La PalmaLa Palma, known as La Isla Bonita (The Beautiful Island), is the most north-westerly of the Canary Islands and is located some 415km from the African Coast. The Island is home to around 85,000 people and couldn't be more different to some of the other, more popular, Canary Islands. The greenest of the Islands, La Palma's lower slopes are full of Orchards with Mango, Avocado and Papaya as well as seemingly endless Banana Plantations. Higher up on what has been claimed to be the steepest Island in the world are Laura-Silva cloud forest, followed by Pine Forests.
There is relatively little tourism on this quiet island, with Hillwalking being the biggest attraction. The lack of white sandy beaches (there are a few black ones) has kept the hordes of package tourists at bay - La Palma's attractions lie elsewhere.
The Roque de los Muchachos Observatory, located adjacent to La Palma's highest peak (2426m), is considered to be one of the best locations in the world for astronomy and is home to some of the World's most powerful telescopes.
As with the other Canary Islands, La Palma is Volcanic. The stunning Caldera de Taburiente crater dominates the centre of the Island and measures 8km across. It was declared a National Park in 1954. The last eruption took place in La Palma in 1971 and sulphur can still be seen escaping from vents on some of the Island's volcanoes. In recent years, La Palma has been the centre of international attention because of a theory put forward in a BBC documentary claiming that a landslide on La Palma would cause a massive Tsunami that would wipe out the eastern seaboard of the United States. This theory has proved controversial with several Scientists disputing the theory.
The Island's pretty capital, Santa Cruz de la Palma, was founded in 1493 and was once considered the third most important port of the Spanish Empire. Its beautiful cobbled pedestrianised streets are lined with many fine examples of Colonial Canarian Architecture.