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La Palma – The Steepest Island in the World

The little-known island of La Palma is described by many as the beautiful island of the Canary Islands (“la isla bonita”).

It is true, the scenery is quite simply out of this world. It gives you a burst of adrenaline and goose bumps at times, it really is that special. It is the steepest island in the world and the views are probably nothing like most people have ever seen before.

In my opinion, it is this steepness of this volcanic island that has saved it from becoming another Tenerife or Mallorca, where what could only be described as mass-tourism is present. La Palma just simply does not have the accessible long flat white sand beaches that the more well-known Canary Islands have and which package tourists desire.

Instead, La Palma has smaller volcanic black sand coves and beaches, often hard to get to and without the usual tourist facilities. For example, one of the most beautiful beaches on the west of the island is “Playa de la Veta” which involves a twenty minute drive down a steep road, then a further twenty minute walk down a cliff path and through a cliff tunnel. This is the just the way the La Palma is, natural and unspolit. It is one of the best locations for hiking.

La Palma of course does have more accessible beaches, such as Tezacorte, Puerto Naos and of course the capital Santa Cruz. And it is here where La Palma has its share of neon lights and cheap package accommodation available, which is so far confined to these areas. The best tourist accommodation by far are the historic villas. There are many available, often in idyllic rural settings with swimming pools.

People have talked about how the island is changing, as is so often the case. The government does have plans for tourism to put La Palma on the map. Currently the main problem is that the airport is not large enough to park the planes, and in particular the runway not long enough for bigger planes to take off. As a result, the airport has been expanded at huge expense. This new airport is not open yet. Ask the locals and they will say, “Small island, big airport!” However, I guess once a few airlines increase their flight schedules and other airlines start to come, the airport will not seem quite so big.

The island has also gone down the route of golf courses and many are set to open up in the next few years. Much rural land has been put aside for this. To go alongside the golf courses, they are building several the typical large hotels, each with hundreds of rooms.

Of course, the locals are skeptical of tourism. Fortunately, I do not think La Palma will ever become “Playa de las Americas” – the geography of the island of La Palma is just not set up that way. I just hope that tourism is handled sympathetically so the local economy will benefit and tourists can appreciate what peace this island offers, in an otherwise chaotic world.

Source by Leslie Mint



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