera on your right, turn left and left again where
you read Rambla de Castro. This is a gentle hiking path until you arrive by a bridge over the Romantica I gorge. If you don't see people in front of you which is seldom in winter wait there until you see new foreign walkers. Have a break there until your see any of them crossing the bridge. They are always heading towards San Pedro nature reserve beyond. Why should you wait?
It's safer to do so because, you might miss a turn off on your right once beyond the bridge. The turn off looks much like a private farm entrance and gives no indication to the hiking path. This is a beautiful walk. Once you see a yellow large building on a hill know that this is Finca (farmstead)del Castro. Have a refreshment at Restaurant San Pedro which serves also rather good food. Views from here over banana plantations are fantastic. There is also a stone plaque opposite the restaurant especially made for walkers which shows you several more walking options under glass.
Walk along the banana plantation by San Pedro of Rambla del Mar...
Discover a photo of Playa Los Roques Realejos beach by hotel Martim which shows you exactly how to get onto the most scenic cross country path which leads along above the Los Realejos coast to the Rambla de Castro trail. Enjoy this amazingly unspoiled terrain of Tenerife country side with many Tenerife natural wonders. Once by Finca del Castro, climb up to San Pedro's Restaurant. From there, proceed through San Pedro's banana plantations to the coastal hamlet Rambla del Mar. Turning left before reaching the seashore gets you to another trail to Beach Playa Socorro.
Happy walking and, hiking...
Puerto de la Cruz the Mecca of Tenerife walkers has the best shops for that very close to the old harbor.
Call us at: + 34 922 363685 to find out which organized walking tours are departing on which day from Puerto de la Cruz to different regions of Tenerife. Kindly understand that routes are subject to change.
Botanic walking excursions (also for diving) by biologist Cristobal Coviella Ulrich Tel: + 34 607 677 252 (cell phone)
Calle Cólogan, 14
Puerto de la Cruz
Tel: + 34 922 371 731 or Tel: + 34 654 153 410
email: info(put 'at' symbol)ecosubtenerife.com
ecosub(put 'at' symbol)inicia.es
Guided walking trips with botanical tuition in Spanish to El Botanico (Botanic Gardens Puerto Cruz) Mondays at 10.30 a.m. in Jume and July 2008
Minimum is for 5 participants.(bring friends...)
Price: EU 15/person which includes entrance ticket Botanico.
Trips in German language: Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10.30 a.m.
Meeting point always entrance of El Botanico.
Theme tours with the Ulrichs for walking in Tenerife called 'What's in flower where' to Tenerife Forests and Canadas on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays. The price of EU 45 is not including lunch.
Also walk along the stunning 9km Adeje coast along its promenade from Los Cristianos, via Playa de las Americas, Arona, Playa del Bobo at San Eugenio, Playa Fanabe until Playa Paraiso with many tropical flowers, shrubs and palms by the wayside, while surprising shopping centers and bars invite you for breaks...
Get to know some helpful basics about weather, altitude changes as well as wildlife and endangered birds of the Tenerife crater area here...
Find the latest hiking trails for walking in Tenerife near Candelaria the town of the black Madonna some of which are old Guanche routes.
Find out about several Tenerife nature walks for groups of 20 by the official tourism department Arona from Jan., 17th of 2012 onwards at www.arona.es,(922 761 600) or visit its tourist office. Walks and hikes for the reasonably able are on its agenda.