La Palma is one of my favourite islands in the Canaries. It really does uphold to its name of ‘La Isla Bonita’ or ‘The Beautiful Island’.
We saw the island before the volcano hit moreover we were over the volcano a week before it erupted. There were beautiful houses with perfect, vast gardens/yards in the area where the volcano hit. That area was one of my favourite areas because it was all green and close to Tazacorte where there is a considerable marina. I loved Tazacorte because of its sandy beach and the location was ideal.
There is a clear difference between the North and South like in the majority of the islands. The north is drenched in greenery whereas the south is the volcanic part of the island showing it with the lack of vegetation. The middle exactly in the middle of these two opposites. You still got the feeling that it was a volcanic island as trees grew in mustard yellow stones but there was an abundance of trees as well.
We stayed most of the time in Santa Cruz de La Palma – not to be mistaken with Santa Cruz de Tenerife – which is the picturesque capital of La Palma. It has a clear Cuban influence that is shown by the buildings. I thoroughly enjoyed our stay there because, for the first time, it felt as there a small community. The people were also quite friendly. For example we always went shop close to the marina called ‘La Romina’ that sells local produce where we made good friends with the owners. I would highly recommend that shop as I like supporting the local community moreover the fruit and vegetables had a different taste as their shop brought counterparts (a rich taste like home grown fruit and vegetables).
We made a lot of friends in La Palma. Now do you remember the sailing yacht that waved to us on our journey? Well the people remembered us and came to us. Well they were a couple that also had a GibSea like us (Etienne and Francoise), we met another couple with a GibSea as well (Clement and Julie) and Pierre with his cat (Mougit). We had a great time and really enjoyed La Palma and hence spent more than 2 months there!
We also saw the volcano which decided to erupt two weeks after we came there. Then we realised we were on top of it the week before making it the most interesting island we visited. What made the experience even more interesting was that you felt like we were living in Santa Cruz as we dealt with the same hardships: at first it was a bit of uncertainty and excitement at the same time, then we listened to stories of the people which made us melancholy and finally we were fed up and wanted it to stop because the ash was annoying us. There were people walking around with goggles to not get ash in their eyes – we sometimes wore our sunglasses. I will go in more details about our time with the volcano in the next post.
The big difference between us was that we could move and did just that. We left on 30th November to La Gomera, one day after the Mini Transat (a race from Les Sables, France to Martinique going though La Palma in small boats), fleeing from the ash rain.