Thundering waterfalls, ancient forests and an impressive volcanic landscape with black beaches: La Palma is a dream island for nature lovers. It is by far the island of the Canary Islands with the most green, almost half of it is covered with forest.
But once a year the green island is dominated by the color white. On Rosenmontag (Rose Monday), the inhabitants have for decades been targeting those ancestors who returned from abroad wealthy and ostentatiously demonstrated their wealth with powdered faces. The carnivalistic approach culminates every year in a white chaos, with tons of talcum, flour or paint trickling down the uniformly white dressed islanders.
On the Roque de los Muchachos, La Palma’s highest mountain at 2,400 meters, stands one of the largest reflecting telescopes in the world. Astrophysicists love the island because it is the perfect place to look into space. Researchers and star lovers look spellbound to Beteigeuze. The giant star is probably in front of a supernova and could become a second moon in the firmament.
Winegrowers from the south of the island are among the pioneers of the Bodega submarina de Canarias, the wine storage under water. In 2007 they began to let bottles of red and white wine mature in different depths of the Atlantic Ocean. Not as a publicity stunt, stored in the sea the wine actually tastes more aromatic and fresher. The bottles are recovered by divers who locate the “wine cellar” by GPS.
With four-meter-long wooden lances down the gorge, over an abyss or up to the next rock plateau: with the “Shepherd’s Leap” you can conquer impassable, steep terrain. Even the Guanches, the native inhabitants of the Canary Islands, used to herd their goats on La Palma in this way. Today, Salto del Pastor is an off-road sport for tradition-conscious islanders. And sometimes the big fun turns into seriousness: Then the best jumpers are used in search and rescue operations.
In the remote canyons of the island there are countless barrancos, natural caves where the Guanches once lived. To this day, these rustic rock dwellings attract people who no longer feel the need for urban stress. Clever islanders are counting on this trend: They have bought a few caves and converted them into hip rental objects, and rent them out to people who are tired of civilization and to temporary dropouts.