The Geography of La Palma
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The Geography of La Palma

La Palma has a total surface area of 706 square kilometres and a population of 80.000. The capital city is Santa Cruz de la Palma, with a population of 18,000. The island is divided into 14 administrative regions:

Garafía Barlovento
Puntagorda San Andrés y Sauces
Tijarafe Puntallana
El Paso Santa Cruz
Tazacorte Breña Alta
Los Llanos Breña Baja
Fuencaliente Mazo

Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz de La Palma is the capital city and principal port of the island. It has a population of 18,000 and an area of 45 sq km

At the centre of the town is the Plaza de Espana , the church of El Salvador and the old city hall, all dating from the 16th century. Other churches worth a visit include that of San Francisco Associated with the San Francisco church is the town museum. There is a also a naval museum, housed in a concrete replica of Christopher Columbus's flagship, the Santa Maria .

There are numerous other buildings worth seeing, such as the Casa Salazar , now used for art exhibitions and the tourist information centre, and 'los balcones' on the sea-front. Alternatively a happy afternoon can be spent wandering around the cobbled streets and squares

In the hills above the city is the sanctuary of Nuestra Senora de Las Nieves . This is a beautiful renaissance building from the 16th century, in which resides the image of Nuestra Senora de Las Nieves, the patron of the island . Every 5 years this is taken down to the city, where the famous fiesta of the Bajada de la Virgen is celebrated. Events include the dance of the dwarves ,the Minue , and the carnival float procession .

Santa Cruz also has an annual carnival.

Breña Alta

Breña Alta is situated on the slopes of the Cumbre Nueva, to the south of Santa Cruz. It has a population of 5,700 and an area of 25 sq km. The major town is San Pedro. The patron saint is San Pedro Apostol, a fiesta in honour of whom takes place on the 29th of June.

Worth visiting is the Mirador de La Conception, just off the main road from Santa Cruz to Los Llanos, from which it is possible to look down across port and city of Santa Cruz , and the entire valley of Las Breñas.

Breña Baja

Breña Alta is close to Santa Cruz, below Breña Alta. It has a population of 3,300 and an area of 15 sq km. The major town is San Jose. The patron saint is Santa Ana, a fiesta in honour of whom takes place on the 25th of July.

Worth visiting is the Montana de La Breña . , from which there is an excellent view of the east of the island.

Also within Breña Baja is the major beach and tourist centre on the eastern side of the island, Los Cancajos.


Mazo has a population of 4,250 and an area of 71 sq km.

The major event is Corpus Christi, on which day the streets are decorated with tapestries, arches and carpets made out of flower petals.

Also worth a visit is the El Molino ceramics workshop in Hoyo de Mazo, which makes reproductions of Guanche pottery.


Fuencaliente is situated at the southern tip of La Palma. It has a population of 1,800 and an area of 56 sq km.

Fuencaliente is the principal wine-making area in La Palma. Wine tasting is possible at several bodegas, the largest of which is Llanovid, which produces the ubiquitious Teneguía wine. The sweet malvasía wine is worth taking home.

Worth a visit are the volcanic craters of San Antonio (1677) and Teneguia (1971). Along the coast are a number of small beaches and coves; El Faro, Playa Nueva, Punta Larga and La Zamora.


Tazacorte is situated on the shore of the Aridane valley. It has a population of 6,500 and an area of 12 sq km. The patron saint is San Miguel Arcangel, a fiesta in honour of whom takes place around the 29th of September.

Of particular interest is the port of Tazacorte, located at the outlet of the Barranco de las Augustias . This is an active fishing port, the largest on the western side of the island. Around the port are a number of fish restaurants.

El Paso

El Paso is situated in the upper part of the Aridane valley, at 650 m above sea-level. It has a population of 7,200 and an area of 135 sq km.

The major event is the fiesta of Nuestra Señora del Pino. This occurs every two years during the last week of August, when the patron is bought to the village in a popular pilgrimage .

Worth a visit is the Mirador de La Cumbrecita, which affords an impressive view into the Caldera de Taburiente . Also in El Paso, close to the turn-off to the Cumbrecita, is the new visitors centre of La Caldera National Park.

Los Llanos

Los Llanos is the largest town on the western side of the island, with a population of 17,000 and area of 73 sq km. It is situated in the middle of the fertile Aridane plains, in the middle of immense avocado and banana plantations.

The squares of Elías Santos and Plaza de España are worth a visit, particularly the latter with its giant laurel trees . The principal church is Nuestra Señora de Los Remedios.

There is a fiesta every second year, on the 2nd July, to celebrate the patron of the town. There is also a Carnival each year, towards the end of February.

Also within the Los Llanos region is the major beach and tourist centre of the island, Puerto Naos . Other beaches near Puerto Naos worth visiting are Charco Verde and Playa Nueva.


Tijarafe has a population of 2,700 and an area of 55 sq km.

The famous fiestas of El Diablo take place in the first week of September, in honour of the patron of the village, La Virgen de Candelaria.

Worth a visit is the viewpoint at El Time, perched on the edge of the Barranco de Augustias, which affords a splendid view across the Aridane valley .


Puntagorda has a population of 1,700 and an area of 32 sq km.

Puntagorda is best known for its almond trees, and there is a traditional fiesta held when the trees are in blossom, in January or February.


Garafía has a population of about 2,000 and an area of 100 sq km. It is an extensive rural district with small hamlets separated by deep sheer-sided ravines ('barrancos').

The most important livestock fair of the island takes place during the festival of San Antonio del Monte, on the 12th and 13th of June .


Barlovento has a population of 2,600 and an area of 44 sq km. It shares with Garafía the damp northern strip of the island.

The main point of interest is the La Laguna reservoir, with a capacity of 5 million cubic metres of water, the largest on the island. Beside the reservoir is a recreation area and camping site.

On the coast can be found the natural swimming pools at Las Piscinas .

San Andrés y Sauces

San Andrés y Sauces has a population of 6,000 and an area of 44 sq km. It is the main agricultural and commercial area of the north of the island. The patron of San Andrés is Nuestra Señora de Monserrat, whose fiesta takes place during the first week of September.

Well worth a visit are the springs of Marcos y Corderos , high in the hills above San Andrés. More accessible is the forest of Los Tilos, fed by the waters from the springs. Los Tilos has been declared a 'biosphere reserve', under the protection of UNESCO, as part of the heritage of mankind.

On the coast can be found the natural swimming pools at Charco Azul .


Puntallana has a population of 2300 and an area of 35 sq km. The fiesta of San Juan Bautista takes place in Puntallana on June 24th.

Worth a visit is the wooded area El Cubo de Galga. On the coast is the best beach to the north of the island, Playa Nogales .

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Last modified: 13 December 2010