Like a protective arm becalming Los Cristianos, the ridge of Guaza Mountain rises up from the sea to it’s peak 428 metres above the beaches and the Arona Gran Hotel. The tranquillity and views make it a popular walking route and I didn’t need any excuse to revisit a slice of history.
The years melted away as I took the steep stone steps from Playa de Callao and then picked my way along the twisting pathway, I could hear the clicking of hiking sticks from several other walkers ahead and behind me. Los Cristianos opened up below with the mid morning sun bathing the old undeveloped beach, the wide crescent of Las Vistas beach, and Playa de Las Americas beyond. The sea was calm as inter island ferries and pleasure boats glided in and out of port and the exceptionally low tide exposed plenty of damp sand with few early takers for sun bathing duty. That first big climb was just about the toughest bit so cresting the hill to flatter land felt good and the criss cross trails leading away gave me several choices of direction, I was determined to do both main routes.
Heading for the cliff top path I passed through remains of the old tobacco and tomato plantations, this protected reserve attracts many species of birds like the Chiff Chaff and Trumpeter Finch but although I heard their pleasant warbling they steered well clear of me. Near the cliff edge I peered over to see the seagulls wheeling in to their homes in the rock face. Just below them was a Spirograph layout of fish farm cages, many are now abandoned but the active ones are a big draw for sea life clearing up scraps of food.
Barrancos (ravines) were lined with piles of raw slate, this and other stone was quarried in large quantities years ago, the Masca lighthouse in the distance was built from the stone. A path leads down to Palm Mar but I headed inland with the communication aerials on the peak as my target. Stone walls separating terraces are a reminder of the agricultural use of this land and there are a couple of old houses in poor repair.
Eventually reaching the steep final incline to the masts I got some great views down the other side of the mountain to Guaza, and the TF1 motorway heading off to Santa Cruz. There were two aerial compounds with unrestricted access through them, the second afforded me another view of Los Cristianos
A downhill return trip is always quicker but it was still a bit tricky avoiding the smaller shifting stones. Including water, snack, and photo stops the whole trip took just over four hours, you must wear sturdy footwear and take plenty of water and sun cream but most of all, enjoy it.
Written by Colin Kirby and first published by Spring Hoteles
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