Canary Islands

Volcanic Island Hopping

Tenerife to Tenerife

9 -17 December 2019
7 - 15 December 2020

Includes Bed and Breakfast accommodation, all guiding and transportation

Includes 3 National Parks and 3 World Heritage Sites
Exclusive small group tour, number of participants : 4 - 7
Prices are per person, based on 2 people sharing a room.  Single supplement applies please make contact for details.

Rising 5-7 km from the floor of the Atlantic and related to a mantle hotspot, the Canary Islands are the largest volcanoes in Europe. These islands are popular with tourists but few venture into the interior of the islands to explore this volcanic wonder land. The rocks reveal all the stages in the growth of ocean island volcanoes, and the islands  show the scars of some of the largest landslides ever to have occurred on Earth.

James Cresswell at Amarilla crater, Tenerife
James pointing out palagonite tuff in the Amarilla scoria cone, Tenerife
Mount Teide,Tenerife
Mount Teide, Tenerife
Roques de Garcia with Teide in the background, Tenerife
Roques de Garcia with Teide in the background, Tenerife
The cable-car ride up Mount Tiede to an altitude of 3500m, Tenerife
San Cristobal de La Laguna World Heritage Site, Tenerife
Inside the eroded Teno Massive, Tenerife
Rocque de Agando a 5.1 million year old trachyte dome,in the Garajonay National Park World Heritage Site, La Gomera
Los Organos columnar jointing, La Gomera
Los Organos columnar jointing, La Gomera
A landsat image © NASA, showing the Taburienta Caldera and land slip scar stretching out from it. Running due south of the caldera is the ridge of the Cumbre Vieja volcano. This is the most volcanically active part of the island and forms its southern backbone.
Mirador de La Cumbrecita, La Palma
James Cresswell pointing out dykes in the exposed seamount at the base of Caldera de Taburiente, La Palma
James pointing out dykes in the exposed seamount at the base of Caldera de Taburiente, La Palma
The highest point on the La Palma, Rocque de los Muchachos, this is on the summit rim of the Caldera de Taburiente
Teneguia cone which erupted in 1971


Day 1 - Arrive on the island of Tenerife at Tenerife South Airport. There are many direct flights to Tenerife from Europe, including flights with budget airlines. The tour group will meet at Tenerife South Airport before heading straight to Los Cristianos port to catch the evening ferry to La Palma. The night will be spent at our hotel in Santa Cruz de la Palma.

Day 2 -  Caldera de Taburiente National Park, La Palma. Our first stop is the National Park Visitors' Centre for an initial overview of the Caldera de Taburiente. This caldera is famous for being the place where the term 'caldera' was first coined, and was formed by a giant landslip followed by fluvia erosion. Our next stop is the Mirador de La Cumbrecita where the  Bejando volcano can be seenforming the eastern wall of the caldera. Here we leave our vehicle and take a 800m walk (each direction) along the caldera collapse wall for impressive views into the caldera. We then visit the town of Los Llanos to grab some lunch before going to  Barranco de las Angustias. The barranco or gorge is the entrance to the Taburiente caldera. We will take a gentle walk into the base of the caldera and will get the extraordinary opportunity to observe the deep structure of the submerged stage of development of the island, a seamount. We will see pillow basalts, dykes and low level metamorphism along the side of a beautiful stream that is eroding out the gorge. After an hour and a half of walking we will turn around and retrace our steps back to the car.  We spend a second night in the same hotel in Santa Cruz de La Palma.

Day 3 - San Antonio and Teneguia cones, La Palma.  Today we visit the south of the island and the most recently volcanically active areas. Our first stop is The Volcan San Antonio visitor centre. Here we can see original video footage of the 1971 Teneguia eruption. We then take a walk to the top of the San Antonio crater for a look inside. We then return to our vehicle, drive a short distance and park at the entrance to a track for the use of local farmers only. We walk for 30 minutes (each way) along the track to reach a viewpoint of the Teneguia cone which erupted in 1971, and is Tenerife's most recent eruption (except for one submarine one). If people want to climb the cone, we can spend a further 30 minutes each way, walking to and climbing the cone, before returning to our vehicle. Our route then takes us up the western coast of La Palma and we stop to observe the lava from several recent eruption that have erupted from the ridge of the Cumbre Vieja volcano which forms the southern half of La Palma island. Eventually we reach Puerto Naos and can see where lavas from an eruption in 1949 spilled over the sea cliffs to make new land in the form of lava deltas. These lavas deltas have had soil added to them and now host banana plantations. We then descend onto the lava delta to see a lava flow that displays levees on either side. We then return, passing across the mountainous centre of the island, to our hotel in Santa Cruz.

Day 4 - Ruta de los Volcanes  walk, La Palma. Today you can either have a free day in Santa Cruz de La Palma or spend the day hiking along the famous Ruta de los Volcanes, the ridge forming the southern backbone of the island created by the Cumbre Vieja volcano. This a real highlight of the island. Before starting our walk we will visit the Cumbre Vieja Visitor Centre for views of the Llano del Banco vent that erupted in 1949 and for panoramic views of Taburiente Caldera. From here we then walk to the Hoyo Negro and El Duraznero vents. The walk will take 4 to 5 hours in total. We spend our final night  in the same hotel in Santa Cruz de La Palma.

Day 5 - Rocque de los Muchachos and La Caldereta, La Palma. Today we drive to the highest point on the island, Rocque de los Muchachos, on the summit rim of the Caldera de Taburiente. On the way we stop to observe reddish scoria beds that are rich in the mineral hematite and resemble Martian rocks. Eventually we arrive at the summit of the caldera rim, where the views are amazing. On a good day Teide on Tenerife is visible, as is the island of El Hierro. Here we walk for about an hour enjoying the spectacular views into the caldera itself. We then return to Santa Cruz de La Palma visiting La Caldereta which is one of the largest tuff (volcanic ash) cones in the Canary Islands. We then take an afternoon ferry back to Tenerife, arriving in Santa Cruz de Tenerife at night and heading straight to our hotel.

Day 6 - San Cristobal de La Laguna World Heritage Site, Ceuva del Viento lava tube and the Teno volcano, Tenerife. We start the day by passing through the World Heritage Site town of San Cristobal de La Laguna. This town is so designated because its grid design was the blueprint for most towns and cities in North America. We then continue on to a 2-hour tour into Europe's longest lava tube, the Ceuva del Viento, near the town of Icod de los Vinos. The cave is rich in fossils of the 'Canarian megafauna'. If you do not wish to join the tour you can have free time in the town and may wish to see its famous Dragon Tree. We then reach the town of Garachico which was destroyed by a volcanic eruption in 1706. Here we stop for lunch and walk around the old harbour to inspect the lava flows, before moving on to the nearby 'Monument of the Canary Emigrant' for a view on to the town which used to be the main departure point for people emigrating to the Americas.  We stop at the Mirador de Cherfe for magnificent views. Next we stop for a specular view of the 600m high Gigantes cliffs, part of the Miocene Teno volcano.We then rejoin a major road and stop in the town Adeje for a view of the oldest rocks in Tenerife. Then on the edge of Los Cristianos  we will stop at the Caldera de Rey which is a phreatomagmatic caldera.  We then take an evening ferry to the island of La Gomera. We eat supper on the ferry and spend the night in San Sebestian on La Gomera.

Day 7 - Garajonay National Park World Heritage Site and Los Organos, La Gomera.  We spend our morning driving through Garajonay National Park, World Heritage Site. The park is so designated due to its unique vegetation with relic forests that are remnants of what would have covered much of Europe and North Africa in the the Tertiary. The National Park is also full of many volcanic dykes and plugs. Our first stop is the Roque de Agando a 5.1 ma trachyte plug. We then continue to Mirador de los Roques where we can look back at great views of the Roque de Agando. Our next stop is the Mirador de Igualero where we get great views of a mushroomed shaped intrusion called La Fortaleza, which is a trachyte intrusion with a flat top. We then arrive in the harbour village of Valle Gran Rey for a boat trip to the columnar basalt of Los Organos (note: this trip is weather dependent). We travel 12 nautical miles from Valle Gran Rey, each way, and will have views of imposing valleys and bays. There is also a good chance of seeing whales and dolphins en route. Los Organos (The Organ Pipes) is an imposing, partially eroded trachyte dome to reveal perfect and spectacular rock columns, that resemble Scotland's Fingal's Cave and Northern Ireland's Giant's Causeway. After the boat trip we have a late lunch in Valle Gran Rey before heading back to San Sebastian, taking in further sites of interest on the island's north coast. We then take an evening ferry to Tenerife, spending the night in a hotel in Los Cristianos.

Day 8 - Tiede National Park World Heritage Site , Tenerife. Our first stop today is  Amarilla scoria cone. Here we see its striking yellow colour caused by the mineral plagonite and fossilised sand dunes. Our vehicle then starts to climb the interior of the island and we stop at a site to observe phonolite lava balls. We then reach the Tiede National Park World Heritage Site and the rim of the La Candas caldera. Our first stop is to look at some radial dykes. We then head west along the caldera floor to reach the Mirador de Chahorra, here we get excellent views of Pico Viejo which is a parasitic cone of the main Teide volcano, and see where lavas erupted from it in the 1798 Chahorra eruption. We then leave the La Candas Caldera and head west along the island's north west rift zone, to first   examine lava from Mna Reventada before we take a walk to Chinyero cone to see the site of Tenerife's most recent eruption which occurred in 1909.  We then return to the caldera stopping at Los Azulejos to see colourful hydrothermal formations before moving on to the Mirador Roques de Garcia, and get great views of rock outcrops that may have formed the headwalls of previous calderas. The we reach the base of Teide volcano itself. This impressive volcano is of global geological importance. Here we ride the cable-car to an altitude of 3500m, just 200m below the summit. I will then lead an optional hike to the summit. This hike requires a permit which must be obtained 3 months in advance so please inform me if you want to join the hike at the time of booking. Those who do not wish to climb can enjoy the views at the cable car station. After returning from the cable car we visit a site where pumice used to be quarried and also see obsidian before visiting the National Park visitor centre at El Portillo. We then return to Los Crisitanos, where we spend a second night in the same hotel.

Day 9 - Depart from Tenerife South Airport. Tenerife has many direct flights to Europe, including flights with budget airlines.

More photos from the trip