If you are travelling to Garachico for your holidays, the following information may help by giving you an overview of the resort and the surrounding area.
Garachico is at the west end of the north facing coast of Tenerife, 39 miles west of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, and 43 miles north of Reina Sofia airport [Tenerife South]. Named after the rocky outcrop off its shore [gara is Guanche for island, and chicois Spanish for small], Garachico is a peaceful, tranquil town. Narrow cobbled streets, rough fishermen’s cottages and grand town houses belong to the former principal port of Tenerife – Garachico.
Awarded a Fine Arts Gold Medal, the streets and square of Garachico are all about history. Garachico was partly destroyed by a volcanic eruption of El Volcan Negro in 1706 by being buried by 2 streams of lava. Only a handful of houses escaped destruction together with the Castillo de San Miguel which guards Garachico bay. Ships trading in sugar and wine could only put to sea and watch as the molten lava burned through the buildings and filled the harbour. Garachico would never be the same again. However, today the town displays inheritance of the past and a number of spots to visit.
This sleepy little town stands at the base of immense cliffs beside a deep harbour and has retained many of its old churches and mansions, and avoids much of the traffic congestion found elsewhere on the island. In fact, you will not find any traffic lights here. A few fishing boats still operate from Garachico harbour, weather permitting, and there is an ever-busy banana-packing plant on the ocean front. Its 6km long coastline is a miracle of nature. From El Guincho to La Caleta de Interian, there is a succession of coves covered in scorched lava and volcanic sand giving them a really original appearance.
If you visit the Mirador de Garachico, you will be able to look down on the white buildings which now cover the curve of lava jutting out into the sea and also make you the paths that the 2 streams of lava took as they entered the town. You will find the Mirador on the C820 road to Icod de los Vinos above the town. To reach it requires a drive along 9km of winding road via the village of El Tanque. However, the effort is worth it for it offer a superb and much-photographed view of the town and the Roque de Garachico. Take note of the cross on top of the rock, erected by the townspeople to ward off another volcanic catastrophe. Go to the Isla Baja restaurant in Garachico, and you will discover a model of the 1706 incident.
One of Garachico’s oldest and most striking buildings is this stocky harbour-side fort. Built in the 16th century to protect Garachico from pirates, the small fort was one of the few buildings to survive the 1706 volcanic eruption and is now home to a rock and fossil collection. From here are appealing views from the ramparts across the village and out to the Roque de Garachico – a lone rock monolith in the bay. Behind the Castillo de San Miguel lies an area of lava which closed the harbour in 1706 and ruined the town, but locals have made the best of it by creating paved walkways between the natural bathing pools. Formed as lava cooled on contact with the sea, these are fed and cleaned by the tidal action.
Other things to see in Garachico include :
which divides rows of elegant, largely wooden town houses as it runs through the centre of Garachico to Plaza de Juan Gonzalez de la Torre, and follows the seafront. The de Ponte family house is located here and as are the impressive buildings including Isla Baja restaurant and El Jardin pension which you will find opposite the tourist information centre and Limonera craft shop. On one side of the Plaza are some lovely sunken gardens known as the Parque Puerto de Tierra. This was once part of the old port and part of which still functions on a much smaller scale. There is also the Puerto de Tierra – an old gate to the town’s harbour and huge 17th century wooden winepress can be found in a small part of the square which serves as a reminder when locally produced Malvasia wine made Garachico – and Tenerife – rich.
On the western side of the plaza. This is Garachico’s main church and is topped by a six-storey bell tower and contains a fine wooden ceiling. Dating back to the 16th century it was rebuilt between 1714 and 1721, following the 1706 eruption. The restored interior has a Baroque font and a crucifix attributed to Martin de Andujar – a Sevillian craftsman, and a figure of Christ made by Tarasco Indians in Mexico. If you like elegant woodwork, you might enjoy a visit to the Museo Carpentina Antigua. Here you will find old artisans’ tools beautifully displayed alongside photos of their work around Garachico and there is a small shop selling local produce and souvenirs. Garachico makes a relaxing alternative base to the big resorts and gives easy access to the neighbouring towns of Icod de los Vinos and El Drago.
You will find the world’s oldest and biggest specimen of the dragon tree which towers above the main road. Its dimensions are impressive enough : 17m high with a 6m circumference trunk. However, its true claim to fame arises from its age – thought to be at least 500 years old. If you come to Garachico during the winter, the town is battered by Atlantic gales and huge waves. Truly spectacular when the water level drops to reveal the Roque de Garachico – a rocky offshore islet.
There are no beaches here to speak of, but seawater fills natural pools in the lava and around them are flattened places to sunbathe. The pools are different in depths ranging from shallow places suitable for children to paddle in to a long deep channel for diving. You will find a hidden restaurant under the street – its terrace overlooks the pools.
There’s a handful of cafes, restaurants and bars in Garachico, giving you an excellent choice of drinks, light snacks, fish and meat dishes and pizzas.
By its very nature much of the information in our travel guides is subject to change at short notice and travellers are urged to verify information on which they are relying with the relevant authorities. Corona Holidays [UK] Limited cannot accept any responsibility for any loss or inconvenience to any person as a result of information contained above.
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