Hiking in La Palma

La Palma, unique winter hiking paradise

La Palma is the western island of the Canary Archipelago which is located in the Atlantic ocean, 150km far away from the Moroccan coast. This Canary Island is known as Isla Bonita, the beautiful island thanks to the green landscapes wrapped in a volcanic geology. All this makes the island unique in the world with untouched forests, coasts and volcanic scenes that you can discover walking the best trails of La Palma. 

Hiking in La Palma is an experience that can’t be explained with words. The beauty of the island makes hiking the main attraction, keeping always the essence of it.

Best trails of La Palma

 

La Palma has a Footpath Network with almost 1000 km. It means that there are many routes that one can choose but the best hikes of La Palma are the ones that goes through Cumbre vieja and Teneguia, Cresteria and in the north east coast where the landscape is completely different and the green forests are unique in all the Canary islands.

-Gr131: The GR131 is the best long trail of the canary Islands. Passes by the highest points of La Palma and crosses from south to north the island.

-Volcanoes Trail: the most known trail in La Palma goes across the volcanic landscape of the south reaching the highest volcano, La Deseada. 

-Los Tilos and Cubo de Galga: these 2 hikes are the most beautiful walks that goes though the greenest forests of the Canary Islands.

La Palma guide – Practical Information

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How to get

Getting to La Palma is possible from Europe by plane from several airports, especially from Spain and Germany and as well from other islands by boat and plane.

From the islands of Gran Canaria, and Tenerife there are cheap flights every day. It’s often cheaper to fly to one of these islands and to fly or take a from there with CanaryFly, Binter, Fred Olsen or Naviera Armas.

Germany there are many cities that are connected with Easy Jet and Germania. From Spain, there are weekly connections with Iberia and Vueling.

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Accomodation

Wild camping or bivouac in La Palma is regulated, as in other regions of Spain, by every town and rural municipality and it’s hard to know all the regulations but in general, is NOT allowed. Here we are not going to tell you where we stayed without being caught, we will post only the legal places to pitch your tent. There are two camping areas where having a permission is completely free to stay with your tent for a maximum of a week. It’s needed to follow the instructions of the official site.

During the GR131 there are few places where is possible to stay. Hostels, hotels and apartments are only found in Fuencaliente. In El Reventon pass there is a small building with no facilities where is possible to overnight. There is a mountain hut with running water and better conditions to overnight in Punta de Los Roques.  In El Paso and in Caldera de Taburiente there are camping areas where is possible to stay for a maximum of 7 days taking a permission in advance.   

Airbnb can be as well a good resource in those cases where there’s not a hostel or when you are a group of 3 or more. You can get 25€ off for your next trip here! It can be hard to find a host in many places of La Palma using Couchsurfing due to lack of active hosts.

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How to get around

In La Palma is possible to do hitchhike at all the roads because there aren’t motorways. Can be useful to ask directly to drivers in touristic parking lots or in petrol stations. Hitchhiking in La Palma is easy thanks to the size of the island and thanks to German tourists, who are more likely to pick up hitchhikers.

Renting a car in La Palma can be a good option for travelling around the west coast if the costs are shared. Cars can be rented for less than 15 euros per day and petrol is really cheap (below 1€/l in 2018).

Public transport

Public transport in La Palma island connects the main villages but rarely offers good connections with hikes. The prices of the buses are very cheap, Google Maps works perfectly with the public transport option and shows the fastest way to go and schedule, it’s better to check it out in Google Maps than in the Bus company site.

What to see and do

Tourists that visit La Palma are usually hikers due to the main attraction in La Palma is to hike and explore the island on foot. The landscape that it offers is rare to see due to the volcanic origin and the wet climate that has this beautiful island. It’s particularly beautiful to visit the city of Santa Cruz de la Palma, los Cancajos, Fuencaliente lighthouse…

Astronomically, La Isla Bonita is considered one of the best places to observe the cosmos.

Weather in La Palma

The climate of the island is subtropical. Temperatures are mild all year round and there is a rainy season from November to March. There are two microclimates on the island that can be seen dividing the island into two parts, East and West. On the east side, the rain is present often and also the winds used to be stronger. On the west side, the climate is way dryer and has places as Tazacorte that is the place of all the Canary Islands where the sun shines more hours during all the year. Temperatures at sea level oscillate between 18-28ºC but in the summits area can be colder especially during winter and snow can fall.

When to go

A perfect moment for visiting La Palma island is from september to May, having in mind that from November to March is the rainy season of the year but the temperature keeps being warm, being a perfect place to explore during winter time.

Dangers and tips

It is recommended to follow the tips that the official site gives about hiking in La Palma. Notice that it is important to check out before going to hike, the conditions of the trails that are updated every day.

Protect your skin from the sun, all year round. Know when you will be able to refill your reservoir and carry enough water, more during summer when temperatures can reach 40ºC. Avoid hiking during the midday.

There’s no danger of being attacked by animals. Only jellyfishes can hurt you while swimming especially during winter. Several beaches have very strong currents.

Be aware of the weather conditions while hiking and driving, heavy rain causes flash floods in the steep valleys and rockfalls may occur.