Thursday, 19 April 2018 12:28

The Barranco de Barafonso: Gran Canaria's Antelope Canyon

The Instagram ready Barranco de Barafonso in east Gran Canaria The Instagram ready Barranco de Barafonso in east Gran Canaria

If you want a memorable Instagram photo, head to the Barranco de Barafonso in east Gran Canaria. Just do it quick before everybody visits the closest thing to Antelope Canyon in the Canary Islands. 

The Barranco de Barafonso is an offshoot of the Barranco de las Vacas (barranco is a Canarian word for valley). It's a short, narrow slot canyon carved by water into a deep vein of soft volcanic ash or tuff. The interesting bit is only  250 metres long but the ochre and red colours, and smooth curved walls make it a must visit. 

It is also referred to as the Tobas de Colores del Barranco de las Vacas; a bit of a mouthful to be honest!

Where is the Barranco de Barafonso?

Between Agüimes and Temisas on the GC 550 road, specifically on a bend at Kilometre 14. The easiest way to get there is by driving from Agüimes towards Temisas until you get to this bend

You can also walk along the old Camino Real pathway between Agüimes and Temisas but the detour to the canyon isn't signposted. 

There is no car park along the road but there is a place about 150 metres before the bend with room for two cars to park. From here walk up the road towards Temisas until you get to the bend. The track to the barranco starts on the seaward side of the road.

The first section is a steep 100-metre walk down to the valley floor. Then you walk inland through a tunnel and keep going about 200 metres up the valley until you reach the slot canyon. Keep walking for another 200 metres and you reach a dry waterfall and can't go any further unless you are a confident climber. 

What to do in the Barranco de Barafonso

It's a small, peaceful place (for now) and there isn't much to do at all apart from walking around and taking photos. You'll see a few local birds like kestrels and chiffchaffs and maybe even a raven or buzzard flying overhead.

The canyon has only recently been rediscovered by walkers and Instagram fans, but it's obvious that it was well known by shepherds a long time ago. There are footholds (complete with long nails) cut into the west wall of the canyon right at the end and several spots where you can see old holes cut into the soft rock that used to hold up shelters. 

Please (as always) take care at Barafonso and carry your litter (and anyone else's) away with you. It's a small and fragile place and it needs looking after.


Lex Says: To get the best photos in the Barafonso slot canyon visit early in the morning or late in the evening when the sun isn't shining right into the canyon (or on a cloudy day). 

Temisas town is worth a stop

Once you've explored Barafonso and got your pictures, don't just turn around and head back to Agüimes and the Guayadeque Valley. Instead, carry on along the GC500 road until you reach Temisas town. 

It's a gorgeous white town and the place that makes most of Gran Canaria's olive oil. Temisas really hasn't changed for centuries and its narrow lanes are full of spots for a cool photo. The local bars along the road sell local unfiltered oil and a bottle will definitely liven up your salads. It's interesting stuff because it comes from old trees that don't grow anywhere else; they were all ripped up and replaced by modern varieties in Spain.

From Temisas, you can carry on up the road for more spectacular views until you reach Santa Lucia Town and carry on all the way to Tunte (San Bartolomé town). From here, head back down the Fataga valley to Playa del Ingles or on into the highlands.

More on the olive oil and Gran Canaria's other natural products

Published in Day Trips

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