SANTA CRUZ DE LA PALMA (Canary Islands)
Santa Cruz de Tenerife is the capital of the island of La Palma. Because of its spectacular vegetation and exuberant natural beauty, it is considered by many the most beautiful of the Canary Islands and referred to as the Pretty Isle – La Isla Bonita. In addition to its outstanding natural attributes, the island boasts a culture full of traditions, cuisine, crafts and folklore from the time of the original inhabitants, who left a variety of archaeological riches. Once an important transatlantic port during colonial days, today Santa Cruz has the look of a genuine open-air museum. With colonial houses and carved balconies lining the streets, the port city retains the old-world charm of its glory days. Acclaimed attractions in the interior include the Taburiente National Park with its giant crater that has been photographed from the Space Shuttle, and the Roque de los Muchachos Astrophysics Observatory, standing on the island's highest point (7,260 feet) and considered the most important of its kind in the northern hemisphere. The green of the countryside, the abundant water and the floral wealth stands in sharp contrast to the many volcanic cones and lava flows that testify to the island's origins. The oldest volcanic rocks are estimated to be about 3 to 4 million years of age. There were seven recorded eruptions, the most recent one in 1971. While favored by pleasant temperatures in all seasons, the climate varies enormously between the south and the north of the island. The northeast is known to experience moisture-laden trade winds; the southwest is much drier and sunnier. Along the coastal strip, up to an altitude of 600 feet, temperatures are usually in the 70s, while higher up they drop in the winter time, even to freezing point at elevations above 6,000 feet. Our call to La Palma allows you to discover this island's amazingly different faces over a relatively small area. Mountains and volcanoes, beaches and forests, tiny villages and breathtaking views make up the impressive profile of La Isla Bonita.