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La Palma

Nature, high fiving you in the face ...

Story by Matthew Ling April 1st, 2015


I wasn’t sure what to expect from La Palma. It’s one of the least well known of the Canary Islands. Our adventure started at the airport. A mechanical signal to the natural theatre that would great us was standing right across from the airport exit…

First stop, first photo op. La Punta. There is a perfectly situated cliffside café which looks out over Los Llanos that has breathtaking views over Los Muchachos and on out to sea. The large white patches are covered banana plantations, I learned. One of the many fruits and vegetables that grow in incredible abundance around the island.


The neighbours

People here love their dogs, which is great as I love dogs too. They’re quite territorial, but they seem to get to know you pretty quickly and come out for a quick sniff around when you walk by their patch.



The wild variance and abundance of plants, vegetables and fruits that grow on La Palma is staggering. Everywhere you look there is something thriving, avocados, apples, oranges, bananas, almonds. You name it.


Volcán Teneguía

The most recently active of the volcanoes on La Palma. The landscape was very martian. Moonlike landscapes covered the area around the mouth and down the side of the hill that led down to the blue sea. This was where we tackled our first hike on the Island. A “short” 4 hour-er 10k down the side (and back up again) of a volcano.
Windswept palmerisch Pine Tree. To the lower left, the mouth of the Volcano.
One of our hosts, showing us who's hiking boss ... :)
Litertally touching the clouds at this peak


Despite the appearance of that bleak landscape around the Volcano, the Island still surprises you with beautiful plants and vegetation growing in what looks like completely inhospitable grounds.



Not to be missed is the incredible wine that is produced here. The vines seem to snake along the ground, on first look it’s hard to believe that these stalks will yield any grapes of any kind. The result takes on this smoky flavour of the volcanic ash in which it grows. Truly unique.




every day a painting

Our hosts on the Island said that every day they look out of their home in the morning they get a new present. We quickly understood what they meant.


Caldera de Taburiente

Our second, much longer, and more stunning hike was a 16k route from midway up the Caldera de Taburiente, down though the pine forests and then onwards on the floor of a mostly dry river bed. The river can fill up quite quickly during rainy conditions which was fairly exciting and nerve wracking, considering early March is winter on La Palma and potentially a rainy season. There are so many sensory highlights during this hike but the one that sticks out is standing at the edge of one of the trails and letting a warm thermal breeze carry the scent of the pines upwards along the edge and then blast you in the face with the unbelievable scented air from the warmed pine. I couldn’t get enough of it.

Twin Pines (back to the future?)
One of the many chances to experience a pine fuelled thermal ...

The river floor

It’s nerve wracking and exhilerating to hike a good few kilometers along a river floor.


yin yang

During the day it’s the land that vies for your attention, but once the sun sets, it’s the sky takes over with a totally new set of rules.


Colour colour colour

These kinds of house colours chime very will with an Irishman. Here are some beautiful homes around Los Llanos and Santa Cruz.

Footnote: Copyright Matthew Ling, All rights reserved. Reproduction in any form, digital or print is prohibited without express written permission.