Discovering Gran Canaria: Roque Bentayga

Roque Bentayga Gran Canaria sunset

The Roque Bentayga is the gateway to the Sacred Mountains of Gran Canaria (UNESCO World Heritage since July 2019). It is the third most important peak on the island (after the Pico de las Nieves and the Roque Nublo); and also the most unknown of them. However, it holds surprising secrets that make it worth a visit.

What is Roque Bentayga?

This is a geological formation of volcanic origin on the edge of the caldera of Tejeda. The highest point is 1,414 metres above sea level and is accessible by a medium-difficulty hiking route.

But this is only the tip of the iceberg. Roque Bentayga is part of an ancient Canarian aboriginal settlement that includes a troglodyte settlement, a necropolis and an almogarén (a place of rituals).

Roque Bentayga Gran Canaria
Roque Bentayga with Roque Nublo in the background

Where is Roque Bentayga?

Located towards the west of the island, it draws an almost straight line with Pico de las Nieves and Roque Nublo. Very close to the GC-60 (the road that connects Maspalomas with the centre of the island); you can reach it from any point of Gran Canaria in just over an hour. Although certain roads (e.g. from Mogán) can be quite complicated for inexperienced drivers or those who do not know the island well enough.

There is no direct public transport, but there are buses that can drop you off at nearby points from which you can walk (about a 20 minute journey).

The Bentayga almogarén

An “almogarén” is a place where the ancient inhabitants of Gran Canaria performed ritual practices. These first inhabitants were animists and had a deep knowledge of astronomy. In this culture it was essential to be able to measure the passage of time in order to plan the crops; so they used surprising resources to create calendars.

Specifically, in the Bentayga almogarén, they took advantage of the particular shape of the peak of the rock (with a v-shaped indentation), to make a sun marker that could indicate the autumn equinox. In this way, it can be seen that on this specific day, the sun passes exactly through this cleft at dawn; this first ray of sunshine touches a specific area of the rock, where these aborigines carved a circle and a series of ritual bowls.

The main hypothesis is that on this particular day rituals were performed to propitiate the harvest. Even today some people go up at dawn during these dates to see this curious game of light in first person.

Cueva Roque Bentayga
Artificial cave at the Roque Bentayga troglodyte settlement

What can I visit in this area?

We are at the entrance to the Sacred Mountains of Gran Canaria, so the variety of places to visit is enormous. Some recommendations:

  • Bentayga Interpretation Centre: This is a museum located at the base of the rock. The entrance is free and it is open every day of the year from 10.00 to 17.00. You can see reproductions of archaeological remains, interact with some devices, watch videos and have more information about this place.
  • Hiking: As we have indicated, it is possible to hike to the summit. The path is quite vertical and of medium difficulty, so it is advisable to wear suitable footwear and clothing. You can also go hiking at the site of the Cuevas del Rey (the old troglodyte settlement). In this case it is only recommended for people in good physical condition and with experience in these activities.
  • Caldera de Tejeda: From this point you can quickly reach the towns of Tejeda, Cruz de Tejeda, Artenara, etc. Any of these towns is recommended for a visit (although our favourite is Artenara).
Roque Bentayga Tejeda
Roque Bentayga from Tejeda (Gran Canaria)

Discover Roque Bentayga and other secrets of Gran Canaria with Sky Rebels

At Sky Rebels, we organize private excursions to discover the Roque Bentayga; as well as the most interesting spots in the Sacred Mountains of Gran Canaria. If you want more information or want to make a reservation, please contact us.

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