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La Palma, Canary

La Palma is an island of the Canary Islands, which are an integral part of Spain. It is near Morocco, Cape Verde and the archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira, both Portuguese. The nickname of the island is "La Isla Bonita" (the beautiful island).

Cities

  • Santa Cruz de La Palma
  • Los Llanos de Aridane

La Palma has an area of 706 km2 making it the fifth largest of the seven main Canary Islands.

The island has a small population of just under a hundred thousand. It has one major port (Santa Cruz de la Palma), a second small port (Tazacorte) and an international airport (SPC).

Ethnically the population is mostly Hispanic (actually a mix of Spanish, Berber, and Portuguese), with a small number of European immigrants and a very small number of African and Eastern European immigrants. The island exports bananas, rum, gofio and some tobacco, and... Read more

La Palma, Canary

Destination:

La Palma is an island of the Canary Islands, which are an integral part of Spain. It is near Morocco, Cape Verde and the archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira, both Portuguese. The nickname of the island is "La Isla Bonita" (the beautiful island).

Cities

  • Santa Cruz de La Palma
  • Los Llanos de Aridane

La Palma has an area of 706 km2 making it the fifth largest of the seven main Canary Islands.

The island has a small population of just under a hundred thousand. It has one major port (Santa Cruz de la Palma), a second small port (Tazacorte) and an international airport (SPC).

Ethnically the population is mostly Hispanic (actually a mix of Spanish, Berber, and Portuguese), with a small number of European immigrants and a very small number of African and Eastern European immigrants. The island exports bananas, rum, gofio and some tobacco, and hosts a major international astronomical observatory.

Climate

La Palma has a mild and consistent tropical semi-arid climate, which in the Köppen climate classification is represented as BSh. It has significant influences of the Mediterranean climate due to its quite wet winters. For a Canary island, the weather is quite cloudy, as La Palma is far more exposed to marine air systems than easterly islands.


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La Palma, Canary: Port Information


Free shuttle buses transport passengers between their ships and the cruise terminal.
The cruise port on the Island of La Palma is located just five minutes from the capital city of Santa Cruz de La Palma.
After arriving in Santa Cruz, you can simply walk along the Avenida Maritime Promenade to the Old Quarter.
 

Get around La Palma, Canary


A hire car is the best option for discovering the remote wilderness regions. Roads are well-maintained and marked for traffic control. Only sharp turns and verticals on side roads may challenge some drivers.

By bus

Buses provide an excellent and reliable service. Do not expect the drivers to know more than a couple of sentences in English or German, though they will try to be helpful.

By taxi

Taxis can be expensive, and inside a city, they are not worth the money unless you are in a real hurry or can't balance yourself after a shopping day. It is unlikely that you would be cheated. 

 

What to see in La Palma, Canary


There are a few nice towns, but the main attraction is the countryside. Spectacular volcanic landscapes reaching up above the clouds with dense vegetation in the valleys make for some spectacular hiking.

The highest point on the island, El Roque de los Muchachos (2426m - about 8000 feet), is easily accessible by car most of the year and the views from there are spectacular and provide a good introduction to the geography of the island (note that access is restricted at night as this is the site of a major international astronomical observatory - always read the signposts - also note that roads and trails can be closed for a few days in the winter due to snow). There is a very extensive network of marked walking trails over the whole island which are well signposted and walking maps are available from the tourist office in Santa Cruz.

Along the northeast coast, you'll find masses of intricately terraced crops (especially bananas) interlaced with small towns and villages.

In the middle of the island, there is Caldera de Taburiente, a huge erosion crater which is one of the biggest in the world. Guided hikes to the caldera are available. During winter months hiking on the river bed in the caldera can be really dangerous because rain can cause flash floods.

The capital of the island, Santa Cruz, has lots of well preserved old buildings and cobblestone streets. Along Avenida Maritima, you can see old Canarian balconies made from the Canary pine.

What to do in La Palma, Canary


Los Tilos walk - if possible get four-wheel taxi up to start of the walk. Then walk around the canal (what in Madeira would be called a levada) following the contours of a steep tree-lined barranco walking through 13 tunnels (stooping to avoid hitting your head). Tunnel number 12 is wet inside - one guide book described it as like a power-shower. Then down through the laurisilva forest (a tiring but stunning descent of about 1000m). Also, don't miss the lookout - a volcanic dyke about two feet wide with sheer drops on both sides, but protected by handrails with totally stunning 360-degree views - makes Symond's Yat look a bit pathetic. Details of the walk are in Walk! La Palma and also in the Sunflower book guide though take the times given for the walk with a pinch of salt - this took us about 6 hours. But well worth the effort. See picture at right.

Ruta del los Volcanos - part of the GR 131 long distance path - along the length of the Cumbre Vieja, a route with fabulous views all around, and with volcanic craters for most of the length. Again, quite a demanding walk on a hot day and dust kicked up by walking companions gets everywhere, but a stunningly memorable walk.

For the fit and enthusiastic, there is the GR130 walking route which goes right around La Palma mainly on the historic donkey paths. It takes a minimum of seven days which would require walking around eight hours of tough walking daily. If possible take at least a couple of days extra. Can be done on a budget by using pensions where possible. The constantly changing scenery is stunning, you will meet some interesting locals on the way and it is an experience to remember.

The island also organizes the Transvolcania which is a run up the Volcano route - and beyond.

What to eat and drink in La Palma, Canary


Eat

Goat - cabrito (young goat, usually fried) Cabra (older goat, usually stewed). Bienmesabe - means 'tastes me good' and it does - ground almonds in honey, it is very sweet.
Papas arrugadas, small potatoes boiled in a salty water in their skin, are typical fare on La Palma like they are on the other Canary islands.
Mojos, red (rojo) and green (verde) are also typical on La Palma.

Drink

Espresso with sweetened condensed milk, and sometimes a shot of alcoholic liquor is a local specialty - Barraquito. The island has a large number of vineyards. Shakespeare mentioned the Malvasia (sweet Malmsey) coming from the Canary Islands. Excellent wine made on La Palma can be bought at specialist outlets and at most supermarkets.

Shopping in La Palma, Canary


Pedestrian streets with numerous shops, lively markets, designer boutiques, souvenir shops - there are multiple places to buy something as a memento of your day spend in La Palma. For example, cheese and wine, jewelry, embroidery and other locally produced handicrafts, as well as clothes, accessories, souvenirs, etc.

Safety in La Palma, Canary


112 is the common emergency number.

Use your common sense like in any other place and you'll be fine. 

Language spoken in La Palma, Canary


Spanish is the official language. English is widely spoken in tourist places.

LOCAL TIME

2:10 pm
December 10, 2018
Atlantic/Canary

CURRENT WEATHER

22 °C / 71.6 °F
scattered clouds
Tue

18.3 °C/65 °F
broken clouds
Wed

17.21 °C/63 °F
sky is clear
Thu

16.77 °C/62 °F
sky is clear
Fri

19.97 °C/68 °F
sky is clear

LOCAL CURRENCY

EUR

1 USD = 0.88 EUR
1 GBP = 1.11 EUR
1 AUD = 0.63 EUR
1 CAD = 0.66 EUR

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