Cruis­ing guide: La Palma

Take time to cruise the Ca­naries and you'll dis­cover what they have to of­fer, in­clud­ing the pretty is­land of La Palma

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L a Palma, nick­named La Isla Bonita – the pretty is­land – is the most north­west­erly of the Ca­naries, and as yet un­tar­nished by mass tourism. Al­mond-shaped, the is­land has an area of 270 square miles and is said to be the steep­est in the world, ris­ing to al­most 2,400 me­tres above sea level in the space of just 10 kilo­me­tres. La Palma is an is­land of stu­pen­dous scenery with dense, jun­gle-like forests, vol­ca­noes, black sand beaches and star-filled night skies un­tar­nished by light pol­lu­tion. This vol­canic is­land rises al­most four miles from the bot­tom of the At­lantic Ocean, and has road ac­cess from sea level to within a few me­tres of its high­est point, Los Mucha­chos (The Boys), which stands at 2,426m (7,959ft) near the apex of the Caldera de Taburi­ente Na­tional Park. Close by are many ob­ser­va­to­ries, due to the clar­ity of the at­mos­phere. The is­land was de­clared a starlight re­serve in 2012. La Palma has more wa­ter than the other is­lands, mak­ing it the green­est of the Ca­naries and con­tribut­ing to its rep­u­ta­tion as the pret­ti­est. Fill your drink­ing wa­ter tanks here be­fore a transat­lantic cross­ing. Much of the is­land’s in­come used to be de­rived from grow­ing bananas, which 10 years ago made up a whop­ping 80% of the lo­cal econ­omy. How­ever, tourism has been in­creas­ing steadily and is now the main source of in­come. The trekking here is among the best in the is­lands.

Cave dwellings can still be found around the coast. These are close to Punta Gorda

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