Hiking with Tenerife’s History

Fri, November 9th, 2012 - By Linda

Opinion has it that all the good walks in Tenerife are in the north, and the south is only good for its beaches. True the north is greener, but there are some fascinating hikes within minutes of those sun-kissed southern beaches, which will take you back to another age. One of them took me from the sleepy village of San Miguel de Abona to the mirador of La Centinela in Valle San Lorenzo, but it turned out to be more than just good exercise, and taught me new things about the island’s history.


Walk San Miguel to La Centinela


San Miguel lies a half hour from Los Cristianos, take the autopista in the direction of Santa Cruz, and leave it at Las Chafiras, or from Golf del Sur, simply cross the autopista – you’re already in the municipality – then head straight up the gently curving road inland to San Miguel.

Leaving the village, we began our descent into the barranco which separates it from Valle San Lorenzo, and almost immediately were in another world. The one we left was parched after around two years without any substantial rainfall, and it was a surprise to find the ravine quite lush-looking. Squelching through a puddle, the reason was soon obvious – water was running underground, down from the mountains, where even dew seeps through the porous, volcanic rock in the Teide National Park to emerge in this valley.


Walk San Miguel to La Centinela


This underground water was the source of my first history lesson, when we came across a natural fountain. Old photographs on the historic marker alongside showed travellers on the old road, stopping to water their horses, and village women doing their laundry in the natural pool which had been strengthened to avoid leakage. It was quite the hang-out back in the days when that meant doing it in real life and not online!


Walk San Miguel to La Centinela


Further on we passed other historical markers, making this very much a hike with history. One marked El Barranco de los Dragos, but although history apparently records this small valley to have been teeming with the famous dragon trees, we could spot very few from where we were perched on the opposite edge. Further still, another marker explained that the restored kiln by the roadside had been used for making the traditional Canarian roof tiles.


Walk  San Miguel to La Centinela

There is little shade on the walk and by the time we reached the mirador at La Centinela we were were tired and thirsty and ready for a break. Another time I’d love to end the hike there with a yummy meal in the restaurant, relaxing and enjoying the view that takes in familiar places, from Montaña Roja, Costa del Silencio and Reina Sofia Airport in the east to Playa de las Americas and Costa Adeje in the south.

That would mean having a car at each end of the walk, though, and since we had only one we had to return to San Miguel, our car and the road back to the 21st century.

Posted : Friday, November 9th, 2012 at 6:52 pm
Category : about tenerife
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One Response to “Hiking with Tenerife’s History”

  1. Mark says:

    ​This looks like a wonderful place to visit. I’ve been to tenerife a few times (a few years ago) and loved it. The weather great pretty much all year round. When I was younger all I wanted to do was sit by the pool but looking at these photos id be cracking out my climbing gear and get straight on those rocks!

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