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Aguamansa has cloud forests and a trout farm
Hidden in the clouds
Aguamansa is a unique village in the north of Tenerife with cloud forests right next to it and a trout farm. Fish from the farm are on the menu in local restaurants and it is possible to visit the place too and see the tanks that house the trout.
The Aguamansa fish farm is open from 10 am Mondays to Saturdays and how trout breeding is achieved is explained on the premises. Of course, rearing trout means plenty of fresh water must be in regular supply, so you would probably not expect to find such a venture in operation on Tenerife but it is nevertheless here and very successful.
Aguamansa has the word “agua” for water in its name and the air is frequently full of it because of the dense clouds that often blanket the area.
Aguamansa is located between the town of La Orotava and Mt Teide, and has a regular supply of water running downhill from the mountains above.
The incredible cloud forests of Aguamansa are some of the best of this sort of woodland in the Canary Islands. Endemic species of wild flower grow in the wooded areas, and the Balm of Gilead (Cedronella canariensis) or Té de Canarias, as it is called in Spanish, is one of the plants that does so.
Balm of Gilead has purplish-pink flowers and it gives off a delightful aroma of lemon mixed together with camphor. Balm of Gilead is an important herb in Canary Island folk medicine and used as a treatment for colds, flu and for digestive disorders. As its Spanish name suggests it also makes an excellent herbal tea.
The very damp air in the cloud forest means that lichens, mosses and ferns flourish there too. One of the most distinctive of the lichens is the Old Man’s Beard (Usnea sp.), which can be seen hanging in swathes from the trunks and branches of the Canary Pine (Pinus canariensis).
This lichen looks a lot like the Spanish Moss that grows in American swampland. The tall trees shrouded in mists and the mosses and lichens give the place a real fairytale forest look.
The Tree Heath (Erica arborea), Canary Island Wax Myrtle or Faya (Myrica faya) and other evergreen trees and shrubs form “laurisilva” laurel forest that mixes with the pines.
Above Aguamansa are some high rocky cliffs known as Los Organos from their similarity to organ pipes. Many unique endemic species grow in this area of the woodlands.
The area of Aguamansa is not surprisingly very popular with ramblers and there are several trails and footpaths trekkers can follow. There is also a much-used picnic area higher on up in the part called La Caldera, which is right in the forests.
The TITSA bus service number 345 from Puerto de la Cruz goes to La Caldera and has stops in Aguamansa.
Aguamansa and its magical cloud forests offer a totally different world to what can be enjoyed in the seaside resort of Puerto de la Cruz, which is only a short bus or car journey away. You can go from sampling the delights of a cool and mossy pine forest to sunbathing on a hot and sunny beach.
Many buses and excursions up to Mt Teide go through Aguamansa as they ascend into the highlands and pas through the village again on their way going back, so visitors to the highest mountain in Spain will see the forests and area briefly out of the windows of the vehicle they are in. Some of the wise ones will make another separate trip especially to see this unique village hidden in the clouds.
Copyright © 2012 Steve Andrews. All Rights Reserved.