At the top of the Orotava valley lies a volcanic crater named La Caldera. Today, it’s a popular recreative zone, with camping lots, grills and showers, and is the nucleus of an expansive network of hiking trails. We chose to embark on a moderate four-hour walk through the surrounding forests, to the village of Aguamansa and back.
La Caldera is a popular spot; we were visiting on a Saturday, and had trouble even finding a place to park. But there’s no mystery to its appeal — this is an extremely cool natural feature, and how often do you get a chance to camp out in a crater? This circular indentation in the earth is a perfect place to set up a tent; flat and somewhat protected from the wind. And there seems to be plenty to do here, especially if you’re into hiking.
The trail we chose was really pleasant; not “spectacular” or “unforgettable”, but it provided us with a wonderful day in the woods. The forests of this section of the Teide park are mostly pine, but there’s a lot of variety to the vegetation, and the trail was both easy and beautiful. We passed across old aqueducts, alongside some large, rocky cliffs, and past a few small shacks, forgotten and half-ruined in the woods.
Emerging from the woods after a few hours, we had views down the valley to the town of Orotava, Puerto de la Cruz, and the ocean. We walked through the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it town of Aguamansa, and then back into the woods, returning to La Caldera. Our hike complete, we rewarded ourselves with an excellent meal at Guachinche Casa Adrián.
This hike had been both easy and beautiful, and even though it was never jaw-dropping, it put us both in wonderful spirits… as we were polishing off our wine on the terrace of Casa Adrián, with tired muscles, relaxed minds, and that view over the Orotava Valley, we couldn’t have been happier with how the day turned out.