The Dangerous Road to Tenerife’s Most Westerly Point

Mon, June 23rd, 2014 - By Jack Montgomery

What do you do when faced with four huge yellow signs screaming “Road Closed” in four different languages?

 

Warning signs on Teno road

 

Normally, you’d turn back, especially when the sign warns the road is dangerous and there is a chance of rock falls on windy and rainy days. It actually says ‘winding days’, but that’s a lost in translation moment.

The first time we were faced with the wall of signs on the TF- 445 just outside Buenavista del Norte we ignored them.

For a start it was a sunny, dry day. Secondly, the Canary Islands’ Government website, the official Tenerife Tourism website and Buenavista del Norte’s council website all recommended it was worth taking this road to reach the most westerly point of Tenerife at Punto de Teno – they still do.

The sign was right in one respect. It is a ‘winding’ road and not for anyone with vertigo.

 

Views of Isla Baja

 

Ancient cliffs loom ominously on one side whilst the land falls away to reveal fabulous views of Isla Baja (Buenavista del Norte, Los Silos, Garachico and El Tanque) on the other. Often the road can be littered with rocks, evidence that the warning signs aren’t an exaggeration.

The first point of interest is the Mirador de la Monja (the Nun’s Viewpoint), a spindly volcanic finger (the nun) with more breezy views of Isla Baja as well of near vertical cliffs where the road ahead disappears disconcertingly into the rockface.

Just in case you missed the yellow signs lower down, a rusting sign at the entrance to a small tunnel advises ‘no entry for your own safety’.

 

The tunnel at Punto de Teno

 

From this point two tunnels have just been hewn out of the rock in order to provide access to the other side of the mountains. They’re only short, but the darkness closes in oppressively. It’s an odd and claustrophobic experience.

Emerging from the tunnels into daylight is a relief, especially when there’s a magical micro-climate thing going on and you enter one side under heavy cloud to emerge a couple of hundred yards later under clear blue skies. It’s mind-blowing when that happens.

After that it’s plain sailing. The road twists away from the cliffs, passing a factory (workers have to negotiate this road) and a wind farm before it finally reaches Tenerife’s most westerly point at the lighthouse on Punto de Teno.

 

Punta de Teno

 

The views at Punto de Teno here make the nervy drive worth the effort. La Gomera sits on the horizon opposite the lighthouse; the Los Gigantes cliffs look possibly even more impressive than from Los Gigantes; there’s a small bay that’s popular with local fishermen and divers and a wooden path snakes through the lava leading to a stone jetty lapped by turquoise waters.
It is simply an idyllic and tranquil Tenerife beauty spot and worth a visit… if the road is open and the weather isn’t rainy or ‘winding’.

Note: There are plans to make the road ‘safe’ but at the moments signs still warn the road is closed even though the barrier across the road is open. Anyone driving this road does so at their own risk.
There is an alternative way to get to Punto de Teno that bypasses the road – walking all the way from Teno Alto.

Posted : Monday, June 23rd, 2014 at 3:47 pm
Category : days out
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