Gara is the Guanche word for island, and Chico is Castillian for small islet. The obvious reference point for it's name is the small rock island which sits just off-shore from the town. Garachico is well worth considering for a quieter north Tenerife holiday base, although it's not so quiet when the many day trippers arrive in Garachico (usually around lunchtime). There's much to attract contemporary visitors including the volcanically formed natural saltwater pools on this stretch of rocky coast. It's go it's own natural wave machine as well! Adjacent to the saltwater pools is a friendly restaurant where you can sit and admire the view and the divers. A spot of diving of the underwater kind also goes on along this rocky coastline. Check the Diving weblinks right for details.
Garachico is a pretty spot indeed, with a palm tree lined plaza, a historic church, a choice of restaurants, bars and cafes and even a little art museum. The historic defence fort - Castillo de San Miguel is situated next to the saltwater pools and dates from the 16th century. A stark reminder of the concern over pirate attacks during this period. Actually the history of this now pretty bustling town in north Tenerife hasn't been too bright. The volcanically formed saltwater pools on Garachico's waterfront is a big clue!
On the 5th May 1706 the volcano Montana Negra, just 8 km to the south of Garachico, erupted. This eruption lasted a total of 9 days and destroyed the port at Garachico (a thriving centre at the time), and at least half of the town was buried under lava. It's was quite unique this eruption, as it's the only single point eruption recorded on Tenerife. Other disarsters such as storms and floods didn't help Garachico much either.
Much of the action during the day is down around the splendid saltwater pools (a favourite with the kids). Another lively area in this small Tenerife north town is the plaza next to Santa Anachurch. The Convento de San Francisco also off the main square is now home to a little museum all about the town (and it's historical disasters!). Tel: 922 83 00 00. Open from 10am to 6pm from Mondays to Fridays. Checkout too the art museum on Calle San Roque
The Castillo de San Miguel fort is open to the public from 10am to 8pm from Monday to Friday and 10am to 6pm Saturday and Sunday. Also, another landmark to watch out for, indicative of Garachico's past, is the Puert de Tierra gate in Plaza Juan Gonzalez. This used to be at the waterfront before the 1706 eruption, however it's now in the centre of Garachico!
Garachico is an excellent small town base, full of character, from which to explore the Teno Mountains further west, and cultural Tenerife North tours into Santa Cruz, La Laguna and beyond to the Anaga Mountains. It's handy for El Teide National Park and the Orotava Valley too (including nearby bustling Puerto de la Cruz. The TF 5 motorway runs all the way to Garachico from Tenerife North Airport, making it highly accessible. The road from Garachico to Punta de Teno is excellent too, taking in the pretty village of Buenavista (there's an excellent Tenerife Golf course here!) and on the the magical coastal scenery of Tenerife on it's north western tip.