La Palma (Canary Islands, Spain)

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La Palma, aka la isla bonita, draws more humidity out of the tradewinds than the other Canary Islands due to its elevated volcanic profile.  The result is a lush green east coast and a rather dry west coast separated by a volcanic ridge.  In fact the whole island is a giant volcano that provides one of the best MTB-playgrounds anywhere.

Most of the rides start in Los Llanos or one of the surrounding villages like El Paso, Todoque or Las Manchas.   After a climb or a shuttle ride to the Refugio del Pilar the main trail that runs alongside the Cumbre Vieja (the “old” volcano ridge) takes you in direction Los Canarios/Fuencaliente.  A great option is to go south-east from the Refugio staying on the east side of the Cumbre in order to climb up the Pico Nambroque.  The ride down the Rota de las Volcanes is awesome with spectacular views.

The most fun part, however, is towards the southern tip of La Palma, in the area of Fuencaliente.  Trail surface is mostly black lava sand.  Plan a stop over in the Bar Parrada in Fuencaliente to taste the fresh almond cookies (almendradas) and have a Cafe Cortado. From there you continue your ride on sandy trails marked with rocks down to the salinas at the southern tip of la isla bonita.

EuropeanTrailCharts

 

The Caldera de Taburiente is like a huge hole in the middle of La Palma.  The northern rim of the caldera rises up to an elevation of 2.426 meters (Roque de los Muchachos) and offers great views as well as great MTB-trails.   The most challenging trail runs on the rim of the caldera all the way down to Tazacorte, an ocean harbor with beaches.  And, of course there are many other trails with less exposure in the north-west of the Roque de los Muchachos that want to be explored… IMG_2278

 

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