Top Tip: If you wish to tag the Masca Gorge descent on to this (another 5km, approx 3hrs), pre book your boat trip back to Los Gigantes from one of the many outlets advertising the Masca walk. Last time, about 18 months ago, I booked with the travel shop in Los Gigantes and it cost €10 per head.
Those not familiar with Santiago; it’s a small town at the 900m mark up from Puerto Santiago, with ample café/bars and restaurants, a few small shops and a lovely church. The Bus stops at the Tourist Information Office (TIO) in front of the church (the same stop is used for the Masca bus) and it is from this square that future walks take place. Having said that, you could stay on the bus to the outskirts of the town (2 stops further on) and you will cut 200m from this walk.
Visit the TIO for maps, et cetera, pop into the church and then head north along the main road out of town. As the road starts to bend left (2nd bus stop) cross over and follow the path to the next bend.
Turn left and begin your steady climb up hill, there are some great views back to Santiago and you eventually come to the PR TF 51; Right takes you to a network of paths to Erjos , Los Llanos and beyond but we continue the short climb to the saddle where there are fabulous views out to Mt. Teide.
The Mountain to the left is Pico Verde (1318m) where the photo was taken, but we are going to continue the walk along the path to the right to the next junction at the ruins of a farmhouse.
Down hill takes you to village of Las Portilas, right is around the high peak (Cruz de Gala – 1347m) and back onto the PR TF 51 North, but we turn left and follow the path along the ridge in a shallow descent all the way to the next crossroads just above the main road.
Right is down hill to Las Portilas (the more astute amongst us has worked out that we could do a loop from the top via Las Portilas, and you would be right…it is a very nice walk) straight on is the PR TF 51 North West to the coast (another fabulous walk I’ll talk about later).
We however are going to follow the path left down to the Mirador de la Fuente and onwards down on the path to the left to pick up the road and the short walk into Masca where we catch the bus (355) back to Santiago after a visit to the village.
For those carrying on down the Barranco de Masca for the boat…just follow everyone else. I think this is the best way to do the Barranco de Masca walk, at the end the sense of achievement is massive and, after catching the boat back to Los Gigantes, you can stop in one of the bars at the harbour to celebrate.