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Trekking to Teno Alto in Tenerife's northwest
The green mountains of Teno
The Teno peninsula and mountain range provide some of the most beautiful and remote parts of the island of Tenerife.Situated in the extreme Northwest of the island much of the countryside is unspoiled because of the small population of people living in it and the difficulty of access.
There are roads into some parts of Teno but no buses on some of these at all meaning that you either go there by car or on foot. There are many footpaths but they can be very steep in places.
The mountains of Teno, in the Teno Massif or Teno Macizo, are very high in many places and they drop down to the sea with valleys and ravines and rocky cliff-faces. The mountains are very green due to the forests and scrub-land that covers them and the beauty of the countryside is outstanding.
Teno Alto is famous for its goats' cheese
Teno Alto is a village and area famous for its goats' cheese, which is the main produce from the farms in the more remote parts of Teno. Teno Alto is as its name suggests in Spanish "high" up in the mountains.
Teno Alto is far above Punta del Teno, which forms the dividing line between the north and south of Tenerife and can only be reached by the rough road that goes there along the coast or on foot. Punta de Teno has a lighthouse and is one of the most remote parts in all of Tenerife.
Teno Alto can be reached by road from El Palmar and there is a footpath through mountains and forests that leads there too. Some of the climb is very steep in places but the views are breathtaking. The mountain of Baracan in the Teno range is 1,000m high.
It is possible to get buses from Buenavista del Norte, a town on the coast of Teno, most famous for its golf course that was opened by Seve Ballesteros. There are buses that go from Buenavista to Santiago del Teide and stopping at Masca on the way. The TITSA service number 355 is the bus that does this, or you can take the 366 from Buenavista to Las Portelas but get out at El Palmar.
El Palmar has a strange mountain that looks like it cracked into big chunks and is impossible to miss. El Palmar is surrounded by forests and mountains and is very quiet. It has a real rural feel to it.
There is a side road from El Palmar that goes to Teno Alto via Los Pedregales where there is a restored Juniper forest and this is where the footpaths begin.
Along the way to Teno Alto there are plenty of trees that grow in the "laurisilva" laurel forests of Tenerife, and Teno is one of the only places left in the world where this type of woodland exists. You will also pass through forests made up of Tree Heather (Erica arborea), or "Brezo" as it is known in Spanish.
There are loads of wild flowers to be seen an enjoyed ranging from the purple-flowered Pericallis echinata to the orange spikes of the Canary Island Foxglove (Isoplexis canariensis), and you are likely to see the Rockrose (Cistus monospeliensis) and the closely related Jara (C. symphytifolius) with its quite large pink blooms.
It is a real paradise for botanists who will also be likely to discover species of Sideritis, Monanthes, Echium and Lotus amongst the varied flora. Plenty of birds live in the area too.
One part of Teno Alto is known as Los Bailaderos, which suggests that it was where the ancient Guanche people, who were the original islanders of Tenerife before the Spanish conquest, used to gather to dance and celebrate.
If walking there wear suitable clothing for mountains and forests, be prepared for some very steep inclines and make sure you take enough food and drink because there are no shops along the way after you leave El Palmar.
There are a couple of bars in the Teno Alto area though and you can buy goats' cheese too. After a long climb you are sure to be hungry and thirsty!
Teno Alto, Tenerife
© 2010 Steve Andrews