Reopening of the Barranco de Masca on 27 March 2021

Barranco de Masca

Hiking is possible again in the Barranco de Masca

Information board in the visitor centre

After the Barranco de Masca had been closed to hikers for three years due to an increased number of accidents (for more information click here), it has been reopened as a pilot project since 27 March 2021. In the three years it was closed, 1.25 million euros were invested to make the Barranco de Masca safer for hikers. In addition to the construction of a visitor centre, the extensive construction measures include the new construction and securing of hiking trails as well as the cleaning of the Barranco from exotic plant species. I had already mentioned the new regulations and booking possibilities in an article.

Places secured with chains in the Barranco de Masca

What was exciting for me now was what it would actually be like to hike again in the Barranco de Masca, where I had been countless times in the past. For a while, walking up and down with the dog was my Sunday walk. So I was initially disappointed that I couldn’t get a ticket in the booking system for the first day or for the next few months. These were all taken a few days before the reopening. And future bookings were no longer possible – fully booked or blocked? I was all the more pleased that a hiking friend had a ticket to give away, as someone from her group had cancelled. So the test hike could start.

the new visitor centre in Masca

Parking and a new visitor centre 

The first people were able to start as early as 8.30 in the morning on 27 March. We had our assigned start at 9.00 am. I was already in Masca at 8.00 a.m. with the car to have a look around, and got a parking space at that time. In the course of the construction work, no further parking spaces were created, so that when I returned in the afternoon, the usual traffic chaos prevailed in Masca. For this reason, the homepage of the visitors’ centre recommends arriving by public transport. But – as critics point out – there are hardly any sufficient Titsa connections at the moment. You can find all connections on the Titsa homepage.

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at the "counter" there is control and helmets

Then I walked towards the entrance of the gorge and almost missed the visitor centre, which is not really well marked on the right hand side of the path. Others felt the same way, so that some hikers were standing at the gorge entrance without helmets and checked tickets. This caused some irritation, but that is probably normal for the first day of walking. The visitor centre itself, which was newly built at a cost of €300,000, is bright, friendly and informative. Hikers receive a briefing with the obligatory question of whether they have enough water. Then the tickets are checked off, helmets are distributed and then we can finally get started.

Outdoor area visitor centre

Entrance to the gorge and route through the Masca Barranco

From the visitor centre we go to the well-known entrance to the gorge. There is now another control point. There are also checkpoints in the middle of the gorge and on the beach to make sure that all hikers wear helmets and abide by the many regulations. I’m sure they can also help with enquiries. I don’t need to describe the path itself. For the most part, the old route description still applies. Only the last stretch to the beach now has a new route.

View of Masca beach from the new high trail

In the past, the path led through the barranco for the last hundred metres. Now it goes up the left side of the gorge. From there you already have a beautiful view of the beach from a distance. You hike past a large cave before descending serpentines and then stairs back down to the beach.

Hiking on secured stairs and with helmets in the Barranco of Masca - Photo: Robert Große Bley

What’s new in the Barranco of Masca?

Admission, safety and condition

Apart from a number of new regulations, which you can read about on the homepage, the reopening of the Barranco de Masca is supposed to be just a pilot project for the time being. Initially, entry is free, although apparently there are no more tickets available at the moment. After that, entrance fees (16 euros for non-residents and 8 euros for residents) could apply. A schedule of costs is currently being worked out. Exact details are not known at the moment. For the time being, visits to the Barranco de Masca will only be possible on weekends and public holidays between 8.00 and 18.00 (summer) or 8.00 and 17.00 (winter). During the day, 125 people are permitted. Groups may only be 25 persons in size. Dogs are not allowed.

Hikers in the mighty Barranco de Masca

It is compulsory to wear a helmet. The paths are all very well built, with steps and secured with ropes. In itself – and really only in itself – anyone can therefore now walk the gorge. But there are still 600 metres of altitude to overcome, so fitness is an absolute prerequisite. This is all the more true as there is no longer a boat from the jetty to Los Gigantes. Therefore, every hiker has to walk the 600 metres uphill again. Probably not everyone can do that. Consequently, everyone should be honest enough with themselves as to whether they are fit enough for such a tour. 

Extensive new signposting

Boat landing

In the past, hikers could simply walk down the gorge and then take a leisurely boat ride to Los Gigantes. As you can see from the picture, nothing has happened at the jetty in three years. This raises questions. Why wasn’t a solution found here? Why wasn’t a new jetty built? Three years should be enough for that. This is an incomprehensible situation both for the hikers and for the hiking companies that organised the boat transport. Allegedly, no provisional permission for the use of the jetty could be obtained from the Spanish coastal authority. But why wasn’t it first rebuilt and secured like the rest of the gorge? Why is there no permit?

the old jetty on Masca beach

Perhaps there will be a permit for the extension of the jetty at some point in the future. But until then, it is only possible to hike down and up. According to the homepage, this should take about 5 hours. We walked quickly and took 3.5 hours. For inexperienced hikers who also want to see a lot, I would actually estimate 6-7 hours.

and booking online

On the first day, I noticed that there were mainly young people in the Barranco de Masca. They were probably quick to secure online tickets. But the ticket procedure via internet is still compulsory – without online ticket no entry, so that in future every Masca visitor will have to rely on this way. The hiking companies will not have an easy job either if they have to organise hikes via the booking system. Because with the down and up, they already have to plan a lot of time for their tours. 

Hiking in the new Barranco de Masca

Unfortunately, my former big circular walk no longer works either, as it doesn’t continue at Masca beach. So the only way out at the moment is to take the bus back from Masca.

on the beach of Masca

My conclusion

Even though I was happy to see the Barranco of Masca again after such a long time, it is no longer the same. Those who enjoyed wandering through the old wild barranco will be disappointed. To banish exotic plants, large areas of the barranco are covered with black plastic sheets and large stones. Most of the former reed areas no longer exist. I wanted to see what it looks like today, and I did. But I think it was also the last visit for now. After all, there are countless other interesting and beautiful canyon walks on Tenerife.

Plastikplanen mit Steinen, um exotische Pflanzen zu entfernen

There are probably new tourists who have never been to the Barranco de Masca. And they can probably also make friends with the new Barranco. Fortunately, the high rock walls and the impressive gorge itself are not so easy to convert. Whether you hike through the Barranco de Masca or choose another gorge. I wish you lots of fun on all your tours,

Dagmar from Seven Islands

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One Reply to “Reopening of the Barranco de Masca on 27 March 2021”

  1. […] Attention: the Barranco of Masca was closed since 26.2.2018 and in March 2021 it is reopened. […]

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