Roque del Conde Guardian of South Tenerife

Wed, October 31st, 2012 - By Linda

Several friends come to the Canary Islands to walk, but don’t want to spend every day on foot, especially in the warmer months. Alternating days of exercise with days at the beach or hotel pool  is perfect, and South Tenerife has so much to offer them. Arguably the most taxing walk, offering the most spectacular views at its end, is Roque del Conde, the mountain which seems inescapable from most points on the south coast.

Views from Roque del Conde

This volcanic cone sits some 1,000 m above sea level, astride the Arona-Adeje border, and from its peak you can see the hillsides, towns and resorts of both municipalities, and beyond to Granadilla de Abona, where Montaña Roja juts out into the ocean like a mini Gibraltar, and planes glide into Reina Sofia Airport; or over the ocean to where La Gomera (and on a clear day to El Hierro and La Palma) shimmers on the horizon.

It’s not an easy walk, in parts it’s quite steep, but it is a very rewarding one, both for the views and the feeling of accomplishment.

Barranco del Rey

 

It begins in the hamlet of Vento which really is a suburb now of the town of Arona, about 20 minutes from Los Cristianos by car or bus, and winds through some ramshackle small-holdings where goat bells tinkle and pigs grunt – scenes which have probably changed little in the last 60 or 70 years and make you feel like a time traveler  It’s a well-marked route, with stone steps and wooden handrails as you descend into Barranco del Rey, the ravine which marks the boundary of the two municipalities. Once on the ravine floor, it’s all uphill, sometimes easy enough, at other times a challenge (depending on your level of fitness obviously – I certainly wouldn’t recommend it for anyone not decently fit).

Roque del Conde

 

I’d be the first to admit it isn’t the prettiest walking route on the island, but it has lots of points of interest, and, well, that view from atop, trying to spot places you know from a high is just mesmerizing.  As you gaze up at the rocky sides of Barranco del Rey you will spot caves, which were almost certainly used by the island’s original inhabitants, the Stone Age Guanches. One legend has it that Ichasagua, a Guanche leader, threw himself from the heights following the Spanish Conquest, and there was a plaque commemorating him near the peak. It had disappeared the last time I was there, perhaps the legend is discredited, because there are other versions of his death, though all speak of his suicide, that he had no will to live under Spanish rule.

Roque del Conde

 

The mountain’s sides are a testament to more recent, agricultural history – abandoned farms, cottages and a threshing circle, all now skeletons of their flourishing, former selves, when this land yielded enough to make a living, but long ago forsaken for the better pay and more comfortable life  tourism offered. They must have been hardy  folk who lived and farmed at this altitude, often in the scorching sun.

Having achieved your goal I can testify that there is no restaurant with a finer view! Eating your lunch, gazing out over Costa Adeje, almost the entire south of the island and the Atlantic ocean is quite something.

Posted : Wednesday, October 31st, 2012 at 9:22 am
Category : things to do
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2 Responses to “Roque del Conde Guardian of South Tenerife”

  1. […] gently from side to side on the hump of a camel I was enjoying the views of Roque del Conde ahead on the trail and Guaza Mountain and the sea beyond if I peeked behind. Camel Park is a living […]

  2. […] on the summit of Roque del Conde dangling our legs over a rock, we looked over a landscape pockmarked by volcanic cones, a […]

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