Volcán San Antonio – Volcán Teneguía – Lighthouse
Details correct February 2008
Walk as far as you want to with this route which has different options for all levels of walkers and includes two very different volcanoes plus the Fuencaliente lighthouse. You can do the route in reverse from bottom to top if you are feeling very fit!
Please consult a detailed map for distances and actual routes.
Starting Point: Volcán San Antonio Visitor Centre, Fuencaliente
Facilities: Car park, toilets, museum
Notes: Volcán San Antonio is a fairly easy, short and gentle track. Just after Volcán San Antonio, the track is steeper but then turns into a steady and gentle slope down to the lighthouse. You have the option of climbing Volcán Teneguía if you want a bit of excitement along the way! Trails are well-marked, even and off road apart from the last part from the lighthouse to the La Palma Princess hotel (4) which involves road walking if you choose this route.
Our walk starts from the visitor centre at Volcán San Antonio (1) and takes you past Volcán Teneguía (2) and then down to the coastline where you will find the Fuencaliente Lighthouse (3). The route is in two parts so you can just complete the first or second part if preferred and rather than walk to the lighthouse, just back-track the way you came to return to the car park whenever you wish to return. There are buses available from the lighthouse which will take you back to Fuencaliente but make sure you check the timetables as it’s a long walk back up again!
How to Get There
From La Palma Princess Hotel – you can catch the bus from the hotel reception to Fuencaliente town, buy any food and drink needed and then walk the short distance down to the Volcán San Antonio from the town. Alternatively, ask the driver to stop at Volcán San Antonio itself which is just before the main town.
If arriving from another part of La Palma, head for Fuencaliente and then follow the signs for the Volcán San Antonio which will take you down the hill and into a well-marked side road on the left which leads to the car park and visitor centre.
The visitor centre houses a number of photographs, displays, a projection room and seismographs and also has toilet facilities.
The Walk – Part One – Volcán San Antonio
The first short part of our walk takes you halfway along the top rim of Volcán San Antonio which sits 650 metres above sea level and offers views of the west coast of the island. To begin, follow the marked trail to Volcán San Antonio from the visitor centre (you shouldn’t be going down at this point!) which takes you on a somewhat bumpy and uneven path along the top of the volcano (shown left). The path is fairly wide but has steep drops on both sides and it can be windy so take care. The views are great from the top and you can see La Palma Princess hotel on a clear day. The trail will only take you half-way round in an anti-clockwise direction so you have to return on the same path but we felt it was worth the short trip and this is a good little path for those who want to see and stand on a volcano without having to hike a long way.
Bear in mind that compared to Volcán San Antonio, Volcán Teneguía is also well worth a visit as it represents a completely different landscape with regards formations and the colours are spectacular so if you can make it down the hill (and back up again!), you’ll be glad you did.
The Walk – Part Two – Volcán Teneguía
From the visitor centre, follow the steep path downwards in a southerly direction towards Volcán Teneguía for approximately 1 km until you meet the wide gravel track/road. Bear left on this and follow it along.
For a good viewpoint and brief stop along the way, leave the track and walk down the short trail that leads to Roque Teneguia which is a large pale-coloured rock offering a colourful array of interesting flora and rock formations. Backtrack up the trail to rejoin the main track where you will bear right in a north-easterly direction to continue.
Walk further along the main track for approximately 3/4 km to reach the lower part of Volcán Teneguía where you have the option of following the steep trail up to the top or continuing along the route towards the lighthouse.
Climbing Volcán Teneguía
To reach the top of Volcán Teneguía, turn off the main track onto the lower track that leads to the volcano and follow this along. Water channels can be seen on the right hand side and we saw many flocks of small birds flying around here as we approached. At first site, the volcano doesn’t look that impressive but the spectacle improves upon approach and ascent and many different coloured lava structures can be seen together with a volcanic crust covering the landscape in most directions. The colours are incredible and well worth seeing.
For the ascent, sturdy walking footwear, some nerve and a good bit of oomph is required to get you up the rocky, narrow and sometimes worrying track leading up. However, it looks far worse than it is from the bottom and once you are up at the top, you’ll be glad you made it and proud of your achievements if the prospect terrified you in the first place (as it did me!).
At the top, you can continue along the narrow open path to the very end but take care as there are steep drops on either side and it can be windy. (I was feeling a bit nervous at this point and then we saw a young, athletic mother clamber easily up the track to the top and then lean over the edge to have a look. The poor baby who was in a forward-facing baby carrier looked rather alarmed and will probably have a fear of heights for the rest of his life!).
The route down again can be a little tricky so take your time if you feel you need it.
Head back to the main track / road again where you can either return up the track to the car park and visitors centre or continue down the track to the lighthouse.
Down to the Lighthouse
The gentle track to El Faro can be found by walking in a southerly direction and is clearly marked with large red and white striped posts.
The route is good and descends down a nicely laid out, fairly easy going track through black volcanic landscapes and colourful flora. You’ll reach a main road so cross over this and continue following the red and white marked trail towards the wind turbines and lighthouse on the coast.
Next to the Fuencaliente lighthouse you’ll find a small museum and toilets together with a beach area and a car park. Check the opening hours, we only just made it before it closed.
Options at the end of the walk:
- If staying at the La Palma Princess Hotel and you still have some energy left, you can walk back along the quiet coastal road to the hotel which is the option we chose. The route is fairly interesting with black sand beaches on one side and volcanic landscapes on the other that then opens up to rows and rows of banana plantations before reaching the hotel. It’s approximately 6 km from the lighthouse to the hotel and the route is almost flat all the way.
- Buses: there is a bus service that runs from the lighthouse to La Palma Princess hotel and Fuencaliente so you can walk the route all the way down to the bottom and then catch the bus back to the visitors centre. Please check the bus time-table though and try to avoid catching the last bus home.
- Walking: you can return the way you came back up to the visitor centre but it is a fairly steep hike back up again so only attempt this if you feel you are up to it.
Reviews from Outdoor Views
Although it was long and hard and we were exhausted by the end of it, we really enjoyed the route and felt a great sense of achievement so it was well worth the effort. The volcanoes were far more impressive than I expected and I loved the way the scenery, colours and flora changed throughout the walk. Climbing to the top of Volcán Teneguía was the highlight but the whole day was enjoyable despite the bouts of rain and low cloud.
We used the ‘Walk! La Palma book’ for reference which we recommend with the route being fairly easy to follow for the majority of the way.
Make sure you take plenty of water with you, some food and a light jacket as it can get colder in the higher areas and allow plenty of time for this walk. It took us a whole day and we didn’t get back to the hotel until early evening but it was a great day out and all we spent was the bus fare!
We are fairly fit but not superfit so judge the level of your abilities before attempting the whole walk!