Is vacation after a volcanic eruption possible? Are there flights?

On the island of La Palma, which belongs to the Canary Islands, there is no peace: after a volcanic eruption, earthquakes continue to shake the island, and ash clouds cause flights to be canceled.

The volcano erupted in the Cumbre Vieja region of the south of the island on September 19 for the first time in 50 years. He’s been spewing lava and ash for over three weeks now. Deadly lava flows over the island are pouring out into the sea – they have already destroyed about 1,300 buildings in their path. La Palma has been declared a disaster area.

According to the regional government of the Canary Islands, about 6,000 people, including travelers, have been taken to safety. This overview shows exactly where the danger zones are, whether the airport is currently open and whether free leave or cancellation is possible.

The current situation in La Palma

The area around the volcano that erupted in La Palma three weeks ago has not subsided: a second earthquake of magnitude 4.5 in two days jolted the Canary Island on Friday. The National Geographic Institute in Spain said the earthquakes were the strongest since the eruption of the volcano on September 19.

Lava tsunami on Canary Island

Scientists at the Canary Islands Volcanic Institute described the stream of molten rock that flowed from the volcano as a “real tsunami of lava”. The volcano spewed out marine sediments dating back to the La Palma formation two million years ago, said Vicente Soler of Spain’s Superior Center for Scientific Research.

Two large lava flows still flow from Cumbre Vieja. The first slowed down and almost stopped, but the second was still fed by large amounts of molten rock. Therefore, the authorities are preparing for further possible evacuations.

The German Foreign Ministry continues to warn of “high risks of forest fires” and health risks from gray rain.

Can I make my holiday in La Palma?

The volcanic eruption mainly affects only part of the island: it is located in the southwest of La Palma in sparsely populated mountains, and lava flows towards the coast.

The State Department advises against non-essential trips to La Palma, but there is currently no travel advisory. Passengers must follow the instructions and recommendations of the security forces and authorities and not enter the cordoned areas under any circumstances.

There is no mass tourism like the more famous islands of Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura, Lanzarote and Tenerife in La Palma. However, many tour operators such as Alltours, Tui or Schauinsland have moved their guests from the south and west of the island to alternative accommodations in the north or east, industry magazine fvw reports. Passengers can transfer at no additional charge or rebook a previous return flight at no additional charge and terminate their stay early.

Smoke and lava flow from a volcano in the Cumbre Vieja volcanic chain in La Palma. The volcano erupted on Sunday.

In general, travelers should find out before departure whether their vacation place is near a volcanic eruption or not – and then contact the tour operator. The resort of Puerto Naos, for example, is currently affected. On the beach there is one of the most important tourist centers on the island and it belongs to the municipality of Los Llanos de Aridan.

Read more after the announcement


Air Traffic: Is the airport in La Palma open?

La Palma airport is currently open, but the island is not served by many airlines. Condor, easyJet, Iberia, Qatar and American Airlines recently canceled their flights there. On the other hand, Binter, AirEuropa and Canarfly offer flights. Aina airport operator advises travelers to contact their airline for alternatives. For example, the Condor flew to the neighboring island of Tenerife and took passengers by ferry to La Palma.

If a flight has to be canceled due to a volcanic eruption, the airline is obligated to either provide an alternative means of transportation or refund the ticket price. However, there is no compensation, not even in the case of delays caused by ash and smoke: because in travel law these are exceptional circumstances that the airline cannot influence.

Volcanic eruption in La Palma: which places should be evacuated?

After two strong tremors, the Cumbre Vieja volcano erupted on September 19 at 3:12 p.m. in Montana Rajada, in the municipality of El Paso.

Homes and hotels evacuated – more than 6000 people affected

The eviction in La Palma affected more than 6,000 people from different areas in the communities of El Paso, Tazacorte, Mazo, Fuentalente and Los Llanos de Aridan. It started, according to the Guardia Civil, with about 300 people living in Alcalá and El Paraíso, the closest neighborhoods to the outbreak area.

Accommodations have also been vacated for holidays, Tajischau reported. About 600 tourists were forced to leave their accommodation and were accommodated in other hotels. Lava flows make many roads and paths impassable, and there is a danger of getting trapped. At this time, lava destroyed or buried about 1,300 buildings.