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Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Masca ravine to reopen from 27 March

Masca Ravine

The Masca ravine can be visited, with reservation and helmet, from Saturday 27 March. The Cabildo announces the start of a new stage of regulation that limits the number of visitors to 25 every half hour and only during weekends and holidays

The Masca Gorge, in Buenavista del Norte, will once again receive visitors starting next Saturday, March 27, three years and one month after its closure was ordered for security reasons. The long-awaited reopening comes with the beach jetty still closed, so visitors will have to walk the ravine and retrace their steps. The new normal has nothing to do with the free use of this track, which each year attracted hundreds of thousands of people. The regulation that is launched experimentally and, for now, free is limited to weekends and holidays and requires reserving an access at an authorized time, wearing a helmet and respecting the capacity limitations of only 25 people every half hour for a maximum of 125 visitors a day.

The Cabildo de Tenerife has invested 997,149 euros in improving safety and another 231,314 euros in the visitor centre, located in Masca. Faced with the impossibility of obtaining a provisional authorization from Costas for the use of the jetty, the island administration and the city council agreed to initiate a period of temporary opening without an exit by sea. Therefore, initially, walkers will have to  retrace their steps to return to the starting point. It is estimated that the descent to the beach lasts around two and a half hours, but the ascent requires between three and three and a half hours. The total walk has an estimated duration of between 5 and 6 hours, according to the insular councillor for Natural Environment and Security Management, Isabel García (PSOE). Therefore it is only recommended for people in good physical shape and children over 8 years old.

The president of the Cabildo, Pedro Martín, considers the execution of the jetty work essential, for which there is already a project, and also announces that work is being done on the creation of a second docking point, in Punta de Teno, so that hikers they can decide in the future whether to leave the ravine to the south or to the north. Once the new pier on Masca beach has been built, its management will remain in the hands of the Buenavista Council. In Martín's opinion, this new maritime connection with the Isla Baja will be “a respectful project with that space, which will avoid occupying areas that are not strictly necessary and whose main objective will be to generate an alternative of economic and leisure activity for this area of ​​the northwest of Tenerife”.

Isabel García explained that the works have focused on improving the safety of the path, where sections of stairs, stone walls and protective railings have been installed, "structures that blend in with the environment and built in an artisanal way." Exotic vegetation has also been removed, sections of traditional rustic cobblestones have been executed, and informational signs have been installed. Three control points were set up in which there will be personnel, who will communicate through a system of stations, in charge of ensuring the safety of visitors. These controls will be at the beginning and end of the track and right in the middle of the journey.

Reservation website

One of the key elements of this new access control system is the website and its reservation platform (www.caminobarrancodemasca.com) (English Version), which allows you to reserve a place at a specific time to make the visit. For now, the trail will only be open on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. In summer it will close at 18:00. Outside of these hours, in which the access control system will not be working nor will there be personnel in the area, it will remain closed "for security reasons."

This new regulation will create eight direct jobs and will help to improve the turnover of active tourism companies, which will have reserved 50% of the available daily places. For now, visiting the Masca ravine will be free, but Isabel García and Pedro Martín announced that they are already working on a rate to sustain the costs of this new regulation, "not to generate profits." A price of 8 euros for residents and 16 euros for non-residents is being considered.

The mayor of Buenavista del Norte, Antonio González Fortes (SSP), yesterday showed his joy for the reopening and for the Cabildo's commitment to execute the new piers in Masca and Punta de Teno. He stressed the importance for his municipality of opening such an emblematic path with a model that is "a first step to see a different way of managing and enjoying nature". In addition, he appreciated the involvement of the government group of the Tenerife Island Council and its technical staff, "who have understood that it was very important to bring this project to fruition because Masca is the jewel in the crown of this municipality." Currently, the Cabildo and the Council are negotiating the signing of the agreements on the future piers of Masca and Punta de Teno beaches.

The Natural Environment Management Area urges visitors to access the Masca hamlet by public transport, due to the scarcity of parking in the area. They are asked to come by taxi or on one of Titsa's two bus routes from Buenavista del Norte or Santiago del Teide. Antonio González announces that they will observe the operation of the new system in these first weeks before deciding, together with residents, if they implement the Parking Regulatory Ordinance (ORA). In addition, he considers it essential that routes 365 and 355 be strengthened in order to absorb future demand.

Few frequencies of Titsa

The 355, which connects Buenavista, Masca and Santiago del Teide, only has four departures from Isla Baja: at 9:45 a.m., 12:00 p.m., 3:45 p.m. and 5:55 p.m. Of these schedules, only two would be compatible with an excursion to the ravine. From Santiago del Teide it leaves for Masca at 11:00, 13:10, 17:05 and 19:10. Currently, the 365 connects Buenavista and Masca only twice a day: at 6:20 and at 2:20 p.m., with returns at 6:50 and 2:50 p.m.

The residents of the Masca village live with expectation the reopening of the ravine, with the possible traffic chaos as the main source of concern. 

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