Self Guided Walking Holidays & Cycling Holidays


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Trails of La Palma: La Isla Bonita, self-guided walking trip
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Highlights

  • Exploring the lush northern gorges and central volcanoes of La Palma on foot.
  • 360° views from above the clouds over the ’Island Bonita’.
  • Feasting on local ingredients— almonds, bananas, citrus fruits and avocados.
  • Staying in sea view properties with a relaxed and rural authentic charm.
  • The famed ‘Ruta de los Volcanes’ and exploring the Caldera de Taburiente Park.

La Palma is known as ‘La Isla Bonita’ for good reason; this beautiful isle is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, filled with deep gorges, laurel forests, dramatic cliffs and coastline. You can easily explore all of this thanks to La Palma’s superb network of walking trails.

This trip contrasts the jungle-like wild gorges of the north with the volcanic wonders of the centrally-located Caldera de Taburiente National Park, where you’ll explore one of the largest erosion craters on Earth. Hike in the sunny shelter of a natural amphitheatre nearly 2,500 metres high. You’ll stay in the lovely capital of Santa Cruz and charming rural villages, including at a traditional finca; relaxing at the end of the day with fantastic sea views.

Day 1: Arrive Santa Cruz

Upon arrival on ‘La Isla Bonita’ you will be transferred from the airport to your first hotel in the island’s capital, Santa Cruz. This fascinating town attracted Flemish merchants whose impressive town palaces now house museums and boutiques. Explore the cobbled streets and ‘Calle Real’, leafy squares and the tempting food market.


Overnight: Hotel El Galeon***, Santa Cruz


Hotel El Galeon is ideally located just a few minutes from the port and city centre. Soak up the sea and mountain views from the sun terrace.


Day 2: The North East: to San Andrés

Today you’ll explore the north east of La Palma, filled with banana plantations, citrus groves, small vineyards and orchards of avocado and mango. Start with a transfer to the trailhead at Puntallana’s old town.


Dramatic cliffs offer impressive coastal views, interspersed with lush deep barrancos (ravines).  Arrive at the idyllic San Andrés, one of the island’s first colonial town. Wander the steep cobbled roads traditional buildings, then, a short seaside walk brings you to Puerto Espíndola.


Walk: 14.5 km, 500m ascent, 700m descent, approx. 5hr, download profile


Overnight: Apartments Miriam, San Andrés


Relax on the balcony of your comfortable accommodation and enjoy the sea view at Apartments Miriam.


Day 3: Los Sauces, Herradura Gorge, Barlovento

Tuck into breakfast at a seafront fisherman’s tavern, before climbing the path to Los Sauces; a small town with a vibrant atmosphere.


The island reveals itself as you traverse the breathtaking Barranco de Herradura, before descending on an old cobbled trail through prehistoric laurel forest and small villages to the Barlovento, enjoying exhilarating sea views.  


Walk: 8 km, 600m ascent, 200m descent, approx. 3h50, download profile


Overnight: Hotel Palma Romantica***, Barlovento


La Palma Romantica has 40 rooms and extensive facilities, including a restaurant, internet corner, sun terrace, outdoor and indoor pools, tennis court, table tennis, steam room, sauna and gymnasium.


Day 4: The North: Walk to Franceses

Today you’ll stride out on undulating coastline through the green gorges of the north. This area contrasts beautifully with the volcanic centre which you’ll encounter  in the following days.


Pass by clusters of remarkable ancient dragontrees, through rural villages and along the steep but fertile coastline to Los Gallegos. Cross the spectacular deep gorge of Barranco de Franceses. Your final ascent rewards you with panoramic ocean views as you reach the pretty hamlet of Las Tieras, Franceses.


Walk: 15 km, 600m ascent, 750m descent, approx. 5h50, download profile 


Overnight: Pension Finca Franceses, Franceses


This delightful finca (small holding) is set amidst 2 acres of farmland, 500m above the beach.  The farmhouse kitchen has a log fire, and a stone-built bodega, perfect for a romantic candlelit dinner.


Day 5: The Far North: Walk to Roque del Faro

This area is known as the French Quarter of the island, and retains a delightful rural charm. The centuries-old trail crosses lush green landscapes as you enter the nature reserve of the Barranco de Los Hombres.


With cliffs reaching up to 200m high, here you’ll find deep ravines abundant in endemic and varied plant and birdlife. Ascend via El Tablado to another tiny hamlet—Roque del Faro. Return by bus to your lovely finca at Franceses.


Walk: 9.5 km, 900m ascent, 400m descent, approx. 5hrs, download profile


Overnight: Pension Finca Franceses, Franceses


Day 6: Crater rim walk, Roque de los Muchachos to Pico de las Nieves

Get ready for another spectacular day of hiking as you explore the ‘roof’ of La Palma. Transfer by taxi to Roque de los Muchachos, home to one of the world’s premier astronomical observatories, then follow a mountain path with twists and turns around the rim of the crater Caldera de Taburiente.   


As you reach Pico de las Nieves, one of the highest points on the island, you’ll be rewarded with an outstanding 360° view from above the clouds of La Palma, and perhaps even neighbouring Tenerife’s Mt. Teide.  Transfer by taxi to Santa Cruz.


Walk: 12 km, 250m ascent, 750m descent, approx. 5hrs, download profile


Overnight: Hotel El Galeon, Santa Cruz


Day 7: Ruta de Los Volcanes

Your final walk is a fitting end to your La Palma walking tour.  A memorable hike along the ’Ruta de Los Volcanes’; a chain of volcanoes towards the south of the island.


This is a long walk in the impressive Caldera de Taburiente National Park, with a substantial descent. The crater edges demand a head for heights (and can be avoided if necessary). Return transfer by bus to your hotel.


Walk: 18.5 km, 550m ascent, 1300m descent, approx. 6hrs, download profile


Overnight: Hotel El Caleon, Santa Cruz


Day 8: Onward travel

After breakfast and checkout you will be transferred to Santa Cruz airport to catch your flight home. 

Accommodation

7 nights accommodation is included in your trip, staying 4 nights in  3* hotels, 1 night in an apartment, and 2 nights in an authentic finca guesthouse. All rooms have private bathrooms, some have sun terraces and some have a swimming pool.


We carefully select small friendly properties that offer great value, food and warm welcomes. The accommodation we normally use is detailed in the itinerary, however if unavailable we may need to offer alternative hotels, and we will inform you on booking if this is the case.  


You can add extra nights at any point during your stay —please contact us for details. 


Solo Walkers & Single Rooms

This trip is available to solo walkers and there is a supplement as
some of the costs are then not shared. Single rooms are available and
again a supplement is payable.


Meals

7 Breakfasts are included. Packed lunches* are available from your accommodation (order the night before) or you can stop and buy a picnic on the way. Drinks* are not included but normally available at all overnight accommodations. *Exception is the apartment accommodation—drinks and food are available nearby.


 



 

 

 



Hotel El Galeon - Santa Cruz



Hotel El Galeon - Santa Cruz

Hotel El Galeon is ideally located just a few minutes from the port and city centre. Soak up the sea and mountain views from the sun terrace.


 

 

 


 

 

 




Apartments Miriam - San Andrés

Relax on the balcony of your comfortable accommodation and enjoy the sea view at Apartments Miriam.


 

 

 


 

 

 



Hotel La Palma Romantica - Barlovento



Hotel La Palma Romantica - Barlovento

La Palma Romantica has 40 rooms and extensive facilities, including a restaurant, internet corner, sun terrace, outdoor and indoor pools, tennis court, table tennis, steam room, sauna and gymnasium.


 

 

 


 

 

 



Pension Finca Franceses - Franceses



Pension Finca Franceses - Franceses

This delightful finca (small holding) is set amidst 2 acres of farmland, 500m above the beach. The farmhouse kitchen has a log fire, and a stone-built bodega, perfect for a romantic candlelit dinner.


 

 

 

Availability

You can start your La Palma hiking trip on any day of the week, year-round, as the weather is very pleasant and ‘spring like’ at any time of the year.  The summer months of June, July, August are hottest.


Grade & Terrain

As this is a self guided walk you will be responsible for navigation, decision making and safety during your trip. It is graded moderate, and the longest day is 18.5km.  When walking between hotels the most elevation gain is 750m  and the biggest descent 1300m.  You’ll be walking for around 3h30– 6 hours, so you should have a good level of walking fitness.


The walks involve sections that are rough underfoot and steep and so you should have a good head for heights and sure footing, and be comfortable walking on cobbled trails and around rocky obstacles, although the walk is not technically too difficult.


Navigation, Route Notes & Maps

There is good way-marking on this walk, and we will provide you with
detailed maps, GPX tracks  and comprehensive route notes so you can
easily find your way.  As this is a self guided walk you will be
responsible for navigation, decision making and safety during your trip. 


Baggage Transfer

Baggage transfers are included on this tour, as per the itinerary, so you only walk with a small back-pack.  


Travel Insurance

It is a requirement of booking this tour with Macs Adventure that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the activity and emergency evacuation and hospital care.


General Information

Please be prepared by packing all necessary items, for example, proper rain gear (jacket and pants), sun hat, sunscreen. Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, warm and waterproof clothes for the cooler months and lightweight clothing for summer, and a day pack.


Getting to and from Santa Cruz, La Palma

By Air: Santa Cruz on La Palma is the best airport for the start and end of the tour.  From the UK you can fly direct (seasonal) with charter airline Thomson into Santa Cruz, or fly indirect via Madrid or Tenerife. Find airlines serving Santa Cruz, La Palma here.



Return airport transfers on La Palma are included in your arrangements. Details will be given in your pre-departure information pack.


Included

  • 7 Nights in 3* hotels, a finca and an apartment.
  • 7 Breakfasts.
  • Transfer from Santa Cruz airport to first hotel
  • Transfer from last hotel to Santa Cruz airport
  • Luggage transfers as per itinerary.
  • Route notes, daily maps, GPX tracks and detailed information pack.
  • All necessary transfers as per itinerary to the start/end of the walks.
  • 24/7 telephone support from our UK office and local partner.

Excluded

  • Travel to and from La Palma and Santa Cruz.
  • Lunches.
  • Dinners.
  • Drinks and snacks.
  • Personal equipment.
  • Travel insurance (required).

Extras

  • Additional nights before, during or after the walk.
  • Single room or solo walker supplement if required.

We are often asked the following questions and we hope that you will find the answers useful. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any further queries.

How far in advance do I need to book?

We suggest you book as soon as your plans are finalised; La Palma is a small island and good accommodation is limited.

How fit do I need to be?

This trip is graded moderate, and the longest day is 18.5km.  When walking between hotels the most elevation gain is 750m  and the biggest descent 1300m.  You’ll be walking for around 3h30– 6 hours, so you should have a good level of walking fitness.
The walks involve sections that are rough underfoot and steep and so you should have a good head for heights and sure footing, and be comfortable walking on cobbled trails and around rocky obstacles, although the walk is not technically too difficult.

How do the baggage transfers work?

Your bags will be transferred between your accommodations as per your itinerary. We ask you to limit your luggage to one bag of up to 20kg per person.

What equipment do I need?

You will need good walking shoes/boots, comfortable walking clothes, waterproof jacket and trousers, a daypack, warm clothing in the early/late part of the year and hats etc during the summer. We supply a detailed packing list with your information pack.

When is the best time of year?

La Palma enjoys good weather year-round with comfortable temperatures and a 'spring-like' climate. The summer months are hotter, which is June, July and August.  

Which is the best airport to fly to?

By Air: Santa Cruz on La Palma is the best airport for the start and end of the tour.  From the UK you can find several low-cost airlines that fly into Santa Cruz.To get from the airport to Santa Cruz it is just 8km by road, and you either pre-book a private transfer (at a supplement) or buses depart every 30 mins. Details will be given in your pre-departure information pack. 

What happens if I can't walk a stage?

You can use public transport where available, or a local taxi to continue to your next overnight stop.

REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

by PowerReviews
macs adventureTrails of La Palma: La Isla Bonita
 
5.0

(based on 6 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (6)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 2 Stars

     

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  • 1 Stars

     

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100%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Well organised (6)
  • Fun (4)
  • Great accommodations (3)

Cons

No Cons

Best Uses

  • Holiday (4)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • World traveller (3)

Reviewed by 6 customers

Displaying reviews 1-6

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(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Great time

By Travel

from USA

About Me Occasional Traveller

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • Beautiful routes chosen
  • Challenging hikes but doable
  • Fun
  • Good accommodations overall with one fantastic!
  • Very helpful contact/organizer
  • Well Organised

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Holiday
    • Trying Something New

    Comments about macs adventure Trails of La Palma: La Isla Bonita:

    This was our third MACS Adventure outing. We will do again. Very well organized through their partner on La Palma. Highly recommend.

    (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    A wonderful way to discover the "The Beautiful Island"

    By John S

    from Madison, WI USA

    About Me Avid Adventurer, World Traveller

    Verified Reviewer

    Pros

    • Fun
    • Great Accommodations
    • Once in a Lifetime Experience
    • Outstanding local support
    • Well Organised

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Trying Something New

      Comments about macs adventure Trails of La Palma: La Isla Bonita:

      This Adventure exceeded our expectations: the Island of La Palma was more beautiful than we expected; the hiking was varied, and, on some stretches, challenging but manageable. The accommodations were all very good, with comfortable beds, hot showers, internet access, and good breakfasts. Finca Franceses was the standout, a place we'll likely return to. The daily hikes were well planned for distance, access to food, and the trails were always well-marked. The local support from Natour was exceptional, including when we needed help attending to an unexpected medical problem. Alberto was prompt and thorough in preparing alternate walks on the two days that weather made the high altitude hikes unadvisable. The arranged transport was prompt and reliable. This is our second MacsAdventure tour, and they again did a tremendous job of planning and executing our trip. It amazes me now that so few Americans have visited the Canaries, with it's beautiful land, temperate climate, warm, hospitable people, excellent food and wine. We'll be back!

      (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      Hidden gem

      By Kate

      from London

      About Me World Traveller

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Beautiful nature
      • Fun
      • Well Organised

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Holiday

        Comments about macs adventure Trails of La Palma: La Isla Bonita:

        I have just returned from a wonderful week in La Palma over the April Easter break. What an unexpected delight! I had no idea that La Palma had so much to offer. We had six days of planned walks through some spectacularly beautiful countryside - banana plantations, hills, plunging gorges, friendly goats and volcanic, almost lunar landscapes. The host tour company representative was outstanding. We had a few queries during our stay as some things had altered or closed due to Easter. Our contact was friendly, effective and fast at answering our queries. We couldn't have had a better experience. Highly recommended.

        (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

         
        5.0

        Very Helpful

        By Melbourne traveller

        from Australia

        About Me World Traveller

        Verified Reviewer

        Pros

        • Well Organised

        Cons

          Best Uses

            Comments about macs adventure Trails of La Palma: La Isla Bonita:

            Iberia lost our luggage on the way to Santa Cruz de La Palma from Bilbao, but due to fantastic help by Alberto, he was able to pickup our bag when it arrived the next day and we were able to continue our walking tour without any major interruption. Thanks, Alberto. Paul Stokes

            (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

             
            5.0

            Beautiful hiking with a couple challenging days

            By Mark and Tina

            from Bermuda

            About Me Avid Adventurer

            Verified Reviewer

            Pros

            • Fun
            • Good variety
            • Great Accommodations
            • Stunning scenery
            • Well Organised

            Cons

              Best Uses

              • Holiday

              Comments about macs adventure Trails of La Palma: La Isla Bonita:

              This was our third Macs tour of 2016 and, as usual, we weren't disappointed! The local tour operator, Natour, was excellent especially with the briefing the night before our hikes started. It was great to have an understanding of each day's route from Alberto. The taxi transfers were always on time, drivers were friendly but spoke little English.

              Each of the days was quite varied and we enjoyed the hikes immensely. There were a couple challenging days, particularly the hike to Franceses. The ascent from the bottom of the final barranco (gorge) was tough (especially in the heat) but even more so, the accommodation is still a few km further on. It was great that we knew this from Alberto at our pre-hike briefing and had detailed instructions from him on how to get to our finca.

              We found the route sheets and map useful, but found that the times were quite conservative - we were usually at least an hour faster than the estimated times. Particularly on the last day, which estimated 7 hours but was closer to four and a half. Speaking of the final hiking day, when you get to Fuencaliente you must go to Bar Parada and buy their Almendrados (almond macaroons) - they are absolutely amazing!!

              The accommodations were great, a couple apartment style, one hotel, and the phenomenal Finca Franceses - we highly recommend staying in the Garden Cottage if you can get it. The views were amazing, especially the stars at night.

              (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

               
              5.0

              Varied walking with stunning views

              By Dave

              from Dorking

              About Me International quality hike hunter

              Verified Reviewer

              Pros

              • Challenging and enjoyable walks
              • Great Accommodations
              • Well Organised

              Cons

                Best Uses

                • Holiday
                • Not crowded hiking

                Comments about macs adventure Trails of La Palma: La Isla Bonita:

                The holiday is about the walking and views. Which are brilliant. Not a beach holiday but would highly recommend as paths are quiet and well made, varied routes AND VOLCANIC CRATER.
                Also amazing star gazing.
                Parts of walk have limited food options but always good enough and never without wine!
                Check weather / season of choice as crater is high and views can be cloud covered.

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