Whenever we’re asked for advice from hikers about what to take with them when they set off exploring Tenerife’s fantastic trails, top of the list is always 1½ to 2 litres of drinking water per person. Not only will hiking in Tenerife’s hot temperatures raise an unquenchable thirst, but hiking at altitude parches the throat before you’ve even set off!
Of course, that amount of drinking water is heavy to carry (I should know – it’s always me who has to carry it as Jack’s camera equipment is even heavier!) and so it’s good to know if a particular route has fresh water springs on it so that you can safely carry less and re-fill en route. That’s why we always point out water fountains on our Island Walks.
A couple of weeks ago we were hiking in and around the Santiago del Teide Valley (above) and we know that there’s a very popular fresh water spring hidden in the tiny hamlet of Valle de Arriba. So instead of carrying 3 litres, I took one full and one empty 1½ litre bottle and we headed to Valle de Arriba.
As we were staying in the Rural Hotel Señorio del Valle we were able to get a nice early start and arrived at the village just before 10am.
There was already a queue. We took our place behind a family of Mum, Dad and son who had 3 empty 8 gallon plastic bottles between them and we waited.
Parked right in front of the spring was a Berlingo van with the back doors open and a man was systematically filling 8 gallon plastic bottles and loading them into the back of his van. He must have had 40 or more bottles and it took quite some time for him to finish.
When he did, another van appeared out of nowhere and started to do exactly the same thing. So we waited. Meanwhile, more people arrived, almost all of them in 4x4s or Berlingos and armed to the teeth with empty 8 gallon bottles. Jack and I stood meekly with our 1½ litre bottle and waited.
Finally, the mother and son in front of us moved to the tap to begin filling their bottles but the father disappeared, only to re-appear moments later with the ubiquitous Berlingo and the dreaded avalanche of plastic bottles!
Jack and I were gobsmacked and by this time we had really had enough; our early start was disappearing into the growing heat of the day. We wondered over to the fountain and showed the family our humble bottle, explaining that we only had this to fill. They all fell about laughing and instantly moved aside for us to fill our bottle. If only we’d had the gumption to do that as soon as we arrived…
I guess this fountain is so popular because it’s one of the few that are actually in a village and therefore easy to access by car. Most are in zonas recreativas (picnic areas) up in the hills and rarely have anyone else there. But just in case you’re planning on doing the South West Island Walks, you can fill bottles with drinking water at the fountain in Valle de Arriba – just don’t be shy about asking to get in first 🙂