Puerto de las Nieves

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Puerto de las NievesPuerto de las Nieves – the “Port of the Snows” – was once the island’s principal port, but it suffered a blow in the 19th century with the construction of Puerto de la Luz in Las Palmas. The lack of major maritime traffic has allowed the enchanting harbour, with its uniform low, white-and-blue houses, to retain its charm. Today it is important as the main departure point for Tenerife. Hundreds of visitors pass through the village, but it merits more than a cursory glance through the bus window en route to the ferry.

Dedo de Dios
The curious basaltic monolith known as the “Finger of God” was destroyed in 2005 by a tropical storm. Despite the fact that it no longer exists, it is still the emblem of the village.

Ermita de las Nieves
Model boats, gifts from fisherman, adorn the interior of this culturally important small church. A Flemish triptych dedicated to the Virgen de las Nieves (“Virgin of the Snows”) dominates.

Bajada de la Rama
This 4 August celebration has it origins in a Guanche rain-making ceremony. Revellers come as much for the street party as for the tradition of beating the ocean with pine branches.

Of the two available beaches, most opt for one that’s further from port. There’s no golden sand, but the calm, clean waters make up for the pebbles.

Ferries to Tenerife
Boat trips to Tenerife leave from the port between 6:30am and 8:30pm and reach Santa Cruz, the island’s capital, in just over an hour.

Seafood Restaurants
Sample the catch of the day in one many family-run restaurants on the seafront. If you can’t decide on a dish, order a parrillada (mixed grill) of fish and seafood.

If eating other people’s spoils isn’t enough, join the locals on the wharf and try to catch your own lunch. Better still, you could ask around to see if anyone has room on his boat for an extra fisherman. Or just sip a coffee and watch the local fisherman repairing their nets in the harbour.

Old Relics
Puerto de las Nieves seems to be a magnet for disused devices from long-gone glory days. The odd-looking 19th-century windmill in Avenida de los Poetas is the only one of its kind on the island, while the old jib crane and limekiln now serve to fill tourists’ photo albums.

Reproduction of Maipes de Abajo
The Guanche burial site at this location was destroyed by construction work. Today, only a small reproduction of the tombs can be viewed here. In contrast, the Maipes de Arriba, in the Agaete Valley, survived the development of that area.

Diving and Surfing
Those who find the pace of the village a little slow may like to try out local watersports. Scuba diving is popular around the cliffs near Dedo de Dios, while surfers prefer Punta de las Viejas, just north of the port.