Güímar is used to refer to the municipality and town with the same name, as well as the famous valley in the eastern part of Tenerife. It borders La Orotava to the west, Arafo to the north, and Fasnia to the south. The town with 18 500 inhabitants is best known for its 6 Guanche pyramids, and for the Barranco de Badajoz. A coastal part of Güímar, dominated by volcanic landscape, has been protected as the Nature reserve of Malpais of Guimar, with 1 Montaña Grande (276 m) its highest point.
Until the 15th century, the territory of modern Güímar was part of the Kingdom of Güímar, an aborigine (Guanche) Menceyato. Its economy was based on livestock (goats, sheep, pigs) and agriculture, as well as fishing and forestry.
After the conquest of the island, an attempt was made to integrate the Guanches into the new society, but few managed to obtain ownership of the lands they possessed previously. As a result, many were forced to continue to live in caves like Guaza in relative isolation until the 17th century.
The first modern settlement was established in the 16th century in the neighbourhood San Juan, referred to as Güímar de Arriba. The first buildings constructed were linked to a sugarcane mill founded by the brothers Juan Felipe and Blasino Piombino. The economy gradually diversified, and vineyards replaced much of the sugarcane sector. Güímar became known for its honey as well.
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Güímar has a hot semi-arid climate, with extremely dry summer months (June-September) and limited rain the rest of the year. Temperatures vary between ca. 12°C in winter to nearly 30°C in summer, when its steppe climate is fortunately tempered by the mild influence of the Atlantic Ocean. A pleasant wind makes the temperature even in summer quite tolerable, but make no mistake: the sun is shining mercilessly, and sun cream is a necessity!
Güímar is 30 km from 1 Tenerife North Airport TFN IATA and 45 km from 2 Tenerife South Airport TFS IATA. European airlines flying to Tenerife most often connect to Tenerife South Airport, whereas Tenerife North Airport offers connections to the other islands of the archipelago, and with Spain.
The city centre of Güímar is walkable, with the ethnographic park about 10 min uphill from the 1 Plaza de San Pedro. TITSA buses connect the Güímar city centre with its coastal settlement Puertito de Güímar.
Finding a parking spot can be challenging in Puertito de Güímar, so it might be easier to commute with a TITSA bus rather than driving.
- TITSA (bus). South Tenerife is served by the following bus routes 040, 111, 343, 416, 417, 418, 420, 424, 447, 448, 450, 467, 471, 473, 477 and 483. Tenmás.
- 1 Ethnographic Park (Parque Etnográfico Pirámides de Güímar), Antropólogo Thor Heyerdahl (Calle Veltran de Liz N°43), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 09:30-18:00 daily. Historic site with the 6 remaining lava pyramids, dated to the 19th century. The pyramids were popularized by adventurer and publisher Thor Heyerdahl, who researched the pyramids and became the driving force behind the development of the park. The origin of the pyramids is an ongoing topic of discussion: Heyerdahl believed until his death that their origin dates back to the Guanche period, whereas excavations by the University of San Cristobal de la Laguna suggests they can be no older than the 19th century. The current hypothesis is that the pyramids are a byproduct of farming practices at the time, a result of farmers clearing potentially arable areas from volcanic rocks and piling them up in the most efficient way. The park is set up as a Thor Heyerdahl theme park. The 6 remaining pyramids with adjacent museum, a botanic garden, and garden with poisonous plants can be visited. There is an optional exposition on Polynesia, which isn't worth the extra money. The audio guide (included in the premium ticket of €18) is highly recommended, a complete visit takes about 3 hours. At the end of the visit there is a cafetaria for snacks and drinks, as well as a souvenir shop selling memoralia, post cards, and seeds of endemic Canarian flora such as the Canarian palm tree and Drago tree. Adults €18, Children €6.50, Students €13.50.
- 2 Badlands of Guimar (Malpaís de Güímar), Camino del Socorro. 24/7. Natural Reserve consisting of several volcanic cones and basaltic lava flows, with a total area of 290 ha. The lava flows are very recent in geological time scales, dated to less than 10 000 years old. The largest cone, Montaña Grande (literally Big Mountain) rises 276 m above sea level. There are numerous remains from pyroclastic eruptions of ash and volcanic bombs that formed the various cones. The crater of the Montaña Grande itself is ca. 300 m in diameter and 50 m deep, and notably asymmetric due to the effects of wind during its formation. Free.
- 3 Deep Cave (Cueva Honda). A cave formed by a large gas bubble within a lava tube, since exposed by erosion.
- 4 Church of Santo Domingo (Iglesia de Santo Domingo), Calle Santo Domingo. A Catholic church from the mid 17th century, partially destroyed by a fire in 1775 and subsequently rebuilt. Free.
- 5 Barranco de Badajoz, Camino la Ladera (Follow the concrete paved road with the quarry to the right and vineyards to the left, until it changes into a dirt road. There are 3 parking spots at the last vineyard. The closest bus stop is 4 ). 24/7. A ravine with archaeological evidence of Guanche activity, including several Guanche mummies. There are many legends of people experiencing supernatural phenomena when visiting the ravine late in the evening or staying the night. Some people claim to have seen angels, UFOs, strange orbs or fireballs, and so on. Whatever may or may not be true of those, the natural beauty of the area makes it worth a visit. There is also industrial heritage to be discovered, with 6 mine shafts, aquaducts, and ruins of buildings spread along the length of the ravine. As of 2019, a land slide blocks the path about 100 m before the end of the ravine, restricting access. The riverbed is dry in summer. None of the mine shafts are accessible, with sings warning that the atmopshere down the shafts is not breathable. Free.
- 6 Finca Canarias Aloe Vera, Carretera Guimar TF612, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. M-Sa 09:30-18:00. A 11 000 m² aloe vera farm with 7000 ecologically grown plants. There is also a shop where visitors can buy aloe vera based products. Visitors are given a free guided tour around the farm.
There are a few restaurants in the historic centre, but opening hours are somewhat limited, and on a Sunday evening it is nearly impossible to find anything open at all. The coastal town Puertito de Guimar does have numerous restaurants with later opening times, and some of which are also open during the weekend.
- 1 Restaurante Alex, Plaza Las Indias 1, ☏ . Th-Tu 10:00-20:00. Typical sea front restaurant with a simple menu that emphasizes authentic and fresh Canarian cooking without fuzz at a fair price.
- 2 Bodega Cha Juana, Calle Chacaica, ☏ . Family run guachinche with honest food, on the outskirts of Güímar, but with a great view.
- 3 La Charcada, Calle Almte. Gravina 11, ☏ . Su-Th 8:00-23:00, F-Sa 8:00-23:30. Restaurant with outdoor seating right at the beach front, making dining with view over the ocean a nice experience. You'll have plenty of time to admire said ocean because the service is somewhat slow. The food is quite good for the price, with a menu dominated by fish and other sea food. €8-€24.
- 4 Cueva del Mar, Avenida Maritima 51, ☏ . Tu-Su 13:00-17:00. Canarian sea food, served with a view over the ocean. €18-€30.
- 5 Tasca Rincón de Tara, Calle Imeldo Seris, 2, ☏ . Upscale restaurant with some culinary treasures to discover, but comes with an elevated price tag.
- 6 Casona Santo Domingo, Calle Santo Domingo 32, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Contrary to what the name suggests a mostly French restaurant focused on fine dining. A great place to explore new flavours, not the place to be when you're looking for cheap steak & fries. €14 - €27.
- 7 Casa Tato, Avenida Marítima 83, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Tu-Sa 13:00-23:00, Su 13:00-17:00. Cozy but pricey sea food restaurant.
- 8 Finca Salamanca, Carretera Guimar Arafo 2, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Gourmet Spanish cuisine at an upscale price. €14-€41.