Sunday, May 16, 2010

Adventurous Hikes At Masca

MASCA is the second highest populated village on the island, after Parque Nacional del Teide. It is located at an impressive gorge that is as isolated as it is picturesque. This village is considered the prettiest village in Tenerife. With flocks of tourists arriving in the mornings and late evenings, the village is beset with activity. It was only recently, in 1991 that this village was connected to the outside world by road.

Enriching Hikes

This village offers pretty sights such as old stone houses that give luscious and relaxing palm tree views as well as steep ravines that run down to the Atlantic Ocean. An early hike down the narrow gorge leading to the sea before coming on to the valley is a really memorable experience while at Tenerife.

For those who are adventurous, you can hike from the coast to the village which takes about 3 hours.

The fertile valley is a spacious habitat for its 600 inhabitants at one time, now dwindling down to about 100 with many stone houses left vacant. The remaining inhabitants stay to service the tourists.

The hardier hiker can enjoy a 6 hour hike up and down the challenging Barranco de Masca which is sloped steeply, linking the village to the sea. It is a straightforward path although the gorge has some loose rocks and hands are required to steady one’s hike; nevertheless, it is relatively easy for most experienced hikers.

It is truly an amazing hike as the ravine can go as high as 600 meters above sea level with its narrowest path being 20 meters wide, but this is where the best of landscapes is, as you will view splendid and impressive swirling rock formations and unique vegetation. Soon, the crashing sea waves against the rocks turn into stillness as you head back towards the beach, but strong sea currents here prevent safe swimming.

Getting to Masca

The best mode of transportation to Masca is by car. If you are on a budget or do not want to drive up the challenging steep slopes, the public buses are an alternative but they are not very frequent. The third possibility is to join a guided hike to the valley which is usually offered at most major coastal resorts that also throw a shuttle ride into the town, as well as a boat transfer from the beach after you have enjoyed your hike of the Masca canyon.

Accommodation at Masca

There are not too many available accommodations in Masca itself, as most visitors come for a day trip. Nevertheless, you can find some decent place to stay at a German-managed converted schoolhouse in the village, called El Guanche that offers rooms with shared toilets and half-board.

There are many appropriately located bars and restaurants around town which open for business from noon to 6 o’clock pm. One of the best eateries in this village is Chez Arlette, located near the town church and main road, which offers a splendid view of the valley while serving excellent home-made refreshing lemonade and tasty local fare like the popular tangy grilled lamb and crispy corn cakes.