Barranco de Guayadeque

Filed under: Guide |

Barranco de GuayadequeDeep ravines, carving great chunks of the landscape, are characteristic of Gran Canaria, but none of them is more impressive than the Barranco de Guayadeque (which in the Guanche language means “place of running water”). In addition to its great natural beauty, this fascinating area has an important cultural heritage, and harbours unique flora and fauna. The small local troglodyte population dwells in cave-homes and strives to maintain a way of life that has been lost elsewhere on the island.

Museo de Guayadeque
Based in a cave, this museum offers an insight into life in the ravine, from the Guanches to the present-day troglodytes. There is information on mummification, farming, the rare flora to be found in the ravine, and even how to build a cave-home.

Guanche Settlements
Densely inhabited before the Conquest the Barranco de Guayadeque is littered with caves, both natural and man-made. The finest, Cuevas Muchas, contains houses, a grain store, and burial sites.

Ermita de San Bartolome de Guayadeque
Apart from the pews, everything in Guayadeque’s cave-chapel, situated in Cuevas Bermejas, is carved out of the rock. No-one knows when the hermitage was set up, but the crucifix appears to date from just after the Conquest.

Troglodyte Village (Cuevas Bermejas)
Through the tradition of setting up home in a cave survived, these 21st-century troglodyte abodes have little to do with their per-Conquest counterparts. A peek through an open door is likely to reveal a television and even a fitted kitchen.

Picnics and Barbecues
If you wish to admire the ravine’s natural beauty as you eat, take your own food and enjoy a picnic. There are also areas set up for barbecues so, if you fancy one, buy some charcoal and sausages and join the locals.

Cave Restaurants
Hearty traditional Canarian dishes such as vegetable stew, goat and gofio are on the menu at most of the local eateries but the real appeal is the setting, not the cuisine.

Montana de las Tierras
The road comes to an abrupt half at this small farming village. Follow the cobbled path from here for a tour of rural Gran Canaria. Four-wheel-drive vehicles can continue along the dirt track, but it’s too rough for normal cars.

Hikers rule in the upper section of the ravine, where the road fizzles out. The finest of several short walks skirts the Caldera de los Marteles. Ask in the museum for a walks map.

Flora and Fauna
Among 80 species of flora, there are two plants found nowhere else in the world. Reptiles are abundant, and you might spot the island’s only native mammal, a species of bat.

The lookout point situated in Montana de las Tierras provides a good view of lower part of the ravine, though the best vistas are from the GV120 from Ingenio to Cuevas Blancas.