Tenerife: Spectacular North West

Garachico Church

Today was a magnificent day of driving through the Teno National Park, visiting quaint little Masca and finishing up in gorgeous Garachico.

Road to Masca

Tucked away in the middle of the mountains is Masca, a tiny village of just 90 inhabitants. You can reach Masca by car via several miles of twisty, bendy hairpin road. The road was built in 1972 and before that Masca was hidden and only accessible by foot.

Teno National Park

There are several ‘miradors’ which are viewing places where you can stop the car and take in the scenery. These were busy as while Masca is geographically hidden it has become a well known tourist attraction.

Masca

Following the breathtaking drive we arrived at Masca village but as it is so tiny and was so busy we were unable to find anywhere to park the car. Thankfully we were able to park about a kilometer away so we walked back down into the village.

Masca church

Masca was originally inhabited by the Guanches, the indigenous people of the Canary Islands before the Spanish arrived in the early 1400’s. In the 1600s folklore believes that Masca was a hideaway village for pirates.

Masca is located at an altitude of 650 meters and feels like Tenerife’s version of Machu Picchu! Or maybe even more like the Iao National Park in Maui?

We decided to have a drink in this bar to stay in Masca and sit outside on one of those benches to soak up the stunning scenery for just a bit longer.

La Gomera in the distance

We walked back up to the car and continued our spectacular drive through the Teno National Park. I set the ‘Mirador Altos Baracan’ viewpoint into Google Maps which had a reasonable amount of parking space and was an excellent point from which to start a trek into the mountains.

Mount Teide in the distance

We stayed at this viewpoint for about 30 minutes and walked a short distance along a ridge with remarkable views on each side; the sea and La Gomera on one side and Mount Teide on the other.

View from the Mirador Altos Baracan

There is a trail where you can walk to the top of this peak for more spectacular views across Teno National Park.

View towards the coast
View from Mirador Charco Los Chochos

Our next stop was Mirador Charco Los Chochos along the coast. We were not sure what to expect but found ourselves driving through a sleepy town to the edge of the coast where we found plenty of parking spaces. We walked the short distance towards the Mirador and found a series of natural bathing pools carved into the rocks.

Charco Los Chochos
Playa de la Caleta

Having stopped and walked along the coast for about 40 minutes our next port of call was Playa de la Caleta. This was such a quiet little village that we hardly saw any people however we did find a bar for a refreshing ice-cream.

Garachico

Garachico

Our final stop of the day was Garachico. And what a find! This was a gorgeous little town 🙂 parking was easy in a large free car park close to the old town.

Garachico

We wandered in awe through the picturesque buildings and cobbled streets until we came to the Plaza de la Libertad. Garachico had a real Central American feel to it.

San Francisco Convent
Plaza de la Libertad
Simon Bolivar

There is a statue of Simon Bolivar in the Plaza de la Libertad. Bolivar was a revolutionary who led the independence of Venezuela, Colombia, Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru and Panama in the early 1800s. He died in Santa Marta, Colombia.

Relaxing in the Plaza de la Libertad

The Plaza de la Libertad was so peaceful that we decided it was time for a drink in the shady outdoor bar. While relaxing I read up on the history of Garachico. Garachico was first ‘founded’ by the Spanish in 1496 and was a wealthy and thriving town until 1706 when it was destroyed by a volcanic eruption. Lava filled the harbour making it unusable. Following this, Garachico suffered with bubonic plague, swarms of locusts, floods and fires.

Santa Ana church
Subterranean garden

We came across a subterranean garden in the middle of Garachico!

Garachico

Paths and walkways have been cleverly built into the lava that is still in the harbour following the 1706 volcanic eruptions.

Castillo de San Miguel

The Castillo de San Miguel was built in the 16th Century.

El Caleton bar

As we made our way back to the car it wasn’t part of the plan but we couldn’t resist popping into this fab little bar which was set in the historic lava flows.

To end the post, above are a couple of arty shots of the San Francisco Convent by Chris.

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