Self-Guided Trails of La Palma Trip Notes

Ways to Travel:
Self-Guided Holidays, Private Group Adventures
Destinations:
Spain
Programmes:
Walking & Trekking
Trip Code:
W07PA
Activity Rating - Moderate/Challenging
Moderate / Challenging

You are moderately fit and have an interest in remote or challenging environments. Some previous experience is required for activity based trips.

8 Days Flight Inclusive
8 Days Land only
Ages: 12+

Trip Overview

La Palma, nicknamed La Isla Bonita (the pretty Isle), is a relatively unheard of volcanic island in the western Canaries. For its small size it features a vast amount of diverse scenery, from dense cloud forest to volcanic landscapes with twisted rock formations and black sand beaches. This walking itinerary is designed to take advantage of the island's well waymarked paths. These start on the eastern side of La Palma, follow the coast to the north and then finally head south across the great Caldera which dominates the island.

At a Glance

  • 7 nights accommodation in hotels and apartments
  • 6 days walking, with luggage transfers
  • Altitude maximum 2426m, average 800m
  • Self-guided holiday. Min age 14 yrs

Trip Highlights

  • Fantastic walking across dramatic volcanic terrain
  • Spectacular views reaching as far as Mount Teide on Tenerife
  • Local delacies such as miel de palma (palm honey) and rum made on the island
  • The pretty capital of Santa Cruz

Is This Trip for You?

Activity level 4 - Moderate/Challenging

The walks on this trip vary between moderate and challenging and each day involves a fair amount of ascent and descent (for more details please see the daily itinerary). As this is a self-guided tour, there will be no group or tour leader and you can walk at your own pace. We do recommend that you take some time to rest and enjoy the views!

The terrain and type of path will vary but many of them can be rocky and steep, especially on the gorge walks on days 4 and 5. Good quality walking boots and poles are highly recommended for the type of walking you will be doing. All of the paths walked are approved and monitored by the Federación Española de Montañismo and are well sign-posted. The walks on days 2, 4, 5 and 7 are classed as the more challenging walks of the trip. If necessary on days 3, 4, 5 and 6 it is possible to shorten the walks, this will be discussed with you on your arrival briefing.

Although the walking can be steep we don't anticipate that vertigo sufferers will struggle at any point. However, if this does pose a problem, alternative shorter walks can be organised. 

It is likely that you will encounter barking dogs during some of the walks, but walking poles are a useful deterrent.

Whilst the paths are well signed, it is likely that on the first 4 days of walking you will not come across many other walkers (if any), so it feels as though you have the views to yourself.

It is important that you are happy reading maps and following route notes, we make these as accurate as possible and they are regularly checked. 

Families
Self-guided walking holidays are a perfect option for families as they offer the freedom for you to take your holiday at your own pace. You can stop as and when you want and need, places and sites that suit your family and that interest you. As a guide we have suggested that 12 years is the minimum age for this trip, but as it is self-guided and you will be leading your own family we will ultimately leave this decision up to you. The daily distances are all published in the trip notes along with a description of each days walking so you have a good idea of what to expect. However, if you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact one of our experts. The principle idea is that these holidays can be as flexible as you like, with logistical support but no group or leader to dictate the daily activities.

Group

As this is a self-guided holiday there is no group and no leader. Your luggage is transferred and route directions and maps are provided. The route directions contain an emergency assistance telephone number (operating between 08:30 and 22:00hrs). In emergency, the local representative is normally able to dispatch a taxi or pick you up themselves. They may wish to charge for this service.

Adult min age:
12

Itinerary

Map LTU

Land Only

Start City:
Santa Cruz
End City:
Santa Cruz

Flight Inclusive

Start City:
London
End City:
London

Land Only Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Start Santa Cruz

    Arrive into La Palma and take an airport transfer to your hotel in the capital. Have a wander around the pretty town, which is famous for its iconic balconies and its lively cafe and restaurant scene, before stopping for dinner somewhere.

    Overnight Hotel El Galeon or similar

  • Day 2

    Follow the GR130 long-distance coastal path towards the village of San Andrés

    After a short 15 min transfer to Puntallana, today's walk follows the GR130 long-distance coastal path that runs across La Palma, through dramatic barrancos (ravines) with stunning coastal views. You will walk through citrus groves, avocado and mango orchards, small vineyards and banana plantations, arriving in the pretty village of San Andrés, one of the first colonial towns on the island. Take some time to explore the cobbled streets and houses in the historic quarter, visit one of the oldest churches on the island, enjoy a side visit to a local rum factory or take a dip in the seawater pools at Charco Azul. Then walk for another 15 minutes up the coast until you reach your apartment where you spend the night. 

    Overnight Apartmentos Miriam or similar

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 15 km / 9 miles
    Total ascent (m):
    500
    Total descent (m):
    700
  • Day 3

    Walk uphill to Los Sauces; ascend to Barlovento

    After  breakfast, begin to walk uphill to Los Sauces, a small town with a vibrant atmosphere on the north east coast. Enjoy negotiating the dramatic ‘Barranco de Herradura’, and then ascend just over 500m through several small villages to reach Barlovento (meaning ‘fresh breeze’) a village which enjoys breathtakingly beautiful sea views. 

    Overnight Hotel La Palma Romantica or similar

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 10 km / 6 miles
    Total ascent (m):
    600
    Total descent (m):
    200
  • Day 4

    Trek through the ‘Dragon Trees Forest’ and across the dramatic Barranco de Franceses before a final ascent

    From Barlovento, follow a path through the ‘Dragon Trees Forest’, across undulating coastline with spectacular views towards the cliffs. Navigate a series of barrancos to reach Los Gallegos, and then descend to sea level, crossing the dramatic Barranco de Franceses before ascending to the pretty village of Franceses; At the end of the walk, take the public bus (fare included) back to Barlovento. 

    Overnight Hotel La Palma Romantica or similar

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 13 km / 8 miles
    Total ascent (m):
    600
    Total descent (m):
    750
  • Day 5

    Trek down a steep sided gorge to the tiny hamlet of El Tablado. Then a steep ascent before a public bus back

    After a short transfer this morning you use ancient paths to discover the far north of La Palma, one of the most unspoiled parts of the island. Walk across the Barranco de Los Hombres, a spectacular steep-sided gorge, to reach the tiny hamlet of El Tablado. Then a steep ascent to yet another tiny hamlet, Roque del Faro, before taking a public bus (fare included) back to your hotel in Barlovento. 

    Overnight Hotel La Palma Romantica or similar

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 10 km / 6 miles
    Total ascent (m):
    900
    Total descent (m):
    400
  • Day 6

    Morning transfer to experience an exciting section of the GR131 route along the rim of the crater Caldera de Taburiente

    Today you take a transfer (1 hour) to walk an exciting section of the GR131 route from the highest point of the island, Roque de los Muchachos, along the rim of the crater Caldera de Taburiente, to the Pico de la Nieve. The route has breathtaking views across the island and the high mountain paths twist and turn across the rocky landscape. In the distance it is possible to see the peak of Mount Teide on Tenerife, emerging from the horizon, 3750m above sea level. After a soft descent, your transfer takes you to the capital of Santa Cruz. 

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 13 km / 8 miles
    Total ascent (m):
    250
    Total descent (m):
    750
  • Day 7

    Walk a popular part of the GR131 along the 'Ruta de Los Volcanes'

    Take an unforgettable walk today along the ‘Ruta de Los Volcanes’. Here you navigate a series of volcanoes in the south of the island, with some of them having erupted only a few years ago. This is the longest walk of the trip, and although it involves a substantial descent it is a very popular and well-marked path, following the GR131 from beginning to end.  

    Overnight Hotel El Galeon or similar

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 19 km / 11 miles
    Total ascent (m):
    550
    Total descent (m):
    1300
  • Day 8

    End Santa Cruz

    If you have time before your flight, take a small walk around Santa Cruz. This fascinating town attracted Flemish merchants who built imposing town palaces, which today accommodate museums and boutiques. A walk along the Calle Real, visiting the Plaza de España, Town Hall or the food market will be a perfect end to your La Palma experience before your flight home.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast

All ascents, descents and distances listed above have been measured by our local partners or tour leaders. Please note that different GPS measuring devices can give differing results dependent on the barometric pressures at the time. Measurements stated throughout these trips notes are given to help you understand the types of terrain and distances you will encounter.

Accommodation

Hotels & Apartments

7 nights accommodation in small hotels and apartments, all en suite. Hotel La Palma Romantica in Barlovento offers a pool (indoor and outdoor) and a Jacuzzi. 

Please note that the accommodation is always subject to availability and named hotels may change.

Where a single supplement is available, paying for a single will only guarantee a room for single use. It does not necessarily mean a twin or double room will be provided for sole occupancy.

Please note that a member of the group may be allocated a single room by default if the make-up of the group means there isn’t anyone for them to share with. Paying the supplement in advance is the only way to guarantee a single room.

Single supplements cannot be refunded retrospectively.

Single supplement from £278.00

Food & Transport

Eating & Drinking

All breakfasts included. 

In Santa Cruz and Barlovento, breakfasts are buffets in the hotels and usually include a selection of breads, cereals, pastries, cold meats and cheese, fresh fruit and yogurt. In San Andres breakfast is provided in a local cafe and is usually bread, eggs and fruit.

A packed lunch can be requested from the hotels in Santa Cruz and Barlovento (please request this the night before) or there are some nearby supermarkets where you are able to pick up food for your journey. Supermarkets are generally closed on Sundays so please be prepared for this.

Dinners can be booked in advance as a Half Board (HB) supplement or there are other dining options nearby. Dinners, when the HB supplement is paid in advance, are usually 3 courses and are taken from a set menu at a local restaurant or at your hotel and offer a variety of local specialities and international cuisine. There is a lot of fresh fish available. 

Drinks are not included with dinner, but a soft drink should cost €1-2, a beer €2-4, a glass of wine €2-3 and a bottle of wine from €8 upwards.

Vegetarians: Please be aware that meat and fish are staple foods in Spain. Most vegetarians do not experience any problems, however please be prepared to be flexible. 

Transportation

Your luggage is transported from hotel to hotel for you. Some of your transfers are in taxis and some are on the public bus (fares included) - details will be provided to you at the welcome briefing.

Weather & Seasonality

Weather Information

La Palma enjoys a relatively balanced climate year round due to the trade winds that affect all of the Canary Islands. These winds from the north east carry moisture and can mean that two different sides of the island can be experiencing completely different weather patterns simultaneously. The winds provide a lovely natural cooling system which is perfect for hiking. However you should be prepared for rain at any time, La Palma is a lush, green island and the weather systems can be quite unpredictable. We offer this trip year round, but please be aware that there can be significant increases in temperature in July and August and this may lead to cancellation of some walking days if the weather is too hot. The best time to trek is from October to May, when the island is a little cooler.

Weather Charts

Joining Instructions

Travelling land only: 8 days starting in Santa Cruz and ending in Santa Cruz

Your trip normally starts at Santa Cruz airport (airport code SPC) on La Palma, on the afternoon of Day 1. 

Joining instructions including route notes, hotel list, map and local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

 

Regional Flights

The Flight Inclusive price is based on a London departure, but we are happy to tailor this to your local or regional airport. Please ask about flights from local or regional airports.

If booking regional flights other than with Exodus, you must allow a minimum connecting time (in addition to the international check-in time) of 1 hour at Gatwick, and 1.5 hours at Heathrow; this is longer than the official minimum, but baggage handling is known to be subject to delays.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Transfers Details

An airport transfer is included for those booking flight inclusive packages. For those booking land only transfers can be added at a supplement.

Location start:
Santa Cruz
Location end:
Santa Cruz

What to Take

Essential Equipment

As well as casual clothes for travel and days off, we recommend that you bring the following:

Day sack with 30-40 litres capacity

A good quality waterproof/windproof jacket and waterproof trousers

Walking boots with good ankle support and a strong sole

A warm fleece or lightweight down jacket

Sun hat, sun cream and sun glasses

Hat and gloves

Walking poles are highly recommended

Mobile phone (please check your sim card works overseas)

Optional Equipment

Swimming costume/trunks

Towel for the pools at Charco Azul

Practical Information

Passport

Spain

All nationalities require a full passport that must be valid beyond the intended length of stay. It is your responsibility to have the correct personal documents and to obtain your own visa, if one is necessary, in accordance with the regulations of the country you are to visit. The information offered below is to help you with that process. We are not responsible for the actions of local immigration and customs officials, whether at points of entry or otherwise, and any subsequent effects.

Passports: check if you need to renew

You may need to renew your British passport earlier if you’re travelling from 1 January 2021.

On the day you travel, you’ll need your passport to both:

  • have at least 6 months left
  • be less than 10 years old (even if it has 6 months or more left)

Certain European nationalities may be able to travel within Europe on their national identity card. Check carefully with the relevant authorities if you intend to do this.

Visa

Spain

Visa regulations can change without notice: please check the current regulations in good time to obtain a visa if one is required.

Vaccination

Spain

There are no specific health risks.

Travel health can often be something people forget about before going away, but a little preparation and knowledge can go a long way to help you stay fit and healthy while abroad.

As we are not qualified to answer all your questions about travel health we strongly recommend you contact your Medical Professional or a Travel Health Clinic at least 8 weeks prior to departure for up-to-date information. Please note: vaccinations that are routinely recommended to residents of the UK, North America or Australasia are not considered to form part of the travel health advice, and you should ensure these are kept up to date where necessary.

For additional information please visit: https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries

Insurance - are you adequately covered?

It is a condition of joining any of our holidays that you must be fully insured against medical and personal accident risks (to include repatriation costs and air ambulance or helicopter rescue services where appropriate). On arrival in destination for your trip, you will be asked to present details to your leader or local representative of your policy.

If you are resident in the UK we strongly recommend the Exodus travel insurance policy, this is specifically designed to cover all activities on your trip. If arranging your own policy please ensure that you are covered for all activities that are part of the trip, optional activities that you intend to take part in and/or on high altitude itineraries, that you are covered up to the maximum altitude of the trip.

UK-issued European Health Insurance Cards (EHICs) are still valid and offer the same cover as GHICs in the EU. This gives you medical care at a reduced cost, and in some cases for free, in many European countries, but should not be considered a substitute for adequate insurance. Once your EHIC has expired, you’ll be able to replace it with a GHIC.

Local Time

Spain's Timezone:
Europe/Madrid CEST (GMT +02:00)

Electricity

Spain's Electricity:

European plug ‐ 2 round pins. 230 Volts AC.

Money

Spain's Currency

The national currency of Spain is the Euro (EUR), with an exchange rate at the time of publication (August 2021) of approximately 1.17 to the GBP, 0.85 to the USD, 0.67 to the CAD, 0.62 to the AUD and 0.59 to the NZD.

ATM Availability

ATMs are available in Santa Cruz, Los Sauces and Barlovento. Credit cards are generally accepted in supermarkets, at the hotel in Barlovento and throughout Santa Cruz, but you will need cash for more rural areas. 

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

For the meals not included we recommend that you allow €8-15 for lunch if taken in a café or restaurant and €25-40 for dinners. The hotel can arrange a packed lunch for you (approx. €6) if you request it the night before, or you can pick up picnic supplies from a supermarket.

Stargazing (€25 per person) is a very popular activity on La Palma and this can be booked for you in advance. Please speak to a member of Exodus staff beforehand or talk to the local representative about this in your welcome briefing.

Responsible Tourism

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Exodus Community

Join the Exodus online community

Don't forget to visit the Community area on our website. You can view the range of Exodus videos and podcasts, read trip write-ups which have featured in the national media and take advantage of some special deals on travel gear and equipment.

In the Community Travel Forum you'll find the Departure Lounge where you can discuss your trip with fellow travellers before you depart. When you get back from your holiday remember to upload your images to the relevant trip page on our website. This helps other people see what our holidays are really like and you'll be entered automatically into our monthly photo competition.

To make full use of the Community you'll need to join My Exodus. It's free, registration is simple and easy, so what are you waiting for?

Important Information

On all guided trips

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely partake in an activity, or their impact on other people’s enjoyment, we authorise them to take necessary action which, in some circumstances, may involve asking someone to miss that activity.

Although rarely enforced, by booking this trip you agree to section 14 of our Booking Conditions which clearly states that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these circumstances we will ensure anyone sitting out is safely provided for and offered alternative options where possible. Refunds will not be provided for activities missed and customers may be liable for additional costs incurred.

On all trips

In booking this trip you should be confident in your ability to participate in all activities described in these Trip Notes. If you have any doubt about your suitability you should call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary.

 

Every time that you travel abroad you should take the time to read the warnings in the essential information in the brochure.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers, and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately 2 to 3 weeks prior to departure. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

The information in these Trip Notes is given in good faith. Where differences exist between the Trip Notes and our current brochure or website, the Trip Notes supersede the brochure and website. All holidays can be subject to unexpected changes; in order to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, as stated in our brochure, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons - climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best possible alternative arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.

As fuel prices, airport taxes and exchange rates fluctuate, and airlines manage their rates to match demand, it is proving harder than ever to guarantee our Flight Inclusive prices. Although we endeavour to keep our website as accurate as possible, daily fluctuations mean that our Flight Inclusive price may be out of date. For accurate prices we recommend that you contact one of our Travel Experts, or your Travel Agent.

TRAVEL AWARE – STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD

 

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office and the NHS have up-to-date advice on staying safe and healthy abroad. For more on security, local laws, plus passport and visa information, see https://travelaware.campaign.gov.uk/

Keep informed of current travel health news by visiting https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/

Advice can change so check regularly for updates.

For all latest travel information about your holiday, please visit our Travel Safety Advice page.

How to Book

1. Check availability

Go online to check availability, or contact us by phone or email.

2. Secure your place

You can provisionally hold a place on this trip, usually for between three and seven days.

3. Complete your booking and payment

When you're ready to book, go to our website for online bookings, book over the phone or you can complete a booking form (available online or on request by calling us). We accept all major credit and debit cards, or you can pay be cheque. Book with confidence: Exodus is fully licensed and bonded as a tour operator. We hold Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) number 2582 issued and bonded with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are also bonded to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and we are members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and ABTA ‐ The Travel Association. This means you can book your Exodus holiday with confidence, as all monies paid to us for your trip are fully protected.

TRIP NOTE VALIDITY

These Trip Notes are valid from the "Current as" date on page one. They will occasionally be updated post booking and pre-departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary bookers will be written to separately. All customers will also receive a link to the most up-to-date version of the Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions pre-travel.