Adventure #2: Garachico
If your idea of an adventure is hopping in a car with no set destination and just finding interesting things along the way, then Tenerife is an island that will fulfill your inner explorer. One of my favorite things to do is get in the car and see where the road takes me. On my last trip to the island I had the chance to explore the cultural north.
The magical town of Garachico is located on the northwestern part of the island in an area known as “Isla Baja – Low Island”. Upon getting out of the car, I instantly felt at home; it reminded me of one of my favorite towns back home with a distinctively colonial Spanish flare.
Along Garachico’s rugged coastline is the main promenade, “El Caleton” where you will find the famous natural salt water lava formed pools. Here, you can safely swim between the lava rocks, as long as the ocean swells aren’t too large that day. A little further up is the Castle of San Miguel which was built in the 16th century. Since Garachico was the busiest port on the island at that time, the Spanish constructed a fort to protect the town from their various adversaries. From this vantage point you have a great view of the towns’ trademark, Roque de Garachico, a small uninhabitable and not easily reached islet.
After taking in the mesmerizing coastline, enjoy taking a stroll on the cobblestone streets. It’s mainly residential but you will find family run boutiques with local crafts; small café’s where you will overhear the locals arguing over the days’ soccer game, which later will undoubtedly turn into a heated political discussion. The people, the Garachiquenses, are passionate and love their hometown and welcome visitors in a non-aggressive way, making your stay much more enjoyable.
Should you fall in love, the way most visitors do with Garachico, you can plan an overnight stay for your next visit. Smartly, the local government keeps hotel construction to a minimum. You won’t find the large hotel chains in Garachico, rather small boutique hotels like the Hotel San Roque, where an18th century manor has been converted into a well appointed hotel, with each of its unique suites showcasing local modern art.
The beauty of Garachico is that it’s off the beaten path. Most visitors hear of the town while on island speaking to locals mainly because of it’s small town charm. And for nature lovers, don’t forget to visit the village of Icod de los Vinos, where you can check out the oldest Drago tree, estimated at 1,000 years old and one of the landmark icons on the island.
Until next time, adventure seekers!