Barranco de las Vacas Gran Canaria

Feature Image Barranco de las Vacas

Gran Canaria’s Antelope Canyon:
Barranco de las Vacas

The local Canario’s love to refer to the island as “El Continente en Miniatura” – the miniature continent. And it’s not hard to see why.

Gran Canaria has a bit of everything packed into it’s 1,560 square kilometers. Black, volcanic beaches, Sahara-like dunes stretching to the sea, impossible rock formations balancing from mountain peaks and dramatic ravines dotted with deep, ancient caves that once housed the indigenous Canarii.

People often ask me if I get island fever, but the truth is, after two years exploring every nook and cranny of this incredible island, I still find brand new destinations that can take my breath away.

The breathtaking Barranco de las Vacas is just one of those gorgeous, hidden gems.

Barranco de las Vacas, Aguimes me 5-2018 WM.jpg

If you thought this was shot in Arizona’s Antelope Canyon, think again. This intricately carved ravine is located right here in Gran Canaria.

What is the Barranco de las Vacas?

Barranco is Spanish for ravine. While there are no shortage of ravines in the Canary Islands, the Barranco de las Vacas is the only one of its kind here in the Canaries.

Barranco de las Vacas, Aguimes 5-2018 WM.jpg

This unique barranco is a slot canyon formed from porous volcanic ash and smoothed by water, giving it it’s unique flowing curves of colored stone.

While Barranco de las Vacas is the name that it’s most commonly referred to,  there are a few other names for the area depending on who you ask. More accurately, the distinct area pictured above is the Barranco de Barafonso – a small offshoot of the longer valley. If you ask a local old dude, they’ll probably refer to this offshoot as the Toba de Colores, referencing the varying shades of beige, red and terra cotta that shift with sunlight at different times of day.

A rose by any other name, right?

Getting to the Barranco de las Vacas

Barranco de las Vacas, Aguimes 5-2018 (5) WM.jpg

The Barranco de las Vacas is located near Agüimes province at the southeast of the island. Like most things here, it’s easy enough to get to by car and doable – though a bit trickier – by public transport.

By Car

Drive first to Agüimes and continue along toward Temisas on highway GC-550. The path to the ravine isn’t signposted, but you will likely see a few cars parked along the side of the highway just before reaching a grey, brick bridge.

There is space along the side of the highway to park about five cars at a time and that, in fact, is how you will know when to pull over and park yourself. The walk is short and simple enough, though a bit steep heading up and down from the road. Simply head down into the ravine and walk toward and then under the bridge, following the path along to the left.

Barranco de las Vacas, Aguimes 5-2018 (10) WM.jpg

By Public Transport

If relying on public transport, you’ll also have to be prepared to do a bit more hiking.

From Parque San Telmo in Las Palmas, take the blue Global bus 11 to Agüimes. There are also buses from the south, but most require a transfer so it’s best to check directions from your accommodation.

Once in Agüimes, ask the locals to point you toward the Camino Real which will take you to the ravine. While I’ve yet to do the route myself, the directions on WikiLoc appear to be straightforward enough. I’ve heard that the walk takes about an hour, though I can’t personally confirm it.

What to Do at the Barranco de las Vacas

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Down the rabbit hole 🌀🐰

A post shared by Erica | Get Lost! 🌍✈️✌ (@getup_getout_getlost) on

While there are few words that irritate me as much as instagramable, well… this spot it about as instagramable as it gets. 🤷 The area is relatively small (just over 250 meters, they say) and just begging you to have your picture taken there.

To avoid the crowds and too much sunlight interfering with your shots, it’s best to get here early in the morning or later in the afternoon. I arrived about two hours before sunset and while the lighting was great, there were plenty of people trying to “do it for the ‘gram”, so I’ll definitely aim for a morning visit my next go around.

If you’re up for a longer hike, you can continue along up to the nearby town of Temisas, a charming white washed village at the base of the mountains.

Barranco de las Vacas, Aguimes 5-2018 (11) WM

Around the Barranco de las Vacas

While you won’t need an entire day to experience the beautiful Barranco de las Vacas, there’s plenty to see and do in the area! Make a day of it and check out some of these gems while you’re in the area.

Have a bite in one of the cave restaurants in Guayadeque.

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Stop for desert and a stroll in Agüimes

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Or, soak up the sun and a shandy at Arinaga Beach.

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More Gran Canaria Day Trips

Gran Canaria is so much more than the sun and sea resorts in the south – get out there and explore it! Check out these related posts of incredible day trip destinations you might like to check out on your next visit to Gran Canaria.

Free Museums in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

Tapas Thursday in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

Puerto Rico & Playa Amadores

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Hoy, toca sur 🙌🌴☀️

A post shared by Erica | Get Lost! 🌍✈️✌ (@getup_getout_getlost) on

Moya: A Village Lost in Time

Happy exploring!

Erica 💙 ✌️




15 Comments Add yours

  1. Martina Hzb says:

    Simply amazing! Gran Canaria is high up on my bucket list – thanks for posting this great article. This rock formations are looking great!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Erica says:

      I hope you make it soon! There really is plenty to see/do/taste/experience here 🙂


  2. allnatalie says:

    The Canary Islands have always been a wonderful mystery for me! I had no idea there were these canyons here! Does it get very crowded there? This looks like a fantastic place to visit. I like how you’ve broken down the ways of getting there by different methods of travel.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Erica says:

      Break the mystery and come for a visit! 🙂 Apparently this area has only just recently been “rediscovered” in light of the Instagram world – most of my friends who grew up here had barely or never even heard of it! That being said, it’s defintely becoming a trend at the moment, but not overcrowded. There were maybe 3 small groups when I visited.


  3. carrie says:

    So many beautiful places in the world, and I love when a blog post points me to one that isn’t yet on my radar. Who knew there are canyons in the Canary Islands? What a lovely day trip and addition this hike would make to time spent on the islands. Your photos are spectacular.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Erica says:

      Thanks! And thanks for reading 🙂 The islands are so incredibly diverse, living here never ceases to amaze me!


  4. I am guilty of dismissing Gran Canaria, or at least not giving it much space on my travel wishlist, because I associate it with beach holidays but this post has totally turned me around. The Barranco de las Vacas looks incredible, a match for any of the more world-renowned canyons around the globe! I’m loving the play of light and shadow, and the beautiful shapes. Must visit!


  5. I had no idea that there’s a copy of Antelope Canyon in Gran Canaria! Indeed it looks like the one in the USA! I’ve just added it to our bucket list, thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Erica says:

      Yay, love to spark a little buckt list inspiration! 🙂


  6. Laurel says:

    The Canary Islands have always fascinated me. Never considered there are Canyons, now I have to go!


  7. Barranco de las Vacas is beautiful!! You are making me want to go to Gran Canaria so badly! I mean, I’ve never not wanted to go…I’ve only stopped on Gran Canaria on a plane to pick up other passengers on the way to Fuerteventura. There’s so much to explore and most people don’t realize how diverse the islands are! For the first time in 10 years, I’m not going this June and I’m so upset. That first photo of you standing on the tip of the rock is amazing! I want that photo!!


  8. liolesen says:

    I didn’t know Gran Canaria had canyons like that. Looks amazing. Thank you for telling us about this place.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Suzanne says:

    I used to have this as my desktop wallpaper once. It’s an amazing place, hope to get there someday


  10. Anna says:

    Thank you very much for sharing. I have dreams of visiting South West USA one day to see the canyons but I had no idea there was one much closer to the UK! I am honestly going to look at flights to Gran Canaria after I finish typing this post haha!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Erica says:

      Wonderful!! 👏 Flights from London are often less than 100 return 😊 Let me know if you book and I’m happy to send you some suggestions.


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