Sunday, February 03, 2013


I was looking in the direction of Tindaya for quite some time, figuring out how to get there without a car. It’s possible, but tricky, as there are just three buses per day that go past the village. You can start from further, at La Oliva, but that involves walking some nine kilometers to the mountain before going up, and that somehow didn’t seem so very attractive.

Apart from that, there was always a nagging question that nobody could quite answer — do you need a permission to ascend Tindaya, it being a protected area, sacred mountain and all that.

So I was really happy when I got a call from my former Spanish teacher saying that there will be a group excursion for Tindya, that we have enough cars and that he sorted out the group permission with ayuntamiento (district council) *.

When we came to the village, it was still quite early in the morning and the thin layer of clouds over the mountain to the east of Tindaya didn’t get burned away by the sun. We parked at the football field first, but a guard on a motorbike appeared and advised us to park in a different spot. He had on a uniform with Cabildo sign and “medio ambiente” (environment). When we re-parked, he turned up again, to check our permit, and then he turned up yet again on the mountain itself, to guide, explain and point out. On the photo below is is the guy with his back to the camera, waving his hands about.

I asked him if he is there every day, and he explained that no, there are not that many of them in the whole of Fuerteventura, and that he is sometimes here on Tindaya, sometimes in the dunes, sometimes in Jandia. In other words, if you go there, don’t count on finding yourself guided by him. You will be lucky if you do, though, that’s for sure, he knows his stuff.

The “heart of the mountain” (el corazon de la montaña) is something that I would most surely have missed if it wasn’t for him. He had to turn me around physically, as I kept looking the wrong direction.

The view towards the Tindaya village, over the nearest mountain and towards mountain range hiding the valley of Betancuria grew better and better with every meter up.

The softly shaped, eroded group of volcanoes in the photo below hides El Cotillo. Later on we could see the pier area and the breaking waves on the surfing beaches to the south of it.

Finally, with an excellent guidance, we came to see what we came to see — the “podomorphs” (podomorf, podomorfos) scratched-out shapes on the flat surfaces close to the top of the mountain. The shape is supposed to be one of the footprint or a sole of a foot, very square and stylized.

They are not particularly spectacular by themselves, but significant for the archeologists. They are thought to be a proof that the aboriginal dwellers of the island practiced a form of sun cult. The “toes” are pointed in the direction of the sunset, probably the sunset on the certain day, geographically-wise somewhere between the highest peaks of Gran Canaria and Teide on Tenerife.

Here is another picture of them, with more surroundings shown. It’s all rather weird and beautiful at the same time.

* About permissions. I’ve chatted to the guard/guide/what have you about it. It was very clear that he didn’t want to say it directly, but the gist of what he said was “yes, you need the permission from ayuntamiento, and you can’t walk up the mountain even with the permission in the afternoon, but we can’t watch the mountain 24/7. People still go up without permission, at night etc.” So, here you are. If you want to be within the local regulations, you must go, get the permission and go up in the morning. If you go without the permission, or at a different time, most likely outcome is you won’t get stopped anyway. What I forgot to ask is what will happen if you are stopped — are you just told off or fined or what? I will ask next time.

It just occurred to me that this post doesn’t have a picture of Tindaya mountain itself. If interested, please go to the previous post, it has one.

Pictures of inland Fuerteventura on Shutterstock — here.

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