After 13 years of living here I decided that it was time to go and find the secret forest in Betancuria and have a barbecue! I´ve wanted to go for ages but have never actually made it for one reason or another. I wasn´t disappointed! If there´s one thing that I miss about the UK it´s the greenary- I was a lover of the Lakes and North Yorskhire and used to spend many weekends there hiking happily around the hills.
The track to the Secret Forest from the main road is easy to find and although it´s not a tarmac road that leads there, it’s fine to drive on. As you leave Betancuria towards Pájara, you´ll see it signposted on the left. After a few minutes on this track you arrive at the picnic zone and it´s fabulous. As well as numerous barbecue areas there´s also a children´s park, a forest walk and impeccably clean ladies and men´s toilets.
When we went it was a Sunday but it was cloudy and we weren´t expeting many people, however on arriving at midday two barbecues were already taken and there was a birthday party going on! I imagine that in summer time, it get´s really busy.
There are 2 “houses” further up the hill, like the one shown in the photo, which contain numerous barbeques and a sink at each end with running water. You need to bring your own coals but there are pull down grills for each barbecue to cook your meat and veg. There are also plenty of picnic benches to set up at, each one big enough for 8 people.
The terrain is quite rocky and hilly so unless you can grab one of the first barbecue areas I wouldn´t recommend it to anyone unsteady on their feet. Plus the toilets are up a bit of a hill, it isn´t suitable for anyone with a walking stick or wheelchair.
We decided that as it was so quiet, we´d go for an explore before we ate and have a look around the area. There´s a nice pathway at the end of the picnic area leading up some beautifully created stairs which takes you to a path leading to a rocky outcrop with great views to the north and south. The path carries on but with 2 hungry children we decided that it was time to go back and eat.
The whole area is wonderful and full of wildlife like chipmunks, different species of birds and of course, flies. These were a pain but when the breeze picked up they weren´t so much of a problem. I would recommend that you take plenty of kitchen towels to cover your food.
Please remember that these facilities are for everyone´s pleasure! Take your rubbish home with you and respect the environment and wildlife.