Starting from the north, Montaña la Barquita is the second summit on the ridgleline of Cumbre Vieja, the second highest mountain range on La Palma among the Canary Islands. Only Pico Birigoyo stands further north as well as the lower volcanoes on Llano Jable, west of the ridge. Unlike Birigoyo Montaña la Barquita does not have any visible craters, its cinder cone is flat topped indicating a collapsed and flattened crater. The highest point is at the eastern end, which, except for some lone Canarian Pines is barren. The west slopes, however,, are covered in a lush forest of the same trees.
Ruta de los Volcanes, the 25 km hiking trail, which traverses the whole Cumbre Vieja Range from north to south, passes close by Montaña la Barquita, in fact avoiding it. Since all of Cumbre Vieja belongs to Parque Natural de Cumbre Vieja, in which hiking is only allowed on marked trails, strictly speaking our mountain is off limits. However, from Pico Birigoyo an pronounced but unmarked path leads across the main ridge, traversing Montaña la Barquita and neighbouring Montaña de los Charcos, before rejoining the Ruta. Thus the main hiking traffic passes by and you can enjoy the views practically on your own. Most notably the western views towards Tenerife as well as the northern views towards Caldera de Taburiente are remarkable.
The path to Montaña la Barquita starts at the Birigoyo summit, negotiates the ridge between the two craters staying on the east side of the southern one. From this highpoint it heads down the south slopes directly. At the base you can either hike to the Barquita summit directly or turn back onto Ruta de los Volcanes for a few hundred metres, before turning east on a steep trail which heads up the north-west slopes of the mountain. On the southern side
La Palma, like all the other Canary Islands can easily be reached from almost all major European airports. The airport is rather small and compared to Tenerife or Gran Canaria air traffic is rather low. There are almost no regular flights but all year round you'll be able to book charter flights.
To reach the trailhead at Refugio del Pilar head out northward from the airport on LP-1, which you leave at a roundabout, heading in the direction of Los Llanos along LP-2. You cross the Cumbre Nueva through the long Cumbre Tunnel and immediately afterwards (the two lane road combines into a single lane) turn onto LP-203 southward. Follow the road up to its (almost) highest point where you'll recognize the refugio by the number of cars parked to the side of the road.
Red TapeThe Mountain is part of the Parque Natural de Cumbre Vieja. Inside park limits you are not allowed to leave trails nor to camp. Near Refugio del Pilar, however there are two camping zones. I suppose that you have to make reservations (at the Refugio or at the Centro de Visitantes de Parque Nacional de la Caldera de Taburiente east of El Paso).
There are two camping zones near Refugio del Pilar and near Montaña de la Venta. For reservations ask at the Refugio.
Other accommodation is no problem. Every European travel office will be able to book hotels, rooms and apartments for you. I won't include any links here because all of them definitely are commercial. Another option is to rent a finca (rural house) from the owners directly. You'll have to google for these but sometimes prices are low enough for the scheme to be worthwhile.
Usually all year round the Canarias have the same weather with little alterations: north-eastern trade winds which deposit fog and dew on the north-eastern slopes of the islands. The western and southern parts usually are very dry and there you'll get some hours of sunshine each day. Especially on the higher islands like La Palma you usually don't have to worry about weather too much. The mountaintops will stick out of the clouds.
There are no reliable weather forecasts for the mountain regions of La Palma. Often a cloudless day turns into a foggy one within half an hour. Especially the Cumbre Vieja Range is prone to these fogs and here orientation among the lava and scree fields gets very difficult. This is the main reason why you should never leave the trails there.
Forecasts for the coastal regions, however are available. You have to subtract roughly 1°C for every 100m of altitude so that Roque de los Muchachos will still be near freezing when the coasts have already fine and sunny beach weather. The following table gives a little overview about the average weather data of the capital of Santa Cruz:
|Avg. day temp.[°C / °F]||21 / 70||21 / 70||22 / 72||22 / 72||22 / 72||24 / 75||25 / 77||26 / 79||26 / 79||26 / 79||24 / 75||22 / 72|
|Avg. night temp.[°C / °F]||15 / 59||14 / 57||15 / 59||16 / 61||17 / 63||18 / 64||19 / 66||21 / 70||21 / 70||19 / 66||18 / 64||16 / 61|
|Water temp.[°C / °F]||19 / 66||18 / 64||19 / 66||19 / 66||19 / 66||20 / 68||22 / 72||23 / 73||22 / 72||22 / 72||21 / 70||20 / 68|
|Sunny Hours / Day||5||6||6||7||8||9||10||9||8||6||5||5|
Maps & Books
I have used a fantastic map by Freytag & Berndt which shows all of the many hiking and biking trails of the island. With its scale of 1:30000 it is still large enough to be useful for car tours as well. Moreover here you will find all the new designations and acronyms (which were changed some few years back).
- La Palma
Edition Freytag & Berndt
The guidebook I used is every bit as good as the map with excellent tour descriptions. It is available in English as well but I am not sure about the quality of the translation.
- La Palma
A. and W. Wolfsperger