Once the TF-12 road leaves San Andres and Las Teresitas beach behind, if you are brave enough to accept the challenge, you can take the winding road into the Anaga Rural Park, famed for the enormous cliffs that epitomise this mountainous region and considered to be the most beautiful part of the island. I have only been twice to this relatively remote area, the first time it rained heavily and there was little to see through the steamy coach windows but enough that I knew the journey had to be made a second time.
The next trip was more successful, although I did not know at the time that the sea of clouds we drove through magically materialise at some point almost 365 days of the year. This is the area where it is not unheard of for villages to be cut off from the rest of the world due to heavy rainfall and landslides. At the time of our second visit though the weather started off bright and sunny and despite the sun playing hide-and-seek with the clouds, there were some spectacular views of the coast.
If you are lucky and it happens to be clear, you can catch a glimpse of Gran Canaria on the horizon. The keen photographer should make the most of the viewing points at Monte de las Mercedes and Cruz del Carmen. The panoramic vistas that open up before you, may be typical tourist snaps but the opportunity should not be missed otherwise once you start scrambling across the rough terrain and on worn and narrow paths the last thing on your mind, at least the last thing on MY mind is the click of a camera. It is only afterwards that I regret this as many sensational views are missed.
Along the way, you will find small restaurants where you can stop to enjoy typical Canarian cuisine, such as puchero, however we knew where we were heading, the tiny village of Taganana, one of the oldest and remotest in Tenerife – it is also one of the most difficult to get to. Until 1968 the only way into or out of the village was by boat or on foot. A visit to Taganana today means negotiating many hairpin bends that weave around the side of the mountains. Not for the fainthearted but certainly rewarding once you are there.
There is not much in the village other than a small square with a delightful old parish church, Our Lady of the Snows, cobbled streets and a beautiful flat sandy beach.
During our visit the unpredictable weather had changed from sun to drizzle and the salty spray of the ocean chilled us, forcing us to cut short our walk along the beach. It wasn’t a problem though as we were planning on stopping for lunch at Casa Africa where for a couple of Euros you can indulge in the catch of the day. Although not a word of English is spoken here, you can forget practicing your Spanish. There is no menu, just lots of delicious fish and salad served to the accompaniment of locals, laughing, chatting and playing music to entertain the diners. I would suggest if you are driving you forego the local wine, whilst it tastes delicious it is exceptionally strong – so before you hit the bottle just think back to the twisting road!
Before making the return journey south it is worth continuing into the laurel woods, reminiscent of those depicted in many a fairy tale where the prince on his charger follows the network of paths, stumbles over rocky crags and outcrops and scales the mountainside to reach his princess. The forests are lush, dark and damp and feel as if there has never been a hint of human interference.
Alternatively, you can visit Playa de Benijos, Bajamar and Punta del Hidalgo. In just a few minutes, you will find yourself surrounded by families and naturists enjoy sunbathing and the crystal clear water disturbed only by waves breaking on the shore.
The above 4 images are courtesy of Tenerife Tourist Board.
Despite its great beauty, the region is still relatively unexplored it genuinely is a “Hidden Gem” postcard perfect but make sure you wrap up warm and take a brolly.