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Island Walks

Real Tenerife Discover Tenerife on Foot

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The Santiago del Teide Valley

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Located between 900 and 1200 metres above sea level in the sunny southwest of Tenerife, the Santiago Valley is a delightfully unspoilt rural area with the pretty hamlet of Santiago del Teide at its heart. One of the last preserves of the Guanche (original inhabitants of Tenerife) and site of the last volcanic eruption on the island, the Santiago del Teide Valley is dotted with tiny hamlets where small communities continue to farm primarily by hand and traditional crafts such as pottery still thrive.

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Including the tranquil nature reserve of the Erjos pools, these walks also take you across the Chinyero National Park and the Corona Forestal to the quaint hamlet of Arguayo with its tradition of hand thrown pottery. Trails pass through landscapes that move from fertile valley, through volcanic wasteland to dense pine forest and mountain path. And with changes in terrain come changes in climate, from the cool and humid Erjos to the hot, arid west facing ridges above the cliffs of Los Gigantes; it’s like walking on two distinct islands.

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Into

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Santiago del Teide, Erjos Pools & Arguayo

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Opposite, you can see the abandoned Casa Montiel; an idyllic little place with stunning views over the south west coast and now in need of a lick of paint. If you decide to explore it, watch for the killer rose bush at the entrance to the house.

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3. Crop Circles (1 hr 5 mins) The path slogs upwards from Casa Montiel for 300 metres with the horizon stretching further as you climb until eventually you can see all the way from Playa Paraiso in the south to Varadero in the west. The path levels out and begins to undulate and 10 mins or so after leaving Casa Montiel you reach a disused tank on the right side of the path, alongside a dried up fountain. The water pipe is now running along your right hand side. Ahead you can see your destination; Montaña Tejina with its small white shrine atop. The land here was formerly used for growing cereals; wheat, barley, lentils and chickpeas were all grown here and the Top: Abandoned houses of Las Fuentes. Right: Prickly pear at Casa Montial

landscape is riddled with circular stone ‘eras’ or threshing circles, now half hidden by overgrown weeds and grasses. The water pipe eventually crosses the path and stepping over it, you leave it to go its own way as you continue ahead on the clearly defined path.

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A Glimpse of Rural Life La Caldera to Aguamansa (2 hrs 11mins) This is a shorter, gentler walk which takes you through open countryside as well as woodland. It may not have the spectacular views of the Los Órganos route but it traverses beautiful country meadows filled with wild flowers and gives you a glimpse into the stunning rural landscape of Aguamansa. With a trout farm and birds of prey sanctuary set in woodlands and gardens to throw into the mix, this makes for an interesting and varied half day ramble. 1. Stepping Out (33 mins) Follow the tarmac road which begins at the left hand side of the car park past the log cabin bar/restaurant La Caldera on your left and the picnic zone sitting in its crater on your right. At the corner, leave the tarmac road and continue straight ahead on the wide forest pista (path) signposted: ‘Pista Norte Del Pino’. Beyond the giant pines you can see the fertile ridge which you’ll be traversing and below it, slightly to the left, the organ pipe rock formation known as Los Órganos.

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Discover More The Trout Farm Not only a trout farm, but a nursery and wild bird sanctuary as well, this little gem of a place is hardly publicised, but is definitely worth a detour. Clear mountain water gushes through wooden channels into rows of troughs filled with speckled trout. There’s also a duck pond where a path leads beyond the nursery to the wild bird sanctuary in the centre of the woods. Amongst the rescued birds are a couple of permanently startled looking owls, a buzzard, an eagle and an incredibly vain raven which insists on telling you how ‘guapo’ (pretty) he is. It’s a treasure of a place in an absolutely delightful setting. (Immediately after the U bend just beyond the Aguamansa Restaurant; open daily 10.00 to 15.00)

5. Arguayo to Las Manchas (1hr) Turn right and walk to the tree in the middle of the junction, turn left up Calle San Agustín. Cross over Calle Candelaria and continue to the T junction with the road mirror. To the right you will see an old wine press. Turn left, keeping the blue house on your left hand side, and drop downhill to the lovely pottery museum of Cha’ Domitila.

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Cross the road at the sculptures of the women potters of Arguayo and climb the concrete slope and steps on the far side. At the top, follow the path to the left and revel in the fabulous views that unfold as you traverse this beautiful path around the mountain. Below you lie the Santiago del Teide valley and the village of Tamaimo and on the coast you can see to the pretty resort of Playa de la Arena. Below: Potter at work

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Discover More

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Cha Domitila Pottery Centre Pottery making in this area is a tradition which stretches back to Guanche times. The post conquest settlers continued with the tradition and their descendants have similarly taken up the mantle, ensuring that the craft is kept alive. The little pottery museum is right off the normal tourist track and deserves your patronage. Not only is it situated in a charming little building with a lovely leafy courtyard, it’s an interesting reminder of life in the area in the not too distant past…and you get to see potters at work. (+34) 922 863 465; Carretera General, 34, Arguayo; entrance free; 10.00-13.00 & 16.00-19.00, closed Monday Farmer’s Market If you happen to be in the area at the weekend, there’s a farmer’s market in Santiago del Teide; these are the best places to stock up on local fruits, vegetables, herbs and some of the valley’s quaffable wines. Open Saturday & Sunday mornings.

Tarmac Road

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Walking route Restaurant

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Picnic area

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Information Village

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Single House

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Route Difficulty: Level 3 Good thigh muscle workout, but within the range of reasonably fit walkers. Adding on the Punta del Hidalgo detour brings it up to a level 4 walk.

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right hand side. Continue past the green fencing until you reach a turning to the right where some derelict houses mark the once abandoned settlement of La Hoya where now some renovation is taking place and people are moving back.

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The route turns right here, following the sign for the casa rural with the old well on the corner, but just further along the road is an old tile oven which you might want to explore before you continue.

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be a car parked at the entrance here so be careful not to miss it. A green dot on a rock shows that this is the start of the path. 2. Outskirts of San Miguel (14 mins) The old path zigzags along through pleasant farmland past prickly pears and tabaiba, passing a lovely new finca where purple clematis climbs the side of the building and vines hang over the top of the wall. After 10 minutes you reach a tarmac road, turn left and continue on the road quickly refinding the path on the right hand side and continue until you reach a fork. Take the right hand fork marked with green arrows on rocks either side of the path. 3. To the Abandoned Village (10 mins) The path zigzags down for 7 minutes until it reaches another tarmac road. Turn left and walk along the road with white jablé lined terraces to the left and a menagerie of donkeys, goats and chickens to the Left: Camino Real; Right: La Hoya; Top, Tile oven

Places to unlace the boots: On this route there’s the Mirador Centinela restaurant at one end and a wonderful selection of good eateries at the other. We recommend timing your walk to end with a tapas lunch at the delightful former tobacco storehouse and post office, La Tasquita de Nino in San Miguel (closed Tuesday).

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