Interesting Facts

Stories, anecdotes and information about Los Realejos.

Did you know…?

  • Nearly 50% of the land covered by the municipality is protected under environmental laws. There are 6 Protected Natural Sites in Los Realejos.  Related article
  • The beautiful landscapes of Rambla de Castro have been the natural location for many film sequences, the most relevant being shot for Moby Dick’s first version and James Bond.
  • Distinguished poets and travellers alike have praised Rambla de Castro.
  • Sabino Berthelott visited Rambla de Castro in 1825 and described it as ‘the Gardens of Armida without human intervention’.
  • Jules Leclercq had the chance to visit it at the end of the 19th century and said ‘the palm trees in Rambla de Castro made me feel like I was in the renowned Alameda boulevard in Rio de Janeiro, and the caves brought back memories of Calypso island’.
  • Jean Mascart, an astronomer in the Observatory of Paris, visited the island in 1909 and then described Rambla de Castro as “the Garden of Eden that stretches to the sea waves”.
  • José de Viera y Clavijo, a distinguished writer from Los Realejos, wrote on his book ‘History of the Canary Islands’ in 1773 that the Princes’ Manor [Hacienda de Los Príncipes] was ‘a delightful manor on pleasant lands’.
  • Quoting Benigno Carballo Wagüemert, “there’s no other place as beautiful and admirable as this between La Orotava and Icod. Travellers passing by must unavoidably stop and marvel at it from a natural balcony forged by the road. From the top, it turns, however, impossible to even imagine that the real paradise on earth exists below”.
  • Besides the well-known sugar factory built by command of the Island’s Governor in the lands of Realejo, there were others spread around the town, such as that of Rambla de Castro, which dates back to the 16th century.
  • In 1903, the Hamilton company installed in Rambla de Castro the first steam machine of Tenerife. Gordejuela water elevator brought water to banana growing areas around the Orotava Valley.
  • In 1971, some strange noises coming from Godínez ravine alarmed the local population. Stories turned the noises into the legend of the so-called ‘Bicho del Barranco Godínez’ [Godínez Ravine Bug], a colossal beast living in the caves of the ravine, behind San Vicente neighbourhood. The press of the island picked up the story and became known in other islands. Later, two new more coherent hypothesis were considered. The first theory, which was more accepted by experts, suggested that the noises came from a volcanic vent of Teneguía volcano, whereas the second suggested there was a shearwaters’ nest. 
  • El Socorro beach has been the usual location for shooting spots, photos, and even TV episodes and film sequences, most of which carried out by international producers.
  • The location of the Canary Islands, at a few degrees from the Tropic of Cancer, makes it possible to scuba dive all year round along the coast of Los Realejos. The coastline of the municipality is a paradise for underwater observation and photography, thanks to its crystal clear water and the variety of the existing species.
  • El Socorro Beach is a hot spot for surfers and praised by professional surfers all over Europe.
  • The largest firework show in Europe takes place every May 3rd in Los Realejos. It’s different from other similar shows, because is fully funded by neighbours of the municipality through financial contributions. It’s a competition between El Sol and El Medio de Arriba streets, as part of the celebrations of the Feast of the Holy Cross.
  • The pyrotechnics manufacturer Hermanos Toste was the oldest fireworks manufacturer in Spain. It was founded in 1788 and over the course of its career it won many national and international awards.
  • Los Realejos has more festivals than any other town in Spain, and possibily even the world! Nearly a hundred celebrations take place all over the town thoughout the year.
  • Nowadays, there are nearly three hundred crosses spread throughout Los Realejos, which can be found in chapels, temples, private houses, streets, cliffs and crags, Royal Routes, lookouts, paths or simply on the ground. Crosses are a distinguishing mark for Los Realejos.
  • Every year the town relives a tradition from the 18th century in which seamen from the town of Puerto de la Cruz carry the statue of Our Lady of Mount Carmel (la Virgen del Carmen) down the streets of Los Realejos. In terms of the crowds it attracts, this procession is one of the largest events from amongst all of those that can be found in the festival calendar.
  • The Islands Festival (Festival de Las Islas) takes place on the last Saturday in May. This music festival is dedicated to Canarian folk music and in 2013 they celebrated the 29th anniversary of the festival. This is the oldest festival to be celebrated in the Canary Islands and all seven islands are represented.
  • In June, as part of the celebrations to honour Saint John and Saint Peter, many water jets and arches are decorated with flowers and vegetables.
  • There are over three hundred crosses in Los Realejos. The Degollada Cross is located some 2000 metres above sea level which makes it the highest in the municipality.
  • The oldest wine competition of the Canary Islands, the Manuel Grillo Oliva Wine Challenge -named after one of its creators-, has been held in Los Realejos for 35 years.
  • Potatoes were introduced in Europe through Los Realejos in 1622. José de Viera y Clavijo wrote on his book “History of the Canary Islands” that ‘the first potatoes were brought from Peru by Juan Bautista de Castro in 1622. He had them sown in his lands in Icod El Alto, from where they were distributed to the rest of the islands.
  • Nowadays, the highest number of varieties of ‘bonita’ potatoes in the Canary Islands can be found in the neighbourhood of Icod El Alto.
  • The first vinyards on the island of Tenerife were planted in Los Realejos, precisely in Rambla de Castro, by a Portuguese man, M. Alfons Velho, in 1497. The traditional multiple braided cords technique is unique in the world and has been used by wine growers In Los Realejos and La Orotava Valley for centuries.
  • The oldest stone stairway on the island, dating from 1570, can be found in the surrounding area of the church of Concepción, next to Domínguez Afonso square, in Realejo Bajo.
  • The church of Santiago Apóstol, which was the first Christian church to be built in Tenerife, was declared a National Heritage Site, under the category of ‘Monument’ in 1983.
  • Pig breeders or pig street vendors have practically disappeared. However, the most emblematic and significant stronghold for this tradition is located in Los Realejos, specifically in the neighbourhood of Icod El Alto. Up until the 1970s, many vendors could still be seen travelling on horse or mules, heading for the south of the island in order to sell their products. The goods were carried in the so-called ‘raposas’ [baskets made of chestnut] with capacity for 16 piglets. Every year around March, this tradition is relived.
  • It’s said that it was called ‘Lance’ [meaning ‘the action of throwing something’, in English], because it was from this place that the trunks of the trees used to obtain timber were thrown down to the sawmill in Tigaiga.
  • Icod El Alto has long been famous for its scary witch stories. The witches were said to have the ability to transform into animals, into women dressed in the typical white clothes for threshing who would ask men to dance. They were also said to break into houses at night and abduct newborn children.
  • The neighbourhood of Icod El Alto is famous for its ‘gofio’ mills. Past Lance lookout, the sublime aroma coming from the roasters will stimulate your senses with subtlety.
  • Given its location, altitude and flight conditions, the takeoff runway near La Corona lookout is one of the hot spots for paragliding and gliding in Europe.
  • The “Asociación Cultural Los Alzados” [the Cultural Association Los Alzados] from Icod El Alto was awarded the pretigious ‘Premio Canarias’ [Canary Award], under the category of Popular Culture, in 2012. This is the highest award conferred by the Canarian Government, which gives recognition to research and promoting works relating to folklore. This musicological research project started back in 1982.
  • The so-called ‘Vueltas de Icod El Alto’ trail dates back to the times of the aborigines, according to some historians. This winding trail used to be the only access to Icod El Alto until 1935.
  • There’s evidence of territorial division in the neighbourhood of Icod El Alto since the 18th century. Such divisions were known as ‘cuarteles’ [quarters] and currently there are 7 of them.
  • The Princes’ Manor in Realejo Bajo was the first manor on the island to have a sugar factory.
  • The Princes’ Manor was named after the Princes of Asculi, because of the marriage between the island’s governor’s fourth niece, Porcia Magdalena de Lugo, and Antonio Luis Leyva, third Prince of Asculi (Italy) and Marquis of Atela. No one really knows whether the Princes ever visited the manor.
  • Los Realejos is the reference point for rural tourism in Tenerife. It is top of the island’s comparative list with a total of 229 beds.
  • The best examples of colonial estates architecture in rural settings are found in Los Realejos.
  • The ‘El Gato Negro’ lottery retailer is considered one of the most important in the Canary Islands and it’s ninth of Spain’s comparative list, in terms of lottery tickets’ sale and prizes.
  • The “Sociedad Musical Filarmónica” [the Filarmonica Music Society] of Los Realejos, established in 1847, is the oldest music band in the Canary Islands. Besides, it’s the first institution in Los Realejos ever to be awarded the Gold Medal of Tenerife, given by the island’s government in 2010.
  • There are around twenty folklore groups in Los Realejos, a fact that speaks volumes of the deeply-rooted traditions in the hearts of its people.
  • Pastry production in Los Realejos is of the oldest and most important traditions in the Canary Islands.
  • It’s now been 400 years since the then municipality of Realejo Bajo started honouring the Glorioso Mártir San Vicente de Osca [the Glorious Martyr Saint Vincent of Osca], in appreciation for keeping them safe from the Landres plague in 1609. That is why January 22nd is a holiday in Los Realejos, where Saint Vincent is one of its Patron saints.
  • During the 19th century it was common for people to go up to Teide to collect snow, which was then sold to hotels in Puerto de la Cruz. The snow was taken from a cave. Access to the cave was gained through a 22-step pinewood ladder, which was made by Camilo, a resident of the neighbourhood of Icod el Alto.
  • In the neighbourhood of Icod El Alto it was customary to make the so-called ‘mayos’ in the month of May. The ‘mayos’ were straw dolls resembling either a man or a woman and dressed in old clothes. Whenever some special event happened in a family, the doll was placed outside their house as a cheerful reference to the event. They were placed at night, so many neighbours would find it in the morning as an unexpected gift. Some of them would remove it instantly and hang it on the neighbour’s door.
  • In Icod el Alto, it was customary to set the so-called ‘machango’ on fire every Ash Wednesday. The ‘machango’ was a straw doll, dressed in man’s clothes. Sometimes it was also crowned with a skull and burnt, after beating it. A different name was given to the ‘machango’ each time, though the name ‘Sambumba’ is the one that has survived over the last years. The theatre troupe ‘Medio Almud Teatral’ has preserved this tradition through a dramatisation of the burning of Sambumba performed in the street.
  • The father of Pedro García Cabrera, a poet and journalist who was a member of the Generation of ’27, was born in Los Realejos.
  • The Mesón El Monasterio has been declared a Tourist Attraction Site in 2000 and was awarded the Tourism Excellence Medal by the Canarian Government in 2013.
  • During the festivities of the 50th anniversary of the blessing and opening for worship of the church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel (Virgen del Carmen) it was made the island’s second sanctuary, next to the existing Royal Sanctuary of Christ of La Laguna.
En el año 1971, se empezaron a escuchar ruidos extraños en el Barranco de Godínez que alarmaron a toda la población local. Las historias, convirtieron los ruidos en leyenda, con el famoso Bicho del Barranco de Godínez, bestia descomunal habitante de las cuevas del barranco, detrás de San Vicente. Toda la prensa de la isla se hizo eco de esta noticia e incluso trascendió a otras islas. Más tarde, se barajaron dos nuevas y coherentes hipótesis: que los ruidos fueran causados por un respiradero del volcán Teneguía o por un nido de pardelas, aunque la que más credibilidad tuvo entre los expertos fue la primera.Artículo relacionado