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Blog Islas Canarias OFFICIAL CANARY ISLANDS
TOURISM BLOG
www.hellocanaryislands.com

A Hike Around Gran Canaria's Volcanic Hotspot


Highlights
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Deserted beach and abandoned salt pans in Lanzarote
La Palma: A Heaven for Stargazing
Experience participating in Transgrancanaria
A Road Trip Around the North of Fuerteventura
A Journey to the end of the World, or to Punta de Orchilla
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How to Enjoy a Stunning Walk in Tenerife from Playa San Juan to Los Gigantes
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One of the best family days out in Fuerteventura
Journey to another planet at Timanfaya National Park, Lanzarote
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Relaxing Weekend staying in the picture perfect beaches of El Cotillo – Fuerteventura
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Enjoy a morning at the local produce Market in San Sebastián de La Gomera
A tour around El Hierro’s “Mirador’s”
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How to Enjoy an Easy Adventure from Puerto del Carmen to Puerto Calero
A walk across Llano de Las Cuevas in La Palma
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www.hellocanaryislands.com
Previous article
17 Oct 2016

Gran Canaria hasn't had a major volcanic eruption for millions of years but it does occasionally suffer a little hiccup. Once every 25,000 years or so, a little big of magma wells up and pops out at the base of the island to form a new volcano.

The most impressive of these, the Bandama cinder cone and caldera (technically a maar), is also the most accessible because it’s just 15 minutes drive from the capital city Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.

Bandama volcano, rising out of the rolling hills of Gran Canaria’s oldest wine region, is 706m above sea level at the tip. The circular caldera is a kilometre across and over 200 metres deep. It's one of the world's largest complete calderas.

Bandama volcano's caldera

To see it the easy way, you drive all the way up the spiral road to the tip of the cinder cone and look down at the vast caldera and out across most of north and east Gran Canaria.

But, to get a real feel for just how immense this geological freak is, you have to get your walking boots on.

Hike clockwise around a volcano

It’s only when you walk right around Bandama’s rock cauldron that you see the most impressive views of the cinder cone, the steep walls of the caldera, and the dozens of palm trees that grow on the crater floor. From high up on the rim, they look like little green tufts with inexplicably long shadows.

Even though the trail is just two kilometres long, bear in mind that it’s a tough hike if you suffer from vertigo. At times, you’re on a narrow ridge with steep drops on both sides.

However, if you’re fine with heights, this is superb short walk and probably the only chance you’ll get to do a lap of a volcano that’s still, in geological terms, hot to the touch.

Start by the road that goes up to the tip of the Bandama mountain. The signposted trail begins about 500 metres from the turn off and takes you clockwise around the rim.

Hikking around Bandama volcano

The first section, a steep walk down, is the greenest with fragrant wild lavender and artemisia. The picon gravel underfoot, essentially petrified volcano froth, crunches gently with every step. Lizards scuttle everywhere and the kestrels hover and flutter overhead . In spring, wild Canaries sing from the tips of the agave flowers.

When you reach the rim, the views into the hole get impressive. There’s still a farm on the crater floor and you’ll see the old threshing area and wine press amongst the palms. The Atlantic glistens on the horizon and the mass of Gran Canaria’s highlands rises behind the crater.

 The trail follows the ridge line in a series of undulations almost the whole way round. The south edge is the most exposed and the plants here are low and stunted by the wind.

What I love about this walk is the ever-changing view of the Bandama volcano. At the start, you see it behind the cliffs of the crater wall, home to a unique plant called the Bandama Shrubby Stock. Later on, the full panorama appears with the volcano spilling over into he northern fringe of the caldera. 

Full Bandama's panorama

The last section of the trail is a steep climb up past rocky peaks and caves and then you’re out of the caldera and onto a golf course. Even here, there’s a surprise; a line of stumpy old dragon trees that always look slightly embarrassed to be caught growing on a green rather than up a mountain.

A short walk takes you past the golfers and back to the start of the trail.

Dragon tree

Wine or another walk?

Once you’ve looped the caldera, you can always walk down to its floor for another perspective. Don’t forget though, that you also have to walk back out and that the soft picon is tough on your calves.

A better option perhaps, is to stop at the Hoyos de Bandama winery just by the gate to the caldera for a glass of their superb white wine.

The viewpoint with a secret bunker

Most visitors to Bandama drive up to the viewpoint at the top of the cinder cone, look at the view for a bit, and then leave. It’s a shame, because there’s a lot more to the Bandama Caldera than a big hole in the ground. There’s also a little hole in the ground right under the visitor centre.

cottage at the tip of the volcano

You see, the cute  was actually built during WW2 as an elaborate disguise for a military lookout post. It comes complete with a secret bunker and hidden windows.

Nowadays, the military bit is open to the public although you have to ask the visitor centre staff to open it up. Inside, there’s a video about the history of Bandama all the way from its explosive origins to modern times.

It’s a bombastic display and well worth experiencing.

 

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Highlights
How to Enjoy Carnival on Tenerife
Deserted beach and abandoned salt pans in Lanzarote
La Palma: A Heaven for Stargazing
Experience participating in Transgrancanaria
A Road Trip Around the North of Fuerteventura
A Journey to the end of the World, or to Punta de Orchilla
Diversity on the rocks: Hundreds of unique species
La Gomera, the romantic getaway
Following a Tapas Route on Tenerife
Enjoy a trek to the highest point in Lanzarote
Fiesta de la Cruz on La Palma
Gran Canaria’s Other Rock: Sacred Roque Bentayga
A day in the outback of Fuerteventura
Walking to the Beautiful Valley on La Gomera
"Fototrek” an amazing annual photographic adventure in El Hierro
An incredible Whale & Dolphin watching experience in Tenerife
The secret white sand beaches of Lanzarote
On the sunny side: Los Llanos de Aridane
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Three ways to enjoy Teide in Tenerife
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A Hike Around Gran Canaria's Volcanic Hotspot
Fuerteventura, Strong Wind
La Gomera: A day visiting dolphins and whales
Lanzarote fishing: Fresh fish for lunch
Exploring the Historic Centre of La Laguna
“Ruta de la Tapa” in Valverde
Driving the Las Mimbreras road
Discover the Beautiful North of Lanzarote by Car
Excursion to the Isla de Lobos
La Gomera – a rural tourism paradise
Festival of La Bajada de la Virgen de los Reyes
A morning in Santa Cruz de La Palma
The water route, Valverde and the Bonanza rock
Exploring the San Juan Volcano
Vegueta: Time Travel In Las Palmas de Gran Canaria’s Old Town
Why You Don’t Want to Miss Out on Trekking Masca in Tenerife
Experience Tinajo: Rural traditions and breathtaking natural beauty
A lovely stroll around Villa de Valverde
A Spring Tour Of Gran Canaria
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A trip along the coast of El Golfo, El Hierro
Exploring the Highs and Lows of Puerto de Mogán
Why You Will Absolutely Love Exploring Amazing La Graciosa
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Relish the thrill and views of El Faro La Entallada, in Fuerteventura
Menceyes and our Lady of Candelaria, in Tenerife
The Wine Run Lanzarote: food, wine and scenery
Experience the beauty of the pink caves of Puertito de Los Molinos
A Saturday in the beautiful village of Haría, Lanzarote
A must do in Fuerteventura – Picnic in the dunes of Corralejo
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A walk along the El Golfo ridge, El Hierro
The five best places to eat in Puerto del Rosario, Fuerteventura
A cup of coffee at Casa José Saramago, Lanzarote
Why Forestal Park is One of the Best Experiences in Tenerife
San Sebastián, the high part of Santa Cruz de La Palma
Sunset On The Rocks At Puerto de Mogán in Gran Canaria
A walk from San Andrés to Hoya del Morcillo, El Hierro
Enjoyment for the active traveller – Climb the Volcanic Mount Roja
Teguise: immerse yourself in Lanzarote’s history
How to Enjoy a Stunning Walk in Tenerife from Playa San Juan to Los Gigantes
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Relaxing Weekend staying in the picture perfect beaches of El Cotillo – Fuerteventura
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A trip around La Palma’s south coast
The Quiet South Gran Canaria Beach With Two Names
What to explore, How to get there and where to stay in San Sebastian the capital of La Gomera.
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The best olive oil in Fuerteventura – Verde Aurora Bio Farm
Hiking in La Geria: a bird’s eye view of the volcanoes
How to Enjoy a Unique Excursion Around Stunning Santa Cruz
El Tablado, La Palma’s remotest settlement
Swimming And Snorkelling At El Puertillo in North Gran Canaria
Enjoy a morning at the local produce Market in San Sebastián de La Gomera
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Experience participating in Transgrancanaria
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www.hellocanaryislands.com