Barranco de Masca, or Masca Gorge and the town of Masca is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Tenerife. Or at least it was until it closed in 2018. Up to 800,000 tourists came here every year, making it the second most popular attraction, right after Mount Teide. The gorge was formerly a place used by pirates as a hiding place. Amazing views await us in the Mask. High walls, narrow passages and a beautiful beach at the end of the route.
The Masca Gorge, after more than 3 years of closure, was reopened to tourists on March 27, 2021. The gorge was closed due to a large number of accidents, mainly caused by the unpreparedness of tourists for the route. At this point, a pilot transition program has been launched.
Pilot ascent of the Barranco de Masca trekking
The pilot program assumes a limited number of tickets, which must be booked in advance. In addition, trekking is possible only on weekends. During the registration, we get instructions on what to take with us: a supply of water and food, a charged phone, sunscreen. You should also confirm that you are healthy and physically fit. Before entering the trekking, equipment is checked, appropriate footwear and helmets are rented free of charge, which must be worn by the entire route. As part of the pilot project trekking, helmet rental, insurance are free.
After reaching the information point in mask, we get instructions about the route and checkpoints. The trail is open from 8:30 to 18:00. Tbreed runs through a gorge surrounded by several hundred meters of walls. We start at an altitude of about 650m above sea level and gradually descend to sea level. The route ends at Playa del Masca beach. From there, there is currently no option to return by boat to Puerto del Santiago and you should return to the information point in Maska.
The length of the route is 10 kilometers. There are no major difficulties there, sometimes we will meet chains on the route, but I think that they are useful only if it was wet.
Seat reservation Barranco de Masca
To book places for trekking you need to go to the Barranco de Masca website. The number of tickets is limited. To get a reservation, I called the information where I found out that the system is refreshed on Friday at 12:00. And so, after setting the alarm clock at 11:55, I started refreshing the page. And fortunately, at 12 o’m there were a few places for Saturday and Sunday. I chose the Sunday date for 10:30, so as to conveniently get the morning bus from Puerto de Santiago (buses on the island go quite a long time).
During summer time from March to October, 25 people are admitted every half hour from 8:30 to 11:00. In winter time from 8:30 to 10:30. You should come to the information center about 30 minutes earlier for a short initial training and helmet rental. According to the website, we need about 7 hours to walk the route: 3 hours to descend and 4 hours to enter. For us the whole route up and down took 4 hours plus 30 minutes break on the beach. Details of the transition below.
Trekking Barranco de Masca
Start at the information point in Mask
We get to Maska by bus from Puerto de Santiago with a change in Santiago del Teide. It takes us about 1 hour to get there. We arrive around 9:30 and have another half hour for coffee with a view of the mountains. At 10 we go to the information point, where we receive information about trekking and rent helmets. The route is divided into 3 sections, separated by points intended for a break. They are located in more spacious places, where there is less chance of stones falling. The route is marked with plates with numbers that are to make it easier for us to orient oursesce in the field and possibly call for help. The plates are numbered evenly from 0 to 56 located about every 200 meters.
Description of the passage of the gorge route
The first section of trekking leads down quite steep stairs. On the trail we pass a few people, but it is not too crowded 😉 Every now and then we stop and admire the views. The lower we go down, the vertical walls become higher and the passage narrower.
After about an hour we reach the checkpoint where the park employees are stationed. This is the point from which we can set off down to the beach at 1 p.m. at the latest, so that we can definitely be back before the route closes.
Playa de Masca Beach
The route leads through less sly inclined terrain. Sometimes it is a flat path, sometimes slightly down. Just in front of the beach there is a small cave, however, entering it is prohibited. We reach the beach at 12:30, after two hours of walking. Here is also the last checkpoint, where the employee indicates that we have reached the finish line of the section. From the beach you can also see the island of La Gomera.
It is very hot on the beach and there are not too many places with shade. It is getting hotter, the sky is cloudless. Unfortunately, it is forbidden to swim on the beach. We find a piece of shade and eat sandwiches prepared in the morning. After resting, we move up at 1 p.m. Here, too, a deadline for leaving the beach was introduced. It is 2 p.m. so that everyone can return to the Mask before 6 p.m.
Back to Mask
We feel the heat more and more. The sun is almost perfectly above us, so that it is difficult to find any shadow, even among such high rocks. Now the 3 liters of water that I took with me are useful. During the approach, I drink almost everything. However, now we have the opportunity to admire the gorge from another side, which embellishs the hike. The most difficult is only the last moment of approach, just before the town itself. The approach is quite steep stairs, and the shadow can not be found anywhere. However, it is not too long and at 3 p.m., after 2 hours of wandering from the beach, we reach Maska.
As we do trekking on Sunday, it is quite a touristy day and the only active restaurant is completely busy. We thought that trekking would take us much more time, because the next bus is only in 1.5 hours. We decide to try our luck and drive at least to the next town – Santiago del Teide hitchhiking – from there more buses depart in the direction of Puerto de Santiago. However, we are even more fortunate! We ask one couple in the parking lot if they will give us a lift, they agree and during the road it turns out that they can give us a lift all the way to Puerto de Santiago. This is what is beautiful in travel, amazing places, spontaneity and unexpected situations!
If you plan to stay on Tenerife check my other posts about other trekkings and activities!
- In Tenerife, trekking to mount Teide is also worth a visit. You will find the whole climbing description in this post.
- Anaga Park offers a lot of trekking paths. Description and useful information in this post.
- Other interesting places on the island in the post about the attractions of Tenerife here.
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