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Tenerife - hike at El Barranco de Masca

Added: November 01, 2011

Tags: Spain cliffs mountains photos
Masca is described in Lonely Planet as a place similar to Macchu Picchu and you could get impression you have just discovered this place if you arrived before 10am. But after 10am, buses with tourists arrive and shops open... They got that after 10am part correctly.

The place is very nice, but small. Fortunately it is not just Masca what you can see here. There is also El Barranco de Masca - a gorge, where you can spend 3-4 hours walking in beautiful and narrow gorge down to ocean. And optionally the same time walking back.

We originally planned to walk down the gorge and back. Simply because we did not know better option how to get back to our car. But Manolo from Mamio Verde suggested we could leave our car in Los Gigantes, take a taxi up to hill (~25km) to Masca, and then after walking to the Masca Bay we can take a boat back to the Los Gigantes.

It was not hard to find a tour operator in Los Gigantes gladly offering us a boat and even suggesting we could take that particular taxi. We did. Taxi fare ended lower than 3 boat tickets. Only catch was that there were only 2 departures from Masca Bay - at 3pm and 4pm.

Cliffs Los Gigantes in morning.

With clouds about 6 hours later

This is example how Canarians imagine tourist architecture. Ugly "concrete moss" covering side of hills. Can be seen at much bigger scale at south of Grand Canaria.


It is just couple of houses. The part where we went is mostly dedicated to tourism, but it looks like there are more back there up to hill. We didn't have much time to explore a village. But what we have seen looks nice.

Sun opens a window of opportunity for us just to take 1 photo. Rest of day will be with clouds.
Masca, Tenerife





There a few houses here and some more back in other direction.


El Barranco de Masca

Surprisingly, there is a notice about this gorge being closed due to fallen rocks at the bay. That does not seem good, but we are going regardless. We will somehow manage to climb over them if needed :-)

Whole gorge is beautiful. It is rather narrow with high walls, winding often. After 2 hours of walking we had a feeling we are close to the bay, just one or two more bends and we are there, but that was not the case for about another hour.

Walls are dark brown or black, many times porous, they sometimes contain light streak of different material. And all those huge boulders fallen down making interesting obstacles.


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Small stream (while we were there) formed beautiful ponds and small waterfalls.

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Small boulders...

... and big boulders everywhere. Sometimes you pass around them, sometimes through small cave below them.



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Vegetation in challenging conditions

There was a lot of vegetation around, but this place offers also many opportunities to find an isolated plant in sheer darkness of rock. Making it much nicer place.

I like them also because they offer a nice point of interest. I could not stop taking photos of them, but I decided not to show them all (I mean even nice photos will not be published here).






Masca Bay

As we were getting closer to bay, we met more and more people and started to hurry more. Just to catch the boat at 3pm and to fit into it. Clearly many people started some time before us. Then we started to meet people going in other direction too. I wonder whether they were already retuning or just decided to go in other direction. But with about 700m elevation it felt better to go down the hill.

Shortly before 3pm we reached the sea. The boat was there, but full. So we needed to wait one hour more for next one. It was very small place, just small opening between 2 cliffs. We sat on pier and waited. Water was rather cold, so it was not the option for us. I was tired and mostly disappointed by our futile effort to get to that boat so I did not enjoy the place much. But I should, because it was nice.