Thursday, June 27, 2013

Barranco de las Penitas

In line with our moving plans, there are almost no place left on Fuerteventura where I really wanted to go and didn’t get yet. *

Last week we went for a walk in Barranco de las Penitas — one of the greenest places on the whole island. It’s a sort of continuation of the valley where the old capital of Fuerteventura, Betancuria, sits. The barranco (ravine) runs towards the west coast of the island, joining eventually with El Barranco de la Madre del Agua, to form even bigger Barranco del Ajuy, which flows into the ocean by (you’ve guessed it) Ajuy.

The part of the ravine where the hermitage is built is almost completely devoid of vegetation

The walk is easy, with a bit of up and down, but nothing too bad. The most puzzling part is probably in the very beginning, when you see the pointer to the walk in the small car park, but no visible path. Just walk in that general direction, along the bottom of the barranco, and it very soon becomes clear where to go.

The walk goes past the dried-up reservoir, the dam and the little white hermitage. After that you can either come back or carry on down to Ajuy. The last option is a lot longer walk, and really requires some sort of pre-arrangement with transport.

We, however, took neither of those options. We searched for a very specific place, and, I am very happy to report, we found it — once again, Facebook proved to be extremely useful.

Star attraction. This arch is what I wanted to see the most, ever since I saw some photos of it on facebook. It is quite tall, about 4 meters I say, and in places worn out into almost nothing.

It was alarming to see rock-climbing rings and chains attached to the inner walls.

Still the same barranco, now wide and cultivated. The fields are surrounded by the low earth walls, which are supposed to hold water — except there is nothing to hold, and it looks almost completely dry at the moment.

We came into the valley of Betancuria from the north, by the way of the Mirador de Guise y Ayose (or “mirador of naked iron men”. Search in Google and you will see why :). Views both ways — towards Betancuria and to the North — are beautiful.

Below is the route for the main part of the barranco. I deliberately don’t give the route to the arch, mainly because the route we took wasn’t safe and I don’t want anybody breaking their neck taking it. Plus, the place is relatively unknown as yet, and it will be good for it to remain so.

View Barranco de las Penitas walk in a larger map

Pictures of inland Fuerteventura on Shutterstock — here


* Sure, I would like to go to Cofete again one day and come to the water level this time, but that is best done by car, at least partially.

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