Artenara – About Caves and Long Hiking Trips
„When you come to Gran Canaria, send me a message and I will show you Artenara!“
I had never heard of this village with 1.200 inhabitants on Gran Canaria, but I really wanted to accept the invitation.
I got picked up in the early morning in Las Palmas. We were driving for almost an hour over serpentines to the mountains of the island. I tried to look outside of the window, but needed to look straight to not get sick. Just shortly before arriving to Artenara we made a photo stop, that made me have an idea of what was expecting me during the next two days.
Cuevas del Caballero of Artenara
After a refreshing drink we went with a jeep to the Cuevas del Caballero. That’s a system of caves that consists of 12 caves in total – some of them are natural, others are artificial. They were used by the shepherds of the region for decades so that we don’t really have a lot of archeological remains.
The tour guide told us that the caves have been important places in former times. This is apparent from the fact that there are so many triangles on the walls that are open at the top. They are a symbol for the female divine, the femininity in general and fertility since the triangle represents the female genitals.
So I was in a magical place!
Unfortunately it is not known what happened in the caves.
After a while, we made our way back to Artenara. This time by foot! The weather was fantastic and I didn’t regret at all that I had decided to walk back.
We were walking for almost two hours. It took so long, because the view was way too nice to just walk by.
Back in Artenara we went to the local museum.
The entire surrounding is famous for its caves and the museum shows how they were living in there many decades ago.
People earned their money with simple jobs: men as shepherds, woman as weavers or potters.
Normally you can watch the weavers doing their work in the museum. But when I was there, nobody was weaving. It was still super interesting.
The Casas Cuevas of Artenara
Then it was time for sunset.
I got dropped off at my accommodation for the night: I was going to stay in a Cave House, called Casa Cueva.
I was prepared to stay in a real cave without furniture, equipment of any kind or a bathroom. In the end, I was staying in the exact opposite:
With my mouth wide open I was staring at the queen size bed with warm blankets, the well equipped kitchen and the tub with whirl pool function. I could not believe that this was true!
The only downside: No internet!
But I was prepared for that and was really looking forward to a night in the bath tub and some time with my kindle under a warm blanket.
Hiking in and around Artenara
The next day started early: the plan was to do a 6-hours-hiking-trip through the beautiful mountains of Artenara with Gran Canaria Trekking.
It was a sunny day and I enjoyed being on the go.
On our way, we were eating fresh figs directly from a tree, were joking around with a farmer who was harvesting potatoes, met some goats with a cold and could see the sea standing on a big dam.
Cuevas de Risco Caído
Our way lead us to the Cuevas de Risco Caído. Those caves are known for the hole in the ceiling where the sunlight comes in exactly when the summer solstice is. The light of the full moon is flooding the room for the winter solstice. The place was very meaningful for astronomy for the natives of Gran Canaria, who were expelled and sold as slaves by the Berbers when they came from Africa.
Unfortunately only few people are allowed to enter the caves of Risco Caído every month which is why we had to contemplate them from the outside while eating our lunch.
From there we went to a small village called Lugarejo, that is located directly at a dam and reservoir. We were walking through the village where time seems to have stopped. An old man was sitting along the path and I almost expected him to ask us to pay road duty. But he only wished us a beautiful day with a toothless smile and let us pass.
The way back from Lugarejo was the most exhausting part. My legs hurt a lot and I felt like I couldn’t go on. In the end, we arrived two hours later than planned in Artenara which means that the trip too us 8 instead of 6 hours.
Back in Artenara, we stopped at a little shop called Arte-Gaia, where they only sell local products.Obviously it’s build into a cave. Like almost everything in Artenara.
Two wonderful days came to an end and I got brought back to Las Palmas.
Although I had been twice on Gran Canaria, I had no idea of the beauty that was hidden in the inland of the island.
PPS: You still want to see more of my trip to Artenara and the beautiful surroundings? Than you should watch this video made by Chris Spiegl while were there:
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