A new day and a new port! I’m already familiar with Candelaria, as it’s one of the well-known spots on La Palma island and a major tourist attraction that I visited during my first trip here. I had noted that one could walk down to it from Tijarafe, but I used to think that round trips to ports weren’t that interesting in terms of hiking…
Times change, apparently. While I still prefer to ascend and then descend, I’ve grown to love these beautiful descents towards the ocean. So, I decided that this little port deserved its hike, combined with a visit to a lesser-known spot: the hamlet and cove of El Jurado!
Starting my hike in Tijarafe, I take the high paths of the town to discover a small ridge trail along the barranco (ravine), with its little Stations of the Cross, beautiful pine trees, and an ancient chapel. It’s a delightful detour, not too demanding in terms of elevation, before the descent into the barranco begins.
Starting my hike early, the Tijarafe barranco is still in the shadows. The coolness is refreshing, though the bright blue sky and dim light make photography a bit challenging! After the first section, the trail slightly ascends to cross a rocky escarpment.
On the other side, on a balcony trail, the vast barranco of El Jurado unfolds! The word “vast” doesn’t do justice to this impressive rock formation, with its few houses perched high above what looks like an abyss. The trail doesn’t descend into the barranco, as the slopes are too steep, resembling cliffs more than slopes.
After passing a small populated area with houses and fields, I walk alongside banana plantations. The trail is right next to the cliff, offering views of Tijarafe and the pine forest crowning the Caldera de Taburiente. As I write this and review my photos, I think of the devastating fire that consumed 4500 hectares of pine forest between Puntagorda and Tijarafe just two weeks ago. I can’t imagine the current landscape, and it pains me to think about it.
The descent begins towards the bottom of the El Jurado barranco. It’s rapid, challenging, and steep, with multiple switchbacks to navigate the slope. I walk alongside a massive cliff that plunges into the waves; it’s breathtaking, especially when the hamlet of El Jurado comes into view. El Jurado isn’t just a recent marina; it’s an ancient hamlet that has always been inhabited, with a still-functioning well.
The Guanche and Palmero past blend with the present. While El Jurado no longer serves as a significant port for local trade, it’s a charming spot, guarded by a feisty duck keen on pecking at my lunch. The ocean is calm, but I’m alone, so I only dip my feet in the water, saving a full swim for another time.
The ascent begins on the other side of the El Jurado barranco, leading to the road to Poris de Candelaria. A small rocky outcrop beckons for a quick detour, offering magnificent views of both the El Jurado coast and the first buildings of Candelaria.
I continue descending towards the poris, hidden within a massive cliff crevice. This quaint port, reminiscent of a pirate’s hideout, houses many summer residences. Even in winter, some people are swimming, and a small boat is anchored. Rediscovering this place is magical; it’s so beautiful and unique!
The climb back up is challenging, starting right outside the port and going directly above the cave’s mouth. A small boat exits the cave, emphasizing the place’s vastness. The rest of the ascent, under the sun, is splendid. The well-defined trail, occasionally paved, is the old mule track connecting to the village of Tijarafe, which I spot perched on its ridge. This hike was definitely worth it, allowing me to experience these two places beyond just a drive-by.
Photos from the hike to El Jurado and Poris de Candelaria: