GR 130 - El Roque to Tijarafe 10.6 km

Spoilt for choice, we decided to walk from a little place called El Roque which is near Puntagorda in the west and sits rather conveniently at an intersection of the GR 130 where it crosses the main road. Not only was it convenient to park but it also has a beautiful bus stop!
El Roque sits behind the main road, so I feel we could be forgiven for not having noticed it in the past, but we were immediately impressed with its facilities – nothing less than a telecentro with internet connection. But that is not of course what we were there for. It seemed that music classes were also in progress as the lilting notes of a clarinet floated out onto the streets. And nice people nodded and smiled -what a good start!
We followed the little lane along – in fact we guessed that this had probably been the main road at one time – and congratulated ourselves on our good luck. The sun was shining, the lane quickly turned into a miniature cobbled street lined by interesting looking houses and we had all day to do the walk.
Within five minutes we were lost. And five minutes later were were lost again. This was not such a good start after all and we made many mutterings about the lack of a sign just where we needed it. Well, we would just have to guess that the route took us over a pile of sand which formed the building site of somebody's restoration project and sure enough – just where there was no fork in the path and nowhere else to go, there was the trusty red and white blaze confirming that we were in fact still en route.
Now the route seemed more obvious and we could follow wooden railings. Oh no, this wasn't it – this was up the famous dragon tree, we should have followed the unmarked track without railings.
In spite of a less than auspicious first half hour, it was a day for enjoying ourselves and the route provided an ever changing set of landscapes for us to walk in.
At one point, we were up in the pine forest walking high above the road, then we were down in the bottom of a barranco, clambering over rocks and next walking along a sunny flower-lined path. It was all glorious.

Then there were places with an accumulation or even just a scattering of houses. David and I are of course fascinated by all things building and since the GR 130 is lined in parts by houses, there was plenty for us to admire. And otherwise. There are the old stone dwellings, some of them sadly giving way to collapse, flat roofed houses with many extensions of various sorts, grand Canarian houses in the middle of nowhere and all styles in between.
It wasn't until we had been on the route for around three hours and enjoyed a leisurely picnic lunch that we realised we had in fact been dawdling and if we didn't get a move on, we would miss our bus in Tijarafe, the idea being that we would catch the bus back to our start point of El Roque. And being a Saturday, buses are fairly few and far between.
Luckily, the route was now much easier and what could be called almost flat – well, for La Palma anyway! Now we contented ourselves to comment and admire on the move - a sweet kitten, an intricately carved door, potatoes growing in super-neat lines, a tree in an orchard dripping with a hundred lemons, an industrial tank with Koi carp in it, huge (and I mean huge) dandelion clocks growing at the side of the path, terraces filled with lush-looking avocado trees and how the GR 130 signs were now rapidly revealing that we only had 6.3 km, 4.8 km, 2.4 km, 1.1 km to walk to Tijarafe.
At this rate we would even have time for a cold beer before the bus came!
Well, in actual fact, there was just time to get lost again. Our suspicions that we were now 'off route' were confirmed when we passed two more junctions in the track with no indication of where to go. But by now we could see Tijarafe very close by and we just followed our noses, practically leaping up a rough old path, half covered in long grass, incentive firing our boots into action.
Ah, time for a beer after all and be ready for the bus whose expected arrival we noted was 'approximate.' Happily, we were there waiting when it arrived almost ten minutes early.

(This post is imported from our Finca Franceses blogspot so that the Gr's are all together!  It was walked 14th April, 2010. )


  1. Hi Ann,
    Finally got around to reading your blog. La Palma is high on my 'to do' list and I hope to get the ferry across in the near future to sample some of the walking, it looks wonderful. I have been walking the GR131 in Tenerife but called a halt during the summer months due to the heat. I am planning to restart agin soon. Thanks for a very interesting read.

  2. Hi Gary,
    Our next mission is to walk the middle section of the GR131 here on la Palma. It looks like it is going to be amazing, especially with an overnight stop-over at a refuge hut.
    Be great to do some walking on Tenerife - we shall have to look at the GR131 there!