EPIC Islands in Europe
La Palma, Canaries
La Palma, Canaries The Weird and Wonderful Island
Santa Cruz - Los Llanos - Roque de los Muchachos - Tamburiente National Park - Chaco Azul - Los Tilos - San Andres - Puerto de Tazacorte - Puerto Naos - Chaco Verde - Poris de Candelaria
In particular the northern and western part of the island are carved up by massive ravines in a landscape that resembles a piece of cake whose slices have been eaten in an un-chronological order. You always wanted to visit the Grand Canyon but are reluctant to embark on a long-distance journey? Come to La Palma instead: land of canyons galore. But beware, adventurous driving awaits you: up, down and around mountains and hillsides, with barely a bridge, a tunnel or even a stretch of straight road. And to top it all off, the island hit global news in 2021, when a volcano by the name of Cumbre Vieja (which rather unimaginatively translates into ‘old summit’) exploded in spectacular fashion. But more about this later.
Yet, the oddest meteorological phenomenon must be ‘La Calima’; a hot, dust and sand-laden wind coming straight from the Sahara. Not too much sand here out west, as this is mostly dumped on Lanzarote, La Palma’s easternmost Canary cousin. But nonetheless the wind sweeps across the mountain tops of the archipelago, and when it blows at full force, the temperature effect can be astonishing. I once started an early morning hike at sea level with a temperature reading of 18 degrees. By the time I got up to 2,000 m four hours later, it was 38 degrees hot. How bizarre is that: The higher up you go, the hotter it gets. I told you. La Palma is weird.