Non-diving days in Tenerife
Hiking the Masca Barranco
While in Tenerife you MUST make time to visit the ‘lost’ town of Masca. This charming, tiny little village sits precariously atop a mountain ridge and is surrounded by breathtaking cliffs and gorges and faces towards a stunning valley which winds itself down towards the sea.
A popular hideaway for pirates during the 16th century, this tiny village only really became accessible in the 1990’s when a road was finally built connecting Masca with Santiago del Teide to the East and Buenavista del Norte to the North.
Perched atop a mountain ridge which ends in its own small peak, the town of Masca is rather reminiscent of Machu Picchu in Peru.
Hiking the Valley
It is well worth stopping in Masca to take in the view whilst enjoying a coffee or a bite to eat, and then continuing on your way to explore other parts of the island; but in the post I’ll be describing what to do if you want to enjoy the hike down the barranco (valley).
Starting at the town, the hiking trail traces a route down the barranco ending at the coast. It takes approximately 3 hours each way, and is a rather strenuous trip as there are parts which involve clambering over or under obstacles.
Of course the big problem with a one-way hike is how do you get back to your car at the end? This is especially tricky when the hiking trail ends on a beach! So how’s it done?
Well, there are some keen hikers who choose to go down the barranco and back up again, but if that sounds like too much work to you (it does to me!) then there is another option…
Okay, hiking is normally pretty cheap (free!) – that is not the case here, but trust me: it’s well worth it! To make the one-way trip down the Masca valley the best option is to begin in the town of Los Gigantes, just to the South of the Teno Massif in the North-west corner of the island (where you’ll find Masca).
From Los Gigantes you will need to hire a taxi to take you up to Masca (1), which takes around half an hour and costs €25 – €30. From the village you follow signs to the hiking route to begin the adventure (2). At the end of the hike you will board a boat (which comes approximately every half hour) and will take you back to the harbour in Los Gigantes (3).
On the way up to Masca, ask your taxi driver to supply you with tickets to board the taxi-boat to come back. These tickets cost €10 per person.
Although these tickets can be bought on the boat itself, by buying them in advance you are informing the boat company that you are there. The taxi driver will supply the boat company with your mobile number and if they don’t see you by the end of the day then they will call to check that you aren’t stranded. If they don’t get confirmation that you are safe then they will instigate a rescue effort to come and save you – a worthwhile security measure.
If you fancy a little bit more work then before you leave Los Gigantes at the start of the day you can request to be picked up in a kayak instead of a power-boat. You will then paddle back into Los Gigantes, stopping on the way for a little snorkel in one of the remote and picturesque coves along the coast.