Camino Real and Hiking in Grand Canaria

I want to share my experiences of hiking in Grand Canaria. The island might be outlived as a tourist destination for many and there are many more exciting and exotic destinations. The Canary Islands are, however, sun safe this time of year (November – December) and once travelling from the North one wants to be sure of sun.

Today Grand Canaria is changing and it offers much more than sun and endless beaches. I learnt about its hiking possibilities before opting for a holiday there. The island has about 800 km of hiking routes, most of them Camino Real i.e. royal hiking paths. One of the dreams on my bucket list the year has been, and still is, a hiking trip in Nepal but is has got to wait.

Before leaving home I pre-booked two hiking trips on the net. The tour operator we used cooperates with this company, Rocky Adventure, and at their web page I also read interesting articles in the Swedish press. The company is Swedish owned and they arrange hiking tours guided mostly in the Scandinavian languages. On the second tour I took there were people who needed English guiding and they were provided their own guide.

The frist trip I took headed to Santa Lucia and Guayadec Valley. The hiking started at 700 meters above the sea and after 2 km we could decided which route to take: the 7 km easier one or the 14 km route with a rise of further 700 m. I chose the longer one which was a challenge. We headed uphill at a brisk pace and continued uphill for an hour and a half , perhaps even more. On the top we had a lunch break (everyone carried their own lunch and water). And then continued a down towards the valley, and met the other group in the awesome Ristorante Tagoror, a cave restaurant dug in the mountain.

The other trip was meant to take us to the highest point of the island, Pico de Las Nieves at 1949 meters above the sea level, but the plan was changed because of the weather. It was cloudy and the forecast promised rain and mist for the top. We could not see the top for clouds when we had our ‘pit stop’ at St Bartolomeo. Instead the guides decided to take us to the Santa Lucia trail. I opted for the longer and same route I’d taken earlier because I was looking for some challenge.
It was a challenge in deed! The weather turned a bit nasty. The rain came down as mist and it was windy and cold. Was I ever so glad to have packed mittens and a wool cap in my rucksack. It was fun nevertheless and I was hiking in good company. By chance one of my former students had decided to take the same hiking tour and it was fun to meet her there. She’d just started working for one of the Scandinavian tour operators in Maspalomas.

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