From Igueste, we carried on driving through the Anaga Mountains until we reached Taganana. It is only 13 km distance from Santa Cruz, but the drive takes a while because of the twisty, turning mountain roads. It is beautiful. It is easy to find your way - we drove on the TF12 following signs for Taganana, then turned right on the TF134, again following signs to the little town.
Taganana is one of the oldest settlements in Tenerife. It is also one of the most peaceful and serene places you could visit. It is fascinating to think, that only since 1968 has it been possible to drive here. Up until that time, the only way in or out of the village was either by boat or on foot. They built a tunnel through the mountains which changed that, now you can take this road and drive to Taganana.
The road twists, turns and climbs and dips a lot. It is a beautiful drive, but maybe not the best idea if you have children who get car sick. As a rule, our 9 year old does not suffer from this affliction, but he did get queasy during this journey and had to take the front seat.
When you drive through the tunnel, the huge Rock of Souls looms right in front of you - it is stunning. There is a mirador or view point close by. If you carry on driving past the viewpoint for about a mile, there is a layby and a notice board. We parked our car here, crossed the road and walked into Taganana.
The earliest settlers on Tenerife were the Guanche people. They established Taganana. The name means "rock" - pretty obvious when you see the Roque las Animas (Rock of Souls) which really does loom over the village. The whole area was (and still is) very fertile. There are fertile soils, it is lush and green with plenty of water from the forests and mountains above. The Guanche recognised it would be a perfect spot for farming. They have found various Guanche remains here, including some which showed it was the meeting place for the tribal leaders.
The town, as it is now, was established by Hispanic settlers in 1501. They relied on sugar cane and vineyards - both of these are still evident today in this area, and are the major source of the economy for Taganana.
It is a very peaceful place and very quiet. We just strolled through the old cobbled streets, admiring the old Canarian houses. In the centre, is one of the oldest churches on the island - the Iglesia de Nuestra Senora de las Nieves. It was built in 1505. It is a beautiful building, there are benches outside the church, it is nice to sit there, enjoy the quietness and drink in the views of the village surrounded by the steep mountain slopes.
If you look out for signs for a path called the "Camino Real de las Vueltas", this was once a trail for people living in Taganana. They used it to walk to Santa Cruz and La Laguna and bring their wares here to sell. The trail still exists, they say there are so many twists and turns on it, that there is one for each day of the year.