Within a few hours of arriving in La Palma, we were already realizing its diversity (a multitude of microclimates and contrasting landscapes), its friendliness (the people we met were charming), its stellar pride (one of the best skies in the world for astronomical observation) and its resilience, demonstrated in the recent volcanic eruption that generated the most recent piece of land in Europe.
On September 2021 a new volcano erupted on La Palma and made the island the focus of media attention around the world. The name “La Palma” became known for the impact of the volcanic activity that lasted 85 days and the images of the sea of lava wiping out entire villages on its way to the sea. The area affected by the recently named Tajogaite volcano can be visited, with empathy and respect, and in this guide, we tell you how.
We also tell you everything you need to explore everything else La Palma has to offer on your own: things to do, weekend, 5-day, or week-long itineraries around the island, how to get there, how to get around, where to sleep, and even where to eat.
When you finish this guide, it will be clear why they call it “La Isla Bonita” (“the beautiful island”, the nickname it earned for its contrasting and breathtaking landscapes), why it is in our Top 3 Canary Islands, and why you are already taking the time to know it.
If you have little time to travel to the island, jump straight to our travel itineraries for La Palma where we tell you what to see in a weekend, four days or a week.
- Basic facts for traveling to La Palma
- Visiting La Palma after the 2021 eruption
- When to visit La Palma
- How to get to La Palma
- How many days to spend La Palma
- Things to see and do in La Palma
- Map of La Palma
- Tajogaite Volcano (Cumbre Vieja) affected area
- North of La Palma
- Roque de Los Muchachos and surroundings
- Bodegas Eufrosina Pérez Rodríguez (El Níspero Winery)
- The Gofio Museum, the Molino de las Tricias and Buracas
- Matos Lookout
- Los Dragos Viewpoint
- Barranco de Garome Viewpoint
- Port of Puntagorda
- La Veta Beach
- Tijarafe, El Diablo and the Church of Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria
- Porís de la Candelaria
- Cueva Bonita
- Las Cabezadas Viewpoint
- Mirador del Time
- Mirador de las Angustias
- Viewpoint of La Cancelita
- Tazacorte: Beach and Port of Tazacorte
- Los Llanos de Aridane
- Caldera del Taburiente National Park: an unmissable route
- La Cumbrecita Viewpoint
- Tajuya viewpoint
- Hermitage of La Virgen de Pino
- Viewpoints Barranco de los Gomeros and San Juanito
- Puntallana and its flea market
- Nogales Beach
- Los Tilos Forest
- El Tendal Archaeological Park: a journey into the past
- San Andres y Sauces
- Charco Azul
- La Aldea Rum Factory and Sugar Cane and Rum Interpretation Center
- Puerto Espindola Beach
- La Fajana and its natural pools
- El Tablado
- La Zarza Cultural Park
- Petroglyphs of Santo Domingo: the archeological site
- Viewpoint of Santo Domingo de Garafía and Roque de Santo Domingo
- South La Palma
- Santa Cruz de la Palma
- Los Cancajos
- Museo del Puro Palmero y Puros Artesanos Julio
- Belmaco Archaeological Park
- Fuencaliente, San Antonio Volcano and Teneguía Volcano: a trip to the future
- Ruta de Los Volcanes
- Fuencaliente Salt Flats and Lighthouse
- Echentive Beach, Galería Fuente Santa and El Aljibe
- Las Calderetitas Viewpoint and Las Indias Viewpoint
- El Charco Viewpoint
- Las Manchas
- Caños de Fuego and Cueva de las Palomas Interpretation Center
- Llano del Jable Astronomical Viewpoint
- Get inspired by the stories of our visit to La Palma
- Best Hiking Trails in La Palma
- Where to dive in La Palma
- Where to stay in La Palma
- Best restaurants in La Palma
- La Palma itineraries
- Transportation: rent a car in La Palma
- How much does it cost to travel to La Palma?
- Useful Apps for traveling to La Palma
- Recommendations to enjoy La Palma
- Checklist: what to pack in your backpack/suitcase for La Palma
Basic facts for traveling to La Palma
La Palma is the second youngest island of the Canary archipelago (1.7 million years old, after El Hierro with 1.2 million years), one of the smallest and , nevertheless, one of the most heterogeneous since it gathers many places to visit in its 706 km2. It is also one of the most famous islands especially due to the recent volcanic eruption of September 2021, whose lava swept away entire villages on its way to the sea and created the most recent land in Europe. Due to La Palma’s unique environmental conditions and biodiversity, the island was recognized as a Unesco Biosphere Reserve (more than half of its territory has some kind of environmental protection) and because of its clean, turbulence-free, ocean-stabilized atmosphere it was recognized as a Starlight Reserve (and Tourist Destination). The island of La Palma is considered one of the best places in the world for astronomical observation.
Population: 84,000 (in 2020)
Daily budget: From 70€/day per person (approx.) for a one week trip with rented car and the cheapest options of private accommodation for 2. More detailed info about how much we spend here
Climate: Pleasant all year round, although with a lot of variety due to the orography (the northeast has a more humid and rainy climate, the southwest is hotter and drier). We tell you all this in more detail here
Accommodation: Ideally you should stay in the central area of the island, either in the east, in Santa Cruz or Los Cancajos, or in the west, in Tazacorte or Los Llanos de Aridane. In our case, to try to help the people affected by the eruption of Tajogaite due to the cutting of a road to the west, buried under lava, we stayed in an area that was receiving considerably less tourism in the south, in Fuencaliente and it was an excellent decision. We give you specific suggestions and more info on where to sleep here
Duration: Despite its size, and as you can see in this guide, La Palma has a lot to offer. Minimum 3 days, recommended a week and if you have more days, you will not regret it. More info on how many days we recommend here and we give you different itineraries for a weekend (2/3 days), 4-5 days or a week (7 days on the island) here .
Flights: There are direct flights to La Palma both from the mainland (Spain) and from other Canary Islands and other countries. The cheapest are usually Ryanair / Easyjet. We recommend you to use flight comparators such as Skyscanner and Kiwi and be flexible with dates. You can also go by boat from Tenerife or La Gomera. More info here
Transportation: The best option is to rent a car. More info about transportation, companies and specific recommendations for La Palma here.
Time zone: UTC +1. The time on La Palma and the Canary Islands is one hour behind mainland Spain.
Covid-19 measurements: Find the latest information on the official website of the islands, Holaislascanarias.
Visiting La Palma after the 2021 eruption
On September 19, 2021, a new volcano in Cumbre Vieja (municipality of El Paso), recently named “Volcán de Tajogaite“, erupted, spewing lava for almost two months (the lava flows reached a height of 60 meters at some points!), sweeping away on its way to the sea several villages with their houses, plantations, roads and everything in its path. According to what we were told, there were about 160 million m2 of lava and towns like El Paraíso or Todoque disappeared completely. The town of La Laguna, for example, was divided, with half of the town disappearing under the lava and the other half not.
Both the affected area and its surroundings were evacuated, nearby roads were closed and even flights had to be cancelled due to the winds. Under these lava flows were left homes, businesses, stories, memories, daily moments. People who had been drinking coffee in that place for years, who went to buy bread in that same store, who went to eat in that guachinche every Sunday, saw their lives change completely.
The eruption ended on December 13, 2021, after 85 days of activity (it was the longest eruption of the island) and, fortunately, no human fatalities were recorded, although unfortunately some animals lost their lives. The damage generated is enormous: more than 5000 people affected, more than 1500 homes destroyed (some where several families lived together), many other people displaced because their house (or their land or their banana business for example) is either under the lava, future protected area where building won’t be allowed, or because their land and their house became inaccessible without a road to reach it.
The southern area of the volcano, such as Las Manchas, in addition to the lava, received a lot of volcanic ash due to the winds, covering houses and roads where there is now a huge amount of cleanup work and many people displaced from their homes.
Precisely to try to help the people affected by the eruption, we chose to stay in the south, in Fuencaliente. Perhaps it is not the ideal area to make base if you want to shorten distances when exploring the island because one of the two roads that go there (the west, LP-2) is buried under lava and it is for this reason that this area is being spatially affected by the lack of tourism and that is why we decided to stay here. In this section we tell you more about where to stay.
Is it possible to visit La Palma normally?
Although there are still areas affected by the eruption and some nearby places remain closed to the public, most of the island can be visited normally, and, although the volcano is still in the process of degassing (i.e. releasing gases that can be harmful to health), all areas that can be visited in the affected area are completely free of danger.
In fact, it is a great time for you to do so, helping the local economy. We always keep it in mind but on this trip the urgency to support the people of La Palma was a cross-cutting theme, both in preparing and living it, from the choice of accommodation to the choice of restaurants, supporting the local economy and the largest number of families in La Palma.
The local government even created a tourist voucher to promote tourism on the island, the “Bono La Palma”: a virtual card worth 250 € to use in accommodation services, restaurants, and tourist activities on La Palma, which is attached to the program which ended on September 1, 2022. Click here for more information.
Is it dangerous to visit La Palma?
No, you can visit the island with complete peace of mind. Thousands of people live on the island, and as we have just said, no fatalities were recorded despite the eruption. The government and the corresponding teams continue to monitor the seismic activity and unless otherwise communicated, there is no danger in visiting the island, and it is highly recommended (spoiler: La Palma made it into our Canary Islands Top3).
Is it possible to visit the volcano and the affected area up close?
Yes, both the volcano and the lava flows can be seen from some viewpoints, these two being the most common:
- Mirador el Time: has a bar with a terrace overlooking the entire affected area.
- Mirador de Tajuya: from this viewpoint the TVs broadcasted the images with the volcano in the background.
We tell you more about how to see the new volcano and visit the affected area here.
The ideal way to see both the volcano and the lava flows is to do it with a local tourist agency (both personally and professionally affected by the eruption), where they will take you as close as possible according to current regulations and will explain in detail how the eruption was (both geologically and the impact it has had and is having on the local population). At Randomtrip we did it with Islabonita Tours who have this tour to visit the Tajogaite crater and the affected area or this shorter hike through the area (from 25€/person) and we highly recommend it. More info here
The places that can be visited vary according to the gas and temperature measurements taken, and many areas are accessible only to neighbors. Remember that despite being a natural phenomenon that arouses our curiosity and that we want to visit, there are people who have lost everything due to the eruption, and people who, although their homes were not directly affected by the lava, had to be evacuated and still cannot access their homes normally. Respect the signage (areas that cannot be accessed are clearly fenced and indicated, often with police presence) and maximum respect for the local population. Visit this site in an empathetic and respectful way.
When to visit La Palma
La Palma enjoys stable and pleasant temperatures all year round, although due to the orography of the island and the trade winds, the climate varies greatly from one point to another. In general, any time of the year is good to visit La Palma, although we recommend the central months (April to October) for better chances of good weather and to enjoy bathing in its beaches and natural pools.
In our case, we traveled in February 2022, and although we were quite lucky with the weather, there were a few rainy/windy days.
|Month||Average temperature||Average temperature (water)||Rainy days|
|Month||Average temperature||Average temperature (water)||Rainy days|
In addition, the island of La Palma has a particularity: its microclimates. The western side of the island enjoys a spring and warm climate all year round while the eastern side of the island is characterized by a cooler and more autumnal climate. This is due to the fact that La Palma is an island with a high altitude (2426 meters), and the trade winds (coming from the northeast in the southwest direction) “collide” against that mountainous area of the center-north of the island, generating more clouds and rains on the eastern side; on the other hand, the western side is protected thanks to that same mountainous area, having fewer clouds and rains and higher temperatures. It is said that the areas of Tazacorte and its surroundings enjoy the best climate on the island all year round.
Due to the above, the tunnel of La Cumbre (located at 1100 meters of altitude) is known by the people of La Palma as “el tunel del tiempo” (“the tunnel of time”) and we could say that it is a tunnel that separates summer from autumn. This tunnel separates the two slopes of the island of La Palma (and its abrupt climate changes between the two extremes), joining Santa Cruz de La Palma with Los Llanos de Aridane. It is located on the old TF-812, now converted into LP-2, which is the road that crosses Cumbre Nueva.
Regarding important events that can motivate a visit to La Palma, throughout the year there are several popular festivals, so if you feel like a good island celebration, try to coincide with any of them. The most famous are the festivities of El Diablo, in September in Tijarafe; Las Cruces, in May in several municipalities of the island; Los Indianos, in carnivals; and, every 5 years, the Bajada de la Virgen de las Nieves, one of the most emotional and multitudinous events of the island.
Santa Cruz de la Palma is an excellent base to stay and explore the island. Here are some other great places to stay here.
How to get to La Palma
The fastest way to get to La Palma is by flying. There are many flights both from the mainland (Spain) and from other Canary Islands such as Tenerife and from other European countries. We recommend you to be flexible with dates and use price comparators such as Skyscanner and Kiwi.com.
You can also get to La Palma by boat from Tenerife (with Naviera Armas or Fred Olsen from Los Cristianos) or from La Gomera (also with Naviera Armas or Fred Olsen). Be careful with the rental car, you have to check with the company to be able to move it between islands.
How many days to spend La Palma
Although La Palma is a smaller island in extension than some of its neighbors such as Tenerife or Gran Canaria, its orography means that it has many places to visit and that it takes a little longer to reach them through its winding roads. The relief of the island is the result of a geological process of millions of years and the recent eruption of the Cumbre Vieja volcano made the LP-2 road unusable, making travel from the south to the center and the north slower. Currently (September 2022) there is already a new road over the lava flows, so be well informed before your trip about the current state of the roads to optimize your travels. In addition, you will want to stop at several viewpoints for the breathtaking scenery you will see on the road.
For all this, in our opinion, the ideal amount of time to visit La Palma is a week (7 days), and even then you will not have time to see everything, so if you have more time and desire to do trails, you will not regret it. If you don’t have much time, we recommend a minimum of 3 days, during which you will be able to see a small part of the island, enough to want to visit it again more calmly.
Jump directly to the 3, 5 or 7 days (one week) itineraries on La Palma here
Things to see and do in La Palma
To make it easier to locate and classify the places of interest in La Palma, we have classified them into North-Central and South. Here is a summary of the highlights of what you can see and do in La Palma and then all the information about each of the places.
Things to do in La Palma, the beautiful island:
- Get closer to the area affected by the new volcano that erupted in September 2021, the recently named Tajogaite volcano, and the new fajanas, the most recent terrain in Europe.
- Walking along paths full of contrasts and breathtaking views through the Caldera del Taburiente National Park and the Bosque de los Tilos (Laurisilva forest).
- Climb to the highest point of the island, the Roque de los Muchachos, where some of the most important telescopes in the world are located and where you can contemplate the most beautiful landscapes of the island in front of a sea of clouds.
- Travel “to the future” in the San Antonio volcano and the Teneguía volcano through the affected area of the eruptions of that time, very similar to what our eyes will see in a few decades in the affected area of the recent eruption of the Tajogaite volcano.
- Travel back in time to the archaeological site (and interpretation center) El Tendal where the Benahoarites lived for (at least) a thousand years.
- Stop every so often at various viewpoints to admire the beauty and diversity of the landscapes of La Palma, from the oldest landscapes (such as the Mirador de la Cumbrecita) to the most recent (at the Mirador del Time).
- Bathing in stunning beaches and natural pools such as Nogales beach, Puerto de Tazacorte, Echentive, Charco Azul or La Fajana.
- Stroll through the streets full of the cultural, historical, and architectural heritage of Santa Cruz de La Palma.
Map of La Palma
Here we leave you all the things to see and do in La Palma that we talk about in this guide on a Google Maps map that you can carry on your smartphone to consult at any time. We have divided the places between north-central (green) and south (blue), and we have marked in red, approximately, the area affected by the eruption of 2021:
We also leave you a tourist map with the roads of La Palma (click on the image to download it in larger size and resolution):
Tajogaite Volcano (Cumbre Vieja) affected area
Just like us, most people who land on La Palma want to see its natural landscapes… including the most recent one. To take a closer look at everything related to the 2021 eruption of the (recently named) Tajogaite Volcano: a new mountain that emerged from nowhere, spewing lava for two months, sweeping away everything in its path until it reached the sea, increasing the surface of the island with its two new fajanas. In the end, we are talking about knowing nothing more and nothing less than the youngest land in Europe!
Although at the time of our trip (February 2022) there was still no adequate signage or official information from La Palma Tourism about the exact places you can visit to see the lava flows or the volcano up close, nowadays there is much more information and the general rule is that you can access those streets or roads that do not have the access cut off. However, always remember to do it in a respectful and empathetic way and, if possible, be accompanied by a local person.
If you want to observe the Tajogaite volcano and its impact for free, these are some of the viewpoints and points to which you can move on your own:
- Caños de Fuego Interpretation Center
- Monument to the Virgin of Fatima
- Tajuya viewpoint
- Castillo de la Virgen
- Puerto de Tazacorte
North of La Palma
Roque de Los Muchachos and surroundings
If the island of La Palma is one of the best places in the world from which to contemplate the sky (recognized as a Starlight Reserve and Tourist Destination), the Roque de los Muchachos is the best place to do so on the island. The Roque de los Muchachos is the highest point of the island, at 2426 meters above sea level, and it is incredible to climb up there to appreciate incredible views of the island, specifically of the Caldera de Taburiente and/or the sea of clouds, and the starry sky at night.
Since this area of La Palma is one of the areas of the world with the best conditions for astronomical observation, a number of different telescopes are located here and in fact, the island has a law to reduce light pollution.
Due to the orography of the island, the road access is through a series of endless curves, both for the southern and northern access, so despite the distances, reserve enough time to go up and down to the area (it takes approximately 1h15 from Santa Cruz and 1h30 from Los Llanos). Here are some of the points of interest to stop at during your visit to this part of the island.
Roque de Los Muchachos viewpoint
The Roque de Los Muchachos viewpoint is the highest point on the island (at 2426 meters), from where you will have incredible views of the Caldera de Taburiente, the sea of clouds (depending on the weather), the Teide in Tenerife and, if it is clear, you can even see La Gomera and El Hierro.
To get there, you can park here (be careful, space is limited) and walk along the trail (there are a couple of stops, from the last one is where you will get the best views). There are sections of the trail where you have the cliff a few inches away, so walk very carefully and if you have vertigo it may not be a pleasant experience.
Roque de Los Muchachos Visitor Center
The Roque de Los Muchachos Visitor Center was recently inaugurated (December 19, 2021), a must-visit place for Astro-tourism lovers to better understand where we are as well as to learn about astronomy and the little we know about the universe.
The experience of visiting the Visitor Center was very successful and complete: a person welcomed us on arrival, recommended we watch an introductory video in the auditorium, and at the end, gave us a short explanation about the different rooms of the center and what we could find in each of them. In addition to that, during the tour, there was always someone from the center nearby to give us more information or tell us interesting things. In general, the three people we met showed a lot of interest in the visitors, which is appreciated.
The center is divided into several rooms where we will delve into our Universe and, specifically, we will discover the reasons why La Palma has been chosen to house the most important telescopes in the world.
The center is open from Monday to Sunday from 10:00h to 17:00h in summer and from 10:00h to 16:00h in winter. Price: the entrance fee is 15 € per person (7.50 € for residents and large families; Free for children under 12 years).
Roque de los Muchachos Observatory
The Roque de los Muchachos Observatory (ORM) is home to one of the most complete telescope arrays in the world. The observatory is located on the edge of the Caldera de Taburiente National Park, at an altitude of 2396 meters, and is one of the largest telescope complexes in the world.
Thanks to its dark, clear skies (free of light pollution), the island of La Palma has become one of the most privileged enclaves on the planet for astronomical observation. This observatory was inaugurated in 1985 and is located, of course, at the highest point of the island. On the occasion of the inauguration of the observatory, the Lanzarote artist César Manrique, created the Monumento el Infinito, which we also recommend yo visit (to do so, park here and walk along the path).
Visits to the Observatory are temporarily suspended but the observatory is normally open to anyone who wants to visit, depending on the weather and availability. Visits are scheduled several times a week, as long as you request them in advance. To find out if the observatory is open to the public and, in case it is, to book your ticket to the observatory, please visit this official website.
If you want to do an astronomical observation of the island, Isla Bonita Tours has departures on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. In case you prefer to go on Wednesdays or Saturdays, you can hire this other tour.
Given the quality of the sky that La Palma has, the highest elevation of the island (over 2400 meters above sea level) is one of the best in the world for astronomical observation, so you will see a few giant telescopes.
The most striking is the MAGIC (Major Atmospheric Gamma-ray Imaging Cherenkov), a system of two telescopes, 17 meters in diameter each, with hexagonal mirrors that detect very high energy gamma rays in a region of the spectrum in which no other telescope is operational. The first Magic was inaugurated in 2003, the second in 2008, and both have been working together since 2009.
If you are interested in learning more about this type of telescope, read on. If not, skip to the next paragraph. With this type of MAGIC telescopes we observe a class of high-energy light (called gamma rays) which are photons of very high-energy electromagnetic radiation, arriving at Earth from the Cosmos. Gamma rays are essentially the same physical phenomenon as radio or microwave waves, infrared radiation, visible and ultraviolet light, or X-rays. The energy of a gamma ray is more than a billion times greater than that of a photon of visible light, and gamma rays are produced not only in our galaxy, but also in more distant places. Their origins range from black holes, supernova remnants, active galactic nuclei, gamma ray bursts, among others. Gamma rays are absorbed by the atmosphere but can be observed indirectly: when a gamma photon enters the atmosphere, it interacts with air molecules and generates a cascade of secondary particles called an “atmospheric cascade”. The particles in this cascade descend with a speed greater than the speed of light in the medium (but never greater than the speed of light in a vacuum) and a phenomenon called the Cherenkov effect occurs, similar to when an airplane breaks the sound barrier. In the case of the airplane, a shock wave or sonic boom is produced behind the plane; in the case of the atmospheric cascade, the particles produce a very faint cone of light, with a color between blue and ultraviolet. The photons of light generated by the Cherenkov effect are confined in a light front of about 200 m in diameter that moves in the direction of the surface. To detect this faint light, special detectors, the MAGICs, are built.
Such is the importance of the quality of the sky of La Palma that there is a law, known as the Sky Law, that protects this quality from light pollution. This law on the Protection of the Astronomical Quality of the Observatories of the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) was passed in 1988 by the Spanish government and was revolutionary for international astronomy, making Spain the first country in the world to create a law for the protection of an observatory, promoted by the IAC.
La Palma is the first Starlight Reserve in the world, having received the Starlight Tourist Destination recognition in 2012. This island is, therefore, one of the best destinations to contemplate the sky and enjoy the Universe. In 2007, the World Declaration in Defense of the Night Sky and the Right to Observe the Stars (La Palma Starlight Declaration) was signed in La Palma.
“The right to an unpolluted night sky that allows us to enjoy the contemplation of the firmament, should be considered an inalienable right of Humanity, comparable to the rest of the environmental, social and cultural rights.”Declaration on the Defense of the Night Sky and the Right to Starlight
The Roque de Los Muchachos road has other viewpoints with incredible views, which we list below:
- Pico de La Nieve: at 2239 meters of altitude, the ascent to the Pico de la Nieve is one of the hiking routes of the island. More info at La Palma Hiking Routes
- Mirador de Los Andenes: at 2000 meters, it is located north of the Caldera de Taburiente a few kilometers from the Mirador del Roque de Los Muchachos. From this viewpoint you can see, almost in its entirety, the bed of the Barranco de las Angustias in the interior of the National Park of La Caldera de Taburiente and the Integral Natural Reserve of Pinar de Garafía to the north of it.
- Monument to infinity(parking here): also at 2000 meters of altitude, this monument is the only work of the Lanzarote artist, César Manrique, on the island and was created for the inauguration of the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory in 1985.
- 2 other viewpoints near the Mirador de los Andenes where we stopped to contemplate the views: this viewpoint and this other viewpoint.
- Pico de la Cruz (parking here): at 2351 meters, exactly the same altitude as the highest point in Portugal, on the island of Pico in the Azores.
Bodegas Eufrosina Pérez Rodríguez (El Níspero Winery)
At 1200 meters above sea level in the area of Briesta, Garafía, are the 3.5 hectares of vineyards of Eufrosina Pérez Rodríguez. Inheriting the land from her father, the palm tree Eufrosina started making wine until she founded her own winery, Bodega El Níspero, and bottled wine with a denomination of origin.
Of the three wine-growing areas of La Palma, the El Níspero winery is located in the Northern Sub-zone and the entire winemaking process is manual, from harvesting to bottling, and no pesticides or yeasts are used.
You will be able to know the whole process and taste the wine with a previous reservation, by calling the telephone (+3463639080712 or +34922400447). In addition, as in Randomtrip, you can also taste traditional Canarian dishes accompanied by good wine. The food is delicious.
The Gofio Museum, the Molino de las Tricias and Buracas
The Gofio Interpretation Museum (MIGO) is a tribute to this traditional food that plays such an important role in the gastronomy of all the Canary Islands.
(To reach the museum by car, take the detour on the LP-114 exactly at this point).
Contrary to what you may initially think, gofio is not a specific flour but a food like bread, for example. It has different variants and can accompany all meals from breakfast to dinner, being the protagonist of several typical Canarian dishes such as gofio escaldado, snacks such as plátanos escachados con gofio, or even desserts such as rapaduras de gofio (sweet cone-shaped characteristic of the island of La Palma whose main ingredient is honey).
To tell the history of gofio is also to tell the history of the Canary Islands and that is why this museum seems so important to us. Gofio was the food that people used to take with them when they went to work in the fields, the ingredient that accompanied the emigrants on their journeys, and different researchers agree that it was already as important in pre-Hispanic times. Although barley was mainly used (while today it is wheat and corn), gofio was already one of the main foodstuffs of the aboriginal population. Today, the aroma of gofio still announces that we are arriving at a Canarian home.
In the elaboration of gofio, whole grains of one or several kinds of cereal are used, to which legumes can be added, which are later toasted and ground on millstones. The cereals currently used are wheat and millet (corn), although mixtures are also made with other cereals such as barley, rye or even leguminous plants such as lupins, broad beans, peas, chickpeas, or lentils. The result is a flour that mixed with other components such as milk or broth, has constituted the fundamental basis of the diet of La Palma and, in general, of all the Canary Islands since their ancestors.
In the traditional production process of gofio, after the grain was cultivated, it was sifted, toasted and passed through the sieve. Afterward, the different cereals or legumes with which the gofio was to be made were mixed and the mixture was transported to the mill for grinding. Once the gofio was ready, it was stored in tea boxes (the gofio box) or in the gofio can, waiting to be consumed. Nowadays, this whole process is mechanized, including the final packaging.
The Molino de Tricias, the windmill that we can see in front of the interpretation center, represents an important architectural component in the culture of gofio. Apart from reflecting the traditional rural society of Garafía, it tells the story of the Benahoaritas, inhabitants of La Palma in pre-Hispanic times, who used small manual basalt stone mills to grind the toasted raw material from which they obtained the gofio. It was after the arrival of the Europeans that the construction of water and, above all, windmills began, due to the geographical characteristics of Garafía.
It is not known for sure when the activity of the Molino de las Tricias began, but there are records of its activity in 1908! People from all over Garafía used to come to this mill: due to its location it was easy to see from different points of the region if the blades of the mill were working or not to carry the grain. A curiosity to tell you that, if the miller saw that the weather conditions (especially the wind) allowed to continue milling, he warned the population by blowing on a sea conch.
Very close to the Museo del Gofio and the Molino de Tricias is Buracas, an interesting place for three reasons: the dragon (the dragons of Buracas are beautiful and offer a good example of the rural architecture of the island); the archaeological-ethnographic site (pre-Hispanic settlement formed by several natural cave settlements, three groups of petroglyphs with geometric motifs and several necropolises); and the landscape of Garafía that can be seen through the road to access the two mentioned points.
To reach both the dragonal and the archaeological site of Buracas, there is a well-marked and prepared path (stage 4 of GR 130) to walk from the Museum and the Molino de las Tricias. To return, you only have to retrace your steps back to the same point or link up with the main road to Santo Domingo. If you go by car, there is a road that also starts from the hamlet of Las Tricias and reaches an adjacent ravine, so that you would only have to walk 5 minutes to reach the archaeological-ethnographic area.
Los Dragos Viewpoint
The Dragos viewpoint is a viewpoint at 824 meters above sea level that is worth a visit, especially if you are a fan of this special tree because from here you can contemplate it overlooking the sea. The viewpoint owes its name to the Twin Dragos of Puntagorda that were in this corner and that welcomed those who arrived. Currently only part of one of them survives, which is particularly striking because it is inclined, reminding us a little of the junipers of El Hierro.
The centennial dragon tree crowns a stretch of the Camino Real that runs through the Barranco de El Roque, where we enjoy an incredible panoramic view. In this stretch of the Camino Real the farmers from Puntagorda used to rest here when they came loaded with grass, fruit, etc.
Barranco de Garome Viewpoint
The viewpoint Barranco de Garome is the natural and physical border between the municipalities of Tijarafe and Puntagorda. From here you can go up through the area of EI Lance and contemplate how the vineyards climb the slopes.
Port of Puntagorda
To get to Puerto de Puntagorda you have to go down quite a few stairs (we don’t count how many but at least 400…) but it pays off: at the bottom, you will find a natural pool, several little houses embedded in the cliff and a cave. Even if you don’t dare to swim (although after all the stairs, we doubt it), the views of the coast are so incredible that it’s worth it to get here. You can park your car here to start walking down the stairs.
La Veta Beach
La Veta beach is a black sand beach that disappears depending on the time of the year. It is, therefore, a seasonal beach: you will not be able to bathe in autumn and winter because its sandy beach ceases to exist, so ideally you should visit it if your trip to the island coincides with late spring or summer.
It is located at the foot of an impressive cliff about 200 meters high and to get there you must turn at the turnoff on the LP-1 road, next to the Bar La Guagua. The road descends and reaches the canal track. Here, avoid the dirt track and take the detour to the right. The road descends until you reach the parking lot of Playa de la Veta, which is located on the edge of the cliff. After about 15 minutes of downhill walking, you will reach the beach. Be careful, it is not a guarded beach and does not have a lifeguard, so do not be brave if there is a current.
Tijarafe, El Diablo and the Church of Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria
If you are a party person, Tijarafe will ring a bell because this is where the most traditional festivities of the island take place, the “fiestas del Diablo”. In the early morning of every September 8th, while people are dancing in the verbena, a change in the music signals the highlight of the night: the appearance of El Diablo, who bursts out spitting fire and dancing to the music. The festival of the Devil has become so popular that it has been declared an Asset of Cultural Interest in the local category.
If your visit to Tijarafe does not coincide on September 8, do not worry because it is also a municipality that stands out for its heritage. The Church of Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria, where the Virgen de Candelaria is venerated, was built between the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries with a definite Mudejar style. It is very beautiful and worth seeing, even if it is, as we did in Randomtrip, from the outside.
Porís de la Candelaria
The real purpose of approaching this part of the island, the Porís de la Candelaria is curious as well as beautiful, and getting there is such an intense and adrenaline-filled experience that it has become one of the places we will never forget on the island no matter how many years go by.
A village inside a cave inside a cliff. In addition, with a cove of transparent waters of bonus, where to take a dip.
El Porís de Candelaria is a cave with small houses at the foot of the sea, a very peculiar place. The access is quite complicated, through a very narrow and steep road where meeting another vehicle in the opposite direction can be an odyssey (hence the adrenaline we told you about before). Down there are two parking lots with limited spaces (the first, the upper parking lot is quite far away, the lower parking lot has more space, but also with more chance that you find someone when returning, and that’s where we parked) and then you have to continue down on foot to the Porís, the cave.
There are three options to get here: by car, on foot, or by sea. After doing it by car we would undoubtedly opt for any of the other two because we had a really hard time. To try to describe it, imagine a very steep one-way road, very narrow (in most stretches two cars can’t fit even for a moment so you are wishing with all your strength not to cross anyone), no protective barriers and a cliff (beautiful, of course) below. Let’s go, we know which option we will choose when we come back here and it will be to do this trail on foot or this sea kayak ride.
As you can see by the little pieces of the porís that we bring you here in the form of a photo, it was totally worth every drop of sweat (and not only) that we released when we arrived and when we left here. Adrenaline was totally worth it.
Book here your hiking tour to reach the Porís de Candelaria on foot or book here your kayak tour to, besides getting to know the Porís de Candelaria, get to the impressive beautiful cave.
In addition, you can also visit the Cueva Bonita, also known on the island as the Sistine Chapel of the Atlantic (don’t make that face, at Randomtrip we are not fans of travel comparisons either). Apparently, this crystal clear cave located at the foot of the cliff served as a refuge for the local population against pirate attacks during the seventeenth century and now you can visit it by kayak for a couple of hours from Porís de Candelaria.
This cave is only accessible by sea from Porís, so if you want to go book your kayak tour to Cueva Bonita from Porís de Candelaria here.
Las Cabezadas Viewpoint
This viewpoint, less known than the Mirador del Time that we will tell you about in a moment, is one of the ideal viewpoints to check the trail of the lava flow from the recent eruption of the Tajogaite volcano in September 2021 towards the south of the island, on its way to the sea where the new fajana, the youngest terrain in Europe, is currently located.
Mirador del Time
The Mirador del Time offers incredible views of the Aridane valley, the new Tajogaite volcano, and its impact: the huge lava flow to the sea. It has a terrace where you can have a drink and is also very popular to watch the sunset.
Mirador de las Angustias
The viewpoint of Las Angustias is the namesake of the Barranco de Las Angustias, one of the most challenging parts of the trail through the Caldera del Taburiente (especially for the knees), an essential route through this national park of La Palma that we will tell you about below. It offers beautiful views, precisely, of the ravine with the sea in the background.
Viewpoint of La Cancelita
The viewpoint of La Cancelita offers a panoramic view of the national park Caldera del Taburiente, more specifically, towards the ravine of Las Angustias. It has a parking lot and benches where you can rest.
Tazacorte: Beach and Port of Tazacorte
The area of Puerto de Tazacorte has a microclimate that makes it always (or almost always) sunny and with a few degrees more than the rest of the island. In fact, it is known as one of the places with more sunny days a year in Europe and it is noted that it has spread the word in northern Europe by the amount of tourism from those countries that are seen here. There is a great variety of accommodations with sea views and it is an excellent location to move around the island.
Its black sand beach is ideal for a dip or sunbathing and the various terraces along the promenade are a great plan for sunset, lunch, or dinner.
In addition, the caves and reefs of the coast of La Palma are joined by cetaceans to delight whale and dolphin lovers who want to observe them in their habitat, in freedom. From Puerto de Tazacorte you can live this adventure: book here your whale-watching catamaran trip of 2h30 from Puerto de Tazacorte.
If you want to get to know better the west coast of La Palma and explore its most unspoiled coves, you can hire this sailing trip from Tazacorte with a snack on board and snorkeling included!
Los Llanos de Aridane
Los Llanos de Aridane is the most populated municipality of La Palma, and also one of the most affected by the Tajogaite eruption. It is an area with a large amount of flat land (hence its name “Los Llanos”, to which “de Aridane” was added to differentiate it from other places with the same name – “Aridane” is in theory “llano” – flat – in the aboriginal language), which is why it is an area with a large number of cultivated fields.
In the city center, you can stroll through the Plaza de España, where you will find the Church of Los Remedios and 11 “laurels of the Indies” brought from Cuba by emigrants in the mid-19th century, and visit the Benahoarita Archaeological Museum (temporarily closed for construction at the time of writing this guide). On the other hand, between 1999 and 2000 an initiative was carried out (CEMFAC), due to the centenary of the city, to create a permanent outdoor exhibition of urban art, which currently has 28 works that you can find strolling through the streets.
For the best views of the city and the area, apart from the already mentioned Mirador del Time, you can climb the Castillo de la Virgen, from where you can also see the new volcano and its impact.
On the coast, the municipality has Puerto de Naos, one of the main “beach” tourist centers of the island, which has been closed to the public (locals and visitors) since the eruption due to the high concentration of noxious gases.
If you feel like exploring this coastline better by kayak, you can hire this kayak tour around El Remo and enjoy the coastline of La Palma starting from the small fishing village of the municipality of Los Llanos de Aridane, El Remo.
Los Llanos de Aridane is also, due to its location, an excellent base from which to explore La Palma:
Caldera del Taburiente National Park: an unmissable route
An essential route and, we dare to say, one of the most beautiful we did in the Canary archipelago. If the Taburiente caldera is impressive to contemplate from a viewpoint (such as the viewpoint of the Cumbrecita), imagine going into that landscape: it is breathtaking.
The route through the national park of La Palma, Caldera de Taburiente, is a 16 km linear route that Randomtrip did with Isla Bonita Tours (you can book here) and we highly recommend it, it was amazing.
Thanks to the explanations given to us by our incredible guide Jaga (without whom we would have missed half of it and would have fallen twice as many times), we realized the importance of the biodiversity of La Palma in general and of each of the points we passed through in particular. We learned a lot about the Canary Island pines! As strong, adaptable, and resilient as the people of La Palma have proven to be in the face of the recent eruption of the Tajogaite volcano.
The route starts at 1081 meters above sea level, at the Mirador de los Brecitos, up to the 200 meters altitude of the Barranco de las Angustias – that is, about 800 meters of elevation gain – but the 16km are practically all downhill.
Fofisana Randomtripper Difficulty Scale: Medium. Despite being all downhill, there are some parts of the route quite slippery and you will end the route with a lot of stiffness and some knee pain because of the Barranco de las Angustias.
Throughout the descent, we are accompanied by the imposing Roque Idafe, a very important figure for the Canarian ancestors. Three hours after starting the route, we make a stop to eat a snack and refresh our feet.
We passed through an iron-laden creek and arrived at one of the most sought-after (and photographed) points of the route: the Cascada de los Colores (Waterfall of Colors). When we went there it did not have much water but it is impressive all the same.
Here is a summary of the points we passed through during the route:
- Los Brecitos Viewpoint
- 9 fat pines (detour)
- Camping Area
- The blowout
- Roque Idafe
- Las Angustias Ravine
- Cascade of Colors
Thank you Isla Bonita Tours for taking us by the hand to another of the most impressive corners of this beautiful island.
La Cumbrecita Viewpoint
One of our favorite viewpoints of the island and one that we want to repeat to explore better with some route: the Cumbrecita viewpoint is impressive.
It is a viewpoint overlooking, of course, the Caldera de Taburiente and in fact, we visited it the same day we did the 16 km route through the national park, on the way back. From this viewpoint, there was another hiking route through the Caldera that has been closed due to danger (we were told that there were some deaths…).
You can get there by car but parking space is limited and regulated, so you have to reserve a parking space in advance on this national park website if you go to La Cumbrecita from 9:00h to 16:00h (if you go after that time, as in Randomtrip, you don’t have to). In our case, we went around 18:00h and you could already go without reservation (besides there was no one, just one more car) but be careful! you don’t have too many hours of daylight if you want to do any route. At the viewpoint, there is a simple route to the Roque viewpoint and finally to the Lomo de las Chozas. We were left with the desire, a plan for our next visit to La Palma.
The viewpoint of Tajuya is one of the most famous viewpoints of La Palma, since during the eruption of the Tajogaite Volcano, most television channels transmitted their images of the eruption from here. To access the viewpoint, you can park your car here.
Hermitage of La Virgen de Pino
The small Ermita de La Virgen del Pino was built to worship the Virgin Mary, who according to tradition appeared in the huge pine tree that stands next to it. This pine tree is between 600 and 800 years old, according to recent studies, and is in theory the tallest pine tree in the Canary archipelago.
The people of El Paso are very devoted to this virgin, whose descent (from the Ermita to the center of El Paso) takes place every 3 years. In 2021 the descent could not be made due to the pandemic, so it was made in 2022, being very emotional due to the recent and nearby eruption of the Tajogaite.
Viewpoints Barranco de los Gomeros and San Juanito
You can stop at these two viewpoints on your way to the points of interest in the northeast of the island (Charco Azul, Bosque de los Tilos, La Fajana…), as they are located precisely on that road and have space to stop the car and admire the views.
First, you have the Mirador Barranco de los Gomeros, which pays tribute with its bronze sculpture to the effort made by a large number of people from La Gomera who emigrated to La Palma contributing to the development of the island. The sculpture represents a Canarian woman looking at the horizon and whistling (in homage to the “silbo gomero”). Weather permitting, from the viewpoint you can see the island of La Gomera (and also Tenerife).
A little further on we will find the Mirador de San Juanito, also with space to park the car, similar views to the previous one, and a table and benches where you can relax.
Puntallana and its flea market
If you pass through this area of the island during the weekend, you should know that on Saturdays and Sundays, from 9 am to 2 pm, the Puntallana Municipal Market is held, where you can find, in addition to agricultural products such as fruits and vegetables, handicrafts and typical products to consume or take as a souvenir.
You can also take a walk through the narrow streets of its historic center, where you can appreciate its colonial houses and visit Casa Luján, a typical Canarian house of the seventeenth century now converted into an ethnographic museum and craft center. You can also visit the Fuente de San Juan ( a spring of water declared “Rincón por la Paz” in 1995) and the Fuentiña (old washing places where women used to wash their clothes).
The beautiful beach of the beautiful island. During the days we were on the island, we were constantly asked if we had already been to Nogales beach, and, upon arrival, we understood why.
The contrast between the black sand, the lush green, and the blue sea creates a postcard that makes it considered the most beautiful beach on the island. When we went there it was not a particularly good day and, in addition, the access to the beach was still closed due to construction works. We were left with the desire to enjoy it and we left it noted for our next visit to the island. Even so, it is undoubtedly worth a visit to contemplate it from above, at the Mirador de la Playa de Nogales, you will not regret it. To access the beach itself, you can park in this free parking.
Los Tilos Forest
The forest of Los Tilos is a Laurisilva forest of La Palma that is part of the Natural Park of Las Nieves. It was the first sector of La Palma to be cataloged as a Biosphere Reserve before it was extended to the rest of the island.
Entering the Bosque de los Tilos is like entering a magical world where you are always waiting for a fairy or an elf to be spying on you behind a fern.
The best way to get to know it is to do some of the trails that allow you to contemplate and explore it. There are two main hiking routes that we detail below:
- El Cubo de la Galga: an easy 9 km circular route that starts and ends at the Visitor Center. It was the one we did, we recommend it and give you more details below.
- Marcos y Cordero: a difficult circular route of 12 km, currently partially closed, you can check the status when you visit La Palma on the official website of trails of La Palma.
If you prefer to hire a guided hiking tour through the forest of Los Tilos, you can make a 3 in 1 with this tour that will take you to the route through the Bosque de los Tilos, then to cool off to take a dip in the Charco Azul and ends with a visit to the La Aldea Rum Distillery. How do you see it? Book here:
Cubo de la Galga
El Cubo de la Galga is a relatively simple hiking route that we highly recommend to get into the laurisilva forest of La Palma.
We have a Randomtip (a little trick based on our experience): to give you. The official route, which starts from the Visitor Center, forces you to do a stretch, in our opinion, less interesting and quite steep, round trip, so we decided to do only the completely circular part, which is where you see the Laurisilva. To do this, you can start the route at this point (it is circular so you will return to it), and park the car nearby (be careful, there is hardly any space, although when we went there was no car parked there). To access this point, you have to take this specific detour from the main road
Difficulty Scale: Easy. It is a simple route, with some slope (in La Palma there is always some slope due to the orography of the island), and some slippery parts due to the mud.
The trail also has spectacular views from the Mirador de Somada Alta from where, on a clear day, you can see Tenerife and La Gomera!
Nacientes Marcos y Cordero
This other route through Los Tilos is a hiking route with more difficulty but, according to what we were told, it is spectacular. It is ideal to contemplate the Laurisilva de la Palma, it goes through several tunnels and you even have to carry a flashlight and water protection. In other words, a more adventurous route with more adrenaline than the previous one. At Randomtrip we didn’t do it because it was closed due to a landslide when we visited the island, but we leave you this article from La Gaveta Voladora in which they detail the route and tell about their experience.
El Tendal Archaeological Park: a journey into the past
One of the most interesting interpretation centers on the island with a visit to an impressive archaeological site: a natural cave where about twenty Benahoaritas, natives of La Palma, lived for (at least) a thousand years.
Going to the Archaeological Park El Tendal is a walk through the past of the island and the lives of the ancestors and ancestresses of the Palmeros. In the interpretation center we will learn about their household goods (through pottery and lithic pieces), daily activities (through bones of domestic fauna, food evidence of marine origin, vegetable collection, coals), their magical-religious beliefs (through, for example, rock engravings and piles of stones) and even their burial customs. Not only did we learn through all these pieces of enormous value but also through audiovisual information panels and the person at the center who guides you through details of the lives of those who lived here.
The El Tendal archaeological site is more than 60 meters wide and consists of a settlement of small caves: 27 habitation caves, 3 necropoleis, and a small cave engraving station.
Recently, another excavation campaign was carried out in El Tendal which, according to the multidisciplinary team in charge, revolutionized what was known about this site since the 1980s as, apparently, the aborigines continued to live in El Tendal longer than previously thought. In addition, they say, “the stratigraphic power of this site, which was already the largest in the Canary Islands, has increased from seven to nine meters. A large number of archaeological remains have been found in an exceptional state of preservation”. We read it in this RTVC news.
As a bonus, the restaurant in the archaeological park overlooks the sea and the impressive ravine where the cave is located and has delicious dishes so if you get hungry before or after the visit do not think twice. Tip: if you eat dairy products, ask for the grilled cheese and you won’t regret it…
The archaeological park and interpretation center is open from Tuesday to Saturday from 10:00h to 18:00h and Sundays and Mondays from 10:00h to 15:00h. The entrance fee is 8€ per person (4€ for Canarian residents), free for children under 12 years old.
San Andres y Sauces
We stopped in the picturesque village of San Andrés, part of the municipality of San Andrés y Sauces, for lunch in the Plaza de San Andrés and were in for a surprise. San Andres has a set of cobbled streets, a beautiful church in the square, and the church of San Andres, between palm trees and sea views. A small appetizer that foreshadowed the surprise that we would take in its capital, Santa Cruz.
The best thing to do is to take a dip in San Andres where we will tell you about it below.
The natural pools of Charco Azul, on the coast of San Andres, have turquoise water and are suitable for all ages. You will find the blue pool, of greater dimension and protected from the waves of the sea, and also a children’s pool with smooth bottom. They also have free parking, kiosk, and restrooms.
During the summer they are quite crowded and, apparently, this fame increased after a recent remodeling that now, in addition to the natural pools, also has a small waterfall, solarium, showers, and changing rooms.
La Aldea Rum Factory and Sugar Cane and Rum Interpretation Center
The Ron La Aldea distillery is not only what it looks like. In reality, we are in front of the Sugar Cane and Rum Interpretation Center (Distillery and Museum), a factory founded in 1936 in La Aldea de San Nicolás (in Gran Canaria) that gives it its name. (By the way, one of the places where we were happiest during our visit to Gran Canaria, you can read about it here). And how does it end here in La Palma?
The best people to answer this question are the people of the museum, but we will tell you a little about it: Don Manuel Quevedo Alemán, born in Arucas, Gran Canaria (you will also know his rum factory there) emigrated at a very young age, first to Cuba and then to Santo Domingo. In both places he worked in sugar factories and, when he returned, he helped his father and uncle in their own sugar factory, later becoming the director of the factory. The impact of World War I caused production to be almost nil and in 1919, a year after the end of the war, he closes the factory. In fact, he sells the main equipment – himself included – to a Portuguese from Madeira, so he goes to this Portuguese island where he stays for 15 years (and becomes the director of a sugar factory).
Returning to the Canary Islands in 1934, with the idea of continuing in the world of sugar and distillation, he started the rum factory La Aldea, which opened its doors in 1936 and began to produce more every year, especially because local farmers saw in the sweet cane an alternative crop to the crisis that was occurring in export agriculture, mainly tomatoes. With the decline in local sugar cane production, the factory closed in 1960 and opened in La Palma in 1969, where the fourth generation of the family is still in charge.
You can visit the factory and learn about the production process of sugar cane grown on the island and the rum distillation process. It has a store selling local products if you want to take home a souvenir. The entrance fee to the museum with tasting included is 5€/person(prior reservation on this website) but if you just want to visit the store it is free. It is open from Monday to Friday from 09:00h to 14:00h and from 15:00h to 17:00h.
You can make a 3 in 1 with this excursion that will take you to take a dip in the Charco Azul after hiking through the Bosque de los Tilos to finish with a visit to the rum distillery La Aldea. How do you see it? Make a reservation here
Puerto Espindola Beach
Nearby is a black sand beach protected by the port, the beach of Puerto Espindola. We did not get to go there but we were recommended to enter the water in the area next to the breakwater since the area near the port has more rocks that make it difficult to enter the sea. If you are hungry, we were told about the restaurant Mesón del Mar but we did not try it so we cannot speak from experience.
La Fajana and its natural pools
El Tablado is located between two of the largest ravines of the island, the Barranco de Los Hombres and Facundo, and is a privileged point from which to contemplate the imposing cliffs that descend to the sea.
La Zarza Cultural Park
The Cultural Park of La Zarza is a natural enclave and an archaeological zone. Although the Visitor’s Center to learn about the cave stations of the Benahoarita culture, La Zarza, and La Zarcita, is closed to the public at the time of writing this guide, you can make the hiking route. We were recommended the Caldera del Agua route that starts next to the Interpretation Center and ends in Don Pedro, in the north of the island. In Randomtrip we did not get to do this route but here you can find more details of the route.
Petroglyphs of Santo Domingo: the archeological site
This archaeological site, known as the Petroglyphs of Santo Domingo, was discovered in 1922 and its current appearance is very different from what it looked like at the time since the petroglyphs were apparently part of a pyramid. Currently, the main nucleus of the site is formed by an alignment of large rocks, some with engravings that represent geometric ideograms (spirals, meandriforms, concentric semicircles, etc.) executed with the picado technique.
We read on the explanatory panel next to the site that, in reality, the rock engraving station is much larger and extends over a large part of the spine that has been deeply altered by agricultural work.
To reach them, you can park here and walk a few meters:
Viewpoint of Santo Domingo de Garafía and Roque de Santo Domingo
Nearby is this viewpoint where you can go to contemplate the views, especially of the Roque de Santo Domingo. From the Santo Domingo de Garafia viewpoint, you can enjoy a breathtaking view of the rock, and the cliffs towards the sea, and, in fact, it is one of the ideal spots on the island to enjoy the sunset at sea. It has ample parking to leave the car and go down to the Port of Santo Domingo or a nearby cove.
Considered by some the best beach on the island (dethroning Nogales Beach) Bujaren beach is not easily accessible and you have to check beforehand if it is at low tide to access it but it is very close if you are in the mood for adventure, hiking and a dip. We haven’t visited it so we don’t know how it is, if you do go, please let us know if you liked it better than Nogales in the comments!
South La Palma
Santa Cruz de la Palma
This incredible island surprises in every corner and it turns out that not only in its imposing nature boasts colorful, but also in its facades of colonial architecture in its capital, Santa Cruz de La Palma.
The historic-artistic complex of Santa Cruz invites you to spend at least a morning (or an afternoon) in the capital (and if you have more hours to dedicate to it, you will not regret it), so here is a breakdown of the main points to include in the tour:
- Calle Real: In the main artery of Santa Cruz we will find some of the most outstanding examples of traditional civil architecture such as the Salazar Palace with its wrought iron parapet balcony and elegant facade. It is currently a center for the sale of handicrafts so it is worth a look, not only to take a souvenir but also to see the large central courtyard inside. It used to be the main house of the Salazar family, a wealthy family originally from Burgos. Other examples of this architecture on the same street are the Casa Massieu Tello de Eslava, the Casa Pinto, or the Casa Sotomayor, all mansions of wealthy families built in the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries. If you want to delve more into the art and heritage of La Palma, the Junonia Interpretation Center, located in an old house also of traditional architecture, has a good collection.
If on your walk through the center, you feel like a coffee or a cake, make a stop at Café Don Manuel, one of the mythical of the capital, and enjoy a coffee in one of the most beautiful courtyards…
- The Balconies of the Avenida Marítima: These colorful and flowery balconies stand out in the walk through the center and it is not surprising that it is one of the symbols of the capital that inspires more photographs to those who set foot on the island. We have read that they are of Portuguese influence and, if you know some Portuguese cities, you will not be surprised. We recommend you to cross the road and admire the balconies from the sea, feeling the trade winds on your face in the Avenida Marítima.
- Plaza de España and Iglesia del Salvador: It should be noted that the main facade of the church by the square as well as the rear facade and the bell tower were made with stonework of volcanic origin. In this square, together with the town hall (which we will talk about later) and the fountain form a unique Renaissance ensemble in the Canary Islands.
- Santa Cruz de la Palma City Hall: The first democratically elected city hall in Spain in 1773 has a Renaissance façade with arches on the first floor. It stands out, on the outside, with the reliefs and inscriptions with the virtues and vices of good and bad government and, inside, the mural painting and woodwork (inspired by traditional Canarian languages).
- Real Sociedad Cosmológica-Biblioteca Municipal: Founded in 1881, it was originally created to disseminate knowledge of natural sciences, hosting important meetings of medical, botanical, and biologist personnel and becoming one of the most important spaces in the scientific history of La Palma. As a curiosity, it is located in the old bakery house of Santa Cruz.
- Calle San Sebastián and the Barrio de la Canela: One of the most popular neighborhoods of the capital with several examples of traditional Canarian architecture, the Barrio de la Canela earned its name due to the cinnamon aroma of the sweets that were made here. It is worth stopping at the Ermita de San Sebastián and the Plaza de Dornajo, once an obligatory stop for merchants, since this is where the “Camino Real de los Puertos”, the main path for the exchange of goods from one side of the island to the other, from east to west, used to run.
- Barrio de San Telmo and Ermita de la Luz: Like the Barrio de la Canela, walking through the neighborhood of San Telmo is sure to see good examples of traditional Canarian architecture. In addition, the Ermita de La Luz played a very important role in the history of the neighborhood as it is dedicated to San Pedro Gonzalez Telmo and Nuestra Señora de La Luz, patron saints of sailors.
- Plaza and Church of Santo Domingo: We only contemplate its exterior facade but, apparently, inside it hides good examples of Flemish art (reminiscent of the era of trade with the Netherlands in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries), American Baroque (canvas of Our Lady of Guadalupe), Flemish Renaissance and Canarian classicism, a small treasure.
- Teatro Circo de Marte and Teatro Chico: The Teatro Circo de Marte was inaugurated in 1871 as a place for circus shows and cockfights, and was later renovated during World War I (1914-1918). It currently hosts concerts and plays. The Chico Theater is the only cinema in Santa Cruz, so if you want to see a movie on your visit to the island, you know where to go. It is located on the former site of the oratory of the extinct Hospital de Dolores and has an Italian style.
- La Recova- Plaza de Mercado: Getting to know the markets of the new places we visit is one of our favorite activities and in Santa Cruz, we could not miss it. La Recova is the municipal market of the capital. Of classicist style, it is located in the first lot of the old Hospital de Dolores and it is ideal to buy some delicacies of La Palma products with Denomination of Origin as wines or cheeses.
If you have time, at the top of the Avenida del Puente is a beautiful 17th century mansion of the Massieu family that was dedicated to the cultivation of Malvasia vineyards called the Quinta Verde.
- Placeta del Borrero: one of the most beautiful corners of the capital is this square surrounded by traditional Canarian houses and with a basalt stone fountain of Arucas in the middle.
- Plazuela de La Cruz de Tercero, one of the most beautiful squares of Santa Cruz, this small square is located at the southern end of the Plaza de la Alameda and has a nice terrace where you can have a drink. Its name comes from the wooden cross in the center of the square, planted by Alonso Fernandez de Lugo after the conquest of the island in 1493, initially in the ravine of Las Nieves and erected here after a storm that dragged it from the ravine, its first location.
- Church of San Francisco: built by the Franciscan friars in 1508, this beautiful white church that we only see from the outside, hides inside valuable sculptures such as El Señor de la piedra Fría that stars in the main procession of Maundy Thursday.
- Insular Museum of La Palma: It is located right next to the Church of San Francisco, in a former Franciscan convent. In its interior, besides admiring the architecture of the convent, it has a collection of unique pieces of fine arts and natural sciences. It shares the “convent” with the José Perez Vidal Island Library and the General Archive of La Palma.
- Plaza de la Alameda: This square populated by laurel trees with a nice kiosk in the middle was originally conceived in the nineteenth century for the coexistence of neighbors and still fulfills that function. When you pass by, stop at the sculpture of the Dwarf, a key piece in the idiosyncrasy of the palm tree and symbol of the island.
- Castillo de Santa Catalina: One of the best examples of military architecture in the Canary Islands, the Castillo de Santa Catalina (so called because of its proximity to the chapel of Santa Catalina de Alejandría) is one of the fortresses that were built in the capital of the island to defend it from attacks by pirates and corsairs after the disappearance of the first castle.
- Castillo de la Virgen: It is located at the top of the northern bank of the ravine of Las Nieves and, together with the Barco de la Virgen (which we will talk about in a moment) they are the protagonists of one of the most popular and emotional events on the island: the Bajada de la Virgen (Descent of the Virgin). If you have time, go up to the castle to contemplate the incredible views from above.
- Naval Museum Barco de la Virgen: As we said in the previous point, together with the Castillo de la Virgen, this emblematic ship takes on special prominence in the Bajada de la Virgen in the event“Dialogue between the ship and the castle“. Inside is a collection of portulan charts (also known asportulan charts, manuals used in medieval navigation), models of ships built in the same shipyards of La Palma in the nineteenth century and other documents of naval architecture.
- Plaza and Church of the Incarnation: Next to the Castle of the Virgin is this square from which to enjoy beautiful views. The church was the first religious construction of the eastern side of the island: after the conquest, a primitive temple was built here until the center of the city was moved to the ravine of Los Dolores.
- Avenida Marítima and Santa Cruz de La Palma Beach: If you feel like taking a walk feeling the trade winds on your face, you can walk the entire Avenida Marítima in peace and quiet. If the weather is good and you feel like a dip, the beach of the capital has fine black sand, showers and toilets.
Santa Cruz is one of the ideal bases to stay in La Palma. We recommend the Galéon apartments (from 40€/night) or, if you are looking for something more beautiful, Casa Alves, a real museum (from 70€/night) if you are two people. If there are more of you, check out the Residencial La Mar (from 72€/night) with two bedrooms or the amazing Casa Celestino (from 120€/night).
In the surroundings of Santa Cruz, you can take the opportunity to visit:
- Viewpoint and Hermitage of Nuestra Señora de La Concepción, from where you will have an incredible bird’s eye view of Santa Cruz.
On the road leading to Los Llanos (the one that goes through the La Cumbre tunnel), weather permitting, don’t miss the Mirador de La Cumbre:
One of the most tourist areas of La Palma, Los Cancajos has a huge semi-urban beach of black sand (when we went there it was very windy) and a great offer of accommodation and restaurants. Take a look at the number of options to sleep in Los Cancajos.
In Los Cancajos you can also find a pyramid, the Pyramid of Vandama, which unfortunately is in a state of abandonment and without any protection or information. It is not known (or we did not find information) for sure what was the purpose of these constructions, but you can read more about it here, as well as see other pyramids on the island. To get to the pyramid, you can park here and access the pyramid area here.
Los Cancajos is one of the places where you will find more accommodation and from where it is very practical to shorten distances to visit the island, check accommodations here. If you are two people, for example the Apartamentos Oasis San Antonio (from 45 € / night) are great value for money or, if you go with children, the Apartamentos Centro Los Cancajos (from 70 € / night) 150 meters from the Playa de los Cancajos.
In addition, Los Cancajos is a meeting point for several of the excursions on La Palma. One of our favorites is stargazing from Breña Baja. If you are on the island with one of the best skies in the world, you can’t miss this opportunity. Book your tour here.
Museo del Puro Palmero y Puros Artesanos Julio
When you reach the area of the island where both the Museo del Puro Palmero and the Puros Artesanos Julio factory are located, Breña Alta, it will seem as if you have arrived in other latitudes, more specifically, in Cuba.
And the fact is that the emigration to American lands is an important part of the history of the island that is reflected in these two visits. Although relations between La Palma and Cuba have always existed, it was in the 19th century that they became closer, since between 1848 and 1898 more than 18% of the total population of the island emigrated from La Palma to America, fleeing from famine. Of all these people from La Palma, the great majority found a place of refuge in Cuba.
It was through emigrants from La Palma who returned from Cuba to their native land that the “novel” cultivation of tobacco was introduced on the island, which was already widespread in Cuban lands. La Breña was precisely one of the best areas where tobacco plantations proliferated, standing out for their high quality.
In the Museo del Puro Palmero you can learn more about the history of the Canarian cigar, its cultivation, preparation, types of tobacco, decoration rings, commercialization with the support of explanatory panels and audiovisuals. You will learn that although the land dedicated to cultivation has decreased in La Breña, it is still an active center of tobacco, fruit and vegetable production. At present, there are several pureros who roll tobacco in Breña Alta, a task that keeps alive the deep-rooted tradition and the direct relationship between Cuba and La Palma.
The museum is open from Tuesday to Saturday, from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm. The entrance fee is 3€. (2€ for residents).
Nearby is the factory of Puros Artesanos Julio, an authentic cultural treasure of La Palma. The cigars that Julio and his family make today are born of a long tradition that took its first steps in 1950. To approach its facilities is to travel back in time and learn about a historical practice, from the process of tobacco cultivation in the plantations on the island to its production using traditional tools, since the entire process is manual.
They explained the whole process from harvesting until the cigar is ready to be enjoyed by those who appreciate them. We were able to see how they tie the tobacco leaves into bundles and arrange them on long cujes (sticks arranged horizontally) for drying. Then, the leaves are selected and piled up in layers of different sizes, colors and textures. Next, the artisan, on his or her wooden board, rolls the leaves and cuts them to shape the different cigars (shorter, longer, thicker, or thinner) that are so highly prized.
Belmaco Archaeological Park
In this archaeological park, located in the village of Mazo, are the first petroglyphs found in the Canary Islands in the eighteenth century. It has ten natural caves, a cave engraving station and, of course, an interpretation center to help us understand what we see.
The price is 2€/person and it is open from Monday to Saturday from 10:00h to 15:00h.
Fuencaliente, San Antonio Volcano and Teneguía Volcano: a trip to the future
Being the second youngest island of the Canary Islands with a geological age of only 1.7 million years, La Palma is considered to be still in the growth phase, what specialists call the “shield phase”. In the municipality of Fuencaliente this youth is very visible since four volcanoes have erupted in its territory after the conquest of the island in 1493: the volcanoes of Martín in 1946, El Charco in 1712, the eruptions of 1677 around the crater of San Antonio, and the very recent eruption of Teneguía in 1971. It was precisely this last one that had the greatest impact on our trip to the island, after visiting, of course, the area affected by the Tajogaite volcano whose eruption was only a few months ago, in September 2021.
The Teneguía Volcano erupted in 1971 and was, until September 2021, the most recent volcano on the island and in Spain. We can say that when we stepped on the Teneguía volcano we felt like we were traveling to the future. Why?
Because here we can freely walk through the affected area of a volcano that erupted 51 years ago. Since the affected area of the current Tajogaite volcano that erupted in September 2021 will be a Protected Landscape of the island and at the moment it is only possible to walk through it with a guided tour, the path where you walk freely in the landscape of the area affected by the Teneguía volcano is quite similar to what the eyes of those who walk through the affected area of the Tajogaite volcano will see in a few years.
But really it all starts at the San Antonio Volcano and its visitor center. The San Antonio Volcano erupted in 1677, burying among other things the hot springs of Fuente Santa (which gave the area its name). It has a perfectly round crater, and from the visitor center you can access it, from where you can see the caldera of the same (with plenty of vegetation) and the neighboring and more recent Teneguía Volcano.
The Visitor Center is small but has a lot of information about volcanology, the origin of the Canary Islands, and more specific information about these two volcanoes (San Antonio and Teneguía):
The visitor center is open daily from 9:00 am to 5:30 pm (in summer until 6:30 pm). The price of the visitor center is 5€ per person.
It was precisely in Fuencaliente that we decided to stay because one of the two roads leading there (the west, LP-2) was buried under lava and, for this reason, being more affected by the lack of tourism. It is not the area that suits you best if you want to shorten distances but, we insist again, if there is a latent concern for the local population in all our trips, in this one we gave it special priority because of the bad patch the island is going through after the eruption. We stayed in a little house of a charming Italian couple that lives next door, El Sueño, we leave you the link in case you are interested and here are a few more options in the area. More options of Where to Sleep in La Palma here
Ruta de Los Volcanes
The Ruta de los Volcanes is one of the most famous and incredible hiking routes of La Palma, within the Cumbre Vieja Natural Park. It has a length of 22km, a difference in altitude of 1207m, and is considered a difficult route (it takes between 6 and 8 hours to complete). It takes us from the refuge of El Pilar to Fuencaliente. More info about the route here
Since the famous hiking route Ruta de los Volcanes could not be done during our visit due to the eruption of the Tajogaite volcano (it is now possible to do it), in Randomtrip we did the part of the route that was open, the Pequeña Ruta de los Volcanes that takes us for 6km (all downhill) to the Faro de Fuencaliente lighthouse.
The “Small Route of the Volcanoes” starts at the Visitor Center of the San Antonio Volcano (after passing through the cashier, although not mandatory to do the route), passing through the affected area of the Teneguía Volcano, where we can visit more closely (to its crater) with a small detour of 0,8km, passing through volcanic landscapes of the eruption of 71, to the Faro de Fuencaliente where, in the end, we gave ourselves a tribute with a meal in the restaurant El jardín de la Sal in front of the salt mines of Fuencaliente (we recommend you to book because it gets full).
A photographic summary of the points through which we passed:
Fofisana Randomtripper Difficulty Scale: Easy. A 6km linear route with little gradient and stable terrain.
In addition to being able to hike through the area affected by the recent eruption of the Tajogaite volcano, this route seems to be the perfect place to visualize and experience the type of terrain generated by these eruptions.
The views of the route are spectacular and it is a simple route. The route is linear, if you make the detour to the Teneguía it takes about 2 hours (or so it took in our case), and the easiest way is to go first to the lighthouse to leave the car, go up by bus to the Visitor Center (you can see the schedules here, when we went there was from 9:45 every 2 hours, and the trip is half an hour), and do the route from there.
It is also recommended, as we told you before, to book the Thematic Restaurant El Jardín de La Sal, right next to the salt flats, where you can have a great meal overlooking the sea. Depending on the time you arrive, you can also take a well-deserved dip next to the lighthouse (at the Playa del Faro), or a few minutes’ drive away, at the Playa de Echentive, which we will tell you about next.
If in addition to hiking, you feel like tasting some local wines, another plan is a visit to the Teneguía wineries, where you can learn about the winemaking process and, of course, taste them.
Fuencaliente Salt Flats and Lighthouse
The salt mines of Fuencaliente were created in 1967, without stopping salt production since then and being the only ones on the island. They are a magical place to watch the sunset, where the blue of the sea, the black basalt, and the pink and reflections of the salt contrast. They can be toured in a self-guided circuit with explanatory panels in about 20-30 minutes (free), has a small souvenir store and a high-quality restaurant where we ate very well (important to book) on the recommendation of Jonás, from Isla Bonita Tours.
Next to it we also find the Fuencaliente Lighthouse. Actually, there are two lighthouses, since the first one suffered several damages due to the eruption of the Teneguía Volcano in 1971, so another one had to be built, the one that still works today, and the old one was rebuilt to turn it into the Interpretation Center of the Marine Reserve. The old one is the stone one, while the new one is the one with red and white stripes.
Actually, it is fortunate that both places still exist, since the lava of Teneguía surrounded them and they were not completely destroyed “by miracle “(here you can see an image of where the lava passed through).
This is also the end of the volcanoes route, so if you are going to do it, it may be a great idea to reserve the restaurant for a well-deserved lunch; when you finish, you can take a swim at the Faro beach.
Nearby there is a small, isolated, and uncrowded beach, Playa de las Cabras.
Echentive Beach, Galería Fuente Santa and El Aljibe
Also known as “Playa Nueva” (although now there will be another one newer than this one, after the recent eruption of the Tajogaite volcano just a few months ago), the Echentive beach was built by the eruption of the Teneguía volcano in 1971. It is a beach of black sand and callaos, beautiful and surrounded by the volcanic landscape. To access it, you can park your car here.
At the entrance to the beach, you can see access to where the thermal waters with medicinal properties that give a name to the area (Fuencaliente) were located, the Galería Fuente Santa. Also here you can appreciate the youth of Fuencaliente, in the presence of residual heat from volcanic activity. After being buried by one of the lava flows from the eruption of 1677, the gallery was rediscovered in 2005.
Next to it is the Aljibe, some pools also generated by the volcanic eruption, highly photogenic.
Las Calderetitas Viewpoint and Las Indias Viewpoint
El Charco Viewpoint
The Mirador El Charco is located on the LP-2 road, between Fuencaliente and Las Manchas, and from it, you can see the Tamanca Protected Landscape and a fantastic sunset.
Las Manchas is a small town severely affected by the ash from the eruption of the Tajogaite volcano; when we visited many of the streets were accessible only by locals.
Due to the winds, much of the ash expelled by the Tajogaite came in the direction of the spots, literally burying many of the houses in the area.
When we visited La Palma a large part of Las Manchas was closed, but if when you go there you can, they told us wonderful things about Plaza La Glorieta.
Caños de Fuego and Cueva de las Palomas Interpretation Center
The Caños del Fuego Interpretation Center arose from the discovery of a set of volcanic tubes in the area of Las Manchas, from the solidification of the lava emanating from the eruption of the San Juan Volcano in 1949.
In this center, we can learn about the geological formations that develop before and after volcanic eruptions through a guided tour of the volcanic tube in the “Cueva de Vidrio“, the informative and audiovisual panels, and a viewpoint at the top of the center. In addition, on the other side of the road from the center is a system of floating walkways that give access to a floating glass viewpoint with breathtaking views that, in turn, also give access to the Cueva de las Palomas Volcanic Tube. You can book a 2-hour tour of the Cueva de las Palomas here.
When we visited the island, Caños de Fuego was closed due to the recent eruption of the Tajogaite volcano but, at the time of writing this guide, it is now open and accessible via the new provisional road.
The interpretation center is open from Tuesday to Saturday from 10:00h to 18:00h and Sundays and Mondays from 10:00h to 15:00h. The entrance fee is 8€ per person (4€ for Canary Island residents), free for children under 12 years old.
Llano del Jable Astronomical Viewpoint
Although we could not visit it due to the recent eruption of the Tajogaite, the Mirador Astronómico Llano del Jable has incredible views of the island and also of the night sky. Some of the astronomical observation tours, such as this one, take place here.
Get inspired by the stories of our visit to La Palma
If you want to get inspired, we have saved on our Instagram (don’t you follow us yet?), in Featured Stories, a selection of the ones we made during our trip to the island of La Palma:
- La Palma I: the volcano and the affected area, Caldera de Taburiente, Santa Cruz de La Palma, Volcán de San Antonio, and Volcán de Teneguía, the Faro de las Salinas
- La Palma II: Puerto de Garafía, Roque de los Muchachos, La Fajana, Puerto de Tazacorte, Los Tilos y Cubo de la Galga, Porís de Candelaria, los Cancajos, Los Nogales, El Tendal, Puntagorda
Best Hiking Trails in La Palma
La Palma is a paradise for hiking, with more than 1000km of routes marked with colored beacons, indicators of the type of route, and information panels. In addition, all the municipalities of the island have viewpoints dedicated to the observation of the landscape (both during the day and at night), and, in fact, it is from some of these viewpoints that the routes (day and night) start through the extensive network of trails on the island.
Since the eruption of 2021 there are some closed trails, be well informed before you go to know the status of each of the trails(here is usually the updated information of the trails that are partially or completely closed).
Here are the most incredible trails of La Palma:
- Caldera de Taburiente National Park (PR LP 13). Although the complete route starts and ends in Los Llanos (and is therefore circular), most people do only a part of it, from the viewpoint of Los Brecitos to the Parking de la Viña (Barranco de las Angustias), with 13km long and about 6 hours of duration. The complete, circular route is 28km long and lasts about 9h30. Difficulty: High. More info:
- Volcanoes Route (24.3 km between Refugio del Pilar and Fuencaliente, unfortunately route closed due to the recent eruption): between 8h and 9 hours duration. Difficulty: High. More info:
- Small Route of the Volcanoes: 1 to 2 hours in duration. Difficulty: Easy. Final route of the Ruta de Los Volcanes, from Los Canarios to Las Salinas de Fuencaliente passing by the San Antonio Volcano and the Teneguía (1971), with a length of 5km. It is recommended to park the car at the lighthouse and take the bus to start the route (see timetables here: https://www.tilp.es/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/Líneas-TILP.pdf ); when we went there were buses from 9:45 every 2 hours.
- Marcos y Cordero – Los Tilos (PR LP 6): 6 to 8 hours duration. Difficulty: High. One of the busiest routes of La Palma, where you can appreciate the Laurisilva forest of Los Tilos, crossing 13 water tunnels. Limited access hours (until 12:30 in winter, until 14:00 in summer), bring a flashlight and raincoat (for the tunnels), the trail is classified as difficult. More info:
- Cubo de la Galga (PR LP 5): 2.5 hours approximately. Difficulty: easy. More info:
- El Tablado- Gallegos (Part GR 130 Barlovento-Garafía). Duration: 4-5 hours. Difficulty: High.
- Pico de la Nieve Route: Semi-circular route of approximately 3 hours. Difficulty: Easy. Before it was a passage to the other end of the island, today the ascent to the Pico de la Nieve is one of the routes of the island, with only 432m of elevation gain and a length of 6 kilometers along the road that goes to the Roque de los Muchachos. The route starts at the parking lot of Roque de los Muchachos at almost 1900 meters altitude.
Where to dive in La Palma
La Palma is also an island sought after by diving enthusiasts since volcanic eruptions have generated an ecosystem of rocks, arches, towers, and fascinating underwater caves. In addition, the other point is the luminosity of its waters, where visibility reaches up to 50 meters. However, be aware of the currents that may exist as well as the fact that the island is a Marine Reserve area, subject to certain regulations.
You can book your diving baptism in La Palma (Fuencaliente) here.
There are several dive sites on the island, here we highlight the four dive areas and some of the main dive sites in each of them:
- Puerto de Tazacorte:
- El Laberinto-Las Gorgonias (La Bombilla, 25-45 meters)
- Santa Úrsula (Tazacorte, 17 meters)
- Bajón de los Petos (Tazacorte, 46 meters)
- Arcos del Charco Verde (18 meters)
- Malpique Tower (15-45 meters)
- Playa de las Cabras (30-45 meters)
- Punta Larga (15-25 meters)
- San Andres
- Puerto Espindola (30 meters)
- Charco Azul (26-50 meters)
- Puerto Trigo (25 meters)
- Los Cancajos
- Los Cancajos (15-35 meters)
Although we have not dived on La Palma, these dive centers were recommended to us:
- Buceo Sub La Palma: Book or contact directly through their website
- La Palma Diving Center: Book or contact via email email@example.com
- Tauchpartner La Palma: Check out the dives they offer on their website and contact them by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Casa de Buceo: Book or contact directly through their web site
- La Palma Atlantic Experience. Book or contact directly through their website
In this official pdf of the government of La Palma, you find the main dive sites of the island.
Book your diving baptism in La Palma (Fuencaliente) here or if you prefer, watch the fish and the remains of the lava flows of the Teneguía volcano with snorkel (snorkel, goggles and wetsuit included) here
Where to stay in La Palma
Taking into account the orography of the island and the distances, the ideal is to base in the central area of the island, either in the east of the island, in Santa Cruz or Los Cancajos, or in the west of the island, in Tazacorte or Los Llanos de Aridane. In our case, to try to help the people affected by the eruption, we chose to stay in the south, in Fuencaliente, which due to the cut of the west road, was receiving considerably less tourism, and it was an excellent decision. Here we recommend a few accommodations:
Where to stay in Santa Cruz de La Palma
- Apartamentos El Galeón (from 40€/night): apartment for two people, centrally located with sea and city views and with everything you need to cook.
- Ático Las Palomas (from 52€/night): Penthouse with 1 bedroom and sofa bed for up to 3 persons, in the old town of Santa Cruz with views
- Apartmento Arena (from 63€/night): two-bedroom apartment for up to 4 people, 5 minutes from the center of Santa Cruz, with a fully equipped kitchen.
- Casa Alves, last third 16th century (from 70€/night): one-bedroom apartment (which looks like a real museum) with a terrace and view in the heart of Santa Cruz but in a quiet street with no noise:
- Residencial La Mar (from 72€/night): it has a Penthouse for up to 5 people and an Apartment with a terrace for up to 6 people, both overlooking the beach of Santa Cruz.
- Lovely Apartment (from 85€/night): very special 1-bedroom 2-story apartment with sea views
- Casa Celestino (from 120€/night): a two-bedroom house ideal for exploring the center of Santa Cruz on foot.
See more options where to sleep in Santa Cruz here
Where to stay in Los Cancajos
- Apartamentos Oasis San Antonio (from 45€/night): one-bedroom apartments with kitchen. The complex has an outdoor swimming pool and supermarkets and restaurants nearby.
- Aparthotel El Cerrito (from 62€/night): apartments for two people and a triple apartment with a sofa bed with a terrace or balcony and sea views. The aparthotel has a swimming pool for adults and a children’s pool.
- Apartmentos La Caleta (from 63€/night): one-bedroom apartments 500 meters from the beach; the complex has an outdoor swimming pool (also for children), playground, golf area, and bar/restaurant.
- Apartamentos Centro Los Cancajos (from 70€/night): apartments for two adults or two adults and two children, 150 meters from the beach of Los Cancajos, with terrace and sea views.
- AstroSunrise (from 79€/night): one-bedroom apartment with sea views. It has a swimming pool in the complex, a restaurant, supermarkets nearby, and Los Cancajos beach at 600 meters.
See more options where to sleep in Los Cancajos here
Where to stay in Tazacorte
- My Home Apartment (from 80€/night): apartment with 2 bedrooms for 3 persons (1 double bed and 1 single bed) and fully equipped kitchen.
- Apartamentos Ana (85€/night): apartment with two bedrooms for 4 people (1 double bed, 2 single beds) and a terrace from which to watch the sunset.
- La Sal (from 150€/night): amazing 2-bedroom apartment on the beachfront. Accommodates up to 4 people, has private parking, terrace, kitchen, bathroom with whirlpool bathtub.
- Hotel Hacienda de Abajo – Adults Only (from 280€/night) or, sleep in a palace in Tazacorte with sea views. If you are looking for something very special, come in and see the photos. The decor of this adults-only hotel is impressive (each room is different) and guests have free access to the Spa. It has an outdoor heated pool, a garden with exotic plants, and a spa with Finnish sauna, whirlpool, massage and other treatments.
See more options to sleep in Tazacorte here
Where to stay in Los Llanos de Aridane
- Habitación Deluxe in Los Llanos (from 30€/night): house with large room with king size bed. The house has a kitchen and bathroom.
- Apartmento Margarita (from 47€/night): two-bedroom apartment, sleeps up to 4 people. It has a fully equipped kitchen and all the reviews speak highly of the hosts and the welcoming details.
- Baobab House (from 63€/night): two-bedroom house with terrace, living room and fully equipped kitchen, two minutes walk from the center of Los Llanos de Aridane.
- Sea and Mountain View Apartment (from 70€/night): one-bedroom apartment, for two people, with terrace and sea view
- Casa de vacacione de un dormitorio (from 122€/night): the house has one bedroom, kitchen and bathroom. It has access to a shared pool and garden
- Flying La Palma (from 136€/night): apartment with two bedrooms and a sofa bed, accommodates up to 6 people, recently remodeled with fully equipped kitchen and bathroom (amenities included).
Find more accommodations in los Llanos de Aridane here
Where to stay in Fuencaliente
- Casa Rural Los Dragos (from 65€/night): two-bedroom house with garden, supermarkets nearby, ideal location for the San Antonio and Teneguía volcano routes and, outstanding in all opinions, the attention of the hosts.
- La Bodega (from 65€/night), also has two bedrooms, each with two single beds, traditional Canarian architecture with wooden ceilings and sea views. It is very close to the volcano of San Antonio.
- Casa de los Tajinastes (from 95€/night): two-bedroom house with patio, barbecue and terrace. The tranquility and spectacular views are outstanding.
Find more options in Fuencaliente here
Other recommended accomodations in the rest of the island
- Teneguía Princess (from 105€/night): spacious and comfortable rooms in a hotel with 7 outdoor pools, 1 children’s pool and several restaurants and sunset views if you want to say goodbye to the sun on the sea from your balcony.
- Hotel Faro de Punta Cumplida (from 300€/night): the experience of sleeping in a lighthouse, with sea views and all the amenities (swimming pool included). Without words, hopefully one day we can go.
As we told you, although the central area is the best area to move in your visit to the island since, both east and west, are the places that are more or less the same distance from the tourist sites, if there is always a latent concern for the local population in our trips, in this one we gave special priority because of the socio-economic impact on the island after the eruption so we decided to stay in Fuencaliente. Although it is a great place to visit the southern tip of the island (including Teneguía and San Antonio), it is not the ideal area if you want to shorten distances because one of the two roads that go there (the west one, LP-2) is buried under lava. It is, for this reason that this area is being spatially affected by the lack of tourism and it is, for this reason, that we chose to stay here. We stayed in a little house (El Sueño) of a charming couple that lives next door, we leave you the link in case you are interested and here are some more options in the area.
Best restaurants in La Palma
There are several traditional dishes, Canarian and Palmeros specific, that you should not miss. Exquisite fresh fish such as moray eels, alfonsiños or viejas; chicharrones, papas arrugás con mojo, sopa de picadillo. Also mention its wines: albillos, reds, rosés, tea or malvasías. To end with a good taste in the mouth, the sweet-toothed people can not forget to try a Bienmesabe, Principe Alberto, almendrados, rapaduras, …
Here are a few recommended restaurants to eat in La Palma
Restaurants where to eat in Santa Cruz/Los Cancajos and surroundings:
- Restaurante Enriclai (Santa Cruz): small restaurant (4 tables) with a menu that varies according to the day based on fresh local products.
- La Chalana (Santa Cruz): on the maritime avenue, next to the balconies, family restaurant specialized in fish and seafood.
- Bar-Restaurante Parilla Las Nieves (outskirts of Santa Cruz): specialty in Cabrito.
- Casa Goyo (near the airport): fish specialty, with sea views.
- Restaurant Casa Osmunda (outskirts of Santa Cruz): fusion/creative food restaurant with a base of traditional Canarian cuisine.
- El Mesón (outskirts of Santa Cruz): traditional food with good prices.
- Restaurante Chipi-Chipi (outskirts of Santa Cruz): restaurant highly recommended by everyone we came across, specializing in grilled meats.
Restaurants where to eat in Los Llanos and surroundings:
- Balcón Taburiente (outskirts of Los Llanos): restaurant with an incredible view of the Caldera de Taburiente.
- La Cantina del Geco (El Paso): very good Italian that was recommended to us by our Airbnb hosts and we liked it so much that we repeated.
- Restaurant Franchipani (between El Paso and Los Llanos): high quality restaurant with Spanish and international cuisine and an excellent wine list. It has become our favorite on the island.
- Bar Dos Pinos (between El Paso and Los Llanos): small bar next to a gas station where Isla Bonita Tours took us for breakfast on the way to the volcano tour, it has excellent pinchos.
Restaurants where to eat in Fuencaliente surroundings:
- Restaurante Temático El Jardín de la Sal (Salinas de Fuencaliente). It was also recommended to us by Jonás (from Isla Bonita Tours) and it was a great choice. In February, when we went, it was only open until 7 pm, so we booked a table for 2 pm, to arrive just after the Little Route of the Volcanoes from Los Canarios. We had prawns in salt and a sea bass for two, also in salt, for 65€ with two glasses of wine, dessert and coffees.
- Pizzeria Fuencaliente (Fuencaliente): tasty pizzas both to eat there and to take away, we tried a couple of times for dinner in our Airbnb after full days touring the island.
Restaurants where to eat in the Northeast of La Palma :
- Restaurante La Gaviota ( La Fajana), recommended by Jonás (Isla Bonita Tours) for good fish.
- El Asador del Campesino (Barlovento)
Restaurants where to eat in the Northwest of La Palma :
- Bodegas Eufrosina Perez Rodriguez, also known as Bodegas el Nispero, you can eat traditional Canarian food while tasting their wines.
- Cervecería Isla Verde (Tijarafe): next to the brewery of this craft beer from La Palma, we can enjoy tapas and delicious dishes accompanied by their beer. I do not know what we liked more, if the beers, the portions, or the views: all 10.
La Palma itineraries
As you have seen, La Palma is an island with many things to see and do, so to get to know the island well you will need at least a whole week. As this is not always possible, here are some suggestions of itineraries for 3, 5 and 7 days.
Things to do in La Palma in 2-3 days (a weekend)
A weekend is very little time to visit an island as heterogeneous as La Palma, so if you only have 2 or 3 days you will have to choose very well what you want to visit, since there is not enough time for everything. We leave you a suggested itinerary of 3 days with what we consider the highlights of La Palma, trying to make the most of the time although not devoting all the time that each of the places deserves:
3-day itinerary in La Palma:
- Day 1: Santa Cruz, Playa Nogales, San Andres y Sauces, Charco Azul, La Fajana (if time permits, Cubo de la Galga trail).
- Day 2: Ascent to Roque de los Muchachos to visit the area from Santa Cruz, descent on the other side to continue to Porís de la Candelaria, Mirador del Time, Tazacorte, Los Llanos, Mirador la Cumbrecita.
- Day 3: Tour to Tajogaite Volcano and south of the island (Fuencaliente, Salinas y Faro, Playa de Echentive, San Antonio and Teneguía Volcanoes), do a short volcano tour if time permits.
Things to do in La Palma in 4-5 days
With 4 or 5 days you will have time to get to know the north and the south well, although you will still have to discard things. You can do the same route of 2-3 days proposed in the previous section, doing it in a more relaxed way, or you can add places to get to know more. Here is a suggested route for 5 days in La Palma.
5-day itinerary in La Palma:
- Day 1: Santa Cruz
- Day 2: Caldera de Taburiente Trail, Tazacorte and Los Llanos
- Day 3: Ascent to Roque de los Muchachos to visit the area (from Santa Cruz), descent on the other side to continue to Porís de la Candelaria, Mirador del Time, Mirador la Cumbrecita.
- Day 4: Trail through Bosque de Los Tilos (Nacientes Marcos y Cordero or Cubo de La Galga), La Fajana, Charco Azul, San Andrés y Sauces, Playa Los Nogales.
- Day 5: Tour to Tajogaite Volcano and south of the island (Fuencaliente, Salinas y Faro, Playa de Echentive, San Antonio and Teneguía Volcanoes), do a short volcano tour if time permits.
Things to do in La Palma in 6-7 days (one week)
We consider one week the ideal time to dedicate to La Palma (although if you have more days, even better to include more plans and/or take it easy). Here is our suggested itinerary for 7 days.
7-day itinerary in La Palma:
- Day 1: Santa Cruz and surroundings
- Day 2: Caldera de Taburiente Trail, Tazacorte and Los Llanos
- Day 3: Ascent to Roque de los Muchachos to visit the area (from Santa Cruz), descent on the other side to continue to Porís de la Candelaria, Mirador del Time, Mirador la Cumbrecita.
- Day 4: Trail through Bosque de Los Tilos (Nacientes Marcos y Cordero or Cubo de La Galga), La Fajana, Charco Azul, San Andrés y Sauces, Playa Los Nogales.
- Day 5: Tour to Tajogaite Volcano and continue to Las Manchas, Caños del Fuego Interpretation Center.
- Day 6: Volcanoes Route, Fuencaliente, Salt Flats and Lighthouse, Echentive Beach)
- Day 7: Northwest of the island (Santo Domingo with its viewpoints and petroglyphs, La Zarza Park, Gofio Museum, Puntagorda and its port, Los Dragos viewpoint and Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria Church).
Transportation: rent a car in La Palma
In our opinion, as in the rest of the Canary Islands, it is essential to rent a car to be able to travel freely and get to know the corners of La Palma.
In the Canary Islands we usually rent with Pluscar which in general is the one with the cheapest prices, all inclusive and possibility to modify/cancel the reservation easily, although we always compare with the rest of companies because depending on the demand and the season it can vary. We recommend you to use comparators like DiscoverCars to find the best prices (although we recommend you to check the conditions of each company and not only the price).
Other recommended companies in La Palma are (all of them have fully comprehensive insurance without excess, second driver included and “return the same” fuel policy):
- Cicar and Cabrera Medina (they are the same company)
- Payless (the low cost of the above)
- Topcar (with an excess of 500€)
On our various trips in the Canary Islands, we have rented with several of these companies (so far with Pluscar, Cicar, Cabrera Medina and Autoreisen), in all cases without any problems. On our trip to La Palma in February 2022, we rented with Pluscar the most basic car (a VW Up!) for 8 days and paid 16€/day. We spent 86€ on gasoline (2 tanks for 1200 km).
As we say, it is advisable to compare prices so it is ideal to use comparators such as DiscoverCars to see what is cheaper depending on the dates.
Important: most car rental companies do not cover damages caused by driving on unpaved roads.
Important 2: since the pandemic, the rental companies had to sell part of their fleet to hold on and now they have difficulties to acquire more vehicles, so with less supply and the same or more demand, prices have risen and it is possible that in high tourist seasons they may be sold out or have prohibitive prices. Therefore, it is very important to try to book as far in advance as possible.
Is it dangerous or difficult to drive in La Palma?
Due to the orography of the island, high altitude in a small space, most of the roads are winding, which guarantees incredible views and “entertainment” for those who enjoy driving on this type of roads, but also some respect/fear for those who do not.
In our opinion it is not dangerous to drive on most of the roads of La Palma: most of them are in good condition and you just have to be mentally prepared that the routes, although short in kilometers, take quite a long time due to the curves, and drive carefully and attentively.
There are specific cases (such as the access road to the parking lots of Porís de la Candelaria) not suitable for people who do not feel 100% safe driving a car on hills: this road, for example, is very steep and narrow, making meeting another car in the opposite direction can be a drama of maneuvering to a point where both vehicles can pass.
To get an idea of the distances and times and the type of roads, just simulate on Google Maps some typical routes you will have to take:
- Santa Cruz – Los Llanos: 28km, 42m
- Santa Cruz – Fuencaliente: 28km, 40m
- Santa Cruz – La Fajana: 30km, 45m
- Santa Cruz – Roque de Los Muchachos: 43km, 1h15
Note especially the number of curves!
In our case, in 8 days we drove 1200km, and according to the information panel of the car, we drove at an average speed of 34km/h! It is worth mentioning that since we stayed in Fuencaliente, we drove much more kilometers than we would have done if we had stayed in Santa Cruz or Los Llanos. The best advice we can give you is to drive slowly, travel without rushing (try not to fit too many plans in each day) and enjoy the views!
How much does it cost to travel to La Palma?
Making an indicative budget is always a complicated task because it depends greatly on factors such as your travel style, what you prefer to prioritize, in what season you travel, etc.; but here we will give you an approximation.
The approximate budget for travel to La Palma would be (we reiterate that prices are ORIENTATIVE and may vary at any time, check the prices of everything before deciding on your trip to avoid unexpected surprises):
- Flights: with low cost companies like Ryanair you can find flights from 40€ round trip per person, from Madrid. Use comparators like Skyscanner and Kiwi to find the best price.
- Car rental: from 15€ per day for the cheapest car, which is usually a Panda/VW Up/Twingo or similar (depending on the company and the number of days), all inclusive. Gasoline is cheaper in the Canary Islands, it will depend on the kms you do, as a guideline a tank of an economic car is about 50-60€. Use comparators like DiscoverCars to see what is cheaper depending on the dates.
- Accommodation: from 50€/night for a room with private bathroom or self-catering apartment. Find accommodation of all types and prices on Booking, with up to 15% discount.
- Restaurant meals: between €10 and €20 per person.
- Tours: 20 to 60€ per person per tour.
- Tickets to attractions: They usually cost between €5 and €15 per person, depending on the attraction.
In total, as a guideline, a one-week trip to La Palma with a rented car can cost between 70 and 90€ per person (with the cheapest options of car, accommodation and restaurants).
Useful Apps for traveling to La Palma
- Windy (Android / iOS / Web): essential app for our trips. It allows you to see forecasts of rain, clouds, wind, etc. to help you plan your days based on the weather (as there are places that lose a lot depending on the weather). Obviously, the forecasts are not 100% reliable. It also shows the available webcams
- Google Maps (Android / iOS): is the one we use to save/classify all the places we want to go/have gone and as GPS in rental cars. You can see other people’s opinions of the places, photos, restaurant menus, phone numbers of the places to contact them, etc.
- Maps.me (Android / iOS): an application similar to Google Maps but works offline (although Google Maps can also work offline) and in many cases has information that Google Maps does not have, especially trails.
Recommendations to enjoy La Palma
- Give your trip extra sensitivity in both your choices and your comments. Last September 2021 lava made its way to the surface of the island of La Palma generating a new mountain -recently named Tajogaite volcano- razing entire villages on its way to the sea. We always keep it in mind but on this trip, the urgency to support the people of La Palma was a cross-cutting theme, both in preparing and living it, from accommodation to where to eat. And it is for this reason that we make special emphasis on this section of recommendations: always prioritize the local, but on this trip even more.
- Respect at all times the rules found in national parks (such as Taburiente) and protected areas (such as the area affected by the recent eruption of the Tajogaite volcano): read carefully what is written on the signs of the sites you visit.
- Avoid going to places where animals are kept in captivity for human entertainment – don’t be an accomplice to animal abuse!
- Respect other people and the island: don’t play your music loud (if you want to listen to music, wear headphones), don’t leave trash, don’t throw cigarette butts, etc. Leave the place where you go better than you found it.
- In some beaches or puddles of the island, bathing is dangerous, due to strong currents. Do not be brave.
- Always travel with travel insurance: it is always advisable but in times of pandemic, even more so. Medical expenses due to Covid-19, theft, or problems with your plane on a trip can cost you a lot of money, so it is ideal that you take out travel insurance that includes it. We always use IATI which includes all this and we recommend it. If you take out your insurance through this link you get a 5% discount.
Checklist: what to pack in your backpack/suitcase for La Palma
Here is a list of must-haves that you can’t forget to take with you on your trip to La Palma:
- A water bottle like one of these to carry water with you at all times. You will avoid using single-use plastic.
- Binoculars like these for bird watching on the peaks of the island.
- A neck warmer like one of these to protect you from the wind.
- Booties like these from Cressi (transparent, comfortable and quick-drying) or these, if you prefer another material that fits better, ideal for walking on volcanic puddles.
- Snorkel kit/glasses to enjoy the seabed. Here you have a kit for less than 20€.
- Reef friendly sunscreen, i.e. free of coral damaging chemicals, oxybenzone free, and not tested on animals, such as this one or this one.
- Cap, the sun is very strong
- Trekking shoes. We have these from Columbia.
- Long sleeve lycra T-shirt with UV protection that we wear to protect us from cold water or the sun when snorkeling, such as one of these.
- Waterproof bag, to keep your electronic devices safe, this one for example costs 12€.
- Microfiber towel, which occupies little and you will use for the beach. If you don’t have one you can buy the typical ones from Decathlon or these others
- Camera to record the adventures on La Palma. We took a Sony A5100 and a GoPro for underwater images.
- Power bank: with so many photos you will spend a lot of battery, so it always comes in handy to carry a good power bank. We travel with these 2(Xiaomi and Anker), which allow us to charge our smartphones, camera and GoPro.In this post we tell you about all the gadgets we take with us when we travel (travel working online remotely).
- First aid kit: in our first aid kit there is always a medicine against seasickness (such as biodramine for seasickness on boats), antibiotics, anti-diarrhea (and some probiotics to recover more quickly), antihistamines, painkillers and antipyretics and, of course, travel insurance (through this link you have a 5% discount).
We say goodbye to the island looking at that imposing new mountain created by the eruption of Tajogaite and the new fajana, the youngest landscape in Europe, with awe, respect, empathy and hope for the future. Looking forward to stepping on your feet again, La Palma. You are amazing, you are amazing, see you soon!
Disclaimer: Isla Bonita Tours helped us get to know part of the beautiful island of La Palma with two of their tours, but all opinions and information expressed in this post are our own.
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