Gran Canaria is the second largst of the Canarian Islands. As all the others it was created by volcanic activity. In contrast to neighbouring Tenerife however the volcanos are not active anymore. The most recent outbreak dates back 2000 – 3000 years. The island is still shaped as a volcanic cone. It rises about 4000m out of the seaboard with it’s highest peak, Pico de las Nieves, 1949m high. Altavista is one of the summits on the walls of the huge crater Caldera de Tejeda (diameter 20km). The caldera is open towards it western side and the last summit on the encircling wall is Altavista. As for its name you can imagine that the summit offers very nice views of the whole island, especially everything within or at the borders of the caldera, notably Pico de las Nieves, Roque Nublo and Roque Bentayga . On the other hand its proxximity to the western coast of Gran Canaria offers the best views towards neighbourinng Tenerife with Spains highest summit Pico Teide. The ascent is easy, some 550m of altitude gain along dirt roads and well kept trails.
The Canarian Islands are located in the trade wind zone. You almost always encounter northeastern winds which carry a lot of humid air. Being forced to climb to higher altitudes this moisture condenses into clouds. This in return means that most of the time the northeastern part of the islands is covered in clouds from altitudes of 1000m through 2000m.
The mountains themselves – being of the same altitude -finally stop the clouds so that on their southeastern slopes the clouds “run out”. Unfortunately all of the major peaks of Gran Canaria – among them Altavista – lie somewhere along the weather divide. Sometimes within, sometimes just out of the clouds. Before you start hiking better take a look first – we always went to the part of the island, where we saw no clouds. Since the wind direction and strngth change from day to day, this way you can cover the whole island.