I asked a regular visitor to the Canary Islands, about going off the beaten track in Tenerife, she recommended that I visit Garachico, maybe you should too!
Before modern tourism started in the south of the island in the 1960’s the main towns were based in the north. The damper climate makes for good conditions to grow fruit and vegetables and over the years allowed for a steady agricultural activity. A visit to the main old towns and villages of the north of the island give a cultural and historical perspective to Tenerife. An interesting day trip if you want to take a break from the beach, is to visit Garachico. Once the main port of Tenerife the town was wealthy and busy in the 15th and 16th centuries. Sugarcane and rum were shipped to mainland Europe, Britain and America. Beautiful and spectacular buildings in the town tell us of that prosperous past.
How to get there.
A taxi from Playa de Las Americas or Los Cristianos will cost around €70 one way. An alternative is to take the public bus with the Titsa company. These buses serve the local population in the little towns and villages and so there are many stops on the way. This route climbs up the side of the volcano Teide mountain (the highest mountain in all of Spain) and has spectacular and awe inspiring views of the coast and the Atlantic ocean. The locals call a bus a “guagua” and the bus station is “la estación de guaguas”. The one serving the resorts is Estacion de guaguas de Adeje. Buy a Tenmas card in the station for €2 and you top it up as you go along. The fare to Garachico (via Icod) is €12.50 return (bus no. 460 to Icod and then number 363 to Garachico). Buses leave for this route more or less every 2 hours. The journey takes around and hour and forty minutes. You transfer to another bus at the town of Icod for the ten minute trip to Garachico.
In Garachico get off at the old harbour. The disused warehouse on the quays used to house the farmers’ co-op and here local produce was packed for transport to the other islands and mainland Spain. Next to it, on the seafront, is the San Miguel castle, a defence fortress to protect the town.
This is a quiet town compared to the bustle of the resorts in the south. It now has a population of 5,000. It has a surprisingly large parish church, Santa Ana, which was built in the 16th century. The architecture of the older towns and cities of the Canary Islands is very reminiscent of architecture you might see in South America.
View this post on Instagram
Christopher Columbus stopped at the Canary Islands (Tenerife and Gran Canaria) several times for supplies on his way from Europe to discover America. The Spanish and Canary Islanders took their influence to America and brought back with them American crops such as tobacco, potatoes and tomatoes.
The town’s fortunes changed after volcanic eruptions in the 17th century filled the port with lava flows and traders started to use the port of Puerto de la Cruz.
What to see and do when you visit Garachico
The town is really well kept and conserved. When you visit Garachico make sure you bring your swimming togs and check out the natural rock pools (El Caleton), which are a major attraction on this coastline. The village square, Plaza de la Libertad, is the central point of the town where the powers of authority (the town hall and the church) are located. The hotel La Quinta Roja is worth a visit for its tastefully renovated 16th century architecture, the former home of the Marquis of the Red Inn.
View this post on Instagram
Where to eat when you visit Garachico
For lunch we looked up a traditional Canary cuisine eatery, Bar Tasca Los Pinos. We had, and recommend, the grilled cheese (queso asado), the garlic prawns (gambas al ajillo), small green peppers (pimientos de padrón) and grilled cuttlefish (choco a la plancha). Our bill was €39 for two, including a half litre of wine which was only €5.00!
Go off the beaten track during your next holiday in Tenerife and visit Garachico. It is a lovely way to see the authentic Tenerife and a nice break from the hotel pool!
Special thanks to fellow Irish travel hodophile Frances Ryan for writing this post. Frances is a lover of Spain and a regular visitor to Tenerife.
Like this post? You might like: