Guimar Pyramids Ethnographic Park in Tenerife

guimar pyramids

Take a break from the sun and the sea and discover Tenerife's biggest mystery: the Güímar pyramids! Located in the small, eastern Tenerife coastal town of Güímar, these step pyramids have been stumping archaeologists, anthropologists and other researchers since their discovery in 1991.

The Güímar Pyramids
As for the Güímar pyramids themselves, six of the town's alleged original nine remain. Thousands upon thousands of stones went into the construction of these step pyramids, meaning that they were built using several layers - or "steps" - of stone. While each of the six pyramids is of a different size, they share a similar rectangular ground plan.

In 1998, the Güímar pyramids were opened to the public as an ethnological park. Along with the six pyramids, the park includes a leisure area and a museum. The museum, aimed at the spread of the ideas and culture of ancient times, opens the mind to Tenerife's cultural heritage through the exploration of various theories, artifacts, replicas and models, results of Thor Heyerdahl's research and models of similar step pyramids throughout the world.

The Discovery Of The Güímar Pyramids
When a local newspaper reported the discovery of these pyramids, skeptics essentially wrote them off as stone heaps amassed by native farmers who found the stones while working the land- very common in Tenerife. However, a Norwegian anthropologist, researcher and adventurer by the name of Thor Heyerdahl - who had spent a considerable amount of time in Peru studying and researching step pyramids - came across the Güímar photos and was immediately intrigued.

Thor set off for Tenerife and confirmed his suspicions. He determined that these structures couldn't possibly be random stone heaps. Amongst his discoveries, he reported that:

  • The stones were not stones from nearby fields but rather lava rocks from further inland. In addition, the stones showed evidence of being worked, shaped and trimmed.

  • The pyramids were painstakingly constructed stone-by-stone with the stones' flat side facing out.

  • The pyramids lead up to a flat platform, not the peak of a rock pile.

  • The pyramids have astronomical orientations. If you climb to the top of the largest pyramid during the summer solstice you can witness a double sunset; on this day only, the sun sets behind a tall mountain peak, passes it, and then reappears and sets again behind the next mountain. In additon, the pyramids all have stairs on their western sides which you can climb up exactly as the sun does on the morning of the winter solstice.

Why Are The Güímar Pyramids Such A Mystery?
While Thor's discoveries helped to unlock part of the pyramides' secret, neither Thor nor other researchings have been able to determine the pyramids' age nor their origins. Excavations around and beneath the pyramids have yielded Guanche artifacts. When 15th century Spanish conquerors arrived in Tenerife, they found the Guanche civilization, yet in Pliny the Elder's writings back in 600 BC describing Hanno the Navigator's voyage to the islands, he reported that the islands were at that point uninhabited but made mention of the existence of large constructions.

Another enigma of the Güímar pyramids is their undeniable resemblance to the pyramids of Peru, Mexico and ancient Mesopotamia (the region that is now Iraz and parts of Syria, Turkey and Iran)- places on opposite sides of the Atlantic Ocean. Along with Thor's many theories, he brought up the possibility that the Canaries were actually an ancient shipping base between the Mediterranean and the Americas long before the America's were "discovered" in the 15th century. In fact, in 1970 he proved that it could have been possible using ancient methods and technology when he sailed from northern Morocco to the Barbados Islands on a papyrus boat (you can see a replica in the park's museum).

Güímar Pyramids Practical Info:

Opening Hours:
Daily 9:30am - 6:00pm
Closed December 25 & January 1

Contact Info:
Calle Chacona, s/n
(Tel) 922 51 45 11
Website: (in Spanish, English & German)