We discovered a great deal about La Palma during our visit in February 2008 and have compiled the following hints and tips to help you.
- Although the average temperature is good year-round, La Palma’s climate is generally wetter and a little cooler than the rest of the Canary Islands so take a light jacket and compact umbrella just in case.
- Pack a few warmer items if travelling in the cooler season. We read good average temperatures for February so my suitcase was full of floaty dresses and shorts. During the first few rainy days of our holiday, I wished I’d been better prepared for the cooler days and evenings as I was quite cold!
- Finally, don’t let the comments above put you off. We travelled in February and despite a damp start, the weather was excellent for the rest of the holiday and very hot at times. So on that note, pack a hat and sunscreen too!
Walking & Hiking
- If you’re planning to go on a Caldera Walking Tour with an official guide, book the trip as soon as you arrive for the start of your holiday rather than at the end. We really wanted to experience the Caldera which looked amazing but we booked a trip near the end of our fortnight which was then cancelled due to rain so we never got to see it.
- Good sturdy walking boots or shoes are a must if you are on an organised walking trip or going it alone. The volcanic terrain is quite uneven, steep and slippery and even the ‘easy’ grades seemed to be a bit challenging at times. Don’t wear flip flops!
- Walking poles seemed popular due to the steep paths and tracks so take them if you feel you need them. As keen photographers, we discovered our monopod doubled as a pole and helped us with some steep slopes!
- Many of the roads in La Palma are steep, winding and narrow without footpaths and are not ideal for roadside walking. We’d recommend some research before choosing a holiday base or starting point for a walk to familiarise yourself with the terrain and level of ascent or descent involved. Many trails are easily accessible by local bus or car but reaching them by foot is generally not an option in most areas.
- The local bus service is reliable, fairly inexpensive and covers all the major areas of interest and is a great way to get around if you don’t want to hire a car.
- Return tickets are not available so you need to purchase a ticket for each part of the journey.
- Buses seem to be generally quiet and we didn’t get on any that were jam-packed to the brim.
- Always check the times of the last bus home.
- If you suffer from travel sickness, be prepared for winding roads and an exciting trip!
- Driving in La Palma could be an interesting experience and not for the faint-hearted! The roads are good but many are narrow and winding with local buses and coach tours using the same routes to get around so make sure you know what you are letting yourself in for before you hire a car. We didn’t hire a car but did travel on the roads by bus/coach.
La Palma Princess Hotel
- The shop within the hotel was pretty good and offered UK newspapers, a good range of essential toiletry items, poolside and walking clothing, plus sweets, snacks, beer, wine and soft drinks. Prices are more expensive than outside areas as expected but the shop offers convenience and the price hike wasn’t too bad. The alternative option is to hop on the bus to the supermarkets at Fuencaliente or Las Indias but we used the hotel shop most of the time and were very happy with it.
- Internet facilities are available at reception for a fee
- Kettles and irons are not supplied in the rooms but we asked and they supplied both for use in the room.
- Pizzas from the poolside pizza restaurant were great and are available to take away to eat by the pool or in your room. Perfect the next day too for a snack whilst on a long hike!
- The outdoor seating areas in the main restaurant are lovely if you are looking for a quieter, more romantic setting where you can dine and still enjoy the great outdoors.
- Try the late breakfast (9am – 11am) at the La Choza restaurant located in the pool area with ocean views.
- If you want a quick stroll or a jogging route close to home, follow the short circular route around the outside of the hotel complex which offers coastal views and a breath of fresh air.
- If the weather is good, sit outside on the terraced areas within the airport rather than going straight through to the departure lounge which doesn’t have many facilities. It’s far more relaxing than sitting in the lounge and drinks, snacks and English papers are available just inside the building. The terrace facing the airport rather than the road is preferable.