Tenerife is home to plenty of upscale resorts and charming mountain villages, but it also has an outsized share of places that have been abandoned and forgotten to time. We’ve already written about a few, but decided to spend a second day exploring the failed projects and obsolete constructions of the island.
The Bunker at Santa Ursula
Near the town of Santa Ursula, not far from Orotava on the northern coast of Tenerife, there’s an old bunker dating from the Spanish Civil War. It’s in a prime spot, right along a hiking path, with a gorgeous view out over the ocean… I like to imagine the soldiers stationed here, just enjoying the view, confident in their safety. (The Canary Islands were the starting point for Franco’s offensive, and saw little actual fighting.)
The bunker is fun to visit… as long as you stay on the outside of it. The interior basically been converted into an over-sized toilet.
The Skeleton at La Matanza
Not far from Santa Ursula is the town of La Matanza de Acentejo (“The Slaughter of Acentejo”, so-named for the crushing defeat suffered by the conquering Spanish, at the hands of the indigenous Guanches). But the town’s coolest skeleton isn’t the bones of some old conquistador… it’s the remains of a poorly-conceived development project from the 1970s. This massive hotel was only constructed up to the frame, before being abandoned, and has marred the coastline ever since.
We like that it exists, because we like weird things… but it seems impossible that nobody has been held responsible for tearing it down. For over forty years, now! It’s obviously too dangerous to visit or walk around on, and would be difficult to reach, anyway. The best approach is along the coast from the north, from the end of Carretera El Caletón (here).
Fishing House at Playa San Juan
Near the town of Guía de Isora, on the western coast of Tenerife, is a popular beach known as Playa San Juan. The beach itself is too touristy and crowded for us, but it’s also the starting point for a path that leads along the coast to an old fishing house. These aren’t the most spectacular ruins — nothing on the scale of La Matanza’s Skeleton — but evocative all the same. During our visit, we saw a couple locals snorkeling in order to collect mussels.
Hotel near Acorán
Another failed project from the 1970s… a halcyon time when foreign investors were apparently allowed to do whatever the hell they wanted in Tenerife, without the slightest consequence. This time, it was Germans who bought the land, and began building this massive hotel before bothering to acquire permits. The money dried up, and the they disappeared, leaving only this modern ruin behind them.
You can explore this hotel, if you’re brave, and like most of these abandoned places, it’s become a popular spot for budding graffiti artists.
BONUS: The Moss-Covered Statue in Santa Ursula
Not really a “ruin” per se, but we couldn’t resist adding photos of this moss-covered statue we happened upon at Jardin Social La Quinta in Santa Ursula, near the bunker. This statue blends in so well with its surroundings, and is so understated, that you almost won’t see it unless you’re looking for it.