The Anaga Rural Park is a natural space located in the northeast of the island of Tenerife declared a Biosphere Reserve. The park has 14,418 hectares and extends between three municipalities: Santa Cruz, La Laguna and Tegueste. In total, the Rural Park represents 7.9% of the island of Tenerife. Its maximum height is reached with the Cruz de Taborno peak at 1024 m altitude.
The Anaga area is the eastern end of the island and is, geologically speaking, its oldest area. It is a rugged mountain range with irregular peaks, from where deep gorges and valleys descend towards the sea, forming numerous beaches, often accessible only on foot or by boat.
The park is characterized by a splendid natural space of spectacular contrasts, which is home to a rich endemic flora and fauna, all the result of the isolation and ecological variety of the area.
How to get to the Anaga Rural Park
There are two main ways to access the park:
The TF-12 highway that leaves from Las Mercedes, a town near La Laguna. The other is the climb from San Andrés, near Playa de las Teresitas near the city of Santa Cruz. It can be reached by bus or car.
By Bus (Guagua):
Lines 945 and 947 from Santa Cruz and lines 076, 077, 273, 274 and 275 from La Laguna. The downside to public transportation is that you can’t stop at the spectacular viewpoints along the way.
The best way to visit the park is by renting a car. In the Canary Islands it is possible to rent cars from 20-25 euros a day. So nothing better than a map, a car and a full day to explore the entire area.
What you can see in the Anaga Rural Park
Mountains and beaches
In the mountains of the coast you can see an impressive view of Anaga, but the experience is not complete if you do not cross its many paths that very often lead to beautiful coves of fine black sand that dot the coast.
It is possible to admire splendid geological formations such as the dikes (cracks filled with solidified magma that burst into the landscape), the Roques (old volcanic chimneys), the impressive cliffs and gorges.
The particular climate of the area allows the existence of one of the most important samples of laurel forest in the world (a type of native forest of more than 40 million years), now preserved only in the Canary Islands, Madeira and some islands of the Azores. It is a very important resource, since its dense forest mass retains humidity, thus recharging the aquifers (natural water deposits on the island).
The predominant fauna is made up of invertebrates, but birds are also abundant. In fact, the park has been declared a special protection area for birds.
The entire park is full of human settlements that establish a harmonious and beautiful rural landscape. To this must be added the cultural value derived from the use of the area by the aborigines.
Population, culture and traditions
More than 2,000 people currently live in the park’s 26 population centers. The rugged orography and the difficulties in reaching these areas have contributed to the maintenance of a unique form of human settlement in the territory that provides a valuable cultural heritage.
In the first centuries, after the conquest, cities like Taganana flourished, with an export economy of products such as sugar cane and wine.
Subsequently, the Anaga lands were dedicated to subsistence products and domestic supplies, an overwhelming task, which required the effort to build and maintain the terraces on the steep slopes; to produce and then transport the products through the mountains and supply La Laguna or Santa Cruz.
Thanks to its natural conditions and the dedication of its people, Anaga keeps a treasure of local varieties of unique products, such as borrallas potatoes, varieties of sweet potato, vines and many fruit trees, as well as many eco-cultural practices that further highlight the environmental uniqueness and culture of this region of Tenerife.
What you can do in the Anaga Rural Park
This rural park offers many options to enjoy hiking, mountain biking or horse riding. The most famous point to enter Laurisilva is the enchanted forest trail. You can also take the shortest path of the senses (Sendero de los Sentidos).
Following the road to the Bailadero there are many viewpoints where you can stop for a few minutes to admire the landscape. A little before reaching the Bailadero there is a crossroads from where you can go to the city of Taganana, the largest in the area, very close to the city are the Almáciga and Benijo beaches and also the Roques de Anaga.
If you prefer the sea, you can go sailing, diving, surfing, kayaking, water skiing or wakeboarding. Attention should be paid to special protection areas within the park. Do not miss the walk through the Masca Valley to the coast where you can take a boat to reach the port of Los Gigantes.