Anaga Rural Park: A Travel Guide
The incredible Anaga Park in the north of Tenerife is an area with a unique nature and atmosphere. Thanks to its special geological structure and diversity of species, Anaga has become the ecological centre of Tenerife. Do you want to know what is so special about Anaga Tenerife? How to get there? Which trail should you take with the kids? How to prepare for the trip to Anaga rural park? Then this article is for you.
Is Anaga Rural Park worth a visit?
Anaga is the most beautiful place in Tenerife. I’ve visited many mountains and national parks in different countries, but Anaga Park left a special mark in my soul. This park is really different from most national parks.
Anaga Park is rich in untouched nature that impresses with the beauty of the laurel groves and mountains. The extraordinary nature of this place makes me come here again and again. And on each trip, I get new impressions and see new perspectives. There is something magical and mysterious in these forests and mountains. Walking around Anaga, I feel like a hero of a fairy tale. These forests are so ancient that it seems as if dinosaurs walked through them once.
Anaga Tenerife is a favourite weekend destination among locals of the island. They especially like to come here in the summer to cool off and enjoy a walk in the shade of the trees. Due to its altitude and unique climate, Anaga is not hot, even in summer, while in the island’s south, it feels like on a frying pan.
The mountains and forests of Anaga are one of Tenerife’s three volcanic ranges. Gorgeous landscapes and secluded beaches, picturesque cliffs, and damp laurel thickets are Mediterranean vegetation that has survived since prehistoric times. Even the heather here reaches up to 10 metres in height!
Anaga Rural Park is the oldest part of Tenerife. A volcanic eruption created the Anaga mountains around 8 million years ago. In 1987 the Anaga area received a status of a natural park. Since 2015 it is also a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, with a total surface area of 140 km². It is the site with one of the highest concentration of endemic species in Europe and one of Tenerife’s most precious natural treasures. These forests and mountains cover 8% of the island.
The highest point is the peak of Cruz de Taborno with an altitude of 1024m above sea level.
So, is Anaga Rural Park worth a visit? IMHO, yes yes yes yes yes!!!
Anaga Tenerife: A Bit Of History
The name “Anaga” is derived from the chief of the ancient Guanches (Menceyato de Anaga), who inhabited the island before the Spanish conquest. In the past, Tenerife was divided into nine zones ruled by chiefs. As the easternmost part, it was under the rule of Chief Beneharo el de Anaga.
Anaga is the area with the richest Guanche archaeological finds in the Canary Islands. Most of the mummies were found in the municipality of Santa Cruz de Tenerife. Most notable among the findings is the San Andrés mummy, a very well-preserved Guanche mummy. It is now housed in the Museum of Nature and Man in Santa Cruz de Tenerife.
Flora of Anaga Tenerife
The mountains of Anaga are so high that they reach up to the clouds. Their peculiar location and the trade winds make this area particularly humid compared to other parts of the island. The high humidity and altitude encourage the growth of various unique plants and laurel forests.
Different terrain, climate, and soil conditions have produced very diverse flora. You can see here these plants: Tamarix canariensis, Astydamia latifolia, Euphórbia balsamifera, Argyranthemum frutescens, Dracaena draco, Juniperus turbinata, wild olive trees Olea cerasiformis, and many others.
One of the most interesting formations of the massif is the Monteverde woods. This is a belt of evergreen, deciduous forest; many of its species are Tertiary relics!!! It is the oldest primeval forest on the island and one of the oldest forests in Europe.
Although Anaga is a national park and part of it is under UNESCO protection, there are 26 settlements within the park: Afur, Almáciga, El Bailadero, Las Casas de la Cumbre, La Cumbria, Chamorga, El Dragillo, Lomo las Bodegas, Roque Negro, Taborno, Taganana, Las Montañas, Vía Brosque, Vieja Crispin, Vie Grande, Vieja Luis and Viejo Tahodio.
The area has always attracted people with its beauty, climate, and uniqueness. People gradually settled both on the coast and high up in the mountains, building small houses on the slopes and cultivating the local land. Due to the existing steep slopes throughout the massif, there is a lack of agricultural soil. The locals cultivated crops in the ravines and on the slopes of the mountains in the form of ladders. Many agrarian lands are now abandoned due to high energy costs and difficulty in growing vegetables and other crops.
The gardens on the mountain slopes are very reminiscent of the Bali landscape.
Potatoes are considered the main crop and are planted in the wetter, higher altitude areas. Over 20 types of potatoes are grown by locals in Tenerife.
Vineyards require dry and sunny sites. The wine grown here has a certain local prestige because locals can produce only a relatively small number of wines.
In the lowlands, you can find banana plantations and the avocado fruit plant, which belongs to the laurel family, too.
Livestock farming is scarce due to the rocky terrain and lack of pastures. Therefore, the inhabitants of Anaga mainly keep goats and use the milk to produce goat’s cheese, which is almost always available on the tables of the local settlement. Watching the villages and people of Anag is a special anthropological pleasure. Time seems to have stopped here. Or maybe the people of Anaga have learnt the secret to happiness that you have nowhere to hurry?
What to do in Anaga Rural Park?
Fans of trekking and hiking and those who simply like non-touristy places and nature will love Anaga. There is an information centre in the village of Cruz de Carmen where you can get information on the forest and its trails.
Anaga Park is accessible to people of all ages and levels of fitness.
Various trails with different levels of difficulty are available. Everyone will find a trail that suits them.
Some trails can lead hikers suddenly into tiny villages, where you will see residents leading a secluded lifestyle.
There are also cliff-top trails that lead down to the ocean. There are also great spots for rock climbers.
Campers can even spend the night in the park – Tenerife is known to be free of poisonous animals and insects, which makes for a pleasant overnight stay.
The trail winds from side to side, down into gorges, and out over the cliff tops. From the top, when the weather is nice, you can see the Mercedes Mountains and the ocean in the distance. All this will make your trip to Anaga Park an unforgettable one.
Apart from trekking, I recommend hiking down to the magical dark volcanic sand beaches and visiting the fishing village of Taganana.