We enjoyed fantastic hikes all over Tenerife, from the Macizo de Teno in the east, to the Malpais of Güímar in the south, and of course all over the Cañadas of the Teide… but some of our favorite hikes were a bit closer to home. In fact, we just had to step out our door, and walk into the hills that surrounded Las Mercedes, in order to have an awesome day out.
In the Cañadas, there are 41 named routes, of varying lengths and difficulties, and I can imagine that all of them are worthwhile
Tenerife isn't a massive island, so the sheer diversity of landscapes it contains is impressive, from lava-strewn volcanic wastelands, to ancient laurel forests teeming with life. During a drive along the southern coast, we stopped to explore an area that has nothing to do with the fabulous beaches the coastline is otherwise known for: the Badlands (Malpais) of Güímar.
One of the more well-known hikes on Tenerife leads from the village of Vilaflor to the so-called "Paisaje Lunar", or "Lunar Landscape". Sounds amazing, but this turned out to be the least compelling hike we had during our time on the island.
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.
A town with a name like Vallehermoso ("Beautiful Valley") best be able to deliver the goods. We'd already spent the better part of a week on an isla hermosa, so expectations were high. And we weren't disappointed… at least by the town and its truly beautiful valley. But this wasn't our best hike, thanks to the overcast skies. While hiking on La Gomera, overcast skies are bad news, because if your trail takes you into the hills…
Our fourth day on La Gomera was supposed to be for recovery, when we would pause all physical activity and simply relax on a beach. But for whatever reason, when the day rolled around, we felt more like hiking in an ancient forest than chilling on the black sand. I'm starting to think that something might be wrong with us… But even though our hearts were willing, our bones were still sore, so we picked out an…
Our third hike in La Gomera would be a circular route starting in the village of Chipude, taking past the viewpoint of Igualero to the top of Garajonay (the highest point on La Gomera), and then back again through the charred remains of a forest devastated by wildfire.
Our initial hike on La Gomera had been more difficult than expected and we scaled back our ambitions big time for Day Two. If a three hour hike actually took us six, how long would we need for an eight hour hike?! Best not to even find out. Luckily, on this island criss-crossed with paths, there's always an alternative. And we found a way to explore the Valle Gran Rey which wouldn't involve (too many) hours of agony.
We arrived in Tenerife early Sunday afternoon, disembarked the ferry on La Gomera later that same day, and checked into our guest house in they tiny village Imada well after nightfall. After a quick meal at the town's single restaurant, the Arcilia, we went straight to bed. On Monday morning, we'd be confronting our first big hike of the week, and we wanted to be rested.