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Introducing Los Tiles

A biosphere reserve since 1983, the nearly 140 sq km of Los Tiles are covered with a lushly beautiful rainforest that’s literally oozing with life. This moist, cool, natural wonderland is one of the most magical spots on the island, a must-explore place where you can wander among the diverse flora and fauna and the largest laurisilva (laurel) forest on the island.

At the helpful visitor centre you’ll find maps, a video about the biosphere and a small museum. Nearby is the rustic Casa de Metrío, a restaurant serving grilled meats on outdoor picnic tables.

Fabulous hiking trails cut through Los Tiles’ dense vegetation. The shortest walk is the steep climb up to the Mirador Topo de las Barandas (allow one hour for the round-trip), which leads to a spectacular view of the gorge running out of the reserve.

Even better, though, is the long, ravine-side hike to the Marcos and Cordero Springs, which passes through a dozen damp tunnels (bring a flashlight and rain jacket) and winds past waterfalls, through forest and alongside volcanic dikes. The hike isn’t incredibly steep (except in short stretches), but it can be slick; be careful. A popular way to tackle this hike is to get a taxi from Los Tiles car park up to the Casa del Monte. From here, the hike to the springs and back should take about four hours. The park office can suggest a number of other walks including a very simple one-hour return walk that begins from the car park a few hundred metres down the road from the visitor office. Take the trail on the left-hand side of the road, next to the sign post, and basically follow it through the tunnel and gently uphill for as far as you feel like going.