The Caldera de Taburiente is one of the biggest erosion craters in the world.
They say you have not seen La Palma until you did this hike. The hike is about 6-8 hours, depending on how much time you take to enjoy the views and the side-tracks that you can make.
Starting point: From Los Llanos, follow the signs "Parque Nacional Caldera Taburiente" to the information point and further to the parking place in the Barranco de las Angustias (The Valley of Mortal Fear).
From here you have to take a taxi (about 10 euros per person, only from 0900-1300 h, but start as early as possible!) that takes you in about 30-45 minutes to the view point "Los Brecitos". From here the walk starts, finally back to the parking place in the Barranco de las Angustias.
Make sure you have a good guide that describes the walk and/or visited the visitors center in El Paso first. The walk is marked for most of the part, but sometimes hard to find without a good description.
During the walk you can e.g. visit the Petroglifes, marks in rocks made by the original inhabitants of La Palma. I found them not too interesting :-) Certainly worth while to see is the Cascada Colorada, a beautiful colorful waterfall, that is pretty hard to reach without getting wet feet!
In the famous enormous erosion crater Caldera de Taburiente on La Palma, there is a very colorful waterfall, the Cascada Colorada.
The Cascada Colorada is located in the Barranco de Ribanseras del Castro. The hike described in my "Caldera de Taburiente hike"-tip passes the Cascada Colorada as well.
You need to walk upstream the small river "Rio Almendro Amargo" (Bitter Almond). Here you also have a good view at the Roque de Idafe (see my other tips). The water of the river has a rusty color due to the high content of iron from the rocks. Go to the right where the river branches, but not after noticing the other waterfall on your left!
The last part to get to the Cascada Colorada is very hard, you might have to take of your shoes and wade through the water. But it will all be worth your efforts, as you can see on the pictures!
Fuente de La Zarza is one of the 50 places on La Palma were prehistoric inscriptions are found.
The inscriptions of Fuente de La Zarza are easy reachable by a path and good signposted. Near the parkinglot is a information centre, where you can see a interesting documentary and can get a lot of information. From the information centre it's a nice and scenic walk through the mixed laurel and tree heather forest to the rock carvings.
When we visited it was raining a bit, but this enlarged the mysterious atmosphere around the inscriptions.
Enlarge the picture to see the wonderful geometric forms.
In summer 11 am to 7 pm
In winter 11 am to 5 pm
The main reason to visit the Canary Islands and especially Isla La Palma, were these mysterious prehistoric rock carvings.
Earlier in that year we red about these inscriptions in one of the books written about the mysteries of Atlantis. So after we found out that the most inscriptions could be seen at La Palma, we booked our ticket.
The original inhabitants of the Canary Islands are the Guanches, but it is not known if they engraved these geometric forms. There are still different explanations about these inscriptions.
The carvings can be grouped in four categories: spirals,circular, meandering and linear figures, but there are also combinations and variations in each category.
Santa Cruz de La Palma is the capital of the island, situated on the east coast, and is well worth a visit. Lots to see among its archicture and lovely boutique shopping. Calle Real is the main shopping street , narrow and cobbled and full of interest. The Avienda Marritima lines the coast road and has many outdoor cafes as well as the renowned row of balconied houses - a popular photo opportunity. Plaza España is the hub of the town with the town Hall and Cathedral being located here. We visited twice, one walking in from our base and again by bus, and saw many different things, following a self guided walking tour to see the main attractions and viewpoints. The tourist information has lots of information and maps. It is a port town and you'll see many cruises ships visiting for a day....but to just ssee Santa Cruz would be doing the island a disservice - there is so much more to see.
The Saltpans on the southernmost point of La Palma are a small commercial operation extracting salt from the sea water. It wa a bit of a trek down here in the car, thought we never get there and it was really windy. Really interesting to see though and the lighthouse has small exhibition insideon conservation.
Its a long twisty turny road up to Roque los Muchachos but its well worth a trip, a must in fact. The air is so pure up here that scientists from all over the world study the heavens.
Surrounded by unique setting of truly breathtaking beauty at an altitude of over 2,420 metres above sea level, you can see one of the world's most important astrophysical observatories - indeed there are several up here, each with its own helipad. Brian May (of Queen fame) has an interest up here too and regularly visits.
The Observatory is not open to visitors. However, people are allowed to visit the observatory on specific days in summer, the "Jornadas de Puertas Abiertas" (normally, one or two days in July and one or two days in August. Previous on-line registration is necessary).
The Caldera de Taburiente, just a bit further on from the observatories, is a mammoth ring of summits stretching 8km in diameter, and dropping from 2000m at Roque de los Muchachos (2426m) down to Dos Aguas at the National Park's exit in Las Angustias Ravine. It is not volcanic crator but is actually the result of landslide, also known as seamount. When Volcanic islands like La Palma form and emerge from the ocean they begin to sink again under their own weight - the Caldera de Taburiente is mass subsidence. Here an amazing view caan be seen down into the Caldera - often you will drive through and up above the clouds into the clear air. When clear the view around is amazing - we had a vista of clouds hovering around the crater and across we could see Tenerife. There are trails around the rim and a bit further down in the Caldera - but remeber you have to climb back up and the air is thin!
La Zarza is renowned for rock inscriptions at an atlitude where the fayal brezal (heather) forest merges into the pine wood. They are located at an altitude of 1000m above the sea level, between La Mata and Llano Negro. A short trail loops around the area to view the caves and carvings. There is also an information centre with exhibits.
Along the island there are a lot of 'senderos' (hiking paths) well signalized. Hire a guide or buy a 'senderos' book. I recommend:
- Roque de los muchacos (highest spot at 2400mts)
- Reserva de la Biosfera in Los Sauces (nascientes de marcos e cordero)
- Barranco de las Angustias
- Tijarafe e Tazacorte
- The southern vulcanos (including Teneguia that was last active in 1972)
This hike in the south of La Palma is well marked and takes you along several volcanoes.
The hike starts at the recreational area El Pilar, southeast from El Paso, located next to the LP-203 road. From here you can follow the well marked GR 131 Ruta de los Volcanes trail all the way to Fuencaliente, or you can take an an alternative route and go back to El Pilar when you have seen enough volcanoes.
Use a guide that describes the walk, walking guides are available in most book stores on the island or even supermarkets. Or go well prepared and buy one at home...
Petroglyphs are images created by removing part of a rock surfaces by incising, pecking, carving, and abrading (From Wikipedia).
These marks in rocks allegedly were made by the native inhabitants of La Palma, before the Spanish came.
They can be found in the Caldera de Taburiente.
Personally, I did not find them very interesting...
Go to the visitors center for more information: http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/6117e/40867/8/
Halfway between San Andres Y Sauses and Puntallana you find the Cubo de la Galga.
We parked our car between two tunnels near la Galga, on the road between the capital Santa Cruz and San Andres Y Sausces (Los Sauses). Here you can pick up the PR LP 5/5.1 trail and there also is an information hut.
The laurel forest that you find here is amazing. You walk in a huge "barranco" (canyon) with huge fern plants. It's all so wet and green, what a contrast with the volcanic landscape in the south!
There is a famous rock in the Caldera de Taburiente, called Roque de Idafe. This is probably the remainder of another volcanic eruption.
The Roque de Idafe has been worshiped by the Acero tribe, who lived in the Caldera. They sacrificed animals and song something like "He says the Idafe will fall" and "Give him what you took with you and the Idafe will not fall". Given the shape of the rock, these rituals probably had something to do with fertility :-)
There are many places where you can get a good view at the Roque de Idafe. One of them is close to the Cascada Colorada, which is located in the Barranco de Ribanseras del Castro. The hike described in my "Caldera de Taburiente hike"-tip passes this point as well.
If you walk from Los Llanos via Tazacorte to Puerto Tazacorte (partly the trail PR LP1/GR 130), you walk through many banana plantations.
The one on the pictures is taken between Tazacorte and Puerto Tazacorte.