Last Updated on 16th March 2023 by Sophie Nadeau
One of the more rewarding hikes in Fuerteventura, where you’ll see blue sea in the distance and be surrounded by volcanic mountains, is hiking the Sendero El Tanquito on the El Cardón mountain. Here’s how to hike El Cardón, as well as travel tips to know before you go.
If you’re planning a trip to Fuerteventura, be sure to check out our suggested 3 days in Fuerteventura itinerary.
The otherworldly landscapes of the Canary Islands are famous the world over thanks to their lunar-like landscapes and volcanic formations which look like they’ve been plucked straight from another planet.
And one of the best ways to get a bird’s eye view when visiting Fuerteventura is to go hiking in order to get a better lay of the land.
If you’re interested in other natural and geological curiosities, then be sure to visit the Caves of Ajuy, the Barranco de los Enamorados, and the Arco de las Peñitas as well. If you’re visiting the island for the first time, here’s a Fuerteventura itinerary.
El Cardón mountain
The Montaña del Cardón is a protected monument and the hike up it won’t take you all the way to the top, but will take you to a fairly high vantage point where it’s possible to enjoy vistas of the surrounding volcanic and fairly barren landscape.
Hiking the Sendero El Tanquito
In order to partake in the hike, you’ll want to come well prepared. This means bringing a hat, something to cover your shoulders, and suitable hiking shoes. There was a point in the walk (just after the hermitage) where our trainers weren’t suitable for the rocky terrain and so we decided to turn back as our shoes simply didn’t have enough grip to clamber further up the mountain.
You’ll also want to plan your hike to avoid the hot midday sun, even during the winter. We did this hike in February, and even then it was hot and we ended up drinking lots of water!
As such, whatever the time of the year it is, you’ll need to bring ample food and water as there is nowhere to buy supplies at the car park or on the path. The hike is also much steeper than we had anticipated, so bear that in mind too.
You’ll need to park at the parking for the Sendero El Tanquito (coordinates: 28.273895, -14.149766 and listed on Google Maps as Parking Montana Cardon). Don’t leave any valuables on display or in your vehicle as break ins are frequent due to the remote location of the parking. There’s space for around 6 – 8 cars.
From there, the route of the el Tanquito hiking trail is well signposted. You’ll have to cross the road before continuing up the path towards the hermitage. Every time there is a fork in the path, there are signposts and so it’s fairly easy to follow the route.
We then walked around 45 minutes to an hour to reach the hermitage. The time it takes you will vary depending on your pace. Though the hike itself is only 2.5 km from the car park to the chapel, it is incredibly steep, particularly during the first half of the climb, before it levels out a bit.
Some parts of the trail are narrow and not in the best condition, so do be careful and don’t go on this hike during wet weather. Don’t forget to bring a camera as the views from the hike up to and at the hermitage are simply breathtaking!
The hermitage of our lady of Tanquito (Ermita Virgen del Tanquito)
You’ll know you’re in the right place when you reach a little green gate. In any case, there’s only one path to go up and down the mountain so it’s hard to get lost.
Go through the gate and you’ll reach a little part of the cliff face which has been carved out. The hermitage is small and has all of the typical offerings you would expect to see in such a location: votive candles, iconography, etc. Curiously, there’s a little visitor’s book asking people to water the plants!
The Hermitage has been a site of pilgrimage since the late 20th-century, when people from the local area first ventured up the mountain with a statue of Our Lady of Tanquito. Typically, residents from Fuerteventura go on a pilgrimage up to the hermitage each May.
We were surprised to also see that there was some sort of bread oven at the top and it looked as if someone had been residing in the area fairly recently, or indeed people from the pilgrimage had cooked after making their way up the mountain.
There’s not a huge amount of information about the hermitage or hike online, but we enjoyed our visit up to the top nonetheless!