La Palma certainly stands out in the background of the other Canary Islands. So far, I’ve visited only four out of seven – Lanzarote, Tenerife, Gran Canaria and La Palma.
Although I have not visited the other 3, I know quite a lot about them thanks to my curiosity and poor attempts to speak Spanish with the locals.
First of all, and what I like most, La Palma is not as touristic as the rest of the islands. The small area and the absence of crazy tourist resorts have their perks. It’s the perfect place if you’re looking for a bit of peace and quiet.
Second, it’s the greenest of the Canary Islands (and we all know Stef loves green). It has long hiking trails throughout the mountain range and beautiful green scenery, which the forest lovers will adore.
And finally, it has a unique energy. Somehow, this island attracts a lot of spiritually-oriented people to itself. The easiest thing to do is to go out and find a free soul. This island is full of nomads, from backpackers and hippies to energy healers and Reiki masters.
General info about La Palma
La Palma, or “La Isla Bonita,” translated as the “Pretty Island,” is a volcanic Canary island. It is the most north-western of the Canarias, and therefore if you go into the vast Atlantic, you won’t encounter anything west for miles and miles away (scary thought).
It’s a small island (about 708 m2) but not overly populated. At last count, the population was 86,000. It might have gone up to 90,000 with all the Germans coming to paradise for their retirement years.
Not only is the island a proud owner of a UNESCO world heritage site, but it is one. In 2002, UNESCO declared the whole island a World Biosphere Reserve. For those of you who don’t know what this means – neither did I. A biosphere reserve comprises terrestrial, marine and coastal ecosystems and aims to restore “friendly” relations between biodiversity conservation and its sustainable use. And now you know.
Community and transport
A big city does not exist here. So for those of you who love the big city life, diverse nightlife and giant shopping malls – you’re better off going somewhere else. But don’t worry, the island offers everything that one might need! The two “largest” cities are Santa Cruz de La Palma (the capital city) and Los Llanos de Aridane, located on opposite sides of the island (east and west, respectively).
The airport and the port located in Santa Cruz are the connections to other islands. However, transport around the island is made pretty easy to use by the general public. The connection between the two major cities (line #300) occurs every half an hour. For more detailed information, check La Palma’s official bus timetable. Don’t forget you are on a pretty chill island, and don’t panic if your bus is not there on time.
La Palma has been called “the island of eternal spring,” which gives you an idea of the yearly weather. It’s never too hot, but it’s also never too cold. However, as for prediction, the weather is absolute madness. The island has created weather of its own, and no website or news channel can help you plan your week. Generally speaking, there are three rules to follow that will help you with planning:
- The west side is warmer.
Usually, the west side offers better weather conditions than the east. It’s warmer and drier.
- + 100 meters = – 1 degree.
Another thing to consider is that temperature drops by 1 degree every time you go up by 100 meters. BUT a cool breeze doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use sun protection! The sunlight here is more intense than in the rest of Europe.
- Beaches on the south side are calmer.
As for choosing a beach – the ocean in the north is generally more aggressive. Plus, there are not so many choices when it comes to beaches. Surfers are welcome there, but if you simply want to dip in calm waters and sunbathe, look into the more southern parts.
Nature and activities
With its 1000km hiking paths, La Palma won’t disappoint the nature lovers! The two large National Parks – Cumbre Vieja and La Caldera de Taburiente offer magnificent views for those who are willing to spear a sweat!
Caves, natural pools, volcanoes, magnificent viewpoints and clear skies, beaches and forests, dinosaur chasing, whatever you think of, La Palma has it all! I personally didn’t encounter a beach, which beauty was breathtaking, but there are quite a few good ones! For more details check out my other posts.