La Palma

La Palma, one of the Canary Islands, comes by its nickname honestly—Isla Bonita, the pretty island. This exotic paradise, home to a volcano, lush forests, black-sand beaches, colorful villages, and sparkling seas, is sure to take your breath away. The island is a model of sustainability, ensuring these natural wonders are enjoyed by today's travelers and generations to come.

Thanks to its clear skies, the pretty island also has another nickname—the island of the stars. Many scientists plan travel to La Palma to study at the Observatory of the Roque de Los Muchachos, home to one of the most powerful telescopes ever constructed. Amateur stargazers are welcome on select dates in the summer, and visitors are welcome to tour the grounds during daylight hours. On clear days (and most of the days are clear), you can admire the views, including view of the surrounding islands of Tenerife and El Hierro.

An evening at the beach is another wonderful way watch to watch the night sky. Before the sun sets, you could spend time on the beaches of La Palma, which front the Atlantic Ocean. Even though you won't find endless ribbons of sand and fun, the island does have a few places where you soak in the sun and play in the surf. Playa de Bajamar in the capital city of Santa Cruz is one option, are the Puerto Naos and Puerto de Tazacort. Because of the La Palma volcano activity, the beaches are made up of black sand rather than golden sands many expect to find on island getaways.

Properly called Caldera de Taburiente, this La Palma volcano is the dominant feature of the island's national park. No roads run through Caldera De Taburiente National Park, so it's truly a rustic escape. A favorite place for hiking and camping, the park is home to natural wonders including Canary pines, interesting geological formations, and crystal-clear springs. A visitor center provides information about the La Palma volcano, things to do in the park, and camping permits.

On a La Palma vacation, you'll could take the chance to visit Los Tiles World Biosphere Reserve, a model of sustainability. These protected landscapes, declared by UNESCO, an arm of the United Nations, are found in nearly 100 countries around the world. Designed to preserve many of the representative habitats of La Palma, the land protects mountain peaks, the coast, and the laurel forest. Many of the island's parks are a part of this preserve, including the national park. You also can soak in the scenery with visits to Las Nieves Nature Park, Guelguén Special Nature Reserve, La Palma Marine Reserve, and others.

Even with its remote feeling and all of the preserved natural spaces, the island is hardly deserted. An abundance of visitor amenities make travel to La Palma a snap. Canary Island flights are readily available from Madrid and the nearby islands, in addition to international service from Germany, Belgium, and other European countries. Ferry service, taxis, and car rentals are readily available.

The other essentials for travel to La Palma, including hotels, restaurants, and shopping are readily available, especially in Santa Cruz. You'll have the chance to keep the environment in mind on your holidays, as a number of La Palma hotels, guesthouses, museums, and restaurants have won recognition for their environmental initiatives. In 2006, the International Centre for Responsible Tourism declared La Palma its first sustainable tourist destination.



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