Today, I have been walking in Arico, which is one of my favourite hiking areas on the island. The scenery is truly stunning and whenever I've walked in the area I've usually had it to myself as the region does not seem to be on the radar of the majority of hikers visiting the island.
One of the reasons for this is probably that there aren't really any circular routes from the villages of Villa de Arico or Arico Nuevo without a trek lasting many hours. On this occasion, I drove high into the mountains from Villa de Arico along a potholed, narrow strip of tarmac that winds up into the mountains to the recreation zone of El Contador. This road is not for the faint hearted and is in itself an experience to be remembered.
The recreation zone at weekends and fiestas fills up with locals who drive up into the mountains to spend the days playing and making use of the barbecue facilities. For my walk, I followed a trail into the mountains from El Contador, which climbs from Villa de Arico into the Las Cañadas National Park but as I was only planning a trip of around three hours, a lot of the hard work was avoided, although there was still a stiff ascent of around 1,300ft.
As I climbed, the views down to the recreation zone and beyond to the Barranco de Tamadaya were truly breathtaking. In every direction, high forested mountains soared into the deep blue skies while down towards the coast, white puffs of cloud added an attractive feature to the scene.
After a little over an hours climbing, I reached the Casa Forestal where I stopped for a rest break and to enjoy the breathtaking views. From here, there was a just a short climb before I descended back to the recreation zone after a short three hour walk that certainly wasn't short of spectacular views.
Thanks to contributor SJLW on Wikiloc for the GPS track