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Head in the Clouds

Trekking through Anaga Rural Park.


It was our last full day in Tenerife. The plan was to get a good night’s rest, go shopping for some souvenirs, tidy up our accommodations (it’s a habit of ours) and prepare for our flight the next morning. No muss, no fuss. The thing is, we didn’t realize how much we would discover along the way to places like Teide, Benijo, Taganana, etc. Of course, we couldn’t do it all, but there was one spot we couldn’t pass up: Anaga Rural Park.

Anaga Rural Park is not actually a rainforest, but it is very similar to one. A review on TripAdvisor described it as a “cloudforest”. Reaching an altitude of 1,024 meters (3,359 feet), the mountains of Anaga hang out around cloud level. So when we drove through them, we passed through patches of road cloaked by the mist of hanging fog.

Because the vegetation is in such a humid environment, the forest’s personality is very dense and wet like a rainforest. Besides that, waterfalls, streams, and rivers tumble and meander past the laurel flora and through the drastic terrain of peaks and ravines. The network of trails is vast, and takes travelers in all directions under a canopy of vegetation. We parked by the visitors center on the TF-1 road, by Cruz del Carmen and gave ourselves an hour to take in our first “cloudforest”.

We meandered along a few trails taking random lefts and rights. We left digital breadcrumbs (took photos of our turns so we could make our way back), but we also suggest picking a destination and choosing a trail that gets you there. For example, the path to Taganana village takes you through the forest until you emerge at Benijo beach, a black-sand stretch of coast flanked by soaring cliffs and speckled with boulders as plentiful as pebbles. Find other worthwhile Anaga trails here and additional trails Tenerife-wide here.

Back at the visitor’s center, you can pick up a small snack if you fancy or peruse the local trinkets and souvenirs. They even sell a goat’s milk liqueur. I don’t know what came over us, but we tasted it and just as I expected, it was… goaty. Sweet, milky, and... goaty. To each his own though. If you enjoy the goaty taste, have at it, my friend!

Across the street from the parking lot and visitor’s center is a restaurant, which was cooking up the most amazing chicken we have ever smelled. Had we not been pescetarians at the time, we definitely would have sat down for a bite, but instead, we ate our packed snacks and daydreamed that our tuna sandwiches were somehow that illusive Canarian chicken dish.

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