There are some great walks right on the doorstep of the major tourist resorts in Tenerife, this one beginning in the town of Los Cristianos is no exception, taking in two nature reserves and breathtaking views of the town and the south coast.
The walk begins next to Casa Carolina, (the old villa on the sea-front at the end of the promenade), from here we head along a dusty track past the rocky beach towards Montaña Guaza (Guaza Mountain). The entire mountain is a protected natural space, which given the rate of expansion of Los Cristianos is very fortunate. We spurn the rather obvious “tourist route” and instead take the less troden path to the right, which takes us up towards the cliffs. Whilst at no point are we walking along a precipice, a good head for heights is recommended, as is a camera because the views are fabulous.
Once on top of the cliffs we follow the track meandering around the plateau, we see old quarries used to gather stones for the farm field walls and terracing which abound the plateau. We walks through a rocky landscape surrounded by tabaiba, cactus and Canary Island Spurge before descending down a steep scree slope to the village of Palm Mar.
A quick pause for a snack and drink and we set out again, picking up a coastal track on the other side of the village. We now enter Malpais de la Rasca, which is also a nature reserve, ‘malpais’ literally means badlands and in Tenerife is synonymous with rugged lava fields, however, we have a decent path to follow which takes us around Punta de la Rasca and on towards the lighthouse.
La Rasca, for those that are interested, literally means “the ordinary one”, which rather undersells this area, yet every geographical feature between Palm Mar and Las Galletas uses its name. There’s a Mountain called La Rasca, the headland is called Punta de la Rasca and even the lighthouse is known as Faro de la Rasca.
And it is the lighthouse that is our next landmark, which in the heat of summer offers a welcome tower of shade and some iconic photos. From here we embark on the last leg of our journey towards the fishing port of Las Galletas. We pass banana plantations and disused farm fields before winding around the headland and discovering a small beach the locals have seeming managed to keep as a secret from us ex-pats.
Eventually we emerge at the Red Cross station overlooking the main beach and harbour of Las Galletas, arriving just in time for a seafood lunch at one of the sea-front restaurants. Suitably refreshed we return to Los Cristianos by bus.
Walking Route: Los Cristianos – Las Galletas
Distance: 14km (9 miles approx)
Ascent/Descent: 150 metres (450 feet)