In the south of Tenerife, a stone's throw from the touristy Costa Adeje, lies the charming mountain village of Adeje. You can get here by taxi from Costa Adeje in about 15 minutes. By bus it takes about half an hour (for information about the buses, click here). If you come by car, there is a public parking garage in Calle Tagoror, close to the center and the entrance to the Barranco del Infierno.
Loosely translated, Barranco del Infierno means the “hell gorge”. But don't be put off by that name, because this is one of the most famous and beautiful gorges on the island.
The legend of the Barranco del Infierno – in short
The ominous name is, as far as we know, based on an old legend about the island's ancient inhabitants, the Guanches. According to tradition, the gorge contained an opening to hell, Nautemio. . This also became the scene of an unfortunate love triangle between the beautiful, but rather arrogant, Iora and the king's sons Xampó and Saute.
Legend has it that Iora, who was actually betrothed to Xampó, eventually chose Saute, who would of course inherit more wealth and power as heir to the throne. In a false plot, staged by his ex-lover and brother, Xampó fell into the depths of Nautemio. But the two villains hadn't reckoned that Xampó would return as a gigantic, vengeful giant.
Although they still tried to flee, Iora and Saute were trampled under Xampó's gigantic foot. After taking his revenge, Xampó turned into a giant monolith. And to this day he is still there.
You don´t believe the saga? Then put on your hiking boots and venture on the 6.5 km long walk through the gorge!
(Source: Luis SALCEDOLa Leyenda del Barranco del Infierno-1932)
Hiking in the Barranco del Infierno
The walk starts at the end of Calle de los Molinos in Adeje, right next to the restaurant Otelo.
The gorge is a nature reserve and can only be visited by reservation. In order not to burden nature too much, only 20 people are allowed in every half hour. Which is a plus, as it allows you to enjoy the breathtaking beauty in peace, without being trampled (not even by Xampó).
Access to the gorge is possible between 8:30 AM and 11:30 AM (20 people every half hour), but you have until 3:30 PM to explore the gorge.
At the entrance of the gorge you will also receive a helmet, in addition to some instructions. The helmet is mandatory, and not a luxury as occasionally loose stoness roll down.
What else should I bring?
The walk is not too difficult, but keep in mind that you are slightly above sea level (up to 1300 meters), so the air is slightly thinner. There is also a bit of up and down to go. And while the hiking trail is well laid out, I'd personally recommend maybe bringing a walking stick . I always benefit from that myself. An average condition is required.
Other than that: wear good walking shoes . It´s not necessary to wear heavy mountain boots, but make sure to wear shoes that have a good grip and profile . Nowadays wearing flip flops is forbidden if you want to do this walk.
You can possibly bring a small snack A piece of fruit such as a banana is always good if you need to refuel. But don't drag too much along because... we're about to eat the famous garlic chicken !
A bottle of water is a must, and you can refill along the way in the icy stream that flows through the gorge (don't worry about wet feet, bridges have been built at most crossing points).
Also mandatory: camera, sun cream and also a hat . The sun tends to shine very bright at the beginning of the walk. In the course of the walk there is more shade.
What can I expect along the way?
The temperature and plant variety varies as we ascend. You will therefore encounter different vegetation, from cacti in the lower part to pine trees in the higher regions.
If you look up you can see old caves here and there. The Guanches from this area lived in these caves, leaving behind some interesting archaeological mementos in the form of petroglyphs, indigenous mummies en gebruiksvoorwerpen. De grootste verzameling hiervan bevindt zich tegenwoordig in het Museum van Natuur en Mens (click here) in the capital Santa Cruz de Tenerife.
After about 3 km you will reach the end of the gorge. And the beginning of a 200 meter high waterfall. Now don't expect Niagara-esque scenes. In a dry period it is more like a pathetic trickle, but nevertheless a real eye-catcher. Real die-hards even take a leap into the (ice) cold water.
How and where can I make a reservation for this unique walk?
Making a reservation is cheap and easy. Click here for the website, where you will find everything about the prices and where you can also book the date and preferred time. It is best to plan this a few days in advance to avoid disappointment.
Such a walk naturally makes you hungry. And what could be more fun than to end this successful (half) day with a typical dish from Adeje: the famous garlic chicken.
At the entrance of the Barranco is the unbeatable restaurant Otelo. In addition to garlic chicken, they also have other local dishes on the menu, such as conejo and salmorejo (rabbit in special sauce). There is also a lot of goodies on the menu for vegetarians. The location of the restaurant is nothing short of spectacular, just above the gorge.
This is not the only chicken restaurant in Adeje, there are many. Unfortunately, my former favorite Oasis, in the main street, is not what it used to be, partly due to the unfriendly service, so you can skip that one.
So much for this week's Tenerife Insider Tips, stay safe and…