You have to up early and very lucky to find the Bandama Caldera full of mist like in Lex's photo. It only happens a few days every year and clears as soon as the sun starts to warm up.
However, there is a lot of stuff to see and do in and around the caldera other than drive to the top of the cinder cone and look at it. You can walk around it, down to the crater floor, visit the aboriginal caves, and the secret bunker (when the visitor centre reopens).
The Lady Of Bandama
A few days ago we walked down to the caldera floor to find something truly unique.
Parolinia glabriuscula, know as the Dama de Bandama or Bandama Lady, only grows inside the walls of the caldera. In fact, it only grows on the cliffs at the southeastern end of the caldera and on the scree at its base.
To be honest, the Dama isn't the most exciting plant in the world to look at. It's similar to other Parolinias growing in other places around the island (Guayadeque, the southern slopes of the island, etc).
What makes it special is that it is critically endangered and only grows in a tiny area: Definitely unique enough to walk across the Caldera floor to find; especially in January to March when it produces its little white flowers.
It seems to be thriving now that goats no longer graze inside the Caldera (and now the aggressive donkey has gone). There are far more plants than I remember when I was a kid and they have spread down the scree slope and almost onto the floor. Good news that is being repeated all over the island now that most goats are kepet bpenned in rather than roaming free.
ALEX SAYS: I was with my mother, a botanist, when she discovered the Dama de Bandama back in the 1980s. We were walking around the crater rim and spotted the only one growing outside the caldera.
Everything you need to know to walk down to the caldera floor is in our Gran Canaria map. We haven't marked the caves because we want to go back and make sure they are still safe to reach.
Note that the Hoyos de Bandama winery tends to have fairly erratic opening houtrs so if you see it open, head in for a glass of wine. The Caldera dry white is one of Gran Canaria's best.