Montaña de Agüimes

Route of the walk
Agüimes – Barranco de Guayadeque – Playa del Burrero – Playa de San Agustín

For the coastal section, it’s a good idea to take sun cream, a towel and a swimsuit in case you want a swim after the walk.
Please take utmost care at the archaeological sites you visit.

Getting there: No 11 Global bus from Las Palmas de GC to Agüimes
Saturdays & Sundays at 8.50 am.
From the bus station in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (San Telmo).
Starting point: Agüimes, estación de guaguas.
Distance: 9 km approx.
Time: 3 h 15 min.
Level: Low
End point: At the beach in Playa del Burrero. The number 85 Global bus departs on the hour every hour.
GLOBAL reserves the right to change this information.

Every town has a place called “Las Cuatro Esquinas” (The Four Corners), although it’s unusual for these spots to contain so much culture and information that they’re a compulsory stop on a tourist outing. Montaña de Agüimes is just such a place. In the centre of the old town you’ll find Las Cuatro Esquinas, home to a special tribute to those who fell in the Spanish Civil War and some delightful lines of poetry by Miguel Hernández. One of the four corners includes information about pre-Hispanic Agüimes.

Documents in the Las Palmas Historic Archives show that numerous houses existed around Plaza de San Antón and the church in the 16th and 17th centuries. Remains of these houses have been uncovered in the subsoil by recent archaeological digs, indicating that the old town of Agüimes was built on the pre-Hispanic settlement of the same name.

The area’s very well preserved, so it’s a good idea to start this walk with a leisurely visit to the centre of Montaña de Agüimes. Highlights include the chapel, Ermita de San Antón, where pottery of the earliest inhabitants has been found, and the church, Iglesia de San Sebastián, whose first stone was laid in 1796, although it took 44 years to complete. The front of the church is made of quarry stone and is one of the finest Neoclassical churches in the Canary Islands.

In the north of the square you’ll find a tribute to Guayadeque’s agricultural past, comprising a plaque and a statue of a donkey hitched to a post, reminiscent of the old days when the people of Guayadeque brought their produce to the centre of Montaña de Agüimes to sell or barter.

SECTION 1º: Old Town of Agüimes – Las Crucitas – Montaña de Agüimes

Approximate time: 45 min. Distance: 1.8 km.

After this educational visit to the centre of Montaña de Agüimes, start the walk from the door of the bus station, crossing the road to Calle Panamá and heading towards the town hall public park, behind the council offices. Go across the park, with the health centre on the right, towards the senior citizens’ club (Club Municipal de la Tercera Edad). After a zebra crossing with traffic lights, you’ll be on the main road to Arinaga, the GC-100.

Head to the right towards Arinaga, passing the sign for the 23 km point. You’ll be walking on wide footpaths, with the secondary school and the sports centre on the left, and then you’ll come to a sheltered bus stop. You’ll have gone about 800 m so far, arriving at Las Crucitas. Leave the main road and head straight up on the left, passing a tower and a street by the name of Calle Obispo Fría.

Cross on Montaña de Agüimes

After that you’ll come to Calle Taburiente and then take the dirt track, where a signpost indicates you’re entering a protected natural area. The ascent towards Montaña de Agüimes is steep but easy. Half way up you’ll find some unusual hollows in the form of caves and holes left behind from the quarries where Montaña de Agüimes stone was once extracted. This stone, a greenish-grey ignimbrite, contains many cavities. It was used to decorate the fronts of several buildings in the old town. On the way up you’ll see the traditional agricultural landscape of Agüimes and Ingenio, divided by the Barranco de Guayadeque ravine.

In little more than 20 minutes you’ll reach the top of Montaña de Agüimes, where you’ll see a radio transmitter with several aerials, and over to the west, a cross surrounded by low concrete for visitors to sit on when they leave flowers there. The views from this spot are fantastic. You can see the Guayadeque basin, dug out between the lateral interfluves; the solid rock form of Roque Aguayro; the peaks of Gran Canaria; the flats of Arinaga and its sandy mountain… It’s worth taking a moment to savour the environment at the top of Montaña de Agüimes, with its 360º views at an altitude of 363 m above sea level.

The mountain is an edifice that was raised in the first volcanic episode, approximately 13 million years ago. Its sedimentary materials are mainly basalts, with patches of ignimbrite in the northwest. The Canary Islands Government designated the area Montaña de Agüimes Protected Landscape.

Morro del Cuervo y tabaibas dulces

SECTION 2º: Montaña de Agüimes – Morro de Ávila – La Banda

Approximate time: 1 hour. Distance: 2.5 km.

Entrada a una de las cuevas aborigenes

To continue the walk you need to keep to the track you came up on, heading east towards another transmission station with aerials. At the end of the track you’ll see the path that goes along the crest of the mountain.

Walking past spurges, candle plants and spiny lettuce, you’ll come to an outcrop at Morro del Cuervo (or Morro Chico or Morro del Guirre, according to some), where you’ll find a site with cave drawings, mostly linear representations or human figures. Take a fork to the right to see this site. Once you’re back on the main track, go round the outcrop to the left.

Continue the walk by going down a few metres on the path until you come to an abandoned holding pool. The track climbs gently, past a pylon. Just before another pylon, the path forks. It’s marked by a stone mound. It’s important to locate this fork because after you’ve been to the caves at Cuevas del Morro del Ávila, you’ll need to return to this point.

Remains of the old stone paving on the pathway down to La Banda

Ahead of you some enormous dry stone walls rise up. They’re part of some stock pens that closely guard some artificial caves dug into the rock in pre-Hispanic times. Some of the caves are quite large and have remnants of paint decorating the walls, including red and white triangular designs. At the back wall of the caves is an old quarry, the source of the dark red stone used to build the vaulted ceiling of the church in Ingenio (Iglesia de la Candelaria).

Continue the walk by returning to the previous fork and then go down the southern side of the outcrop by taking a well kept path as far as some concrete piping. At this point, you need to leave this path to go down a narrower route until you come across some black plastic piping (this part is very slippery) and you reach the houses in La Banda del Carrizal.

SECTION 3º: La Banda-Barranco de Guayadeque – El Burrero

Approximate time: 1 h 30 min. Distance: approx 5 km..

Head E along a street called Calle Nuestra Señora del Carmen until you come to some steps on the right at Calle Baifo. Turn left and walk past the town square (phone booth and store).

Go down the street towards the football field and the bottom of the ravine. Once you reach the ravine bed of Barranco de Guayadeque (opposite Bar la Petanca), walk downstream on a section of a small road until you come to the main road south. Before you reach a tunnel, head down to the right to go under the road. Exit on the right, as you’ll find a small path that leads to the next dirt track you need to take.

Foto del Chaparro Convolvulus caput-medusae), endemismo canario

Pass the houses in El Carrizal on the left. The track is quick to walk. Head parallel to the ravine until you come to some asphalt. Walk up the sealed part in the same direction. Further on, go back down to the bed of the ravine to go through a long tunnel under the GC-1 motorway. The path on the left side provides an easier walk down the ravine. You might find some rubbish lying around but as you continue along the ravine, things become more rural. As you walk over the pebbles along this solitary ravine, you’ll see pebble plants, balos and the local lizards.

Where the ravine ends, head left to join onto a dirt track that will take you to the houses and the beach in Playa del Burrero. Make sure you don’t leave the area without a visit to the beach in San Agustín and the structures left behind by the native Canary Islanders, and be sure to find one of the endemic plants of the southeast coast of Gran Canaria, Convolvulus caput-medusae, a creeper with white flowers and spiny tips you need to be careful not to walk on.

Things to see:

Stone engravings

Montaña de Agüimes is home to a unique group of petroglyphs. A number of panels arranged around the eastern side of a rocky area show anthropomorphic designs (human figures with and without gender), geometrical forms (mostly reticulate patterns and parallel lines), as well as two stars and the outlines of two triangular figures.

Among the human figures, one of the highlights is “the Guayadeque man”, which is 46 cm high and 32 cm wide. The protruding outcrop may have been used for cult rituals as a place where barren women went to perform fertility rites.

Playa de San Agustín

The coastal area in the municipalities of Ingenio and Montaña de Agüimes is a combination of pebbles and strips of sand, although between El Burrero and Playa de San Agustín you can see a rock face with tafoni (honeycomb weathering) and “organ pipes” (trap rock). Some of the tafoni caves were used in the pre-Hispanic era and even in modern times as dwellings. An archaeological site on top of the caves includes various dwellings and funeral caves with pre-Hispanic burials, although they’ve recently been defaced. Other landforms in the area include the small headland and a tombolo made of recent basalt materials.

The beach at San Agustín, between El Burrero and the Gando airbase beaches, is an appealing, little-known cove of fine white sand. Where the beach ends you’ll find a volcanic lava flow in the shape of a balustrade or successive columns. This type of morphology, known as columnar jointing, is formed by a process of erosion that takes advantage of the slow cooling of the lava flow during the volcanic eruption. The combination of geological forms (beach, lava flow and columnar jointing) makes a visit to the area highly recommendable.

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