ravines

Masca is a tiny and remote village in the Northwest of Tenerife. When I say tiny, I really mean it – Masca is home to merely 80 habitants. Its access is an adventure of its own. Well, for visitors, that is. – Us locals are used to the twisting and turning of narrow roads that go down the sheer side of not one, but several mountains.

It’s not for the faint-hearted.

Masca Ravine, Tenerife (Spain)The view over Masca and its ravine

The village itself has charm and a rural taste of Tenerife. It’s the starting point of one of the most popular hiking trails on the island – the Barranco de Masca (Masca Ravine). Once you start the descent into the valley, you quickly get a chance to test your fitness.

The hiking path sinks quickly into a deep gorge, following the twist and turns of the hills around it. It goes over streams, through tunnels of reeds, over large rocks and even through a small cave. Soon, you find yourself in a Lost World.

Masca Ravine, Tenerife (Spain)

Masca Ravine, Tenerife (Spain)

Masca Ravine, Tenerife (Spain)

Masca Ravine, Tenerife (Spain)

Masca Ravine, Tenerife (Spain)

Masca Ravine, Tenerife (Spain)

To be honest, my pictures don’t make justice to the spectacular landscape in Masca. It’s quite simply breathtaking.

The barranco walls grow taller the deeper you move into the gorge. After 2.5 hours, we emerged onto Masca beach – on time for our well-deserved picnic.

Masca Ravine, Tenerife (Spain)

Masca Ravine, Tenerife (Spain)

From here, we took a cooling plunge in the Atlantic Ocean and allowed our skin to soak up the warmth of the sun until our water taxi arrived.

Well yes, we took a water taxi. I was wearing new hiking boots which weren’t ideal for this terroir, as I discovered on my challenging way down.

Note to self: high boots give better support on uneven surfaces. And Masca is completely uneven.

In my defense: most of the casual hikers that venture their way down the gorge book a water taxi to take them to the next village, Los Gigantes. This short ride for 10 EUR per person allows you to not only see the entire ravine from the sea, but also takes you along the Acantilados (cliffs) de los Gigantes – one of my favourite views of Tenerife and a great place to go whale watching.

Los Gigantes (Tenerife)Acantilados de los Gigantes – One of my favorite shots, ever.

From there, it’s a mere 23 EUR cab ride back to Masca, which in turn is about a 20 minute car drive from Mesón del Norte (one of those traditional restaurants that is really worth the drive!).

Practical Information

Route: Descenso del Barranco de Masca (descending the Masca gorge)
Elevation gain uphill: hardly any, unless you walk the same way up again
Elevation gain downhill: 625m
Length: 6.8 km
Duration: 2.5 hrs
Difficulty: Easy (Moderate, if walking uphill again!)
Wikiloc:Barranco de Masca

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A friend came to visit me in Tenerife and, to break the touristic routine, I planned to go on an easy hike – maybe 3 hours. After all, Tenerife has beautiful hidden paths with amazing views, and tiny villages that offer fresh fish for half the price as any bigger and more touristic town on the island. Following some basic research, we decided on hiking from Afur to Taganana – A hike that was signalized as being between 3 and 3 and a half hours – spot on with our dreamy idea of a walk in the green. Right.

Hiking from Afur to Taganana in Tenerife (Spain)

The hike trail starts by going down the Barranco de Tamadiste (a ravine). This was relatively easy. We even came across some fellow hikers who apparently did this every week. After approximately 3km descent, we arrived at a small beach – reaching our first waving point. As tempting as the water may seem on a hot day, I don’t recommend going for a swim. This part of Tenerife is known for having very strong currents.

The trail then continues to the right, on a strongly pronounced ascent until you reach 120m above the sea. The path goes along the edge of the coast, providing hikers with rewarding views of Anaga and Los Roques de Anaga. At some times, the trail was very narrow, and we had to literally grab ourselves to the rocks and not look down – the cliffs went straight down from around 140m height. Nothing suitable for anyone afraid of heights! This was also the reason for which I have rather few pictures of this trail (I was too busy not falling into the ocean!). But I did take one picture that may just sum up the whole trail along the coast side:

Hiking from Afur to Taganana in Tenerife (Spain)

Beautiful, isn’t it?

After 7kms walking along the coast and small plantations and gardens, we finally arrived to upper part of Taganana. It was only another 20-30 minutes walk down to arrive at the beach, when a kind local woman came out of her home to greet us. We told her where we came from and our plans for the rest of the day which ended with an optimistic “… and then we get the bus back to Afur“. Turns out – There was no bus back to Afur, not even near Afur. “Well… then we’ll take a cab“, we hesitated. No cabs in Taganana either. Oh dear.

The local woman advised us that the quickest way back to Afur was walking back over the mountains. At this point, I wanted to cry (did I tell you it was way past lunch time?). If things weren’t bad enough already – it was also starting to get cold and suspiciously looking like it was going to start pouring down any minute.

Hiking from Afur to Taganana in Tenerife (Spain)

So… we walked back to Afur over the mountain. For another 2 hours. I was frustrated and desperately hungry, but as we reached the top of the mountain, I started to feel proud and excited about what we had achieved. The views paid back all the breathless, waterless and foodless moments along the way.

Hiking from Afur to Taganana in Tenerife (Spain)

After about 6 hours, we were back at the start – just in time to drive back home, get a shower and work ourselves through the entire menu of one of my favourite restaurants La Rosa di Bari.

Lessons learned during my first real hike experience?

  • You can’t always trust the estimated walking hours you find at the start of a trail (or on the internet). Unless you are an expert hiker, I would recommend to add up to one hour more.
  • Wear the right footwear. This does not include flip-flops and gym trainers. I didn’t wear hiking boots but simple gym trainers and thought this would be enough. However, the sole was too flat, which made it particularly slippery.
  • Take hiking sticks with you. You may think these sticks are unnecessary, but they really come handy when walking along steep paths.
  • Be prepared for anything. We just had 1 L of water with us, to be shared among 3. We managed to refill twice on the way, but it wasn’t enough (specially on the way back). We didn’t have food because we had planned to eat fish at the beach, and consequently spent 6 hours suspiciously eyeing wild life and ground mushrooms.
  • Prepare your return. It would have been wise to research the best way to go back from Taganana to Afur after walking the 4 hours.

Practical Information

Route: From Afur to Taganana (via Playa Tamadite) – circular
Elevation gain uphill: 697m
Elevation gain downhill: 697m
Length: 12 km
Duration: 5.5 – 6.5 hrs
Difficulty: Moderate (steep ascent up to La Cumbrilla)
Wikiloc:From Afur to Taganana.