La Palma

21 Reviews

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March, 2019

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We picked our villa for its glorious views, high up in the caldera and with wonderful views of the Atlantic at sunset and volcanos behind. Unfortunately, the high altitude rendered the whole place just a little on the chilly side, so much so that we had to switch the air-con to ‘heat’ all night.

But, having survived our first, cool, night, things started to look up next morning. As we sat on the terrace looking out towards Florida, eating our home grown, home baked breakfast of bread and fruit, a harsh yapping rudely interrupted our peace and quiet. Some 50 yards below, a small, dirty-white terrier with a patch over one eye (you know the type?) was actually chasing a car. I haven’t seen a dog do that in Britain since the 1970s. I thought they’d forgotten how to do it. During our holiday week our dear adopted mutt chased cars, motorbikes, German runners (catching one woman smartly, though slobberly, on the heels- I’m so glad it wasn’t me!) and harassing assorted hikers. After the first evening though, he never barked at us, appearing to recognise his new neighbours. Clever pooch!

Our main pastime during this week was walking. La Palma is a wonderful island for walkers of all levels. The views are magnificent although some of the walks are rather difficult with hardly a flat surface from start to finish!

We used Sunflower Books La Palma and El Hierro by Noel Rochford supplemented with the famous Paddy Dillon and his Walking on La Palma (Cicerone). We rarely completed a full walk during our stay (we were on holiday after all!) but despite this both books were a virtual fount of hiking and picnicking information for this island.

There were two short walks along the GR130-1 right outside our villa! And during the week we followed a number of walks from both books, our favourite starting at
El Pilar recreation site in the south of the island (toilets, shop and snack bar on site) to the Caldera Birigoyo and back. The original path was, unfortunately destroyed in the wildfires that destroyed so much of the Canaries’ vegetation a few years back. Luckily for us, a bit farther down the track we were able to scramble up and find a way to the caldera. All along this mainly woodland path the view opened up at frequent intervals as we climbed up. The book says the total ascent of this walk is less than 500m but it feels so much more, especially when you can see both sides of the island at once and, in the background, clouds rolling over the ancient Cumbre Vieja.

By the way, the Cumbre Vieja is that part of the island which, geologists predict, will slide into the ocean one day causing a tsunami of epic proportions.

Everywhere we went food was fresh and well cooked but we didn’t eat out much in the evenings for the simple reason that it was a ten minute drive on narrow roads just to get to the main road from the villa. This was not a disadvantage as it meant we were at the villa early evening when the stars came out. One clear night the display was absolutely breathtaking. My mind performed acrobatics attempting vainly to explain the sheer volume of stars in the sky. ‘Every one of them is a Sun’ my brain boggled ‘and how many of them have their own planets?’ This was probably the one time in your life when you would want to hear the irritatingly chirpy tones of the Famous Popular Astronomer.

I really did not want to leave this villa (the lovely Casa Arriba. on the west coast near Tijarafe) at the end of our week. It could not have a better location, the pool was lovely, the gardens idyllic and, most of all, the neighbour dog was so entertaining. Juan, the owner, was unobtrusively helpful and very friendly. We travelled with Cachet Travel who organised accommodation, flights (with TUI) and car hire (with Avia). They were exceptional in their organisation, including excellent directions to get to the villa. I would love to stay here again.

Not sure the island, or this accommodation, would be accessible for all abilities but, once in the villa, it was all on one level. It is an ideal holiday for touring by car, walking and sunset- and star-gazing.


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