Towering Strides From Las Caletillas To Candelaria

Drop kicking a goal between the two towers of the Centro Termica power station must have run through greater minds than mine. Chugging up the TF1 motorway from the south of Tenerife towards the capital, Santa Cruz, brings a few scowls of disapproval on the Titsa bus.

Time is catching up with the 1967 built gas and diesel power turbines and plans are in place to remove one of the 76.5 metre chimneys that overshadow a thriving small community below. For me it has become a good starting point for an extended coastal stroll to Candelaria. Long delayed improvement works are now cranking into life. A large solarium was being extended and bordered with sturdy fortifications against the often lively sea. A small cafe bar and two life guards showed that the spot is used by locals, just above a small plaza full of charm, also awaited a makeover.

The four star Hotel Catalona Punta del Rey was busier than on my last walk by, a Rod Stewart disco soundtrack extolled the virtues of being sexy to a pool side exercise group. The main 1.8 million euro spend for Las Caletillas was approved in 2021, their main task will be to wipe out the eyesore debris of the old 3 star Tenerife Tour Hotel at the north end of the Playas Punta Larga beaches. The promenade board walks and lagoon style beach zones were partially protected from the wind, and a large stage awaited three free nightly rock concerts.

The heat scorched down as I reached the old marinas just ahead of the historic centre of Candelaria.The Ayuntamiento (council) building, impressed as always with its seven identical sculptures (representing the Canary Islands) along the high wall. Even the garage entrance had its own themed reference to local culture. As the busy shopping street opened out onto the Plaza de la Patrona, a three day Artesans Fair almost eclipsed the imposing frontage of the basilica church. Huge concrete blocks weighted down the giant marquee to keep the wind off the 49 stall holders showing off their traditional arts and crafts skills.

Meanwhile the waves were breaching the sea wall and soaking the statues of the Guanche tribal kings. Some visitors were blissfully unaware that three of the statues had to be re anchored last year after the pounding sea undermined them. Dancing in the sea spray for photos looked fun but part of me cringed as they laughed.

Candelaria lures the explorers in with coastal and hill walks in the more usual calmer weather days. They don´t leave the cyclists deflated or spinning their wheels. Bicibox repair points standing in Plaza Teror were like a Swiss army knife for peddlers, their range of free use attachments would put Halfords to shame. The Virgen of Candelaria reigns across the seven islands, the big day of homage is 15 August for 2022. The packed plaza will be further bulged by a 1,000 runners in a 7 am sprint down from La Granja in the hills, down through Las Caletillas to the heart of the celebrations. This part of the east coast is amazing at any time, drive, bus, walk, or cycle – just add it to your exploring itinery.