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The Bandama Natural Monument is part of the Tafira Protected Landscape and is located on the Gran Canaria Island (one of the Canary Islands). The monument has been declared a point of geological interest because of the Caldera de Bandama, which is volcanic crater that expands about 570 m above sea level at its highest point (Pico de Bandama) and expands about 1,000, wide and 200 m deep. All of this may make the Bandama Monument seem like a museum piece, however, the Caldera de Bandama is actually much more accessible than you may think, and it is well-worth the day trip out to visit if you are staying at a Gran Canaria resort that is relatively nearby.
Hiking from the foot of the Caldera all of the way to the top will be a worth-while experience for you and your travelling parter(s), be it your friends, family or loved one. The trek should take about 30 min. to complete, but it may take a little bit longer if you have kids with you (the trek is not recommended for smaller children, as parts of the hike can be challenging, and steep.) Of course, the way down will take a little bit longer, because of the steep decline that, at points, seems more suitable for Billy goats than humans.
The Caldera de Bandama has signage posted throughout the trek so you can always be sure that you are in fact heading the way you want to be, and not getting lost on the giant crater. If you are making your way to the bottom of the crater it is highly recommended that you not only pay close attention to the signs, but you also keep a close eye on the paths conditions. Because a lot of the path is made up of volcanic gravel slipping and sliding can occur easily. Do not panic, just make sure to always firmly plant both your feet on the ground. It is also highly recommended that you bring a long some extra sunblock and a water bottle, because this adventure guarantees spending the better part of your day hiking out in the sun!
You will know that you have finally reached the very rock bottom of the Bandama Natural Monument when you come across a wooden Fin Camino De Fondo post. This is the front of what was an old threshing circle. Local historians believe that the presence of this circle means that the crater has a distinct agricultural past. This seems likely as there appears to also be an old abandoned farming house located near the circle.
The Caldera de Bandama is nearly 2,000 years old, and was formed by an emerging fissure between Los Hoyos Valley and the Barranco de las Goletas ravine formed. The fissure spewed ash and volcanic material throughout the ordeal and the Bandama was created. The monument is named after a 16th-century Flemish merchant Daniel van Damme who settled the area. Van Damme even planted vineyards around the area with hopes of producing wine. To this day the Bandama hamlet survives and has become one of the most influential wine-making areas on the entire island.
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