Garachico, the town which rose out of the ashes
The gentle tripping of horses hoofs bounce off the walls and verandas of a town dubbed the unluckiest in Tenerife.
Sitting in a sublime square in Garachico, it’s hard to believe in its short, chequered history this pretty community has triumphed over mayhem.
Bubonic plague, floods, storms, fires, plagues of locusts and volcanic eruptions ravaged this shoreside idyll.
In 1706, a volcanic eruption wiped out a large part of the town, almost completely destroying St Anne’s Parish Church, which had taken nearly 200 years to build.
The fire left just the foundations and blackened outer walls.
But with rugged determination, the regal columns and arches were rebuilt over seven years and by remarkable fortitude, the tower, planned way back in the 1600s, is now nearing completion.
And, as I was to discover … out of the ashes, rises a true Phoenix .
Here is a place that truly shines: you believe you could almost eat a delightful fish dish (Garachico’s speciality) straight off the spotless sidewalks.
The squares, some filled with palms and ferns, are a muster of delight. Imposing
boxed verandahs gaze loftily down on the mosaic of side streets packed with artistic treasures.
You get the uncanny feeling you’re actually turning over a page in a history book filled hidden gems.
And its easy to see why Garachico, with Buenavista, Los Silos and El Tanque, was awarded the Beautiful Arts Gold Medal in recognition of its cultural and artistic heritage and outstanding architectural value.
Come walk with me down cobbled streets, share the beauty of restored churches, hotels and the cauldron of coastal sea water swimming pools gouged from volcanic rock.
Tarry awhile in the main plaza of La Libertad, arguably the most beautiful on the island, and drift into St Anne’s Church founded by Cristobal de Ponte.
Located in the town centre next to the south side of the Plaza de la Libertad, the church, with its three-aisled basilica, is one of the most famous sights of Garachico.
And you’ll marvel first hand at the magnificent restoration of the arches columns and a coffered ceiling.
The church now houses numerous magnetic works of art from the 17th century’s with patron saint of Santa Ana featured in some paintings .
And check out the corn paste Christ figure made by the Tabasco Indians in the 16th century, and the 17th century marble baptismal font: You won’t be disappointed.
Three pristine Canarian pam trees flank the walls of the former Convent of San Francisco, to the perfectly picturesque walls of the Hotel Quinta Roja
You can pay a small fee to wander the ruins of the former Convent of San Francisco which dates from the 16th century and is the oldest in the town.
Peep into Hotel Quinta Roja’s shop, through to the courtyard of this beautiful hotel and make a promise to trust yourself to a luxury stay.
Oh, and did I mention fish? Try chopitos (crispy fried baby squid) or the plump mussels. But don’t rush because lunch is a leisurely affair.
That will still leave you plenty time to call in the small garden of Puerta Tierra to see remains of the harbour toll gate legacy from the 1706 eruption.
And here’s a tip: I found Real Tenerife Island Drives a useful guide. Its written by people who live on the island and have an intimate knowledge its vulture, history and arts.