Beautiful La Palma, Canary Islands

After eight days at sea, the first port stop on our 14-day transatlantic cruise from Florida to Barcelona was the beautiful La Palma, Canary Islands. We scheduled an island taxi tour in La Palma.

Beautiful La Palma, Canary Islands

The island is part of Spain, and its capital is Santa Cruz. The island is quite mountainous, with an active volcano. The shore excursion that we scheduled was a La Palma island taxi tour. Our excursion promised a four-hour tour of as many of the island’s highlights as possible in one afternoon.

Our ship docked about 2 pm, and we were not required to be back onboard until 10:30 pm, so we had plenty of time to explore the island. When I reserved the tour, our instructions were to take a taxi from the Port to a central meeting place where we would meet our actual tour taxi.

It was a little annoying to take a taxi to meet a taxi, but fortunately, it turned out that our driver could drive into the Port and pick us up just a brief walk from our ship. The revised one-taxi plan was a great beginning to our afternoon tour.

Canary Islands

I knew nothing about the Canary Islands before planning this trip. I learned Canary birds get their name from the Canary Islands, but the Canary Islands get their name from the Latin words Insula Canaria, which means Island of the Dogs.

A legend exists that the early islanders worshipped dogs here, causing the inhabitants to be called “the ones with dogs.” Also, some believe the name comes from sea dogs, probably monk seals, that lived on the island during its early history. Today monk seals are not present on the island.

I also learned that the Spanish-governed Canary Islands consist of eight main islands. Those eight islands are Tenerife, the largest island, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Palma, La Gomera and the smallest island of El Hierro.

The eastern-most islands are just over 60 miles from the coast of Africa but over much closer to Africa than they are over 650 miles from the coast of mainland Spain.

These Atlantic ocean islands were created by volcanic eruptions many millions of years ago, but the indigenous Guanches lived in the Canary Islands 3,000 years ago. The heritage and customs of the Guanche people can be seen on the island today.

The history of the Canary Islands is pretty fascinating. Take a look at this book if you’d like to learn more about these islands.

Taxi Tour

The cruise port for La Palma is in Santa Cruz de la Palma, located on the east side of the island, so that is where our tour began. Jose Manuel Bethencourt Perez (“Manila”) was our taxi driver for the day.

Beautiful La Palma, Canary Islands

Our tour was a online booking. We received excellent communication and information from TripsPoint. I am confident that I will use this company for tours in the future.

Our booking information stated our driver would speak enough basic English to communicate, but this tour would not be the same as a private experienced tour guide. We should expect our guide to be a taxi driver familiar with the island’s various attractions.

Beautiful La Palma, Canary Islands

Google Translate at work

We enjoy meeting and talking with locals, and this appeared to be a terrific four-hour opportunity. As the tour description stated, Manila spoke very little English. We spent a great deal of time with our phones using Google Translate.

We all three managed just fine. I am sure we could have learned more about the island with an English-speaking tour guide, but we would not have had half as much fun as with our new friend, Manila. He was a terrific sport and tried so very hard to show and explain his island’s highlights.

Manila is very proud of the island of La Palma and was very good at showing it off. We both believe this type of tour was an excellent choice and repeated this type of shore excursion the following day when our ship stopped at the Canary Island of Tenerife.

Beautiful La Palma, Canary Islands

We made our first stop at Mirador Barranco del Carmen, a beautiful island overlook by this unusual sculpture.

Beautiful La Palma, Canary Islands

Here is another stunning view of the island and the ocean below at Puntallana – Tenagua. The beauty of these overlooks is stunning.

Manila drove us to many beautiful places and through some very picturesque towns and villages during our tour. Here are a few story highlights of that tour.

The Lover’s Leap, San Bartolome viewpoint, Puntallana

This statue is at the site of a tragic Lover’s Leap. Goatherders use long poles to help them leap up and down steep hills to follow their flocks. This pole leaping is a sporting event in the Canary Islands today and is now rarely used by goatherders.

Beautiful La Palma, Canary Islands

The story goes that a young lady promised to marry a young goatherder if he agreed to perform the impossible task of leaping out three times over the dangerous cliff at the San Bartolome viewpoint using one of these poles.

The goatherder was successful twice but failed on his last attempt and fell over the cliff. This statue commemorates this tragedy. The young lady supposedly went mad and never married. I am unsure whether this is a true story or a legend of the area. Do you know about this?

Mirador Jardin de Las Hesperides

Beautiful La Palma, Canary Islands

The Jardin de las Hesperides monument is located at the gorge La Galga, another magnificent overlook. This monument represents Venus, and the ram means the sun and is a memorial to an ancient myth with a connection to the Canary Islands. Sorry, but I did not understand the translation of the tale.

San Andres y Sauces

San Andrés y Sauces is where the Los Tilos laurel forest is and the location of the World’s first Biosphere Reserve location on the island. The Lost Tilos waterfall is in this forest and reserve. Steve and I took the 10-15 minute hike to the waterfall through the beautiful forest.

Beautiful La Palma, Canary Islands

Although I understand it is a bit more spectacular after a rainfall, the waterfall is small. The uphill hike on uneven stones was grueling for us old folks but worth the effort. This photo does not really do the waterfall and surrounding area justice at all.


Our tour began at 3 pm, so we were too late for a stop for a proper lunch. We did stop in San Andres y Sauces – El Cardal, not too far from the waterfall, to enjoy a local beer and the delicious spicy potatoes at Rompecabos. Just look at that view!

Beautiful La Palma, Canary Islands

A geocache!

We are so happy to find a geocache in the Canary Islands! We were successfully able to describe geocaching to Manila, and he obliged us by driving us to one in our nearby location and helping us find it. He was slightly puzzled about the whole thing but very agreeable at the same time.

Beautiful Canary Islands

If you are unfamiliar with the game/hobby, read about it here: Geocaching, the world’s largest treasure-hunting game.

Our day was fantastic from start to finish. We saw many jaw-dropping views of this beautiful island, and both of us would love to return for a week or longer to enjoy its beauty and exciting history.

Beautiful La Palma, Canary Islands
Beautiful La Palma, Canary IslandsBeautiful La Palma, Canary IslandsBeautiful La Palma, Canary IslandsBeautiful La Palma, Canary IslandsBeautiful La Palma, Canary Islands

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