Masca is Tenerife's own Canary Islands Shangri-La
The forgotten village of Masca
The mountain village of Masca, for many years, was one of Tenerife’s hidden away secrets, and it was actually called the “forgotten village” of the Canary Islands because until the 1990s there was no road to take you there.
There was only some 150 people living in it and they were cut off from the rest of the island. The only way to and from Masca was either a long and difficult scramble down its ravine to the sea and then leaving by boat or an even longer and more arduous trek over the mountains around it.
So Masca was a real life Shangri-La hidden away from the outside world by the steep mountain passes around it. Today, however, an incredible road that was created in 1991 snakes its way from Santiago del Teide to Masca, and then carries on to Buenavista del Norte.
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The road to Masca
The road into Masca zigzags its way and has a very many hairpin bends. The sheer precipitous drops down into the valleys below means that it is not a suitable road for anyone who has a fear of heights. It may well put off many a driver too.
Fortunately, a Tenerife bus service run by the TITSA company goes to Masca several times day. It has to be a minibus, however, because it is impossible to get a normal-sized bus around the hairpin bends safely.
The Masca bus runs from Santiago del Teide or from Buenavista de Norte in the Teno area of north-western Tenerife.
There are also many tour companies that run excursions to Masca. Some of these include a 30-minute boat-taxi to take you back to civilisation in the resort of Los Gigantes.
Boats are only of any use to people, who are able to make it down the steep ravine though, and it can be as much as three hours to get down to the sea from the village.
Masca is one of the most picturesque places to visit on Tenerife. The village has a tiny square and a very small church. There are a number of bar-restaurants and gift shops selling local produce and items of interest to tourists.
The restaurants serve some of the best of Canary Islands traditional dishes, and as a novelty you can sample real cactus ice-cream.
Masca is of great interest to botanists and naturalists because several rare wild flower species can be found in the area. Some endemic species, such as the Houseleek (Aeonium mascaense), are only found in this one location.
Wild Canary Island Date Palms still grow in groves in Masca, making the village one of the only places on Tenerife where this native tree can be seen in its natural glory.
Masca is one of the "must-see" locations in Tenerife, and is well worth visiting by anyone who wants to really experience what the island of Tenerife has to offer.
© 2010 Steve Andrews
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