Bad Lands Are Good Lands At Malpais De Rasca

Coaxing the morning sun to spread down from the mountains I set off from Las Galletas with another neglected walk stretching ahead of me. Malpais (badlands) de Rasca is a hike I have done several times in large groups but not for about five years. The bus into Las Galletas was full of German walkers heading up the east coast of Tenerife but I bailed out on them and got a coffee near the pebble beach before setting off.


My entry point to the track was by the Matinal Beach Club where I had seen live performances from local rockers Oi Se Arma, and Pornosurf. There is always a small community of people sleeping in tents around the bay but as I followed the track up and around the coast I was surprised to see a good few dozen makeshift homes. It might seem a romantic way to live but with clouds waiting to be dispersed it was pretty chilly. The path skirts the edge of the sea, more or less, and offers glimpses across to the Marina del Sur in Las Galletas. The cactus is a very underrated plant, along this route there were great clumps of them looking proud and majestic. The shifting stones and dust made demanded some careful footwork but even so relatively near the main road there was a lovely feel of tranquility and peace.

Small coves fell away into the sea making shallow rock pools, fish are often stranded in these and locals used to crush the tabaiba plants and sprinkle them in. This made the fish feel like they had been out on a drinking session and made them easy to catch. I spotted the remains of a few old settlements and even some rough steps hewn into the rocks to make it easier to reach the shoreline. After nearly an hour I reached the edge of the netting clad banana plantations and a smoother path overlooking deep drops to more rock pools. This is all a prelude to the Malpais de Rasca protected area where the modern candy striped lighthouse peeped up over the horizon.

Once I had crested the hill I had a clearer view of the two lighthouses, the old squat stone original was built in 1895 before being replaced by the tall sentinel that is easily seen from Los Cristianos in 1978. Beyond was a large pebble beach backed by low level cactus and plants which sheltered the remains of old stone houses, basic and hard living from many years ago. A tight but clearly defined path picked it’s way through the exposed landscape, several walkers were using the route in both directions, I could make out the outline of Guaza Mountain ahead. A very attractive young lady stopped me and asked if I would take some photos for her – I’m always willing to oblige. The lovely Katie was from Belgium and a yoga teacher and slipped into some classic poses against natures delightful backdrop.

Moving on in different directions I could now see Palm Mar looming into view below the plateau of Guaza Mountain. Just out to sea the fish farm cages blighted the view but beyond them I could see the coast of Los Cristianos – nearly home. I could have taken the steep steps up the mountain, over, and down the other side, probably at least another hour, but with nearly two and a half hours completed I made my way up through Palm Mar and out to the main road, that was another 30 minutes, to catch the bus back home. It was another good stroll, next time I shall head upwards into the hills and mountains.