La Palma - After the Volcano
We thought the recent volcanic eruption on La Palma would kill tourism there stone dead. Instead, it's put La Palma on the map and more and more people want to go there.
Although the eruption was a disaster for the people and businesses that were in the direct line of the lava flows, it actually affected quite a small part of the island as can be seen on the right. The blue area was the volcano itself and the red part is the area covered by the streams of lava. None of the hotels listed by Little Hotels was impacted by the events.
Having begun in September 2021, the record-breaking eruption finally came to an end in December. On Christmas Day the vulcanologists on the Canary Island confirmed they had observed no lava flow, seismic activity or significant sulphur dioxide emissions from the volcano for 10 days. 'Volcano tourism' began much earlier though, and many visitors took advantage of their pre-planned visit to La Palma to observe something that they would never normally see.
La Palma is a volcanic ocean island which rises about 4 miles above the ocean floor. The summit is defined by a group of rocks called Los Muchachos. It is here that the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory is found, one of the world’s most important, benefitting from the clear mountain air to give the best view out into the universe. Hiking on the mountains and visiting the observatory are very popular attractions, along with the most diverse plant life in the Canaries. The capital, Santa Cruz de La Palma has plenty of elegant 17th-18th century buildings and the bigger town of El Llano de Aridane is also well worth exploring for its historic centre, shops, bars and restaurants. Tazacorte is a popular sunning spot for its black sand beach, freshly-caught fish in the restaurants and boat and submarine excursions.
Santa Cruz de La Palma is more like a small town than a capital, which makes it a lovely place to stay, with quaint streets, an abundance of bars and restaurants and a sandy beach. The Holiday Time Hotel (or Hotel Emblemático Holiday Time) sits right by the beach facing straight out to sea. All the bedrooms are styled with a calming cream colour scheme accented by grey tiled floors. Rooms at the front overlook the beach and those on the top floor have a private balcony facing the sea. At the back the rooms have a view of the old town and the nearby plaza. A courtesy room is provided for late departures with a shower and even bunk beds for a quick nap before a flight.
Just a couple of streets back from the Paseo Maritimo amongst the Spanish colonial buildings and cobbled streets of the old town is Hotel San Telmo. It's an impeccably decorated 17th century house built around a courtyard patio filled with flowers, also having a roof terrace with sunshades and a view of the sea. The Classic Double Rooms in the old house retain many original features, having traditional wooden ceilings and either a balcony or direct access to the patio. Other more contemporary rooms have either a patio view or a sea view. There is even a studio apartment with a spacious living room and accommodation for three.
The area known as Buenavista de Arriba rests on the mountainside above Santa Cruz de La Palma, enveloped in a riot of abundant flowers and vegetation. It's here that we find Finca La Principal,a traditional Canarian guest house surrounded by its own garden of colourful flowers and palm trees. The finca dates back to 1512 and the house has gone through numerous transitions over the years, yet still retains an old-world ambiance typical of the Canaries. All the guest rooms are wonderfully spacious, with double beds, sofas, antique furniture, wooden floors and more, all adding up to a typically Canarian experience. Owners Eglé and Jorge are keen naturalists and walkers so they like nothing more than advising their guests of places to see and visit on the island, especially the places usually known only to the locals.
The position of Dulce Valle Villas seems hard to beat. Lying at the foot of the main mountain of the island there are a host of hiking trails to the various viewing points, waterfalls and the spectacular Caldera de Taburiente. For less energetic people, there are some incredibly scenic winding roads to take you to many of the best places too. The area affected by the Cumbre Vieja volcano is well to the south, with somewhat restricted access of course but also affording a unique opportunity to see the power of earth at its most raw. Dulce Valle Villas is a small cluster of buildings housing one and two bedroom apartments, set in a terraced garden. At the centre is the large swimming pool with a grand terrace all around and a spa on the side with a jacuzzi, sauna and Turkish bath.
18 Jan 2022, 12:37