The rural Park Anaga in the north of Tenerife has lots to offer. It’s known for its green misty forest, stunning rock formations and steep gorges all surrounded by diverse flora. One of the best hikes to explore its diversity is the Cruz del Carmen to Chinamada loop. This is an exclusive guide with insights into the hike, what to bring and how to combine it with beautiful destinations close by.
The Cruz del Carmen to Chinamada loop in Anaga will show you the diversity and wonders of Mother Nature. The rural park Anaga is a very unique area on Tenerife and can’t be found twice on this island. It’s definitely worth to pay a visit and dive into a different world for a day.
What I love most about this hike is its diversity due to the different heights and climates. You will be able to enjoy forest, mountain & ocean views as well as cloudy and sunny parts.
Facts about the hike
- Length: 12 km round way
- Duration: 5-7 hours (depending on pace and breaks)
- Difficulty: Medium. It’s an up and down hike, some bits are steep, some are slippery.
- Highlights: Misty forest, green fields, steep canyons, unique rock formations, fantastic ocean views, rural villages
The Cruz del Carmen to Chinamada loop is pretty well signed but I recommend to download Guru Maps for offline navigation and have a closer look on outdooractive to see the exact route beforehand. There is barely reception during the hike so make sure you are not dependent on your phone.
How to get there
The hike starts and ends at Mirador Cruz del Carmen, which is a well-known viewpoint.
The best way to explore the north of Tenerife is by car as you are super flexible. Two companies I’ve made good experiences with so far were TopCar and AutoReisen. The price to rent a car varies between 15 and 40 Euros per day, depending on the season, model and insurance options. At Cruz del Carmen there are parking spots available. If it’s too busy it’s best to just see what the other cars are doing and if there is a new parking line opening up at the side of the road.
If you are staying in La Laguna you could also take the bus, which according to the map takes around 30 minutes. On websites like rome2rio you can check the connections and times.
Cruz del Carmen through misty forest
At Cruz del Carmen it’s worth to check out the viewpoint first. You will either get there and see nothing as you’re basically walking through a cloud or if you’re really lucky you can see the volcano El Teide from Cruz del Carmen. In case it’s drizzling a bit up there don’t worry as the clouds can pass quite quickly and the altitude will change during the hike. When we did this hike, the clouds were completely gone in the afternoon and we could actually see the view at Cruz del Carmen.
Check the start of the hike on outdooractive or Guru Maps and then follow the path there. The first leg leads through the misty and lush forest, which is absolutely magical. Make sure to stop sometimes and just listen to the different sounds of the birds and breathe in the fresh air.
The path then continues a little bit on the main road past some houses. With each step you should be able to catch a glimpse of the mountains end maybe even the ocean. Once you enter the path again you will probably have to stop on a regular basis as the view is getting better and better. Enjoy stunning rock formations of the mountains, covered with green plants and trees.
Lunchbreak in Chinamada
After approximately 6 km you will arrive in the little village Chinamada. Chinamada is well known for its cave houses built into the hillside. In the Restaurante La Cueva you can have some lunch and take a well deserved break. Definitely try the typical Canarian sauces ‘mojo rojo and mojo verde’ with ‘papas arrugadas’! It’s an easy and delicious plant-based option. Don’t forget to check the opening hours before!
Different route on the way back
As this is a loop hike you can take a different route on the way back from Chinamada to Cruz del Carmen. This time the path first leads along a road via the village La Cabonera and then emerges onto the path from earlier. The last bit of the hike is challenging as it’s going up hill through the forest. If the sky clears up in the afternoon you can see the forest from a different perspective.
What to consider
As already mentioned I recommend to put the hike on Guru Maps to access it even if you’re offline. There is almost no reception and Google Maps is not a reliable source for this hike. Also make sure to bring a (waterproof) jacket as the temperatures in Anaga forest are cooler in general (10 – 15 degrees).
The weather in Anaga can change quickly from rain to only clouds or even sun. If it rains a lot you should maybe postpone the hike to another day as some parts of the paths can be very muddy and slippery.
In the restaurant we could pay by card. But having cash with you in Tenerife in general is always a good idea.
What to bring
Bring hiking boots or sneakers with slip-proof soles as the ground can be slippery. It’s also helpful to have a light rain jacket with you – there are cooler and warmer parts along the hike. Don’t forget water and some snacks. Depending on the weather I recommend to wear a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen.
More things to do in Anaga
If you have time after the hike you could either explore the first established city in the Canary islands San Cristobal de La Laguna or drive further towards Playa Benijo. Playa Benijo is a beautiful remote, black sand beach surrounded by majestic cliffs at the north eastern tip of the Anaga Rural Park. Definitely worth a visit!
I hope you’ll have a wonderful time in the beautiful Anaga area and on Tenerife!