A couple of weeks ago, we took a drive to Guayadeque Ravine as we’d heard about the cave houses. People actually live in caves in this area!
Guayadeque is a spectacular ravine located east of Gran Canaria. It is one of the longest ravines in the Canary Islands and divides the municipalities of Ingenio and Agüimes.
It was a beautiful day – it usually is in Gran Canaria
and a pleasant hour drive from Playa del Cura. The ravine is pretty impressive
The 15-km long Guayadeque Ravine snakes its way through the volcanic crust of Gran Canaria and runs right up to the eastern coast.
There are a number of cave houses and restaurants where you can enjoy very good Canarian food – and even stay.
The first restaurant we come to isn’t open yet. It’s still the low season here as many of the tourists wait for the school holidays before coming to Gran Canaria.
We continue on. The hills are dotted with cave houses. This ravine was home to the first settlers of the Canary Islands. The indigenous people of the island may have lived in caves on high grounds but their survival depended on the stream that ran at the bottom of the ravine. This stream was the only source of fresh water on the entire island. Guayadeque can be roughly translated to ‘the place where the water runs’ and is one of the most important archaeological sites of the Canary Islands. The artefacts that were discovered are on exhibit at the Canarian Museum.
Modern day locals still live in cave houses in the valley, and many are open to visitors
although I think this person has made it quite clear that no visitors are allowed at his house!
There are several picnic areas, trails and an Interpretation Center of the ravine. It has a craft and local products shop inside one of its cave houses.
Access to these houses is not for the fainthearted: you need to hike up steep paths and climb ladders. However, the views are well worth the effort.
Once you reach the top, you can also explore the tiny chapel of Guayadeque, built into the rock, and a popular location among locals for wedding celebrations.
Hiking is a great way to discover the ravine. There are several marked trails to pick from but the most popular is the Guayadeque Ravine circular pathway.
This is a moderately strenuous hike, with several long, steep sections. It takes approximately four hours to complete. Stop in at the Guayadque Ravine Interpretation Centre, located at the very beginning of road GC-103. It offers wonderful insights and exhibits explaining the history of human activity in the valley. From there, take the winding road up to Montaña de las Tierras, a rocky massif with the most breathtaking views, and the last area accessible by car. The last 7 km to the visitor’s centre can only be completed on foot. Once you reach the end of the trail, you need to undertake the last uphill climb to reach the incredible Los Marteles crater.
You can also live a unique experience by spending a night at a cave hotel. It’s difficult to make them out at first sight since they are so well integrated into the landscape of the ravine, but though they offer modern facilities they still preserve the traditional essence.