You may not think of hiking trails when Tenerife is mentioned, when in fact you can get quite a lot of hiking done in the Canary Islands. Although it looks arid and dry, especially when you hike Mt. Teide, Tenerife has a lot of wonderful treks through lush forests, scattered with Spanish moss and all sorts of alpine plants. We didn't expect to have such a lovely hike, and above all, end up having the adventure of a lifetime! In fact, in my opinion, hiking is of the best things to do in Tenerife.
One morning, halfway through our stay in Tenerife, we decided to go out of Puerto de la Cruz and find an awesome trail to hike. We had a map with some info about the terrain but nothing too detailed. Some locals recommend we take the bus from Puerto de la Cruz and we go up the hills, to La Caldera.
The journey proved to be extraordinary! The views were absolutely spectacular, and the driver had to manoeuvre the bus on narrow roads and crazy steep hills. The curves were super tight and we felt as if we got a cheap rollercoaster ride. It was totally worth it! Little we knew the actual adventure was just about to start.
We got off the bus and we looked around a little confused. With a little help from our map, we managed to find ourselves at the beginning of the trail. Few large signs showed us the route. We were at Casa Forestal. There are three trails you can follow: a yellow, a red and a blue.
The trail starts from the TF-21 and carries a small circular walk. It's not difficult at all. After a mile or so you will find an intersection with Benijos. There is a lookout there where you can enjoy some amazing views of the Orotava Valley.
Our hike started well. We walked through a very foggy forest which looked incredibly mysteries and secretive. It made us feel as if we're in some sort of thriller movie, the adrenaline kicked in and we very much enjoyed every bit of the experience. There was lots of hanging Spanish moss which could barely be seen through the fog and only made the landscape look so much more surreal.
As we continued to ascend, the fog became less obvious and the sun rays started to warm us up. After a while, the rays became a little too strong and this got us tired quicker.
We didn't prepare for such long hike either, foolishly enough we didn't bring enough water nor hats to protect ourselves from a potential sunstroke. In all honesty, the whole island looked completely covered in clouds, so we thought there isn't any need for sun lotion. I guess we did not expect to be able to ascend above the clouds. As you can image, the lookouts offered some incredible views.
The views were so worth it. We could see Mt Teide, a valley covered in clouds and tall pines raising majestically, dominating the landscape. We stopped for lunch some pre-packed food and enjoy the views for well over an hour. Once on the road again, we followed the path and the signs, although some of them really didn't make as much sense as we would have hoped.
Eventually, we started to descend and make our way back to the bus stop. We knew our last bus was due just before 5 pm so we had plenty of time to get there. Or so we thought...
After a little while, we found ourselves back in the misty, colder forests. When we checked the time, we realised it was already 4 o'clock. Damn, time flies when you're having fun. We looked around and that's when we first realised we might have missed a sign. We continued descending and walking towards what we thought it was the bus stop.
We stumbled across some very tiny village and that's when we realised we were actually lost. We stopped to catch our breath when I saw this very peculiar tree. Naturally, I went to check it out, but the moment I got close to it, this old lady came out of the house and started talking to us. The problem was that she spoke absolutely no English and my Spanish is a way too broken to make much sense. Since we were lost and she was a local, I took the liberty to ask her, in Spanish, yes, where we are. "dónde estamos" I kept saying.
I must have sounded like some crazy broken robot. She started talking for a good five minutes in a super fast Spanish...whoooooa. I understood the main pointers and directions so we thanked her very much and continue our walk. I heard the word "Iglesia" several times which I know it means church. We made sure to keep an eye on a church tower or something which supposed to be on the way to the bus stop.
When we finally got to the church (whooohooo alegría), we thought we should ask another local for directions. Since they were much younger, we thought we might have a chance of speaking in English. That was not the case. I understood part of the conversation when one of the men told his son to drive us to the bus stop since he's going that way anyway. They seemed pretty normal and cool so I wasn't too worried. They offered to give us a lift to the bus stop...all of this in Spanish.
G doesn't understand any Spanish whatsoever, so it was pretty funny to tell him "hey, let's jump in this guy's car, he's taking us to the bus stop". His car looked totally old and in terrible condition, but we went with our instincts and thought, hey, it's an adventure. It's two of us and only one of him, what can go wrong. Luckily, we didn't jinx ourselves.
The kid turned out to be super nice. He really tried making conversation with us, although he spoke some bizarre English and I answered in some freakish Spanish. The point of the matter is that without his kind help, we would have totally missed the last bus back to Puerto de la Cruz. He dropped us off right at the stop and we only had to wait for another three minutes before the bus turned up. How lucky is that?
The whole thing seemed like a fun adventure dream. At the end, we could not believe we walked through a cloud, managed to get lost and got a lift from a complete stranger...all in one day. I guess the best adventures happen when you don't plan on them.
Till today, this Tenerife memory remains one of our fondest hiking experiences.