GAYRÍA AND MALPAÍS CHICO
Caldera de Gayría is a volcanic cone spanning 240.90 hectares in two municipalities: Antigua and Tuineje. This was the source of the lava that created the Malpaís Chico badlands that cover a section of the plains. This area has been declared a Natural Monument. This is one of the most recent volcanic formations on the island. It also hosts a nesting area of the Egyptian vulture, an endangered scavenging bird species.
The 3,000 hectare Malpaís Grande lava field is an important reminder of Fuerteventura's volcanic past. The lava field stretches from the natural monument La Gayría to the fishing village Pozo Negr. For a better view of the lava field, there are small parking bays along the road.
A view over the lava field shows bizarre rock formations. The traces of the lava flow are clearly visible. Small plants thrive sporadically on the long basalt floe fields. Also, free-running goats sometimes get lost there. Some bird species nest in the lava field and make use of the mineral-rich food source.
The lava originates from an earlier volcanic eruption of the volcano Caldera de la Laguna tens of thousands of years ago. The cooled lava mass on the volcano is so rich in nutrients that it is broken down and used in some places to fertilise plants. Fuerteventura has several volcanoes inland and in the north of the island. They have shaped the fascinating landscape of Fuerteventura with its bizarre forms. But also the strong winds have contributed their share.
Since Fuerteventura developed at a time from underground volcanic eruptions in the Atlantic Ocean and associated earth shifts, above-ground volcanic eruptions were frequent. The last volcanic eruption is thought to have occurred about 10,000 years ago. Translated, Malpaís Grande means 'bad land' - land that cannot be used. The area is not suitable for cultivation or agricultural use. On the other hand, it is a wonderful area for hikes or mountain bike excursions. Be sure to take water and sunscreen with you!
A gravel track leads through the whole area but adventurous motorists should only use off-road vehicles.