The Easter Bank Holiday weekend weather was something of a disappointment for Tenerife and just for once, we enviously watched the sun soaked UK from our rain sodden island. But all that refreshment has given the earth her spring shower, the sun has returned to warm her to the core and she has responded with an explosion of colour.
This month, we leave the ‘valley deep’ of Masca and head to the “Mountain high’ of the Anagas for a truly heady, spring hiking trail from Cruz del Carmen to Chinamada.
Why this way?
Long before the Spanish conquest of Tenerife, the Anaga Mountains were populated by the indigenous Guanche population. Rich, fertile earth; abundant rainfall and deep valleys punctuated with caves provided shelter, food and grazing for the livestock rearing people. Moving their herds from valley to valley, the Guanche created a web of trails that later served as paths to market for subsistence farmers before the roads were constructed.
Today they provide a network of walking trails through this incredible landscape.
The Anaga Mountains are like nowhere else on Tenerife. Here, life goes on in much the same way it has for centuries, completely oblivious to the developments of the resorts on the rest of the island. In the little hamlet of Chinamada, the population still live in caves,- albeit ones with satellite TV and telephones ““ a convenience only accessible since the 1990s when the hamlet got its first electricity supply.
If you were to blindfold someone, take them on a trip in a helicopter and drop them in the Anaga mountains before unveiling their eyes, I reckon that never, in a million guesses would they think they were on Tenerife.
Hike this way
Using the free car park at Cruz del Carmen as the starting point, the trail sets off from the right hand side of the Cruz del Carmen restaurant and descends gradually along a red earth path through a fairytale forest where lichen hangs from the gnarled branches of trees. Emerging into the sunlight, the path meanders alongside the allotments of smallholdings on the edge of the Batán ravine, bordered with hedgerows brimming with wild flowers.
After a short stretch along a quiet mountain road where wood smoke permeates the air, steps lead off the road and down to the Las Carboneras and Chinamada path. It’s important not to lose your footing here as the views over the rolling valleys to the peak of Roque de Taborno force you to gawp endlessly at their sheer drama and beauty.
Taking the Chinamada path, the trail descends through sparse woodland until you emerge onto the ridge overlooking Chinamada where the panorama stretches to Punta Del Hidalgo on the coast and back along the rugged valleys behind you. Dropping down into the hamlet of Chinamada you’ll spot the cave houses on the brow behind the little plaza.
For those with the energy levels, the path continues all the way to Punta Del Hidalgo, taking in some of the most awesome views you can imagine. For everyone else, a detour to Las Carboneras on the way back to Cruz del Carmen completes a perfect walk.
Stroll this way.
From the car park at Cruz del Carmen a series of paths lead into the forest, one of which has recently been adapted for use by those with disabilities and which gives a total sensory experience of the forest. An easy stroll along walkways and even paths takes you to Llano de Los Loros where, provided the cloud isn’t lingering, you’ll discover spectacular views over to Santa Cruz.
Peaks: To me, the Anaga Mountains feel like an ancient land, steeped in history, with a rugged beauty that has to be respected as well as admired. Cave dwellings are another bit of icing on a truly spectacular cake.
Troughs: Clouds love the Anagas and are apt to descend, and dissipate at a moment’s notice, or hang around interminably completely spoiling the views. Web cam checks and a prayer to the Anaga gods are all you can do.
My view: 5 Stars ““ Quite simply stunning.
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