This route will leave you breathless!
It’s a particular suggestion for those of you that are spending their holidays in Las Palmas, or even in the south of Gran Canaria, but decide for one day to stay out of the crowd and the shouts on the beach. It’s a little treasure that Gran Canaria offers just at 20 minutes by car from the capital. The road to arrive to the Bandama goes through the valley of Las Goteras and valley of Guiniguada (same name of the theatre in Las Palmas), in the direction of the coast. Scientists calculated that the area was formed around 5 thousands of millions of years ago, together with the volcano Pico de Bandama. It’s clear to anybody its high geological value, as well as the importance of the archaeological finds in this zone called Cueva de los Canarios, that the ancient populations were using as a storage for the harvest and aliments.
So let’s take a look to the road to arrive there! Always remember to bring with you some solar cream, clean water, extra food and whatever you think can be useful in a camping. Why? Because we’re promoting THIS kind of alternative tourism, so you will never know where you will be the next day! You have to be prepared and you can do this with a good rented car. 🙂 The suggested route starts from San Telmo Bus Station, but wherever you are in the city…
…it will end here, on the panoramic view point. You can search on Google Maps for Calle la Caldera, 1 or follow this link. I choose this point as the first stop, because if you started your trip in the morning, maybe around 11 o’clock, you will be here at 11.30 am… just in time to enjoy the wonderful view of the crater, have a little walk around and then lunch at the great restaurant La Caldera. It’s more than a suggestion, it’s what you deserve! It’s a family restaurant that had a long and difficult history before being allowed to open (Governs works slowly everywhere!) but after 30 years they’re still there, serving the most typical canary foods. The nice service and the feeling of being part of the same family are the most appreciated “daily menus” for all the tourists, and local people too.
So now, after a good lunch, you’ll be ready for the main walk. Take the car and follow the way back until get this point… (Camino a La Caldera, 48 on Google Maps or link here).
That’s impressive! The route is very easy and well prepared, impossible to get lost (you are into a volcano!); so you just have to expect 200 meters of difference between up and down the Caldera, with some moments of steep paths. But as wrote, nothing dangerous. Why this route is great? Well, first it’s just 3 km long. Even the more lazy tourists can enjoy it easily. Second point, it’s just 20 minutes from the city of Las Palmas! Practically, if you’re having your holiday in Las Canteras and you decide for one day to avoid the crowd and the regular tourism… you can get there in less than half an hour! Isn’t it great!? 😉
Some words more about the Caldera de Bandama, before the map of the main path: it has this name in honor of Daniel Van Damme, a wine trader from Holland that decided to create a wine farm here at the end of the 16th Century. The name Bandama comes from the pronunce of the surname of that guy… The important thing about this fact, is that he imported a kind of grapes called Malvasia and that before was common only in the Southern regions of Europe, and that changed the structure of the whole area too. That’s why even now this area is considered the “wine zone” of the island: they produce the best grapes because of the long tradition and the same conformation of the ground, that is made of volcanic soil and so rich of mineral aliments for plants.
The crater is 1200 metres in diametre and it’s allowed (and suggested!) to walk on the upper border, just pay attention not to fall down… From up there you will have the best view of this powerful example of nature in Gran Canaria. Then you can go INTO the crater, following this simple path:
As I wrote at the starting of this article, it’s a simple path so don’t feel afraid for the inclination of the road. Just take your time, drink a lot of water and enjoy this beauty of nature. The path starts in a urbanizacion (group of houses) where takes place the House of Wine Bandama. Don’t miss the opportunity to buy a bottle on your way back, it’s perfect to remind this place!
Along the path you’ll find another panoramic point that will give you the view over the whole crater, from inside! From here you can also recognize the geological differences of the area, where the lava got in contact with subterranean water and created that natural wealth. More than 200 species of different plants were discovered into the crater, and more than 40 species of animals.
It seems incredible that all these can stay in the same round of one km squared!
At the end of the path a nice cartel will remind you that you can’t go more down than this… and it will guide you to the old house of Daniel Van Damme, the former founder of the wine farm. Unfortunately it is completely abandoned at the moment, and I really hope that the Govern will recover that area soon.
A museum could be a interesting option, as they are already making some tours at Bunker ’43 (from 10 to 14 hours, prior appointment required: Bandama Tourist Office, +34 928 170 111 or firstname.lastname@example.org).
In the centre of the Bandama you will see a giant tree. I really care that tree so, please, don’t be the dumb who will write his/her name on the surface. It looks better without it.
There’s an interesting option for all the bikers… you can arrive on the Caldera de Bandama with your own bike or a rented one, there will be only some difficulties at the end to arrive up on the panoramic view point. But if you’re well trained it will be fine. Here’s the road from the Vegueta Market in Las Palmas!
There’s also a comfortable bus line that arrives right where the path of Caldera de Bandama starts: it’s the line 311 of Global Bus, that you can take from San Telmo Bus Station in Las Palmas. Here’s the complete schedule: Line 311 to Las Palmas G.C. – Bandama – Santa Brigida.
Have a great and safe trip!