There are so many reasons to visit Las Peñitas that we will begin by paraphrasing the Coca-Cola advertisement from 2007.
Las Peñitas is: For athletes. For those who like history, geology, cinema, archeology. For naturalists. For the devotees. For those who seek adventure, and discover charming corners. For those who enjoy the sunset, walking in good company. For lovers of solitude. For you. For us. For all.
We could expand this list more, much more. But, we’d better start, right?
Where are Las Peñitas?
Las Peñitas are within the Betancuria Rural Park Protected Natural Area. And, although the Barranco de las Peñitas runs between the town of Betancuria and the head of the Mal Paso ravine, the spectacular gorge with vertical walls is usually called “Las Peñitas” that is encased just after the dam of the same name, built in 1937.
For those who like geology.
The Betancuria Rural Park and, especially, Las Peñitas is one of the most visited sites by geology enthusiasts. Here, large blocks of syenites and diorites, plutonic materials that formed more than 100 million years ago, are outcropping deep in the earth’s crust. The Las Peñitas syenites form a geological structure that contrasts sharply with the surrounding landscape.
The landscape is very similar to granite blocks, which we can see in the mountains of La Pedriza (near Madrid), and even in Yosemite (United States). In the Canary Islands, granite blocks are not so easy to see, for this reason, and because it is one of the favorite places for climbers, Las Peñitas has been given the nickname of “Yosemite majorero”.
For those who like history.
When we talked about the Great Beaches of Corralejo, we comment that La Playa del Pozo was the first place where the Franco-Normans set foot on land, in their desire to conquer Fuerteventura. But, after several days walking, and without finding the aborigines, they returned on another expedition, disembarking at the Puerto de la Peña, now Ajuy. This incursion, in1402, was reflected in the chronicles of the conquest, and it details how Gadifer de la Salle and 6 men flanked the passage through Las Peñitas.
This is how they told it:
There they were forced to take off their shoes, to pass over the marble stones so smooth and so slippery that we only could stay on all four, and even so, it was necessary for those behind to support the feet of those in front with the end of their spears, and then the former dragged the latter. And when you have passed to the other side, you find a beautiful, flat and very pleasant valley.
Once the Franco-Normans found the Mahos, the first brawls began and the beginning of the conquest of Fuerteventura, which would conclude two years later.
For devotees and legend seekers.
On the right bank of the ravine we can see a charming hermitage: La Ermita de Malpaso.
This hermitage was erected, at the end of the 15th century, in the same place where, according to legend, the Franciscan friars San Diego de Alcalá and Father Juan de San Torcaz, along with some shepherds, found the image of the Virgen de la Peña .
However, if we were to highlight two of the films where we can appreciate the beauty of Las Peñitas, these would be; “The Eternals” filmed in 2019; and.”Exodus: Dioses y Reyes“. In the later, the film director Ridley Scott chose the base of Las Peñitas to create a small town in which they would live, Moisés (Christian Bale) and his wife Séfora played by actress María Valverde.
By the way, the palm trees in this area are one of the few authentic Canary Island palms, as they have not had genetic crosses with other types of palm trees.
For the adventurers.
Las Peñitas, by its contrast and its natural beauty, have not only seduced Hollywood, but also all those who like to enjoy adventure sports, watch sunsets in different environments, and meditation.
There is a point, in Las Peñitas, that meets all these conditions. It is a magnificent and beautiful rock formation that nature has capriciously sculpted, known as Arco de las Peñitas. It is located in the Barranco del Rodeo, just 300 meters from the hermitage of Malpaso.
This area is equipped, for climbers, with routes of different levels. Also from here you can enjoy unique sunsets. Between the end of September and the beginning of October, and throughout the month of March, you will see, from the Arco de las Peñitas, how the sun sets behind the sea of Ajuy. Help yourself with applications like Photopills to find the exact point where to locate yourself.
How to get to Las Peñitas?
To get to the Las Peñitas ravine you have two options, one in your own vehicle and the other walking.
You have to take the FV-621 road towards Ajuy and turn off towards Buen Paso. From there take the FV-627, which leads directly to a dirt esplanade, where you can park your car. A few meters away is the beginning of the route that leads to Las Peñitas.
To access this beautiful place on foot, you have to go to the town of Vega del Río Palmas. From the Church of Nuestra Señora de la Peña, cross the local highway FV-30 to enter the Barranco de Río Palmas. Follow the road for about 500 meters until you reach the Casa de La Naturaleza restaurant. There you can leave the vehicle and continue walking along the local path SL-FV 27, signposted as Vega de Río Palmas-Ajuy. The path runs along the bottom of the ravine. Getting to the hermitage will take you about 30 minutes.
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