The Los Gigantes Cliffs: visit the ‘devil’s wall’
The Los Gigantes Cliffs are aptly named, as they are one of Tenerife’s most spectacular landscapes. Located on Tenerife’s western coast, the sheer, rocky walls of Los Gigantes [Giants] rise majestically above the sea, in places reaching a height of 600 metres. This wonder of nature extends along a good part of the coast as far as the eye can see, offering a panorama that awakens the senses.
In fact, Los Gigantes de Tenerife stretch from the port of Los Gigantes to Punta de Teno, the westernmost point of the island, forming a spectacular basalt wall of volcanic origin. Getting to see them is not difficult, as there are countless opportunities to gaze on the majesty of the cliffs from out at sea (where they extend down to a depth of 30 metres) or on dry land, although access to the area of the cliffs themselves is necessarily restricted by the impenetrable nature of the formation.
The power of this terrain did not pass unnoticed by the island’s original inhabitants. The Guanches considered Los Gigantes a sacred area which they called the ‘Wall of Hell’ or ‘Wall of the Devil’. For them, this rocky formation that has since become one of the main tourist attractions in the Santiago del Teide area represented the end of the world, although at the foot of the cliffs the seabed then, as now, boasted remarkable natural wealth.
How to visit the Los Gigantes Cliffs
The Los Gigantes Cliffs provide an alternative to the traditional Canary Islands tourist offer of sun and sand . Perfect for lovers of nature and of marine life, there are several options for visiting the Los Gigantes Cliffs. Whether such a visit forms part of a relaxing holiday or whether it is a way of becoming acquainted with the island’s natural heritage, there are three basic options:
● The Archipenque viewpoint: For those who are not tempted by the possibility of seeing Los Gigantes de Tenerife from a boat, the Archipenque viewpoint may be the best alternative. This structure forms part of the Island Network of Scenic Viewpoints, and offers a breathtaking panorama, not only of the Los Gigantes Cliffs, but also of the town and the marina that share their name, as well as the Punta de Teno lighthouse and even the island of La Gomera.
Located close to the general road linking Tamaimo with Puerto de Santiago, this viewpoint is easy to find. Although there is no bus stop, there is a car park, access for people with disabilities, and an information panel so that visitors do not miss any detail of the panorama in front of them.
● Hiking trail from Masca: This great wall of rock edging the island of Tenerife is scored with ravines. And one of them provides another popular solution to the question of how to get a view of the cliffs. From the hamlet of Masca in Buenavista, a hiking trail leads to the beach of the same name.
In addition to providing an opportunity to marvel at the wonders of the Masca ravine itself, this three-hour trek offers a new perspective on Los Gigantes. At the end of the trail, you can either retrace your steps or make the return journey gazing at Los Gigantes de Tenerife from a boat. Boats pick up hikers on the beach and transfer them back to the marina at Los Gigantes.
● Punta de Teno: At the north-western tip of the island of Tenerife is Punta de Teno. This tongue of land jutting out into the sea marks the end of the Los Gigantes Cliffs, but it is also one of the points where you can get a good view of this wall of rock.
Here in the heart of Teno Rural Park, the landscape is also home to the Punta de Teno lighthouse, in addition to various viewing points offering a different panorama of the Los Gigantes area.
What to do: kayaking and other activities
Although many people see their holidays as a time for relaxation, there is nothing like a spot of exercise while immersing yourself in the magic of Los Gigantes. Against this backdrop worthy of a film set, it is easy to find something to suit all tastes.
● Kayaking in Los Gigantes: Adventure sports are gaining a substantial following, and the Los Gigantes Cliffs provide the perfect backdrop against which to enjoy them. Jet skiing, paddle surfing and, of course, kayaking are just a few of the sports offered at Los Gigantes for those seeking a different way of getting to know this wonder of nature.
● Whales and dolphins: One of the most popular options is to take a boat trip to Los Gigantes de Tenerife. This experience, which can be combined with adventure sports, takes the form of a trip around Los Gigantes and, although it cannot be 100% guaranteed, offers the possibility of spotting hordes of cetaceans: pilot whales, bottlenose dolphins, killer whales, sperm whales and fin whales—an experience that will provide a memory of this Canary Island paradise to be treasured forever.
● Scuba diving, including diving for beginners: Observing the seabed of Los Gigantes is another attraction. Many diving enthusiasts take advantage of this opportunity, although a lack of experience is no obstacle to seeing the area’s marine fauna close up. ‘Taking the plunge into diving’ is another activity available to us on a visit to these cliffs.
Los Gigantes beach and other attractions
● Los Gigantes beach: The wall of volcanic rock leaves little room for the conventional dreamy postcard scene of sun and sand, although the view is second to none. It is possible to talk about the Los Gigantes beach because of the occasional recesses in the cliff. The most popular of these is Los Guíos, or Argel beach.
This cove of black sand and calm waters is best accessed on foot. Once there, this 180-metre stretch is a fine spot from which to gaze at the awe-inspiring views of the cliffs whilst surrounded by all manner of facilities and activities.
● Natural swimming pools: As if the delights of Los Gigantes beach were not enough, the area around the Los Gigantes Cliffs holds further attractions. On the development known as Isla Cangrejo (Santiago del Teide), there is a truly tempting natural swimming pool. That said, you do need to take account of the sea conditions, and not bathe there if they are not favourable.
● Los Gigantes Carnival: Any time of the year is good for a visit to the Los Gigantes Cliffs. However, making the trip during Carnival provides a great opportunity to get an insight into this special aspect of the island’s cultural identity. Over four days—one week after the Carnival in Santa Cruz and Puerto de la Cruz—the town of Los Gigantes puts on its party clothes, bringing a splash of colour to the volcanic scene provided by the cliffs.
Winter, spring, summer, autumn… Whatever time of year you choose to visit, don’t forget to pack your swimsuit, hiking boots and a good camera.