The story of Garachico is that of a small port which became the most important in Tenerife between the 16th and the 17th century. A volcanic eruption in 1706 ended the golden age of a town which retains to the date vestiges of that prosperous era. It is located in the northwest of the island and has a population of approximately 5,000 inhabitants (5.169 INE 2014). It holds the title of “Villa and Port” granted by King Alfonso XIII in 1916. Despite being one of the smaller municipalities of Tenerife, Garachico has countless attractions to enamour all visitors.
Landscape wise, it is important to note that its 29.28 km2 of land cover from the 2,171 masl (meters above the sea level) of the Cerro de Los Roques Blancos mountain to the sea. The vertical distribution of land contributes to differentiate two agricultural areas: the coastal strip, boasting extensive farm dedicated mainly to banana plantations for export, and the midlands area, where agriculture is primarily for home consumption. The municipality comprises part of the protected natural spaces of the Mount Teide National Park, theCorona Forestal Nature Park, the Special Nature Reserve of Chinyero, the Protected Landscape of the cliffs of La Culata and the Site of Scientific Interest of Interián. The municipality also has a Mount of Public Utility known as «Fuente Santa, Iferfe y Monte Frio». However, the jewel of the crown of its landscape is without a doubt the Natural Monument of Roque de Garachico, a small islet of approximately 12 acres that faces the town. The receding coastline generated by sea erosion has given rise to this volcanic formation of basalt lava flows. Vegetation is sparse in the islet, mainly formed of endemic spurges. Rainy weather turn the islet into a striking intense shade of green. It is also a nesting and sheltering spot for several migratory birds.
The town of Garachico was founded by the Genoese banker Cristóbal de Ponte after the Conquest of Tenerife in 1496. It would soon become an important port, particularly thanks to the commercial shipping of wine and sugar to and from America and Europe, which boosted the economic progress of the town’s population. Throughout its history, and especially during the 17th century, the inhabitants of Garachico witnessed several tragic events, which include a plague epidemic between 1601 and 1606, a locust invasion in 1659 or the serious fires of 1692 and 1697. Thanks to its economic power the town was able to recover, but in the early 18th century the event that would mark a before and after in the future of the area took place. The 5th of May of 1706, a violent eruption of the Trevejo volcano resulted in serious material damages, leaving the port covered in lava and burying part of the town centre. The profitable commercial activities then gave way to a more humble economy based mainly on agriculture and fishing. The general impoverishment of population forced many to emigrate to America. In the late 19th century, coinciding with the introduction and development of the cultivation of bananas, the town experienced a new growth in economic activity. The current situation and future prospects of this charming town are much better now than they were a few decades ago. Emerging tourism has contributed to the growth of businesses and restaurants. In addition to all this, the development of the new Fishing Port and Marina promises to revive the town’s long tradition as a port.
Garachico has become a reference in terms of seafood and fish dining opportunities. It boasts great accommodation options: hotels, rural houses and apartments for holiday rental offer the visitor the possibility of an overnight stay to further explore the town. It offers several bathing areas, the most popular of which is El Caletón: a series of natural pools and puddles in whimsical shapes originated by the contact of lava flows with the sea. A truly impressive sight. It also offers a wide range of leisure activities, such as horse carriage rides, dramatized guided tours and several sports activities.
Its rich architectural heritage and the special care that has gone into its conservation make the historic old town of Garachico one of the best preserved and more representative of the archipelago. In 1994 it was declared Site of Cultural Interest under the category of Historic Ensemble as a valuable example of traditional urban planning and architecture of the archipelago. We invite you to explore its beautiful streets teeming with history while you imagine past times of bustling commercial activity.