Cuesta de Silva, S/N, 35458 Santa María de Guía.
From Las Palmas GC-2, exit 20, GC-291. At the southwest end Guía (Santa Maria de Guía), 22 km west of Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, Canarias.
OCT to MAR Tue-Sun 10-17.
APR to SEP Tue-Sun 10-18.
Adults EUR 3, Children (10-14) EUR 2, Children (0-9) free, Students EUR 2, Seniors (65+) EUR 2.
Groups (10+): Adults EUR 2.
|Classification:||lava cave Cellar|
|Guided tours:||self guided|
|Address:||Cenobio de Valerón, Cuesta de Silva, S/N, 35458 Santa María de Guía, Las Palmas, Tel: +34-618-607-896. E-mail:|
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.
|1978||declared a Site of Cultural Interest (BIC).|
Cenobio de Valerón is a large basaltic arch, covering volcanic tuff. Into this rather soft material, the Guanche excavated about 300 small caves, cavities and cubicles. This place is an agadir (a collective-fortificated granary) similar to the agadirs in North Africa. The ancient people stored their agricultural surplus here. The faican, a religious, political and economic chief distributed it then between the community. The cavities were used as silos, closed with a wooden plank and marked with a seal called pintadera which indicated the owner.
The name Cenobio de Valerón or Convent of Valerón is wrong. The traditional consideration was, that this was a monastery or a place where the harimaguadas (priestesses) were confined. But there is no archaeological evidence for this legend.
We classified the site as a natural cave with artificial structures which may be best describes as cellars, underground storage for food. The arch is formed by a compact and hard layer of basalt, which resists weathering rather good. It covers a massive deposit of tufa or tuff, a volcanic pyroclastic sediment which is very porous and thus soft and eroded quite easily. It possible to dig holes quite easily, with wooden stick or stone age tools. As a result the natural form is a huge portal, a cave opening with a wall of soft tufa at the rear end. The artificial cellars were dug into the soft tuff in horizontal rows. But while their location is quite regular, their form is not, the shapes are completely different, except for a few basic rules. The spaces were tightly closed with the wooden planks, so it was not possible for rodents to go inside and eat the stored food.
There are other important properties of theis site which made it such a good storage. The tufa with its pores keeps the temperature and humidity inside constant, at an level which is actually ideal to store grains for a long time. They are neither drying out, nor start to mold. One of the reasons is the cave portal, which keeps rainfall from hitting the tufa directly, so it stays dry even through storms. And finally the location high up in the wall of the Barranco de Silva made it inaccessible for pirates, which frequently approached the islands in search of slaves, furs or grains.
The visitors reach this place in a few minutes from the well developed coastal highway. A small road winds along a steep valley and runs right below the cenobio. The small parking is only suitable for half a dozen cars, but it seems the typical Gran Canaria tourist is not interested to visit this place, and the small parking is absolutely sufficient. From the car park the road is crossed to the fence with a sort of ticket office. The guard tells you something about protection of the site and helps with some archaeological background info. But there is no fee, and you are free to visit the whole site, as long as you stay on the paved paths.
The path goes uphill and crosses the whole site right below the cave. It's very fortunate to see the whole site. Most of the small caves are not open to visitors, but it's possible to have a look into two of them. The wheat holes in the ground, which were closed by a wooden lid, are easy to find.
The place is well developed and the guardian uses the spare time to plant local succulents. But the equatorial sun is very hot, and so a hat, sunglasses and sunblocker are recommended for a visit. Probably the most beautiful cave-related sight on Gran Canaria and much recommended by our reviewer!
A few years ago the trails were renovated and the car park was enlarged. As a result the free entrance is also gone. Nevertheless, the fee is still very low and the site is well worth the money. It's also possible to book guided visits for groups of 10 pople or more.