Portray of the Destination
Undoubtedly, La Palma is a green paradise. Perhaps, it is not a green paradise in the classical meaning (referring to dense vegetation), but rather because of its virginity. Not in vain, the UNESCO declared the island a Biosphere Reserve. The natural beauty is the main attraction in La Palma, in addition to its cultural aspects, American mixture and Andalusian colonization history and magnificent architecture.
Basically, this island is a large mountainous rock covered by vegetation, where the higher peaks –in the central area- reach 2000 meters (6561 feet). Therefore, La Palma offers an active tourism, characterized by the desire to walk in a warm environment with temperatures near 20°C (68ºF) throughout the year and to go around wonderful landscapes; and that is evidenced by the fact that there are no calm beaches as you suppose to find in every island.
We would like to thank the “Patronato de Turismo del Excelentísimo Cabildo Insular de la Palma” for the information and photographs provided.
Pictures by Juan José Santos.
La Palma is located in the northwest area of the Canary archipelago. It is nearly 728 sq. km, with deep ravines, resembling an isosceles triangle which most acute vertex is south- oriented. It is considered one of the highest islands in the world in proportion to its surface area. It is represented by three mountain ranges: La Caldera de Taburiente (which is over 2,000 meters -6,562 feet-, up to the Roque de Los Muchachos at 2,426 -7,969 feet- above sea level); the Cumbre Nueva ridge and the Cumbre Vieja ridge (which was formed more recently and reaches 1,949 m -6394 feet)). La Palma island is volcanic in origin as the rest of the archipelago and, curiously, it is the only one presenting streams and rivers.
The entire archipelago enjoys subtropical weather, where the trade wind blows. It should be highlighted the fact that temperature contrasts among the different seasons as well as between night and day are tenuous. Actually, the thermometer seems to indicate always 20°C (68 ºF). Besides, La Palma registers low rainfall rates; however, it is the wettest island in the archipelago and, therefore, it is covered by green vegetation.
When to go
Although the average temperature is nearly 20°C (68 ºF) during almost all year and there are no significant variations, the rainy season takes place between November and March.
La Palma was incorporated to Spain –as the rest of the Canary archipelago- in 1492. Captain Alonso Fernández Lugo disembarked on the coast of Tazacorte and subdued the natives (called themselves auaritas), who did not offer resistance.
La Palma conquest was mainly based on Andalusian troops, who applied a livestock and agricultural economy to the region. That situation led the Santa Cruz de La Palma Port to become the third port most important within the Spanish Empire, after the Seville and Antwerp Ports.
One of the most successful trades was sugarcane, introduced from the Americas; but in the 16th century, it started to decline. Then, La Palma began to substitute sugarcane for wine, which achieved huge fame during the 17th and 18th centuries.
In 1936, La Palma underwent one of its most famous and tragic historical events: the so-called Red Week, when a group of republicans resisted the Franco revolution that finally defeated them. Some decades ago, La Palma had certain communication and supply problems, which caused cultural decrease and significant emigration flows, stopped nowadays. The establishment of the Canary Government Autonomy was a key factor for its recovery.
There are many unique and original festivities in La Palma. One of them is called Los Indianos [the Spanish-American], in which the island residents commemorate the arrival of their ancestors to the island simulating the arrival to the port. This festival takes place within the carnival celebrations; there are parades and “battles” of talcum powder.
Another age-old celebration is the Festivity of Our Lady of Nieves, patron saint of the island; since 1680, the Virgin has led a procession every five years (the last procession took place in June 2005). According to a legend, Bishop Bartolomé García Ximenez came up with the idea of performing a feast to commemorate the virgin in order to revert the adverse effects of drought. And he did so successfully. Nowadays, this popular festivity consists in the descent of the virgin [Bajada de la Virgen], the 18th C Feast, and the “Danza de los Enanos” (Dwarfs Dance), among other events. The “Danza de los Enanos” is one of the most remarkable events in La Palma: a group of men wearing long tunics sing and perform slow and rhythmic movements; then, they enter into a hut, and get out converted into dwarfs dancing at the polka rhythm. But the list of celebration is longer and covers the entire Island. In March, the almond in blossom celebration takes place; in August, the Fuecaliente grape harvest is celebrated; and, in October, the Battle of Lepanto is commemorated.
The Canary Islands has never been particularly rich regarding natural produce. Therefore, many of such elements are imported from other places. An example of that are potatoes. However, La Palma is an exception within the archipelago context. Agriculture throve and many special natural products can be found there. One of the most typical features is the gofio -a dish cooked on the basis of wheat, barley or corn flour roasted-, which usually accompanies any meal.
Being an inexhaustible source for the entire archipelago, the sea obviously offers some of its best elements: periwinkles, limpets, fish, octopuses and groupers.
One of the most common recipes is the puchero, a kind of stew with a lot of ingredients which varies according to the different type of meat used: kid goat, rabbit or lamb. Finally, there are three typical products in the Canary Island: cheeses (appreciated allover the world), wines and different types of liquors and almonds.
YES: si. NO: no. HELLO: hola. GOOD BYE: adios. GOOD MORNING: buenos días. GOOD AFTERNOON: buenas tardes. GOOD NIGHT: buenas noches. PLEASE: por favor. SORRY: lo siento. THANK YOU: gracias. DOCTOR: médico. PHARMACY: farmacia. NUMBERS: 1: un. 2: dos. 3: tres. 4: cuatro. 5: cinco. 6: seis. 7: siete. 8: ocho. 9: nueve. 10: diez. 11: once. 12: doce. 13: trece. 14: catorce. 15: quince. 16: dieciséis. 17: diecisiete. 18: dieciocho. 19: diecinueve. 20: veinte. 21: veintiuno. 22: veintidós. 30: treinta. 40: cuarenta. 50: cincuenta. 60: sesenta. 70: setenta. 80: ochenta. 90: noventa. 100: cien. 1000: mil. DAYS OF THE WEEK: MONDAY: lunes. TUESDAY: martes. WEDNESDAY: miércoles. THURSDAY: jueves. FRIDAY: viernes. SATURDAY: sábado. SUNDAY: domingo. COMMON WORDS: BIG/SMALL: grande/pequeño. HOT/COLD: caliente/frío. OPEN/CLOSED: abierto/cerrado. GOOD/BAD: bueno/malo. NEW/OLD: nuevo/viejo. PUSH/PULL: empujar/tirar. ENTRANCE/EXIT: entrada/salida. LADIES/GENTLEMEN: señoras/señores. FAR/NEAR: lejos/cerca. LEFT/RIGHT: izquierda/derecha. TAXI: taxi. BUS: autobús. MEALS: BREAKFAST: desayuno. LUNCH: comida. DINNER: cena. MENU: menú. WINES: vinos. DESSERT: postre. THE BILL: la cuenta. COMMON SENTENCES: DO YOU SPEAK ENGLISH?: ¿Habla inglés?. I DON'T UNDERSTAND: no entiendo. WHERE IS IT?: ¿donde está? HOW MUCH IS IT: ¿Cuánto es? WHAT TIME IS IT: ¿Qué hora es? COULD YOU HELP ME: ¿Puede ayudarme?
The official currency is the Euro. There are banknotes of 500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10 and 5 Euros and coins of 1 and 2 Euros and 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 cents.
1 EUR (Euro) = 1.20 U$D (United States Dollar), 1 EUR (Euro) = 0.66 GBP (Pound Sterling)
Compared with other countries of the European Union and, perhaps, due to its great tourist devotion, Spain is one of the cheaper countries for travelling. Obviously, prices vary depending on the season: they are higher in summer and lower in winter, i.e. off-season. Due to the isolation of the Canary Islands and its distance to the rest of Spain, some items are more expensive because of the transport cost from the European Continent.
San Miguel de La PalmaCountry
Kingdom of SpainTime Zone
0 GMTOfficial Language
708 sq. kmPopulation
85,547 residentsPolitical Regime
Constitutional MonarchyPublic holidays
January, 1st: New Year; January, 6th: The Three Kings Day; May 1st: Labour Day; August 5th : Our Lady Nieves; August 15th: Assumption of the Virgin Mary; October 12th: National Day of Spain; November 1st: All Saints’ Day; December 6th: Spanish Constitution Day; December 8th: Immaculate Conception day; December 25th: Christmas. Religion
Just like in the rest of Spain, most people in La Palma are Catholic and this is reflected even in its festivities. Besides, La Palma is a fervent site, i.e., it has strong faith.Religion
90% Catholics, 8% Muslims, 2% JewsArrival / Departure
La Palma is reachable either by sea or air. You can reach La Palma by sea taking one of the ferry lines that connect the island with the rest of the archipelago and that arrive at the capital city (Santa Cruz de La Palma). By air, you can reach the island by means of tourist charters, domestic and inter-island flights arriving at the local airport.Safety
As in the rest of Spain, security is a priority for the tourism authorities. In La Palma, you can go around calmly since this destination is safe and the robbery rates are low. You only have to take basic precautions, such as being careful with bags, handbags, and other personal belongings. Furthermore, the Canary government implemented an integral and independent security program, which aims at the coordination of all the public security services. Visa
Citizens of States Members of the European Union, Argentina, Mexico, the rest of the Latin-American countries and the United States are not required visa to enter Spain. However, in all cases, they must show their return ticket. Citizens from Australia, Anguilla, Bermuda, Brunei, Canada, Cyprus, South Korea, Hong Kong, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Israel, Japan, Macao, Malaysia, Montserrat, New Zealand, Saint Helena, Singapore, Turks and Caicos Islands do not need visa, provided that they stay in Spain for a time term shorter than 90 days.Clothing
Due to the fact that there are no temperature changes and it is always nearly 20°C, you need not to take coat clothing, but rather light clothing. You should just take a coat to wear at night because of the sea breeze or if you climb a mountain. It usually rains in La Palma. Electricity
220 volts, 50 mhz. The most common plugs are those having circular pins.Radio and Television
The main radio station is Radio Nacional de España. Regarding TV, the most remarkable channels are Televisión Canaria, TVE, Cuatro, Antena 3, Telecinco.Telephone
The code for Spain is 34 and the one for La Palma 922. In order to make international phone calls, you have to dial 00 first and then the code of the country and the telephone number. To make phone calls within Spain, no special code is required.
The most important operators are Amena (www.amena.com
), Movistar-Telefónica Móviles (www.movistar.tsm.es
) and Vodafone (www.vodafone.es
). In general, you can find public telephones on the street working with coins or cards that you can buy. You can also find “pay phone centers” (Locutorios), which are shops having telephone booths where you can make phone calls without using coins or cards, but rather paying in cash. In these centers, among other services, you can send and receive faxes and find PCs connected to the Internet paying for that service.Police
112Tourist health care services
112Newspapers and Magazines
Newspapers: “Canarias 7”, “Diario de Avisos”, “El Día”, “La Voz de Palma”, “La Opinión” and “Diario de Las Palmas”.Postal Service
The Spanish postal service is efficient. Letters are delivered in Europe within a time term of three to five days. A registered post costs a minimum of EUR 2.5. Opening hours are from 8.30 a.m. to 8.30 p.m. and on Saturdays from 8.30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
In Santa Cruz de la Palma –capital of the Island-, the post office is located at Plaza Constitución 2, (Telephone: +34 922 411 702). There are also post offices in Los Llanos de Aridane (General Franco 3. Telephone: +34 922 460 956), Tazacorte (Av. Felipe Lorenzo s/n. Telephone: +34 922-480-209), Breña Alta (Treinta de Mayo 70. Telephone: +34 922-437-000) and El Paso (Manuel Taño 8. Telephone: +34 922-485-589). You can find other post offices visiting www.correos.es
or phoning at +34 902-197-197.
Access to international post services (such as Fedex or UPS) is also possible.Health Care Services
In general, the Spanish health care system is good. There is no problem in that regard. In the Canary Islands in particular, a high quality level regarding hospitals has been achieved, under the direction of the local Health Care Service.Airport
The airport is located at only 8 kilometers from Santa Cruz de La Palma, capital city of the island. The station is along the coast and connects to the city through highway and bus services (La Bajita s/n, Villa de Mazo. Telephone: +34 922-426-140/922-426-100, fax: +34 922-426-219. www.aena.es
Due to the island size, the public transport network is reduced, but sufficient to cover all the needs. There are neither trains nor subways. Instead, there are good highways and a company that, with different lines, connects the towns of the island. In addition, there are sea transport services and air connections not only with the rest of the Canary Islands but also with the rest of Spain.Railway Bus
There is a bus network connecting the entire island, which –in fact- constitutes the sole public transport reaching the whole area. There are two main stations in the island: one of them is located in Santa Cruz de La Palma (Pedro de las Casas 3. Telephone: 922-411-924/922-414-441, fax: 922-414-443) and the other in Los Llanos de Aridane (Ramón Pol s/n. Telephone: 922-460-241, fax: 922-464-369). firstname.lastname@example.org
Due to the uneven surface, La Palma lacks a large highway network. However, there are many concentric highways connecting the main cities along the coast. In turn, there is an inner connection (nearly in the center of the island) joining Tazacorte to Santa Cruz de La Palma. You should drive carefully since these mountainous roads are quite winding. Car Rentals
The main car rental agencies are the following:
Europcar: La Palma Airport. Telephone: +34 922-372-882, fax: +34 922-371-874 (www.europcar.com
Hotel Taburiente: Los Cancajos s/n, Breña Baja. Telephone: +34 922-428-594, fax: +34 922-428-487; Aeropuerto de Mazo: Telephone +34 922-428-594, fax: +34 928-821-290 (www.hertz.com
Sea transport constitutes the most important transport for the island since, by such means, the island connects to the rest of the archipelago. There are three navy companies offering connections among the Canary Islands. Those companies are the following: Fred Olsen (Polígono Industrial Añaza s/n, Santa Cruz de Tenerife. Telephones: 922-628-200, 902-100-107, fax: 922-628-232. email@example.com
), Naviera Armas (Estación Marítima, local 3, Santa Cruz de La Palma. Telephone: 922-417-482. www.navieraarmas.com
) and Transmediterránea (A.Pérez de Brito 2, Santa Cruz de La Palma. Telephone: 922-418-265, fax: 922-418-252. www.transmediterranea.es
).Destination Tourism Office in Spain Spanish embassy in the destination Taking pictures See climate
www.worldweather.orgCurrency converterwww.xe.com/uccA dinner
From 20 eurosA coffee
1 euroThe Bus
From 1 euroThe taxi
1.02 EUR the minimum fare; you must add to this amount between 0.38 and 0.78 EUR -depending on the price- for kilometer traveled.