Day 2 to 7
During our time in La Palma there is a wealth of walking to be undertaken. So much in fact it is impossible to tell you all the options. Below is a selection of walks to give you a taste of what you can expect.
San Antonio Volcano
Both Groups. Today we take a taxi ride to a tiny village called ‘Montes de Luna’, where we pick up a pathway which gently rises then falls as it contours its way around the south of the island to the town of Fuencaliente. Here, we stop for coffee in one of the charming bars before continuing down to the San Antonio Volcano. Here we watch an excellent short explanatory film in the Visitor Centre before venturing out on to rim of the volcano which formed in the 1600s. It is now quite safe and the walk is protected by hand rails where needed.
Grade 5. Our group looks down on even younger volcanoes (the youngest blew in 1971) before returning to the Visitor Centre. After lunch, we have another short walk, and then visit the ‘Bodegas Teneguia’ for wine tasting with the joint owner ‘Diego’. 10km, Ascent/Descent 350m, 3.5hrs
Grade 6. After lunch, we continue down the island via some even younger volcanoes (the youngest blew in 1971) before reaching ‘Faro’ (lighthouse) where there is a small museum and a bar selling craft beers from the island. 14km, Ascent 150m, Decent 850m, 4hrs.
Ruta de los Volcanes
Both Groups. Today we get back to business with serious hikes along the ‘spine' of the island. We take a taxi ride up the mountain road to ‘El Pinar' pass at around 1,450 metres above sea level, where we start our walks. Both groups hike (albeit at a different pace) up on the spine.
Grade 5. From the pass, we start off on the GR path, then turn off and climb up our first peak Birigoyo where we have truly amazing views back north to the whole Taburiente caldera. We may see the ‘Mar des nubes' (sea of clouds) in the foreground, which we, hopefully, will be above by this stage! We continue over the peak of Barquita and down to the ‘Hoyo Negro' crater (it means black hole). From there, we then climb up to Pico Nambroque (our main target for the day) before returning on the main GR footpath all the way back to El Pinar for our Taxi return. 11.5km, Ascent/Descent 700m, 5hrs.
Grade 6. From the pass, we stay on the GR path, bypassing the first few peaks and past the ‘Hoyo Negro' crater until we reach the dramatic ‘Volcan de la Deseada' – a spectacular volcano which is the highest on the spine. The (safe) climb up the rim is truly memorable and the 360 degree views are awesome. From there, we descend south (staying on the spine) to reach the ‘View of Views' – looking south to the Volcan de St Martin and beyond (on a clear day) out to sea and the islands of Tenerife, El Hierro and La Gomera. A steady descent to Fuencaliente completes this 18km classic walk to our Taxi return. 18km, Ascent 700m, Descent 1400m, 5.5hrs
Into the Laurasilva Forest of Los Tilos
Both Groups. Our Taxis drop us off at the famous Biosphere reserves of Cubo de la Galga and Los Tilos. The islanders are very proud of these two areas of La Palma – they are temperate rain forests (Laurasilva) and, as such, are very different to any other part of the island.
Grade 5. From the little Visitor Centre at Cubo de la Galga, we hike up a well formed track which reduces into a path and then enters the ‘jungle' of rainforest, which is a sensory delight of birdsong and flowing water. We emerge at the Mirador de Somada Alta, giving us a view of the tree tops far below. From here we descend to the bus stop to catch the bus to Santa Cruz.
Grade 6. From the large Visitor Centre at Los Tilos, we climb up a zigzag path in deep rain forest up to the Mirador de las Barandas for some great views out to the east coast and above the rainforest. From here we cross another Barranco to reach the sleepy town of Barlovento, where there is a welcome cafe by the bus stop! 10km, Ascent/Descent 500m, 3.5hrs
Both Groups. After the two graded walks, we have a second walk optional add-on! Those electing to do so have the chance to walk up the remote Barrancodel Carmen to the ‘Lady of the Snows Sanctuary' well above Santa Cruz. This is a 16th century church set in a delightful courtyard with a lovely bar alongside. We finish with a walk down the Barranco del Rio into Santa Cruz for our bus or Taxi return.
During our time in La Palma we will have a free which can easily be spent exploring Santa Cruz or why not ask your leader about a walk they suggest to do on your own.