Masca barranco remains closed though jetty repair works have started

Updated 7 May: In February, eight youths had a night to remember on their holiday after they had to stay in the gorge because the jetty was broken and they were unable to climb back up as night fell. The Guardia Civil had also said that access was impracticable and that a rescue on foot would be dangerous for rescuers. At the time, Buenavista del Norte Ayuntamiento closed the barranco, and subsequently, after further rescues in the area and yet another death, the Cabildo announced wide-ranging security measures and structural improvements in the general area for safety reasons involving an investment amounting to some €3m.

Photo: Tenerife Cabildo

Now, today, the Cabildo has announced that works to repair the 30-year-old jetty started today, and are expected to take a month. The Cabildo says that the works are required after the central pillar of the gangway collapsed, making the jetty unusable for safety reasons.

The Cabildo stresses that although the works are planned to be completed by mid-June, it is impossible to give a firm date because sea conditions might make work impossible on some currently planned days. Even when it is finished, however, it does not automatically mean the reopening of the barranco, which remains closed until further notice.

Original post 26 February: In the wake of the forced rescue of eight young holidaymakers who intended to spend the day at Masca beach and then walk back up the barranco in the teeth of an orange alert for stormy weather, Buenavista del Norte Ayuntamiento has closed the gorge to walkers until further notice. The council says that this is an open-ended measure taken because the weather system that is currently with us has damaged a pilly of the jetty leaving it inoperative. Bomberos and the mountain rescue unit of the Guardia Civil have also advised the council that access to the barranco is impracticable. Clearly the actions of some irresponsible youngsters will now have an impact on anyone who hoped to see the barranco sensibly. The council says it will advise when Masca barranco is again to be opened to the public. To be clear: Masca barranco is closed to walkers and the council has banned the jetty from being used by boats.

24 Comments

  1. My wife and I have been holidaying in Tenerife for several years, and never once have we been advised not to venture out as there might be bad weather expected, nothing by the hotel staff, or anyone else, including news media, and no notices posted. We have gone out on a perfectly fine day , and been caught up in strong winds, or calimos as you call them, and only found out when we got back to UK, that we should have been advised to stay indoors.

  2. Author

    There are always warnings reported on all media (physical, online, TV, radio, etc), and social media (especially Facebook and twitter). In fact I’d say there’s blanket coverage when there are weather alerts. You might not have seen them but it cannot be because they weren’t there.

    Calimas aren’t strong winds but sandstorms, often carried by high winds but it is the air quality and low humidity that are the issue, not the winds.

  3. Maybe you guys should understood we are in the middle of the Atlantic and this is the small island not continent, if you hike you have to follow the alerts – there are storm fronts one after another on this month as never before. If there is heavy rain, you can`t hike even in areas which stay dry!

  4. The trouble is that too many Brits have become so used to being told how and when to blow their noses by the nanny state that they’re losing the ability to think for themselves and exercise the art of common sense.

  5. Author

    Ken what on earth does this have to do with Brits?!

  6. I hope this is a temporary measure as the loss of this wonderful walk will be sorely missed, by the tourist trade as well. In every part of life their are people who do not use common sense or are just reckless. We can’t stop every activity or no one would be allowed to drive a car!

  7. They were stupid and got stuck. It happens. Now charge them the FULL costs of the rescue before letting them leave. And send the story of the fine to all the papers here, in Germany, and any other country which will print it.

  8. The article actually says that the closure is nothing to do with the youngsters. They may have been foolish but that is a completely different issue. Even then, some people do make mistakes or have accidents on holiday so let’s not dive into condemnation. Surely we want to help people. People coming to Tenerife have a perception of all year round good weather and can be astonished to find that the weather turns against them. That can happen anywhere but particularly to people on holiday and especially in a branded all year round destination. Folk on holiday sometimes make poor decisions for various well documented reasons.

    The real issues are improving safety in the gorge and its ability to manage the numbers who use it and separately trying to find a way to educate visitors to enjoy Tenerife responsibly. The latter is really quite difficult. Tenerife will not want to undermine its holiday offering and the numbers and channels tourists come through are so numerous. With Masca, the key beyond infrastructure and signage would seem to be through those who support Masca trips.

    With the numbers of tourists coming to Tenerife and the outdoor experiences available, it is necessary that Tenerife has the resources to rescue tourists if they get into difficulty and it does.

    Everyone is a tourist when they go somewhere else away from home. Some folk avoid risk outside of their own territory even including limiting where they go. Others unfortunately exacerbate risk through foolishness or mistakes but often inadvertently. Tourists generally are perceived as an at risk category but Tenerife’s job is to look after them and it does a great job.

    My experience of the Masca gorge is that good tour companies do try to control risk responsibly but not everyone goes through one of these companies. This matters for people’s safety and the economic dependence on the Masca trips.

    The comments do not seem to focus on how we work together to solve the problem and minimise harm and risk and this is the authorities’ aim as per the other article. Surely we want to support them in this. My list for that is:

    Infrastructure: – access control points, information, signage and general resilience.
    Working with travel companies: regulation and co-operation
    Communication to and education of users: how to get the message across to different market sectors – tourists and others to achieve greater levels of responsibility.

  9. Well said Will. Not everyone knows about the hazards or has access to Janet’s very informative page. Let’s not be too quick to judge.

  10. Methinks Ken needs to go and lie down ……….. and perhaps stop reading the Daily Mail …

  11. I see the eight people have now been charged for the rescue. €2114, not sure if this is the total or the cost for each of them.

  12. That’s the best way to stop such foolhardy behaviour. These people presumably are walkerswho enjoy the outdoors, therefore did they not notice the weather, or think to get local advice before embarking on such a trip? Where did they find out about this walk? If they were undertaking it without official guides,then they must have done some research which would educate them that a baranca is in simple terms a water channel thus indicating that in bad weather it would be wet, slippery and to be avoided. Beggars belief!

  13. Hi Janet, have you heard anything about the re-opening of the barranco? I am asking because I was speaking today to some walkers who have booked a trip into the barranco with a tour company on Saturday.

  14. I went past the bottom of the barranco on my boat on Tuesday and it was closed, no boats were landing. Why not call the tourist office to check :-
    TOURIST OFFICE
    Address: Plaza de Los Remedios, 4.
    Phone: 922,128,080 to 922,129,030-Ext: 1071
    Email: turismo@buenavistadelnorte.es
    Facebook: Tourism Buenavista del Norte

  15. Author

    No, Gary, I get the impression – which is all it is but it’s clear all the same – that this could be a long haul but it’s not open at the moment and there’s no immediate plan. I know nothing about any tour companies operating, or being allowed to operate, in the area.

  16. Hi Janet, that’s what I thought. I was just asking out of curiosity because like you, I was under the impression it was closed for the foreseeable future, so was surprised when told that at least one operator is taking bookings for the barranco. Thank you.

  17. Mmm. Varied mix of opinion, some bordering on the comical (Angie) and a somewhat dubious title.

    Have just returned from from Tenerife feeling a little dejected that I could not walk the Masca Gorge, but walked the ridge above which made up for it in some way.

    Asked many people why the gorge was closed – tour operators, restaurant owners, guides, boatmen, shop keepers, even local tourist information….the works – and not one single person mentioned the rescue of these young hikers.

    The overwhelming majority did say that the jetty at the mouth of the Gorge had been destroyed completely in storms and that on some parts of the walk there were quite precarious slopes which posed a significant risk.

    But why close completely was my next question (people are willing to take the risk in remote locals pretty much everywhere and you can not simply close them all !)

    I got a surprisingly consistent response. The vast majority of people who walk the Masca are not outward bound folks. They are on a day trip – downhill all the way, with a lovely guide and a nice boat ride back to Los Gigantes. Now the boat trip back is not an option there would be significant numbers left at the bottom ‘demanding’ rescue and no doubt deriding the facilities on offer.

    There should be a person employed at the top to get a nice signature from all entering the gorge (and preferably credit card details too) to state that they accept full responsibility for their own safety – they go in and out under their own steam or stay at the top and take a pretty picture.

    Foolhardy young adventurers – you got a little unlucky with the weather and paid a hefty price, but you are not the reason the Gorge is closed.

  18. Author

    The people you spoke to might not have mentioned it but the authorities who closed the barranco specifically identified the “antics of holidaymakers who ignored weather warnings” … so the title is hardly “dubious”.

  19. Hi Janet, as a follow up to my original post about Masca Barranco, I have spoken again to the people who booked this trip and it may be that the tour company involved are being a little misleading as to where the walk actually goes. The people I spoke to were under the impression the trip they booked was for the barranco walk but it turned out that it was to Masca village. As it happens, it was postponed anyway because of the weather conditions.

  20. For the locals working for us tourists ,surely a temporary floating jetty could be brought in , keeping their businesses and income on going.

  21. Its not just the jetty that’s the problem. There are unsafe areas of the barranco that need to be repaired and they want to set up control points at the start, centre and end of the walk.

  22. My god, the last reply sounds like access to the summit of El Teide ! Hope they won’t do the same thing with permits to be asked for in advance. I came to Masca in july 2018 and found the access to the path closed. When watching videos on YouTube I don’t have the impression that it is a difficult hike, some older folks and parents with an infant did it. So, I hope, for my next visit, they repair finally the old jetty – shouldn’t be a gigantic enterprise – and that’s it, without odd restrictions and commercial stuff.

  23. VI, if it’s such as easy walk how come two people died in the barranco in 2017 and emergency services had to perform 20 rescues the same year.

  24. My husband and I have visited Masca barranco many times – we used both possibility, we hiked down from the village to the beach and after a small snack back to the Masca village (it’s not so difficult, only about 650 m down and up), or we took a water taxi from Los Gigantes to Masca beach and hiked up. So we don’t understand why the gorge has been totally closed? There is more hikes you have to hike (up and down or down and back up) more then 650 m and nobody is stressed about them…

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