La Palma is the walker’s Island. Walking enthusiasts from all over the world head to La Palma every year. Whether you’re a nature lover, keen on guided walking tours, an enthusiastic Nordic Walker, canyon climber or experienced mountaineer, La Palma has plenty in store for you. The Caldera de Taburiente National Park and the unspoilt misty forests of Los Tilos are just two of the reasons why UNESCO declared the island of La Palma a “Biosphere Nature Reserve”.
Though one of the smaller islands in the Canaries, La Palma is the second highest island of the archipelago and boasts three mountain ranges on its small surface. The northern part of the island is home to the Caldera de Taburiente, one of the world’s largest erosion craters, a giant cauldron almost 2500m in height and with a 9km diameter. In the southern part of the island you find the Cumbre Vieja, a younger volcanic mountain range, which also is almost 2000m high. Along the ridge of this volcanic range there is a beautiful hiking trail, the Ruta de los Volcanes.
On the edge of the Cumbre Vieja – a long-stretched elevation from the Caldera in the North up to Fuencaliente in the South, there are walking tours throughout the typical volcanic landscape of the island. One path leads you through black ash fields, past extinct craters, lava streams and unearthly rock formations, all with a fantastic view over the Atlantic.
La Palma’s foot paths and trails are sign-posted, marked and classified in accordance with the “European Rambler’s Association” (ERA) conventions..
The shortest trails are marked as S.L. which signifies “sendero local” (local footpath). These are walks under 10Km in length and there are 36 of these on La Palma. Next are the P.R. trails. P.R. signifies “sendero de pequeno recorrido” (short distance trail), and are trails that can be completed in 1 day. There are 42 of these on La Palma. Finally there are the G.R. trals. G.R. signifies “sendero de gran recorrido” (long distance trail), and these take more than 1 day to complete. There are 2 of these on La Palma.
The La Palma tourist authority publishes a hiking map complete with all the trail marks and signposts, and it is essential reading if you want to explore La Palma on your own. The map is available at the official tourist information offices at the airport in Sta. Cruz and in Los Llanos.