Considering it is known as La Isla Bonita, you’d think the Canary Island of La Palma would attract visitors by the Airbus load. But, despite boasting an historic past and inspiring vista after inspiring vista, this western Canary Island has generally remained off-radar as far as most travellers are concerned.
However, the fact that it remains a virtual unknown in tourist terms has meant that it has developed a character that is different from the other islands. It has invigorating beauty, deep-rooted tradition, a quiet sophistication and quirky delights by the bucket-load.
It doesn’t take much time on La Palma to come to the conclusion that the label La Isla Bonita is, if anything, a bit of an understatement.
Crowing About La Palma’s Beauty
Bossing the area around Roque de los Muchachos is Carmelo; a crow with a swaggering attitude and no fear of humans. He’s so cocky that he nearly jumped in our car to hitch a lift the last few hundred yards to the mirador.
Stargazers of La Palma
The night skies above La Palma are so clear it feels as though you could reach up and pluck a sparkling jewel from the heavens; one of the reasons why the landscape at Roque de los Muchachos is home to a baker’s dozen of observatories. This particular one is the Gran Telescopio Canaria.
Cascade of Many Colours
It’s not difficult to spot the route to La Cascada de Colores in La Caldera de Taburiente; a yellow/orange stream points the way. But the route involves muchos scrabbling across rocks and a bit of a leap of faith at a final blind corner. The wet shoes and soggy bottom look is all worth it when you arrive at the multi-coloured waterfall pay-off.
Rolling, Rolling, Rolling – La Palma Puros
Who needs to travel to Cuba to witness dark eyed señoritas hand-rolling tobacco leaf? The tabaquera El Sitio in the hills of Breña Alta was like a little carefully dried slice of Havana. Two of the puro (cigar) rollers even hailed from Cuba, just to add to that authentic Cuban-ito feel.
Hitting the Beach La Palma Style
This is wittily called Playa Taburiente, but it’s unlikely you’ll ever see any sunbeds or mass tourism here as it requires a couple of hours trekking to get to this spot in the centre of La Caldera de Taburiente where the skies are so intense it looks as though a celestial being has been overdoing the blue saturation on nature’s Photoshop.
Salt of the Earth
If a scene that involved two lighthouses beaming over neat salt mines wasn’t unusual in itself, the land they occupy is a bit freaky to walk on if you were born before 1971. It didn’t exist before the Teneguía Volcano at Fuencaliente erupted in October of that year, making La Palma a wee bit bigger.
It’s a Bit of a Rum Place
Ideal for accompanying a locally rolled puro is some locally distilled rum from the family run Ron Aldea factory in San Andrés. It can take a few tastes to decide which is besht…hic.
Bland gable ends are a thing of the past in Los Llanos de Aridane where the whole town has become an open air art gallery.
Sunrise in Style
The neighbouring island of Tenerife makes sunrises from La Palma’s eastern shores just that little bit special.
Tunnel Vision in La Palma’s World Biosphere Reserve
It’s far unluckier to come to La Palma and overlook the Marcos y Cordero springs than to negotiate the 13 pitch black tunnels that channel water to some of the island’s thirsty banana plants. A hard hat.. or head is a must.
Buzz Trips were guests of La Palma’s Patronato de Turismo who very kindly let us loose on their Isla Bonita.