Guia de Isora Surprising Cultural Centre of South Tenerife

Mon, October 27th, 2014 - By Linda

Even after many years in Tenerife, Guia de Isora is one of those places that surprises me. Some say it was named for a blind, Guanche princess, others that the name refers to its badlands. Today it sits at the heart of the municipality that includes the once-fishing village, now tranquil resort of Playa San Juan, and the modest village of Alcalá, home to the prestigious Palacio de Isora Hotel, and its amazing infinity pool.

Despite these high-end destinations, Guia de Isora (or simply Isora) is true to its agricultural roots, and host to cultural events aimed both at the local population and tourists.


MiradasDoc, Guia de Isora


The words “film festival” are synonymous with Cannes or San Sebastian, not with the Canary Islands, let alone a small town in the foothills of Tenerife. MiradasDoc (1st to 8th November 2014), which Guia de Isora has hosted every autumn since 2006, is a documentary festival with emphasis on social issues, especially the Third World. The films are open to the public, but for non-Spanish speakers, only the international category would interest, It’s a serious event, drawing entrants from around the world. A glance through this year’s programme reveals several titles in English, and often these are in the original language with Spanish subtitles. In 2010 the festival featured work by renowned Australian documentary maker David Bradbury.


Guia de Isora


A trip to Isora on a working day reveals a town somewhat dominated by the main road from Adeje to Santiago del Teide, running through its centre. Perhaps this robs it of the charms of other inland villages, despite the stunning views over the Atlantic to La Gomera to be glimpsed. But stroll up to the church square, and you might be surprised. The church is beautifully maintained. If you’re lucky, and have a smattering of Spanish, the caretaker enthusiastically shows people around, pointing out the original ceiling carved from Canary Pine, or the statue of the Virgin taken out into the town to successfully pray for deliverance from recent wildfires in the hills above. Sip a coffee in the square and you hear only the birds in the trees, and the clinking of cups and glasses. It’s a world away from the modernity on the main road.


Guia de Isora


Yet, the modern lends vibrancy to the town, from the Cultural Centre which hosts all manner of events from craft fairs to evenings highlighting the community’s multi-cultural heritage, to the shiny auditorium, host to the main events of MiradasDoc, which blends into the narrow street which leads up to the church square.

Cultural life is very important to this small town. In July, the nearby hamlet of Chirche hosts a living museum, and at Easter the unique, artistic Floral Festival lines the narrow streets of the old town. I am told that the romeria here is quite special too, something I’ve yet to enjoy.


Guia de Isora


Unless a festival is taking place, a trip to Isora is unlikely to fill an entire day, but combined with a visit to one of the municipality’s coastal towns, or even a stop off en route to the Teide National Park (one of the routes to the Park begins just a little way past Isora) it’s worth a visit. As you drive out of town, there is even a huge gift shop, featuring local products and crafts as well as the usual souvenirs.

Posted : Monday, October 27th, 2014 at 12:38 pm
Category : events
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