Sunday, 20 December 2009

Sunday Strolling

The eastern coast of Tenerife is the part that every visitor sees as they whiz along the TF1 motorway from the airport to their resort, and back again. Very few visitors ever spend any time there which means that, when it comes to walking, you’re quite likely to have the whole place virtually to yourself.

Last Sunday we wanted to do a short walk with a friend of ours who lives in the south of the island. The weather had been cloudy and damp just about everywhere on the island and the forecast was for more rain so we wanted somewhere that was a) our best shot at catching dry weather b) somewhere half way for us each to travel and c) in or around 2 hours maximum with a nice restaurant in which to end with lunch.
There was just one place that fitted the bill perfectly; the Güímar Malpaís.

Starting at the little port of El Puertito, we ambled across the badlands alongside the sea amidst great swathes of tabaiba, cardón and sea lettuce. In the spring and summer, the grasses are tall and green but in winter they’re brown and wispy, rippling the landscape in the breeze.
Crossing the lava fields we headed inland to Montaña Grande and skirted the base before heading back on a different route to the fish and seafood cafes and restaurants of Puertito. An idyllic little 2 hour circular stroll with views along the coast northwards to Las Teresitas beach and Santa Cruz and southwards to the lighthouse at Poris de Abona.

And if you’re staying in the south of the island, there’s a fantastic drive that takes you to El Puertito along the old Forgotten Road so you can combine touring with walking…perfect.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Walking on Tenerife: Using Public Transport or Hiring a Car on Tenerife

When we first travelled abroad, we used to go on all the excursions available. I loved getting to see all sorts of interesting things, but hated being herded about and eating mediocre meals.
Within a few years we dumped the excursions, bought guide books and set off on our own. If it was in Europe, we’d hire a car, if it was further afield we’d use whatever public transport was available - tuk, tuks, trains, dhows, river taxis and even the occasional elephant. Instead of simply sightseeing we started having adventures. The experience was worlds away from the world of organised excursions.

It’s probably a safe bet to assume that if you’re reading this blog and you’re interested in walking on Tenerife, you are the sort of person who enjoys setting out under their own steam whether it’s by car or by local bus (sorry, no elephant transport here, although there are camels). But which depends on personal preferences and on what areas you hope to explore when you visit Tenerife.

The bus network on Tenerife is excellent in my opinion. Although we both drive we use it regularly if we’re going into Puerto de la Cruz or Santa Cruz for a night out, or to and from the airport, or the port at Los Cristianos if we’re travelling to La Gomera. Buses are cheap and on the whole reliable and if you’re planning on walking, you can get to many good walking areas by public transport. For example, if based in Puerto de la Cruz, a regular bus service will transport you into the heart of the pine forest in the upper La Orotava Valley. If you’re in the south west around Los Gigantes, the bus to Puerto drops walkers off at the Fleytas bar where there are a number of classic routes to explore.

But, and this is a giant sized ‘but’, if you’re the sort of person who relishes exploring the most remote corners of the places you visit, the less populated an area, the less likely it is to have a regular bus service. The most spectacular route to Mount Teide isn’t on a bus route because no-one lives along most of it.

I read a post on Tripadvisor recently from someone who had been to La Gomera. He said that it was completely different from Tenerife and that it was probably what Tenerife was like before tourism. He was wrong about that. The Anaga Mountains with their tiny agricultural hamlets are exactly like La Gomera; if anything, they make La Gomera look over developed. But some of the spectacular walks there are more or less ‘out of bounds’ to someone using public transport, so for many visitors there are great swathes of Tenerife which remain ‘hidden’.
For me that’s where the car wins hands down. Hirting a car on Tenerife opens up the whole island rather than just part of it.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

I Can't Buy Island Walks Because I can't Speak Spanish!

We'd like to publicly pass on a thousand 'thank you's to J in America for pointing out to us that when she tried to buy Island Walks, the Paypal page came up in Spanish.  No problem to any Spanish speakers out there, but a serious deterrent to those who aren't on best pal terms with that lovely language.

We've no idea how this happened; it was all set up in English, so some mischievous little Castilian gremlin has clearly been at work.

Anyway, thanks to J, everything is now once again in English, so anyone wishing to purchase any of the Island Walks will be able to do so without having to enrol in Spanish language courses first.

Apologies to all for any inconvenience caused by this annoying little glitch.

Guided Routes: Arico Coast and La Cueva Del Viento

Granadilla council are organising a couple of short walks this month.

The first is from Poris de Abona to Los Abades on the 12th and costs €5. The pick up point is outside the tourist office in El Médano at 9am (returning at 1pm).

And the second is into the volcanic tube, La Cueva del Viento near Icod de los Vinos. Entry to the cave and transport is included in the €12 price and the pick up point is also outside the tourist office in El Médano, but this time it’s an earlier start at 7.30am (returning at midday).

Anyone interested in joining the walks should contact José Juan Cano Delgado on 922 75 99 95 or by email at: