So. You're tempted, huh?
* We completed the GR131 in 2015, yay!
Saturday 8th Dec. – Arrived at La Palma airport from Tenerife late afternoon. Bus to SC de La Palma, staying at Pension La Cubana.
Monday 10th Dec. – Headed North from Pension on steady upward slope. Path easy to follow. Weather dry but cloudy at times. Diverted from GR131 to cross Volcan de San Martin, summited Volcan de la Deseada, then diverted again onto minor path crossing Montana de los Charcos to reach Pico Birigoyo before descending to Refugio de El Pilar where I camped. No warden to be seen which was handy since I didn’t have a camping permit anyway.
Friday 14th Dec. – Morning flight back to Tenerife.
1. Firstly, on a multi-day walk it is much easier to be precise about your start time than your finish time. Thus, where one is using public transport, it works well to start from a place visited by relatively few buses (such as Fuencaliente and Faro) to a place where there are plenty (such as Tazacorte and Los Llanos).
2. Next, there is a lot more to see and do in Tazacorte and Los Llanos than Fuencaliente, so this is a better place to finish.
3. Walking North and then West means that the sun is behind you most of the time rather than in your eyes.
4. I would suggest that for someone carrying a heavy rucksack (like me) the slightly gentler slopes encountered by walking North from Fuencaliente are preferable to the more punishing slopes that rise out of Puerto Tazacorte.
5. The views walking the last few kilometres down into Tazacorte are far more spectacular than those walking down to Faro.
6. Although it is practical to complete the walk in three days, doing the very end sections (Faro to Fuencaliente and El Time to Puerto Tazacorte) as separate short walks without the hefty rucksack greatly increases the enjoyment factor.
7. Refugio El Pilar is a good place to camp, but take on plenty of water there before proceeding North as you might not fancy what water is available at Refugio Punta de los Roques and the next replenishment might not be until the following day.
8. Whilst it may be possible to camp discreetly at Roque de los Muchachos, it clearly gets busy with tourists early. Thus, in retrospect, it was probably a good thing that I wild camped on the summit Pico de la Cruz instead. Had the weather turned unfriendly, there were plenty of rocks on the summit to provide shelter and the road was very close.