Santa Cruz Stories and Tips

Driving in the Anaga Mountains

Igueste Photo, Tenerife, Canary Islands

The Anaga Mountains are right on the very north-eastern part of Tenerife. This area is completely unspoilt, not many tourists seem to venture here and when you are driving, you meet hardly any cars. This is as far from the beaches and tourist resorts as you can get, it really feels like you have entered another world.

We left Las Teresitas beach and drove towards the village of Igueste. This is in the mountains, as soon as you start climbing, the scenery changes and becomes rocky and dramatic. Igueste is only 7 km away from Las Teresitas, but it takes a little while to drive there. It is worth paying a visit to this small and quiet village. You need to drive until you can go no further - the road ends here. It is untouched by tourism. We drove right to the end of the road, parked our car near the bus stop and got out to explore. The setting is beautiful - right in the mountains. Walk up the slope behind the bus-stop until you come to the little church - Iglesia San Pedro. It is beautiful with a statue of Christ on the roof with arms outstretched. It is a bit like a miniature version of the famous Rio de Janeiro statue. The backdrop with the mountains and the statue in front makes a perfect scene.

The Anaga Mountains, though a dramatic, remote wilderness are a good place to drive. The road can be steep and winding at times, but it is well maintained and very safe. Our 9 year old, at times, did feel a little travel sick, but we loved the journey.

The Anaga Mountains are actually, geologically speaking, the oldest part of Tenerife. They were formed 8 million years ago as a result of volcanic activity. Everywhere you look there are rocky pinnacles, ravines and nature at its best. It is very green. This part of the island gets more rain than the south and when we visited, there was a lot of cloud around, but the green landscape makes up for this. There are lots of misty forests and tiny settlements perched on the edge of the mountains.

If you drive along the TF12, be sure to head for Pico del Ingles. There are the most wonderful views to be had from here. You can see La Laguna, the North Airport, Santa Cruz and even Mount Teide. There are miradors (view points) everywhere, you are spoilt for choice where to stop and take a picture. Be sure though, no matter how deserted the place seems, that you lock your car and take all your belongings with you. I left an empty bag on the back seat of our car and it was stolen in the time it took us to take a picture. Despite the remote and beautiful location, there is some petty crime here.

At Cruz del Carmen there is a very good visitors centre. It has displays and information about the mountains, wildlife, plants etc.. They also have really good (free) walking guides. There is a little church here too and what looked like a nice restaurant. If you go behind the restaurant there is a lovely viewpoint. You look down over the little village of Chinamada - apparently lots of its inhabitants still live in caves! Look out for lizards here too - we saw some really huge ones.

We loved exploring these wonderful mountains. Everywhere you look there is a picture postcard view. It felt like we were the only people around, it is so removed from the tourist trail. The landscape is breath-takingly beautiful, the twists and turns in the road bring you to yet another wonderful and unforgettable vista.

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