"Quemado" means "burnt" and you can easily see why such a name might be associated with an extinct volcano in the north of the desert island of Lanzarote on the Islas Canarias. La Quemada de Orzola is the northernmost in a line of five volcanic craters, which extends from Orzola in the very north of the island in the direction of Maguez in the south. These volcanoes arupted between 3000 and 5000 years ago and covered the north-east of the island with extensive lava flows. Hotspot of the activity was Monte Corona, La Quemada's neighbour to the south, the dominating mountain in the north of Lanzarote.
At that time only the long cliff of Risco de Famara existed, itself a small, long stretched island 90km off the coast of Africa. The five volcanoes erupted along a rift in the ground, perfectly aligned along a straight line running from the south-east to the north-west. Together (but mostly Monte Corona) they emitted so much lava that the surface of the island nearly doubled over the years. Later, more volcanoes erupted further south, finally covering all the space between the Famara Island in the north and the Ajaches Island in the south. Thus, the island of Lanzarote was born.
During the long eruption the northern volcanoes emitted incredible amounts of material. The ashes where blown south-eastward, creating wide plains, which today are used for farming. Its lavas, however, flowed eastward and created what today is called the Malpais de la Corona. In this huge area even today barely anything grows. Malpais means "bad country" and if you venture inside you soon understand why. The lava is brittle and breaks easily beneath your step and - to make matters worse - the flowing lava created vast tunnel systems, the roofs of which are ready to crumble at any time.
La Quemada itself is located a bit to the west of the malpais. Today the Lanzarote equivalent of vinyards surround the crater, a chequerboard of small pits at the base of which you can find one or two vine plants. Thanks to the arid climate of Lanzarote only little humidity makes it to the island, most of it in the form of dew. This dew seeps into the volcanic cinder, called lapilli, where it is conserved for long times. plants (like vines) covered by lapilli will always find a drop of humidity somewhere.
These vinyards cover the whole area around the crater, even up to its very summit. The inside, however, is a different matter. Here - like in the crater of Monte Corona you can witness volcanism in all its wildness. Steep faces soround it and a very narrow mouth opens up to the north-east. La Quemada is a good lookout which, however, is overshadowed by the taller Monte Corona. Thus, rarely anybody but the vintners venture in its vicinity.
Though there are ferries from the Spanish mainland to the Canary Islands, they take more than 24h for the trip. Therefore most visitors therefore go by plane. Every travel agency in Europe offers flights, hotel rooms, apartments, rental cars etc. so that reaching the Canaries is rather a matter of money than opportunity. During the summer season flight fares can be reasonable but during the Easter and Christmas holidays you have to be prepared for additional fees of 500€ per person.
Lanzarote has its own airport between the capital Arrecife and one of the main tourist centres, Puerto del Carmen. There are public bus lines but – like on all the islands – they don't run too regularly. If you plan to stay on your own, better take a rental car right at the airport.
Monte Corona can be most easily reached from the hamlet Ye, close to Mirador del Rio on Risco de Famara. The northern slopes of the mountain are covered with fields, in most of which vine is grown.
- From Arrecife take LZ1 through Tahiche to Arrieta.
- Take LZ201 north heading towards the crater of Monte Corona
- Pass the volcano on its eastern side until you reach a crossing right at the entrance to Ye.
- Park the car in front of the little church
Monte Corona, La Quemada and much of the northern tip of Lanzarote belong to the Parque Natural de la Corona. It was created to protect the huge Maplais de la Corona. Farming is allowed in the park but there are only few places where anything can be grown. La Quemada is surrounded by vineyards through which you have to hike to get to the base of the mountain. Don't trespass, rather stay on the tracks.
AccommodationAs for holiday homes, hotels or apartments either consult your nearest travel office, or – search for lodgings on Google. There are several sites on the web, dedicated to rent privately owned houses or apartments. Prices are generally a bit less expensive than for tour operators but you don't have as much security.
Lanzarote is usually swept by fierce north-western trade winds. Though they deposit their humidity on almost all of the other Canary Islands, Lanzarote is simply too low to form a decent obstacle. Therefore the climate is very arid.
For some time of the year, eastern winds prevail, which almost always carry clouds of Sahara dust with them. Usually this means reduced visibility but in some occasions "Calima" occurs. Fierce storms take up the dust from the Sahara and sweep it across the islands. In these times visibility is nil and sometimes even the planes are grounded.
Maps & Books
Kompass Map WK241
Kompass is the only company known to me which offers GPS digital Maps. In addition for those of you with Garmin GPS receivers there is a map source map set of all Canary islands out there.
- Islas Canarias
Map Source custom map
By Manfred Pepper
My recommendation is a guidebook by Rother Verlag, available in German. The book is an excellent hiking guide covering all the interesting areas of the island. Since it comes with small maps for each excursion it might even be used without a map to support them.