La Palma is an island of the Canary Islands.
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.
La Palma has a mild and consistent subtropical semi-arid climate.
La Palma Airport serves the island, and several airlines run services to and from it. Destinations include Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Madrid, Amsterdam, London, Brussels, Manchester, several German cities, and seasonal flights to Bilbao and Barcelona.
There is ferry service to and from the island.
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.
Buses provide an excellent and reliable service. A bus ticket never costs more than €2 if you don't need to change bus. Do not expect the drivers to know more than a couple of sentences in English or German, though they will try to be helpful.
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.
Espresso with sweetened condensed milk, and sometimes a shot of alcoholic liquor is a local speciality -- Barraquito. The island has a large amount 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.
Locally made rum is also available.
There are tourist hotels and apartments in both Santa Cruz and Los Llanos, the two main 'cities' on the islands. Also in Los Cancajos and Puerto Naos (the two main beach locations), plus Barlovento in the north and Los Canarios in the south.
There is a wide variety of country cottage and gites-type accommodation in most parts of the island. These are referred to as casitas and are bookable via the government run website www.islabonita.com, various agencies or privately.
There are three pensions in Santa Cruz called, La Cubana, La Fuente and Los Canarios which have a range of accommodation from apartment to basic room with prices to reflect this. There is a very nice hostel in Los Llanos de Aridane, called Rosaburiente. Also pensions in Los Sauces, San Andres, Roque Faro, Puntagorda and Los Canarios.
Camping is allowed on La Palma at the following designated camp sites, although a permit is required (except at La Rosa):- Centro de Naturaleza La Rosa at Puntagorda which is two minutes from the main road and on the GR130 walking route. You can walk to the shops/restaurants in Puntagorda, Refugio El Pilar above El Paso which is accessible by road (no bus service) and is right on the GR131 route and at the start of the volcano route. Permit from the Casa Forestal at the side of the Visitors Centre above El Paso. La Laguna de Barlovento permit available on site and there is also a restaurant/bar here and Caldera de Taburiente only accessible on foot - 4 hour walk or Land Rover taxi and two hour walk - and you will need to take all your own supplies. A permit is required - ask at Visitors Centre. Charges are usually small and facilities usually good/rustic. All a great experience though!
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