A winter walk near the coast for (almost) everyone

Sweet spurge (Euphorbia balsamifera), the dominant plant species for most of the walk

A view of the path passing under the windmills on the ridge. Note the grey stick-like stems to the right of the path - a curious plant called cardoncillo (Ceropegia fusca)

This walk runs from Poris de Abona on the south coast to Arico Nuevo, a delightful village of mainly eighteenth century houses, along a newly signposted route, with an optional alternative way back down using tracks.  The whole walk involves climbing of only about 350 metres, in mostly gentle gradients, so it is not over strenuous, but has interesting landscape, botany and cultural aspects.  The distance from the square in Poris de Abona to the square in Arico Nuevo is 7.2 km /4.5 miles, which took us around 2.25 hours,  and you can return by the same route or by a slightly shorter route on tracks taking 1.5 hours with 6.5 km /4 miles distance.  As it’s a walk that lots of people might enjoy in the winter, I am writing full directions to help you follow it, and enjoy what it has to offer.

I chose to walk this route last Friday because the weather forecast was not promising for walking in the mountains, and often when this is the case a walk near the coast is a pleasant alternative to getting damp in the hills.  You will see from the photos how dark the clouds were, and in fact there were some rain drops falling when we reached Arico Nuevo.   Winter is also a good time to see the local plants at their best, and in a state (that is, with leaves and flowers), where it is easier to identify them.

The walk starts from the square in Poris de Abona, which is just above the beach.  In the square there is a signboard with a map of the signposted path, and some information about it in English, although you might not know what ‘placers’ are!  From the spanish version I gathered that they were the old washing places which you can see at Fuente de Tajo, a small diversion from the main path which is well worth doing.  From the square walk up the road running up the western side of the square which is signposted ‘Villa de Arico’.  You will walk up this minor country road for a kilometre, but it is not busy, so it is quite pleasant to walk.  At the end of the houses, the road passes under the motorway and continues up.

Aulaga (Launaea arborescens) amazingly is a plant of the lettuce family, giving it an English name of ‘spiny lettuce’, or sometimes ‘barbed-wire bush’, which is possibly a better description 

 The road crosses the streambed of the barranco de los Caballos on a bridge and immediately on the other side of the bridge are two 1 kilometer signs.  The path starts up the rocky slope from there, and a few yards up there is a signpost to let you know you are in the right place.  In case you get alarmed about the initial steep climb, this is the steepest part of the whole path.  And even though it is steep, the rock surface is punctuated by embedded rocks which make climbing easier (and descending safer – if you return this way).  After the first section the path levels off and you can start to look around at the vegetation.  The plants here survive some very adverse conditions of wind, dryness, and great heat in the summer, and are well-suited to these difficult conditions.  The most common plants, the sweet spurge (Euphorbia balsamifera) and the verode (Kleinia nerifolia) both lose their leaves under water stress, and just have some photosynthetic tissue on their stems in the summer.

Canary Island Rockrose (Helianthemum canariense)

Cross the road, a signpost guides you onto the path continuing on the other side.  You are now walking close to the giant wind turbines.  From time to time, including one in the path, you may see the clumps of grey sticks of cardoncillo (Ceropegia fusca), which, after rain, may have curious shaped dark red flowers.

Another road crossing, again with a signpost.  Continue on the easy-to-follow path for a kilometre.

This point needs a signpost, but does not have one.  There is a path going to the right, and one going straight on which looks like the principal one.  Turn right here.  You follow the path down a slope of hard pumice rock till you come to a channel cut into the rock.  The path goes left here, marked by some cairns, and follows along the side of the barranco, gradually descending.  By now you can see a signpost below, on the edge of the barranco.

'Virgin's tears' (translation of the spanish name) (Pancratium canariensis)

Reaching the signpost, you can see that this is where there is a small diversion to see the Fuente de Tajo.  The signpost is pointing in the right direction for the start of the path, though it is not obvious.  You should follow the line of stones leading right from the signpost, and soon you will see two parallel white lines indicating that you are on the path, which then descends on a cobbled path, turning to the right around a rocky knoll.  If you see a white paint cross, in front of a rough precipitous descent, you are too far to the right.  When the path reaches the cliff, you will see a water channel coming out of a tunnel, with water running in it.  It passes a chamber where the water could be diverted from the channel into a line of work places where washing could be done.  While at the washing place, look around at the plants.  With the presence of water, there are more plants, and some different species. Notable among them are the large shrubs of vinegrera (Rumex lunaria), a member of the dock family, and the fountain bush (Bosea yervamora), with arching branches laden with flower bunches, or later green or red berries.  My particular delight in this area was seeing ‘Virgin’s tears’ (Pancratium canariensis).  These delicate white flowers of the snowdrop and daffodil family are an endemic form of the ‘sea daffodil’ which is quite common on the Mediterranean coast.  The flowers are short-lived, so are a particular delight when seen.  Return up the cobbled path to the signpost and continue straight on.  The path descends gradually into the streambed.

The water channel and washing places at Fuente de Tajo

Again no signpost to guide you, so look for the path going right after walking only a few yards in the streambed.  The path itself is well-defined, and climbs gently out of the barranco, then joins a track and descends to a signpost.

Turn right here on a path which shortly turns to the right and climbs till it crests,  giving a view of Arico Nuevo and Arico Viejo ahead.  After 200m the path joins a track, turn left.  300m further on, the track meets another track, turn left.  After another 250m a signpost on the left indicates the path goes straight on, leaving the track but following a galvanized pipe.  Shortly afterwards you reach a crossing of pipes, and need to go left, and soon afterwards you arrive on the edge of a small tarmac road, looking down over Arico Nuevo’s cemetry.

Overlooking Arico Nuevo's cemetry from the point where the path joins the road

At this point an extra 18 minutes (1.4 km / 0.9ml) of fairly level walking will bring you into the lovely village of Arico Nuevo, which is well worth a look.  If you fancy a lunch out, there is also a delightful small restaurant in the square, which opens from 1.00 p.m. on Wednesdays to Sundays (Closed Mons and Tues).  You can then return to the cemetry and either return the way you came or take the pumice track that goes down the right wall of the cemetry.  At the end of the cemetry, at the fork, take the right, and a few metres further on take the left fork, all continuing downhill on a well used track.  You pass a ruined building with odd arched windows, and continue downhill.  A steep bit, where you need to take extra care, takes you round a bend to your right and down in front of what looks like an old quarry.  Continue for about 100m to a junction with a track coming down from the right, and go right onto it.  After a little climb the track goes roughly level with little bends, till it reaches a minor tarmac road.  Turn left, downhill.

A street in Arico Nuevo

The tarmac ends abruptly and you continue downhill on a pumice track slightly to the left.  A track joins from the left, but you continue down, and eventually come in sight of the road from Poris that you walked up initially.  The track joins the road and you walk back into Poris where you started.


A downloadable GPS track can be found at:



About Sally Whymark

When I retired and moved out to Tenerife a few years ago, one of the things I really wanted to do was go walking in the mountains. The scenery is very dramatic, and varied. The views are amazing. The native birds and butterflies and other fauna are remarkable. But the flowers - they're just stunning. Little did I know how this would fire up my interest in plants. While living in England, I had always had an interest in flowers and plants, indeed I ran a plant nursery with my husband for many years, but had not spent a great deal of time pursuing botany. But when walking in Tenerife, I noticed all the unfamiliar shapes of the local flowers, and longed to find out more about them. There are literally hundreds of species endemic to just Tenerife (or even just one part of it), the Canary Islands, or Macronesia (the Atlantic Islands, including Madeira, Canaries and Azores). They are so exciting, and so many of them are really showy as well. So I have started this blog to share with you my excitement at all the great sights I see when walking in Tenerife. I hope you'll enjoy it - and want to come here and experience it for yourself.

Posted on November 6, 2011, in South Tenerife, Walks in Tenerife and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. an enjoyable day

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