Last year I visited the Barranco del Inferno in July, (see my blog from last year) and was surprised to see a few plants in flower despite the fact that it was dry after a dry winter. This year I visited in May, and if anything parts of the Barranco looked even drier than July last year, and there were fewer flowers even though it was earlier in the year.
The Sea Rosemary and the Hyssop-leaved Justicia were both in flower in May, as in July. They seem to flower much of the year. However, the Maple-leaved Mallow flowers were all over, though we had seen one still in flower last July.
One thing I enjoyed from going earlier in the year, was that we heard the frogs croaking in full voice. Running water, and ponds, are rare in Tenerife, and especially in south Tenerife, so we don’t often hear the frogs.
To walk from the entrance to the waterfall and back takes approximately 3 hours. The path is clear and well-maintained, but can be rough in places, so good footwear is still required. You are required to wear a hard hat (provided at the entrance) the whole of the visit. In the winter, especially, it is advisable to book in advance, and there is an entrance charge. For information about the Barranco and how to book, visit the website:
The Masca Barranco (Ravine/Gorge) is a very dramatic landscape with ever-changing views as you walk either up or down. It is also a very special place for plants, many of them rare. In addition it is a popular tourist destination and consequently is sometimes very overcrowded, which detracts from its landscape and ecological attractions. In May when we visited, it was still busy, but not at its busiest.
We decided to take the earliest boat from Los Gigantes and walk up the barranco from the beach. It was pleasantly quiet in the barranco until about half-way, when we started to meet large groups coming down.
We saw many unusual plants and flowers on the way up, the first exciting one was the Dorycnium eriophthalmum, a rare Canary endemic which is not found in many places. I have seen this in flower earlier in the spring so was not expecting flowers in May but was delighted to see just a fewAround this area we also saw Tenerife Samphire (Vieraea laevigata) hanging on many of the damp cliffs.
In the lower part of the barranco we saw the following in flower, though I did not get good pictures to share: Tenerife Lavender (Lavandula buchii), a grey-leaved species common in Teno, Polycarpaea carnosa on the cliff sides, Polycarpaea filifolia in secluded parts of the base of the barranco, Maple-leaved mallow (Lavatera acerifolia), and Palomera (Pericallis lanata) with its lovely purple daisy flowers. We also saw a couple of shrubs of Maytenus canariensis, but not in flower, as well as many other plants.
Around the middle of the climb up the barranco we met another exciting species in flower, Canary Knapweed (Cheirolophus canariensis). I had never seen this species in flower before so it was a real treat, especially as it appears the only wild population of this species is in Masca barranco. It was good to see that there were specimens over a wide area in this section, including up the cliffs either side.
As the barranco widened the views extended, and included a vista of Canary palms growing naturally on a slope up towards the village. They are the dominant tree in the thermophile (warm-loving) woodland in this area. In this open upper area most of the plants had finished flowering by May, especially in this dry year.
Finally there is a steep slope to climb to reach the village. On a warm day in May, in the full sun, it is a fairly draining experience, and a refreshing drink in one of the bars is very welcome, before we found our taxi we had ordered for our return to Los Gigantes.
The walk took us around 3.5 hours, walking up.