In a small continent, where does one go to experience the most stunning landscapes? Tamadaba Natural Park is Gran Canaria’s best bet. The oldest and biggest forest in the island is also the home of thousands of endemic plants and animals.
Venture into its tree-lined hiking trail and be rewarded with the most breath-taking views below and of the neighboring island. In these parts of the earth, travelers can be alone with their thoughts, with nature’s hidden wonders keeping them company.
- Brief Background
- Things to Do at Tamadaba Natural Park
- How to Get There
- Experience the Serenity of the Natural Park in Tamadaba
- Siam Park Attractions
- Getting to Siam Park
- Where to Eat and Stay
- Travel Tips for First Timers
- Truly a Tropical Paradise
Parque Natural Tamadaba is a network of valleys, slopes, and mountains on the far west of Gran Canaria in the Canary Islands. The 7,500 hectares of land starts from the town of Agaete in the northwest and extends down to the towns of La Aldea de San Nicolas and Artenara.
Each trail to its peak is defined by pine forests and arid grounds, sometimes steep, sometimes gravelly, but the views are always divine. The park also covers 18 kilometers of the island’s west coastline. Furthermore, the trail from the coast is as magical as the rest of the trails from the towns inland.
Pico de Bandera, its highest peak, is more than 1,400 meters above sea level. Thus, many parts of the area are viewing points where visitors could see the Teide volcano in Tenerife peeking through clouds. It is surely a scene to behold despite the fact that the island is over 100 kilometers away.
The area is also part of the list of places in Gran Canaria which earned the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve qualification. So, when hikers climb the dangerous cliff off the west coast near the Guayedra Valley, it’s not surprising to find endangered plants and animal species native to the island.
In Tamadaba Parque Natural, every cascading valley and mountain kissing the passing clouds spell out tranquility. With lots of things to do and scenery so grand, it’s a destination where families, couples, groups, and individuals surely love.
Things to Do at Tamadaba Natural Park
Visiting Tamadaba Natural Park, Gran Canaria’s largest pine forest, is like entering a realm far, far away from tourism. There are plenty of activities to keep adventure seekers, nature lovers, and even wildlife enthusiasts happy and entertained.
Follow the Hike and Walk Trails
Since it largely covers three main municipalities, there are plenty of hiking trails found in the natural park. Following the wooden signs from the town of Agaete to Artenara, hikers get a front-row seat to the views of the villages below, spreading throughout the foot of the mountains. This trail is almost parallel to the motorway GC-216 going to the park.
Regardless of which trail, visitors only need to look up to see the enormous pine trees or look down to spot the beautiful arid, pine needle-lined grounds. The stunning views of cascading mountains and valleys, often kissed by thin cloudy mist or showered by the sunshine, is a sight to behold. From here, one could also marvel at the height of the famous Teide Volcano in the neighboring island of Tenerife.
Stop at Mirador del Balcon
A steep trail, but easily accessible by car, run to the west coast of Tamadaba, through the cliffs in Guayedra, where Mirador del Balcon lies await. From this vantage point hanging on a cliff, hikers feel like a king or queen on the top of the world.
In front of Mirador del Balcon, the blue waters of the Atlantic spread as far as the eyes could reach. At the back is the vast expanse of La Aldea de San Nicolas and the lovely green La Arena Valley. On the cliff side is the famous “Dragon’s Tail,” a wall defined by sea cliffs running zigzag.
Drive and Have a Picnic
Those who are not keen on walking or hiking could still get to enjoy the beauty of Tamadaba. In this case, they could rent a car and drive to the main camp and viewing site, and delight in the tranquility with only the winds and the sound of chirping birds in the background.
The pines also provide ample shades for families who would like to have a picnic amidst nature. Unlike the nearby parks of Roque Nublo and Tejeda, the place is not frequented, making it a secret haven for those who wish to take a break from the beach and the city.
The pine forests, lush valleys, and dangerous cliffs of Tamadaba are not only for the eyes. Within these reserves are shelters for endemic plants and animals. Endemic species of flowers and trees abound in its mountains, the most notable of which is the native Canary pines. Each takes its part in completing the picturesque scene for visitors.
Guests could also take the rare opportunity to snap a shot of some of the wildest birds on the island. Some have seen woodpeckers and the Blue Chaffinch. Considering that the area is also a Special Bird Protection Area, that is not surprising.
How to Get There
Tamadaba Natural Park offers more than one viewing points, and since the park area stretches to three municipalities, there are many ways to get to these miradors.
When driving from inland, take GC-210 to the left side of Artenara. Get off and drive through GC-216, a one-way road which would take visitors around the middle and into the main viewing camp at the highlands of the majestic reserve.
If driving from the northern village of Agaete, take the winding mountainous road down GC-200 passing through Barranco Guayedra. It would directly lead to Mirador del Balcon. The breeze from the west coast and the beautiful hamlets and lush green ridges make every second of the drive enjoyable.
For those coming in from the south in La Aldea de San Nicolas, the choice can be to drive up through GC-200 to the west for the cliff and ocean view. Another option would be to go through GC-210, then to GC-216 to the east, for more of the ravines and pine forest views.
From the bus station at Las Palmas, take Bus No. 102 which would go through Platform 3, at Galdar, and then at Agaete. The buses leave every hour to take passengers to Valle Agaete. Once in the village, the stop at El Lomo is where hikers could start following the Camino trail to Tamadaba.
There are several other trails from the three municipalities which lead wanderers to the lovely Parque Tamadaba. They just need to follow the wooden signs, from wherever they are staying.
All efforts are rewarded by the pristine scenery, the fresh and crisp wind, and sometimes a magical cloud enveloping the hills. Depending on the weather, some parts may have very humid air and dry grounds while others may have colder temperatures and misty paths. Proper hiking clothes are thus advisable.
Experience the Serenity of the Natural Park in Tamadaba
With half of the island of Gran Canaria classified as UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, it is needless to say that the nature parks here are outstanding. It would be such a waste not to leave the beaches at one point and head up the hills to witness its splendor.
Tamadaba Natural Park is the biggest nature reserve where the island’s rich biodiversity is free for everyone to see. Drive, take the bus or follow the walking trails to experience its serene sanctuary. Be prepared for the spectacular views of the Atlantic, valleys, cliffs, fields, old villages, and rejuvenated by nature’s majestic beauty.
One can’t go to Tenerife and not visit the internationally-acclaimed Siam Park. This water kingdom, opened to the public in 2008, is already established as one of the best water parks in the world. Set against a backdrop of impressive architecture, and offering all kinds of attractions from meandering rivers to free-fall slides, an epic adventure awaits all visitors.
Occupying over 18 hectares, Siam Park is South Tenerife’s largest water park. It was opened by Her Royal Highness the Princess of Thailand Maha Chakri Sirindhorn and owned by Loro Parque, arguably the top destination in the Canary Islands.
Stepping into the park is like visiting another country in another continent. The park features stunning Thai architecture in every corner. In fact, its 25 buildings are the largest collection of Thai-themed buildings outside Thailand. Aside from that, Siam Park also:
- Has the world’s largest dragon statue.
- Has the largest man-made wave in the world.
- Is the world’s first green water park.
- Was TripAdvisor’s World’s Best Waterpark in 2015.
The lush and tranquil environment juxtaposed with pulse-racing attractions and rides dazzles thousands of visitors daily. This tropical gem is perfect for the whole family, young or old and adrenaline junkies.
Siam Park Attractions
Siam Park has everything a waterpark has to offer, and more.
Relax and Bask in the Glory of the Tenerife Sun
Sea Lion Island – no warmer welcome than that from a bunch of fun-loving sea lions as they swim and play in the water.
Mai Thai River – the world’s longest lazy river offers visitors a relaxing water journey around the park with an enticing Jacuzzi finale. Required height: 1.10 meters
Siam Beach – Boasting of the whitest natural sand on the Canary Islands, this exclusive beach is the perfect place to experience relaxation.
Floating Market – As if being transported to a traditional Thai Village, this is where visitors could buy snacks and souvenirs to take back home.
Thrills and Spills for the Whole Family
The Wave Palace – Siam Park has many claims to fame but none that they’re prouder of than the wave pool. Rising to 3 meters high, visitors of all ages can jump right in and let the surf crash over them or paddle at the edges of picturesque white sand. Surfing is available but must be pre-booked on or before the visit.
The Lost City – Here, children may enjoy 15 water slides, bridges, and towers. Furthermore, this is the only pool made for babies in the whole Canary Islands.
Sawasdee – An area where the fun is endless, Sawasdee brings all the fun of the adult rides in smaller versions for the younger ones.
Jungle Snake – This immersive experience lets the visitors float on a thin film of water through the depths of the twisted jungle. Required height: 1.10 meters
Designed for Thrill-Seekers and Adrenaline Lovers
Dragon – Arguably one of the most exciting rides in the waterpark, the Dragon rewards its visitors with a unique sensation of zero gravity while oscillating through the 20-metre wide funnel. Required height: 1.25 meters
Tower of Power – Standing 28 meters tall with speed up to 80 kilometers per hour, not to mention having to pass through a huge aquarium full of sharks on the way down, this water slide is not for the faint of heart. Required height: 1.40 meters / Minimum age: 14 years old
Singha – This is the newest addition to Siam Park’s many unique attractions. Enjoy a fun-filled water roller coaster with high-speed curves and 14 direction changes. Required height: 1.25 meters
The Volcano – Ride through an entirely dark water slide and then fall into the volcano, where a laser light show will complete the sensation of acceleration to infinity. Required height: 1.25 meters
Getting to Siam Park
Siam Park is located in Costa Adeje, across the lavish hotels and up-market resorts by the beautiful beach.
Visitors opting to take a cab or drive on their own from Santa Cruz should take Exit 73 or 74 on South Highway TF-1. If coming from Costa Adeje, take Exit 73 on the South Highway TF-1. Ample car parking space is provided on site.
Another more convenient and budget-friendly option is to take the free Siam Park shuttle service that picks up visitors from the north and south parts of the island. Reservations must be made at least 48 hours in advance by contacting the Park Administration at +34 922 373 841 ext. 512, 356, 357.
Double-decker bus service is also available for visitors staying at Los Cristianos, Las Americas, and Costa Adeje. For more information, please call +34 822 07 00 00 or email [email protected]
Entrance Fees and Opening Hours
Tickets may be purchased online through the park’s official website. Prices range from 13,50 to 119,00 Euros depending on the ticket type, and the visitor’s age and residency.
Siam Park is open daily from 10:00 to 18:00. Although open all-year-round, it would be best to visit during the summer months from April to October.
Where to Eat and Stay
Siam Park offers each visitor the smoothest vacation they can ever have in Tenerife, even if it’s only for a day.
Wide choices of snacks and meal options are available in the park. Visitors may relax over a cup of coffee or tea at the Tea House, have a drink or two at Thai Bar or feast on a meal of chicken, hamburgers, and barbecues at the Beach Club and Bar.
Overnight stay is not available but visitors who wish to have a relaxing time during the day may rent a private cabana or villa. These cabanas and villas need to be booked in advance through the park’s official website.
Travel Tips for First Timers
Double the fun at Siam Park by going prepared. Because the park grounds may get hot during the afternoon, especially during the summer months, visitors should wear comfortable clothes and shoes.
For the safety reasons, visitors must remove loose items including prescription goggles before the ride.
Also, guests may enjoy a day out in the sun without having to worry about their valuables. Lockers are available for rent for 3 Euros per day (plus 2 Euros key deposit).
Truly a Tropical Paradise
Anyone who’s ever been to Siam Park would say that it is the best water park in Europe, let alone the world. It is easy to see why.
With a broad range of unforgettable adventures through different rides and attractions, Siam Park does not discriminate. Visitors looking for a thrill of a lifetime are rewarded by nerve-wracking experiences like the free-fall down the Tower of Power or zero gravity sensation on mighty The Dragon.
For those looking for holiday relaxation, there’s nothing more inviting than a day lazing on the powdery white sand beach, meandering along the calm river or taking a refreshing dip into the waters of the Wave Palace.