Fun meter: Awsome
Location: Fuencaliente, La Palma
Adventure: Hike, Beach
Time: 4++ hours
Level of difficulty: medium
Good for what ages: 5+
Cost: 3€ for residents & 5€ for visitors
In the southern tip of the island of La Palma, the path of the volcanos was one of my favorite hikes. It’s like walking on the moon. We wandered the edge of a volcano, walked down a challenging hiking trail through lava fields and cooled off at the beach. The volcano was fun, although Sojourn says volcanoes spit lava and that kills people, and that isn’t fun. But we all had a blast on the trail. After jumping off the cliff into the ocean dozens of times, we took a bus back up to where we parked our car. It is a great place for everyone to explore.
How To Get There
Map to the Centro de Visitantes Volcán San Antonio. The roads from the north of the island are in good shape, but are curvy and slow. Give lots of time. Its easy to get stuck behind someone taking their sweet time. Or maybe that is you. Lots of friends suggested getting an early start. The trail can get pretty toasty in summer and depending on how much exploring you do, can be a full day of adventure.
The Volcano Center
We parked on the road by the volcano visitor centre. You don’t have to pay to hike the trail, but it is the only bathroom on the trail and it is pretty interesting. We walked around the rim of the volcano crater (la caldera). Can you believe it was actually active in our lifetime! Well, not when I was there. The last time it erupted was just a bit before my mom was born. It was 50 years ago when it last erupted, in 1971. A lot of the trail we walked on didn’t exist before the lava grew the island.
The visitors center was small but it was alright. It had a bunch of exhibits about the volcano and even cool animations that Sojourn and I liked. The machine that simulates what it would be like to be in an earthquake was our favorite. But it only seems to be one specific kind of earthquake, because my mom was in a big earthquake in California and she said that the ground moved differently. The ground rolled a lot instead of the small vibrations created by the machine. Guess Canarian earthquakes are different than American earthquakes.
The trail around the crater was pretty crowded and isn’t very long. We thought we would walk the whole loop, but it was closed. It was flat(ish) and in about 10 minutes, we arrived at a nice photo spot. You can see inside the volcano and the whole landscape.
Time to walk through the volcanos to the beach. The trail is called La Ruta de Los Volcanes. It starts at the visitors center and wanders down to the Faro (lighthouse) de Fuencaliente. The path led us past a few different volcano craters. At first we almost got lost but managed to find the way, the only thing you have to do is find this sign. There is no shade on this hike, so bring hats, extra water and snacks. And good shoes. This isn’t a sandal friendly trail.
From the center down to a big fire road is a small path filled with small pebbles that got stuck in my shoes every step. It was so very annoying. I was worried it would be this way the whole time, and got pretty upset. But don’t worry, this is the only part of the trail that is so difficult, and it lasted 10 minutes.
From there, we spent a few km on a flat dirt fire-road. You could see malvasia wine grape vines all over the hillside, and a rainbow of colors splashed on the earth. Eventually the trail split from the main fire-road, and we began to explore craters. Sojourn and I just loved to play in them. The second third of the hike is along huge patches of dry lava flow. That part is amazing. People have made a small trail through the flow, or it would be super hard to get anywhere.
After the lava flows, the trail drops quickly to the sea. You can see a huge view of the lighthouse and the ocean. The trail crosses the main road a few times, and the cars and buses scream by, so be super careful.
We skipped visiting the lighthouse. Everyone wanted to swim. My sponsor Nacho said the restaurant there is really good, but we didn’t have enough time to swim and do a big meal. The beach was a small rock beach with a huge cliff surrounding the cove.
Getting into and out of the water was tricky because there were little waves and they pushed the rocks onto my feet.But it was worth it. At the left of the cove was a set of stairs going up to the lighthouse, which were right above deep water. Tons of kids and adults were jumping off the steps and even from the top of the cliff. Dad and I worked our way up, and were brave enough to do the big jump. I was screaming, That was absolutely incredible.
We checked the bus schedule before getting wet, because we didn’t want to miss it. Oh and make sure you have enough money. The bus ride was longer than I expected. Nearly 50 minutes. With the volcano center, the hike, the swim, the bus ride, and driving to and from our airbnb, this was a long long day.