La Palma, also known as the “Isla Bonita” (the beautiful island), is a hidden treasure in the Canary Islands, offering an exclusive and authentic travel experience. It is a perfect destination for those looking to escape the crowds and explore an off-the-beaten-path part of Spain. In this travel guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about La Palma. Get insider intel on its history, culture, how to get there, where to stay, top attractions, local food and drink specialties, and practical travel tips.
Overview: History, Culture, and Interesting Facts
La Palma is the fifth-largest island in the Canary Islands archipelago, located off the coast of West Africa. The island has a rich history dating back to the 15th century, when the Spanish discovered it. Today, La Palma is known for its beautiful natural landscapes, including its volcanic terrain and lush forests. The island has a unique culture that blends Spanish, African, and Latin American influences.
How to Get There: Transportation Options, Travel Times, and Costs
The easiest way to reach La Palma is by air, with flights departing from major European cities such as Madrid, London, and Berlin. The island also has a ferry port, with regular ferry services operating between La Palma and the neighboring islands. Travel times and costs depend on your point of departure and preferred mode of transportation.
Luxury Hotels: Where to Stay in La Palma
La Palma offers a variety of luxury accommodations, from traditional Spanish villas to modern resorts. The Hotel Hacienda de Abajo by Vik Hotels Group, a former 17th-century sugar plantation, is a top choice for those seeking a wonderful experience. The hotel features a spa, restaurant, and beautifully landscaped gardens.
Top Attractions and Activities
La Palma has a variety of activities and attractions to keep visitors entertained. The Roque de los Muchachos Observatory, perched on a mountain peak, offers breathtaking views of the night sky. Other popular activities include hiking in the Caldera de Taburiente National Park, visiting the historic town of Santa Cruz de La Palma, and swimming in the natural pools at Charco Azul.
Local Food and Drink Specialties
La Palma is renowned for its local food and drink specialties. Visitors must try papas arrugadas (salt-boiled potatoes) served with mojo (a spicy sauce), fresh seafood. Don’t forget the banana liqueur, the island’s signature drink. One essential dish is the almogrote, a cheese spread made from local goat’s cheese, olive oil, and garlic.
Travel Tips: Best Time to Visit, What to Pack, and Local Customs
The best time to visit La Palma is during the spring or autumn months when the weather is mild, and the crowds are smaller. It’s recommended to pack comfortable walking shoes, a hat, and sunscreen as many of the island’s attractions involve outdoor activities. When visiting local villages, it’s important to respect local customs and traditions, such as dressing modestly and not taking photos of people without their consent.
The ideal time to explore La Palma is during the pleasant spring or autumn months when the climate is mild, and the number of tourists is lower. It’s a good idea to bring along comfy walking shoes, a hat, and sunscreen since most of the island’s activities are outdoors. While exploring the local villages, it’s crucial to respect their traditions and dress modestly. Also, it’s polite to ask for permission before clicking photos of the locals.
Summary: Why Isla Bonita (La Palma) is Worth Visiting
La Palma is a unique and authentic destination offering something for every type of traveler. From its natural beauty and rich history to its delicious food and drink specialties, Isla Bonita is a hidden gem worth exploring.
Want to explore more off the beaten track destinations? Check out Off The Beaten Track: Exploring Three Of The World’s Most Unique Islands and Greek Islands You Never Knew Existed (But Should!).