A time-worn path brought us from the village of Afur, along the coastline to Taganana, and then back to Afur through the forests and hills of the Anaga natural reserve. With perfect weather, a well-marked trail, glorious coastal views, an evocative forest, the surprise kindness of strangers, and just the right amount of challenge, it was one of the best hikes we’ve ever done.
I’d like to pretend it was all down to intelligent research and careful planning, but our selection of Las Mercedes as our 91-day home base was more about availability and affordability than anything else. We knew we didn’t want to be near a touristy, over-developed area, but that was about it; we picked Las Mercedes for its proximity to La Laguna… and to be honest, didn’t know anything about the Anaga Mountain Range, at whose feet the town sits.
But man, we couldn’t have been luckier. La Laguna is great, but Anaga is what made our home truly special. Minutes after setting out from our house, we were enveloped by an ancient laurisliva forest of twisting branches, moss and filtered sunlight. Soon enough, we had arrived in the village of Afur, where our hike would begin and end.
It was going to be a long day, so we wasted no time, and set off straight down the ravine, toward the northern coast of Tenerife. I’ll save you a written account of the natural splendor we encountered this day, because one can only use so many synonyms for “beautiful” before beginning to sound hyperbolic, and anyway, we’ve got tons of pictures. So without embellishment: the ravine gave way to a beach of black sand. The trail then followed the coast to Taganana, before turning inland. We climbed to the top of the Cumbrecilla for a view over the valley, and then wound our way through the woods back to Afur. Five and a half hours, all told.
The hike was moderately difficult, and we had run out of water before reaching Taganana. We passed a woman on her terrace, and asked if we could have a glass from her tap. Of course we could! And after bringing us water, she disappeared back into the kitchen, and reemerged with a box of cookies, a liter of orange juice and two beers, insistent that we accept. Maybe it’s because we’re acclimated to frigid city life, but this generosity warmed our hearts and put us in excellent moods.
This was our first real excursion in Anaga, and it couldn’t have gone better. This is a region we’d be getting to know very well during our time on Tenerife.