Backpack-loaded walkers poured off the Titsa bus near the Santiago del Teide plaza and dovetailed nicely onto the minibus to the famous Masca ravine. Beyond the church the almond blossom trail leads to Arguayo but I headed back to the lower end of town for the Camino Real, the ancient trade path that leads down into Puerto Santiago and Los Gigantes beyond.
The sturdy stone walls channeled me down over the uneven rock floor and I noticed seasonal changes from my previous treks. The grass at the edges was brown and parched after a long dry summer and the prickly cactus pears were turning a ripe red shade. The Santiago del Teide church bell tolled the hour and cockerels crowed on a distant farm, it seemed a world away from the busy main road a short distance away.
Barely 30 minutes along I was tempted off course, a drop down was signposted to El Molledo, a circular stroll of 3.8kms but I took the 2.1km upward turn to Risco Blanco. It was steep, a little overgrown, and the ground ranged from fine shingle to large angular blocks but the reward was superb. Risco Blanco,a white tinged cone all nobbly and cracked, stood out against the backdrop of a cloud dusted La Gomera.
Retracing my steps back to the main path I admired the volcanic intrusions and the way that plants had found a foothold on them. Back at the main path it was a downward plunge into the valley of the Barranco del Valle where it was eerily quiet as I passed the old water pumping station.
I was soon presented with another choice, a 1.1 km trek up to the white cross of Los Misioneros and a different but equally pleasing view of the 942 metre high Risco Blanco. I resisted and pushed on where the main path crosses the dry barranco bed and offers a small detour to Tamaimo, a good choice if you want a drink and a snack. A high sided rocky corridor emerged with a clear view of the Puerto Santiago and Playa de La Arena coast. The thick water pipes that had gurgled along beside me converged into a fertile crop valley and I passed through a goat farm as they were scampered down the terraced hills in response to a whistled call to dinner.
This had always been a busy area, roughly hewn caves in the rock face and broken water channels showed that the Camino Real was a trade route for fishermen and farmers from each end.
The main trail became stone steps down to the banana plantations, but there was still nearly 2kms to go. The heat seemed amplified by the high netting as I skirted around the ripening bananas, and lizards scurried in gangs but it gave way to concrete and an exit onto the main road above Puerto Santiago and the mirador. A great walk of contrasts, history, and wonderfully sculpted geology.
Want to go?
From Santiago del Teide the signs say 6.7kms but from Puerto Santiago they say 8kms, but who’s counting; the basic route is a little over 3 hours, add an hour for each of the extra choices; the 460 Titsa bus from Las Americas bus station (Costa Adeje on timetable) stops in Santiago del Teide, €3 one way with a bono ticket or €4.55 single without. The 473 & 477 Titsa buses serve the southern resorts from Los Gigantes.
Category : days out
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