The Anaga Mountains – No Place For Wimps

Posted: June 16, 2008 in Life, Nature, Photos, Spain, Tenerife, Trees
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Q: What’s the difference between walking in the Anaga Mountains and going fifteen rounds with Rocky Balboa?

A: There isn’t one!

The lush Anaga Mountains

My favourite place for walking on Tenerife is in the Anaga Mountains. The Anagas occupy a large chunk of the north east of Tenerife and are characterised by ancient ravines, forests and tiny villages perched in places that no sane person would consider suitable for setting up home. This is a landscape which kicks ass and it’s absolutely beautiful.
La Gomera is known for its great walking, but for me the Anagas can match anything that Tenerife’s neighbour has to offer and raise it some. The fact that they are about as far away from Tenerife’s southern tourist resorts as you can get means that they’re not as popular with visitors as they deserve to be, but it does mean that when you explore them, you feel like you are witnessing a way of life on Tenerife which hasn’t changed for centuries.
This week Andy and I were exploring an old merchant’s trail for a series about walking on the island which we’re doing for Living Tenerife magazine. It wasn’t a long walk; only about 3.5 kilometres each way, but as the route twisted and turned from the Anaga’s spine down to a village, Taganana, near the coast and back again, it did involve a steep descent and a lung testing ascent. There is no such thing as easy walking in the Anagas; their very design makes you work your proverbial socks off to enjoy their treasures. On the way down we passed a German couple who were on the way back up. They weren’t that far from the village and from their dress they obviously weren’t strangers to serious walking, but both had flushed faces and were panting quite heavily.
After a lunch break in Taganana, a picturesque village which is a non-touristy version of Masca, we made our return along Calle Portugal and discovered why the Germans were already ‘done in’ before they’d even started. Calle Portugal is a joke of a street. It isn’t a street; it’s a vertical cliff which just happens to have houses on it. I’m sure the locals need ropes and crampons to get in their front doors. There was one car parked on the cobbles; boulders had been piled against its back wheel to stop it toppling over – no joke. By the time we reached the end of the street, passing a group of Sherpas setting up base camp on the way, we were fully paid up members of the ‘beetroot face’ club and some centenarian thief had nicked my left knee and replaced it with his aged, worn out one. And that, my friends, was 0.1 kilometres completed.

I love walking in the Anagas; it’s always an experience which stays with me for days afterwards…every time I walk down steps, stand up, bend down, move…

  1. I too love the Anaga region! I’ll have to check out the street you’re talking about (listed as camino Portugal in google maps) next time I’m there…

    If you’re interested in steep streets in Tenerife, you might be interested in this one I recently found, close to Santa Ursula:

    It’s dangerously steep.

    Have a great day!

  2. dragojac says:

    I think you win with that one. Camino Portugal isn’t quite in that class (I was probably being a wimp).

    Tenerife certainly has more than its fair share of steep streets. One time our car couldn’t quite make it to the top of one in the hills above Tacoronte (sorry, don’t know the name); another time, I nearly had to drop to my hands and knees to make it to the top of the street in El Sauzal which leads up to the main road from the bottom entrance/exit to Parque Los Lavaderos.
    I have nothing but the utmost respect for anyone who attempts any of these on a bicycle.

  3. prohibido says:

    anybody know where I can get a really good detailed walking map of Anaga?

    • dragojac says:

      In a word…no. All the ones I’ve used have not been great…that’s why I’ve just started to produce my own walking guides. However, I believe the Spanish Army produce the equivalent of ordnance survey maps which I think you can buy online.

  4. prohibido says:

    Just done a great walk today from the Dos Barrancos to Casas de la Cumbre and back. We met one of the Anaga Park Rangers and he gave us a little fun map, but not what Im really looking for.
    How do I find your walking guides?

    • dragojac says:

      The Anaga’s are my favourite place for walking on the island. The little maps that they give out are quite useful as an overview, but they’re never going to direct anyone anywhere. That’s part of the problem with a lot of the ‘free’ walking guides which are available on the island.

      We’ve only just finished designing the first of our planned walking guides and will be making it available online at our Real Tenerife Island Drives website within the next few days.

  5. prohibido says:

    I see you are a big Man U fan like me….
    Did you manage to watch the game versus West Brom on Tuesday? Whilst it was not on Sky or Setanta I was please to see it was to be broadcast on La 2 and settled myself down in front of the TV but….it never came on. I knew it was going to be a delayed transmission and avoided checking the internet for the score thinking it would come on at any moment. Could not believe I missed a 5.0 win… but watched it on Teledeporte on Wednesday. Any idea what happened?

    • dragojac says:

      I’m glad you’ve mentioned this, it clears something up for me. On Wednesday I’d checked RTVE’s teletext and like you was chuffed to see the La 2 was screening the game, then I noticed at the end of the listing they had two regional variations, one of which was for the Canaries.
      It showed that instead of the match, the programme planners in their infinite wisdom were showing something like 59 Segundos. I mean you can just understand the logic of this. Why on earth would there be any interest in an English premier league in the Canary Islands of all places!!!!! After all, the British visitors, residents, and even the Canarians would much rather watch another programme where a lot of people sit around talking at the same time rather than the most exciting football team on the planet (no bias there)…NOT. Where are their brains?

      Anyway about an hour before kick off we got a phone call from the bar where we normally watch the Man U games to tell us they were showing it on La 2. I was a bit sceptical having read teletext, but we went and sure enough at 20.35, mas o menos, los diablos rojos took to the pitch. Great performance. I thought the sending off was harsh, but I don’t think it affected the outcome.

      The only thing I can think off is that the La 2 in the bar was from satellite and if it’s like Sky, they might have been able to choose which region to screen (we don’t have satellite so I don’t know if that’s near the mark) and so we were able to see what most of the rest of Spain were watching.

      But until your comment I thought that La 2 had broadcast the match here as well, so that’s cleared that up for me.


  6. prohibido says:

    you must be right about that…
    (you must be on good terms with Manolo!)
    question…when is the earliest you can find out if a Utd match is on Spanish TV (teledeporte or La 2). As far as I can make out the best way is to listen to the Spanish commentry of either match the previous weekend…but I dont always watch them. There used to be a Rtve blog which had the info but its no longer active, Teletext and Internet listings only seem to give the footie matches a few days beforehand. Also I dont think any stations here show the FA Cup?
    Im planning to do the Masca walk on Thursday but need to use the guagua from Santa Cruz and boat from Los Gigantes…any advice? Am struggling to find the boat times and cost.

    • dragojac says:

      “you must be on good terms with Manolo!” – You’ve got to be joking. It’s Adrian at the Beehive 1 who texts or phones us. For some reason Manolo really doesn’t like me (or my wife) and completely blanks us on the rare occasion that we have to throw aside our principles and venture into the Beehive 2 (when the Beehive 1 isn’t screening Man U).

      He’ll serve any number of ‘locals’ before he’ll serve us. I think there are a couple of reasons for this a) we’re Man U supporters and b) one time when he was having a rant about Man U and how he hated them because of the money they spent on players, we asked him who he supported. When he told us it was Real Madrid we nearly fell off our stools howling with laughter – I don’t think he’s ever forgiven us.

      I don’t think there is an ‘early warning system’, Adrian only ever lets us know a day or two in advance when the match is on Spanish TV.

      I don’t know the exact times of the boats from Los Gigantes, but I believe they’re pretty regular. The last is around 16.30, I think. A ticket should cost about €10 and you can buy them from one of the excursion shops at the harbour.

      If you’re doing the walk the other way around, from Masca to the bay, they sell tickets in the El Fuente restaurant in the village.

      The last time we did the walk, we hiked from Masca to the bay and back again. It was a fantastic walk, but by the time we got back to the village we were almost crawling!! Next time we’ll catch the boat.

      Have a great hike.

  7. prohibido says:

    Any idea if tomorrows match is on TV anywhere?

    • dragojac says:

      Haven’t received a tel call yet, so don’t know. I’ll email you if I get word, but I’m out all day tomorrow, so it might be last minute.

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