The Teno Rural Park is located in the northwest corner of the island of Tenerife and includes part of the municipalities of Buenavista del Norte, Los Silos, El Tanque and Santiago del Teide. With its 8,063.3 hectares, it is one of the most beautiful natural spaces in Tenerife and has preserved its great ecological, landscape and cultural value, largely thanks to its isolation.
When you see the complicated terrain of this area, it is amazing to think how people could have lived here in the past. You will also be amazed by the variety of landscapes that range from impressive cliffs to valleys and low islands, through wooded areas of laurel forests and magnificent examples of traditional architecture.
Walking on Teno Ridge is like walking on an island within an island. This mountainous massif is more than 1,300 meters high, occupies the entire western end of Tenerife and is almost entirely surrounded by the sea. In fact, originally Teno used to be a separate island that was later joined by a larger piece of land to form what is now Tenerife.
This geographical isolation has allowed its ravines and narrow valleys to preserve their biodiversity, architecture and unique customs, difficult to find in other places in Tenerife, full of spas and the tourist bustle that accompanies it.
The flora and fauna of the Teno Rural Park
In the highest areas, blessed by the trade winds responsible for the wonderful microclimate of the island, you will find the luxurious monteverde (laurisylve). If you go to Monte del Agua you can walk among small-leaved holly trees (Ilex canariensis, also known as acebiño in Spanish and azevinho in Portuguese) and strawberry trees.
The exuberant vegetation of this part of Tenerife is totally different from the rest of the island. Furthermore, even the closest patches of land can have different species of flora. As you walk the southern slopes of the Park, keep an eye out for the drastically changing vegetation. You will have the feeling of having traveled to another world even though you have barely moved a few meters.
The most outstanding flora here is the euphorbia atropurpurea, a shrub called tabaibas. The panorama changes again on the north slope with imposing palm trees and magical dragon trees. In Punta de Teno there is one of the largest and best preserved batches of tabaibas and thistles on the island, here there are specimens of all shapes and sizes.
Teno is also a treasure for its great biological diversity. It is home to some species in danger of extinction, such as the laurel dove, the spotted lizard and, among others, the raven. The presence of species such as the osprey (the island’s rarest predator) has led to the declaration of this area as a special protection area for birds.
Human Presence in the Park
The Teno Rural Park is home to several urban centers such as El Palmar, Teno Alto, Las Lagunetas, Las Portelas, Los Carrizales, Masca and Erjos, which are maintained thanks to agricultural and livestock activity, basically for self-support.
Around many farmhouses you can discover old tile or bread ovens, as well as communal tagoras, these are semicircular stone structures up to three meters high that the indigenous people of Tenerife used to shelter from the wind, typical of traditional areas livestock, such as those located in Teno Alto.
Punta de Teno, the westernmost point of the island, is nestled between large cliffs. You will be able to contemplate the contrast between the steep ravines that flow into small beaches, and the great valleys that form Isla Baja and Teno Bajo. This area is home to a large number of species and is a refuge for some threatened and local endemic species. Here you will discover an old lighthouse that is kept in good condition.
From the lighthouse you can enjoy the best views of the cliffs of Los Gigantes, those fascinating rocks that fall vertiginously towards the sea from heights that reach 600 meters. You will also enjoy an incredible sunset. If you want to have a bird’s eye view of the landscape from the mountain, go to the town of Masca, one of the most unique corners of Tenerife.
What can be done in the Teno Rural Park
Getting here is already an experience in itself, as you will enjoy spectacular views throughout the journey. Once in the area, you can’t leave without doing some hiking, kayaking, paddle surfing, scuba diving, or mountain biking.
There you can enjoy 100 kilometers of approved trails, so you can fully immerse yourself in nature. In this area are the deepest ravines in Tenerife, the first inhabitants of Masca built their farmhouses between impressive walls. This picturesque enclave is one of the best examples of traditional Canarian architecture. Until just a few decades ago, it was practically isolated from the rest of the island due to almost impassable roads, which allowed its exceptional conservation.
It is also worth visiting the Los Pedregales Visitor Center, which informs interested tourists about the network of trails and other points of interest in the park in a personalized way and carries out numerous educational activities upon request and according to availability. There you will learn that the enormous Teno stone massif dates back more than eight million years and that until a few years ago it was something like an islet that gradually joined the rest of the island.
In addition, the water and the wind created a landscape marked by ravines and huge cliffs that fall directly into the sea, such as Los Gigantes, whose height ranges between 300 and 600 meters. You will discover the impressive black sand beaches such as Masca, located at the foot of the cliffs. Finally, as you seek out Mount Teide, you will walk through evergreen groves of flourishing Laurisilva that cover the slopes rising to the east.