If you think Tenerife is just all-inclusive hotels and low-brow debauchery, I feel it’s my duty to set the bar straight: this Canary Island is much more than just that.
Yes, it certainly has more touristy areas where you’ll find the aforementioned activities, but there are also plenty of spots where you can get off-the-beaten-track too.
Besides the majestic black-sand beaches, mist-covered mountains and guachinches (I’ll save these for another post, but they’re basically small, family-owned restaurants that make their own wine and home-cooked Canarian food) the Anaga National Park is a hidden gem.
This park is often overlooked in favor of Tenerife’s (and Spain’s) highest peak, the Teide volcano. Thanks to a fancy cable car and lots of marketing, most visitors will head to Teide instead of Anaga.
Really, you should visit both if you can, but if hiking through several microclimates and visiting what feels like a tropical rainforest in the middle of a volcanic island all by your lonesome, than Anaga is your spot. And did I mention breathtaking sea and mountain views?
The park, which is located in the northeast of the island, seems like a bit of an enigma. With many different hikes, it can be tough to decide exactly which ones to do or how to prepare. When searching the internet, I found very little helpful information in English.
So, I pulled together some key tips to help you plan your visit to Anaga.
- Wear layers. Be prepared for all kinds of weather. During my hike, at different times of day, altitudes and microclimates, I needed the following: sunblock, a hat, a raincoat, sunglasses, a puffer coat, a tank top, a long-sleeved shirt and a scrarf. Pack a backpack accordingly and be prepared for any and all weather possibilities.
- First stop: the visitor’s center. Parking is tough and there may be a line, but stopping there was essential. Staff asked us what style (easy, medium or difficult) of hike we wanted to do and the preferred length in order to help us pick the right hike from the many available routes. Without them, we would have been lost. Staff does speak English if you need it!
- Pick your poison. For those wanting a three-to-four-hour adventure with medium difficulty, I highly recommend the Roque de Taborno hike. Basically, you park a few kilometers away from the visitor center at Casa Carlos bar (it was closed when we were there, but there are several parking spaces). You hike along Path 2, changing to Path 2.1 to Path 9 until you reach the tiny village of Taborno. From there, you take Path 2 all the way back to your car. Note that the beginning of the hike is mostly downhill, and at the end you’ll have to go up, so save some energy for that last section. The middle of the hike is varied, going both up and down. You’ll pass through a cloud forest, over rocky cliffs and tree-lined mountains and enjoy epic views of the sea. The village of Taborno boasts the famous towering Taborno Rock which you can march right up to and check out.
- Be open to well, anything. We didn’t see much wildlife along the hike except for an excess of small lizards and salamanders. But we did stumble upon Bar Hilario, a tiny bar in the village of Taborno. The owner, Hilario himself, is about 100-years-old, mostly deaf and speaks only Spanish with a Canarian accent. He’ll likely sing to you and his cats too. It’s the perfect pit stop for a truly local experience. Don’t forget to sign the wall (points to anyone who can find my signature!).
There you have it — the perfect day hike to do in Tenerife’s Anaga National Park. For those of you wanting a one-hour jaunt or a super intense eight-hour route, there are definitely options. Or, you can simply drive through the park, have a picnic or stop at the many viewpoints if hiking isn’t your thing.