Fishing For Scenic Splendour On The Arico Coast

Calm seas lapping at volcanic slabs, shingle dragging lazily along the sea bed, sandstone sculpted by time and nature, and fishing villages full of traditional delights. Another fine walk, this time on the east coast of Tenerife, just a short distance and a world away from the TF 1 motorway heading up north.

Los Cristianos was bristling with activity on this Saturday morning as groups of keen walkers flexed their maps, laced up their boots, and scanned the sky for tell tale signs of good or bad weather. I joined some friends for the brief convoy to Arico and the Tajao turn off, I don’t think I have seen a village so blessed with tempting fish restaurants and bars. After a coffee launch at Bar Rocas we headed part way up the slip road before plunging down the rocky pathway where eroded sandstone shapes towered over us. The sun was set fair in the clear sky and the path soon opened up onto the beach just beyond a peg shaped stack marking a small cove.

The sea shimmered and the suface looked like glass broken only at remote outcrops where lone fishermen tried their luck, it was such a lovely setting they probably weren’t too concerned if they got a bite or not, the tranquility was reward enough. Scaling the brow of a hill we could see piles of slate to one side and families playing in rock pools down at coast level. Further along an organised camp site looked neat and tidy with small cabins and motor homes stretching inland, other had settled near the waters edge using natural shelter from the rocks to make an impromptu chalet.

Each new climb was greeted with further views of rocky fingers protruding into the sea and volcanic patterns that would make any artist envious. After a while a distant church loomed into view with a sprawling village ahead of it, this was La Jaca. A few early afternoon locals sat outside their homes enjoying the cool breeze, the small crescent shaped harbour was a perfect place to stop to raid our water and sandwiches. The fishing boats hugged the back wall and a protective rail and metal steps into the sea were modern additions to encourage swimming, and a shrine to the Virgen de los Pobres (virgin of the poor)Â was well tended with flowers Fed and watered we moved on over the hill and carefully crossed a concrete damm where a barranco met the incoming sea. Up the other side we were in La Listada and were drawn to the church (Iglesia de la Virgen de Los Pobres) local families greeted us warmly and one sent a small boy to unlock the church so we could look inside. Outside Poinsettia (the christmas plant) burnt brightly, a perfect finishing touch.

Abades lay further ahead and the wind turbines whirred gently up near the motorway, for us it was time to retrace our steps with a few variations. Going higher up this time we joined a roughly pebbled road that only seemed to serve a few large houses. They all seemed to have big alsations straining at the leash through the gates – maybe they had smelled my turkey rolls. Pushing on the return trip was quicker and well timed as we saw a few clouds rolling in from the west. Just before we reached our starting point I noticed the shipwrecked Russian boat, Runaway Serf, that has been in the Canarian news for the last few months. It looked a bit of a rust bucket but its hull proudly displayed names of calls on the way from Moscow. Strassburg, Geneva,Lisbon and Cadiz had all been visited but the last name New York could prove a port too far – especially as motor is awaiting repair by local helpers. Russian journalist Andrei Novoselov is living on board and hasn’t even got any desert island discs to listen to.

Anyway back at Bar Rocas a busy afternoon was underway, the upstairs restaurant, highly recomended by some of my friends, was filling up and this Tajao crossroads seemed quite a focal point. After three hours of brisk walking the Dorada was very welcome, I will certainly pass this way again – maybe I can cadge a boat lift to New York!