La Palma in 3 Days: a guidebook for getting the most out of your visit

La Palma is one of the most attractive islands of the Canary Islands and touring its main points in 3 days is possible, although only if you prepare a well-organized itinerary.

Matías Rodríguez

Matías Rodríguez

10 min read

La Palma in 3 Days: a guidebook for getting the most out of your visit

La Palma | ©Ivan Borisov

If you only have a 3-day stay planned in La Palma, then you'd better hurry, because the Isla Bonita is one of the most attractive places in the Canary Islands and also the ideal destination for adventure and hiking tours through the volcanoes and forests of the island, especially if you choose Santa Cruz de La Palma to stay.

Among the best things to do in La Palma are also tours of the island's capital, a visit to Porís de Candelaria, dolphin watching from Puerto de Tazacorte and a guided tour of Roque de los Muchachos, the highest point on the island.

Day 1: Visit to the forest of Los Tilos, the natural pools of Charco Azul and a tour of Santa Cruz de La Palma

Los Tilos Bridge| ©Luc.T
Los Tilos Bridge| ©Luc.T

Santa Cruz is the capital of La Palma and also the ideal place to use as a base for your 3-day tour of the Isla Bonita, especially for excursions to the best natural attractions.

For the itinerary of the first day I propose a visit to the forest of Los Tilos, the natural pools of Charco Azul and a tour of the historic center of Santa Cruz.

Take a walking tour through the forest of Los Tilos

Located in the area near the Caldera de Taburiente National Park, the forest of Los Tilos is one of the most beautiful natural scenery of La Palma. This wooded area has a lush vegetation of lime trees, strawberry trees, laurels and ferns with high trails and natural balconies and is an ideal tour if you enjoy adventure excursions.

Los Tilos forest has free admission and is open daily from 9:00 to 17:30, but I recommend that if you are planning a short stay on the island you visit it during the morning. If you opt for the simplest circuit (10 kilometers), it is a visit that will take you between 3 and 4 hours, depending on your pace.

For information, in case you feel like more, there are excursions that include a night tour, outside visiting hours, to explore the starry sky of the island. In that case, these are full day tours or require you to spend the night in the north of the island.

From Santa Cruz de La Palma you can reach Los Tilos forest by car on the LP-1 route in 30 minutes. You can also choose to do it on an excursion or hire a tourist bus, although there is no public transport to the forest. In any case, I recommend this visit to get to know the beauty of the north of the island, with large green areas and wonderful waterfalls.

Take a dip in the natural pools of Charco Azul

After the hiking tour through the forest of Los Tilos you can reach the natural pools of Charco Azul, on the coast of San Andrés y Sauces, by the LP-105 route in just over 15 minutes. There you will have time to have lunch in the bars and canteens near the beach of Puerto Espindola and later you can enjoy a relaxing swim in Charco Azul.

These pools of calm waters are enclaved in the rocks of the coast of San Andrés y Sauces, even when the swell of the sea usually breaks hard against the natural stone walls.

Entrance to Charco Azul is free, as is the use of the showers and changing rooms, and from morning until 2 p.m. is usually the busiest time, so I recommend you visit after lunch.

Visit the viewpoints of Barlovento

Before returning to Santa Cruz you can make the most of your visit to San Andres by stopping at the viewpoints of Barlovento, where you can also visit the rum distilleries, which is one of the main productions of the island, along with the wine cellars of Teneguía.

Book an excursion to the Teneguía wineries in La Palma

Walk through the old town of Santa Cruz de La Palma

Santa Cruz de La Palma| ©Mardeviajes
Santa Cruz de La Palma| ©Mardeviajes

You can return to Santa Cruz from San Andrés by car on the LP-01 route or by city bus line 100. In the capital, the best option is to take a stroll through the old town, where you will find the famous balconies of the Avenida Marítima, the Insular Museum of La Palma, the Plaza de España and the Real Castillo de Santa Catalina.

Dine in the old town and take a last stroll through the streets of the city

In the old town you can dine in some of the main restaurants of Santa Cruz, although I recommend you visit La Isla de Goya, a tapas bar that stands out for seafood and fish and summer red wine.

After dinner, if the weather is nice, you can continue walking along the cobblestone streets to the old port or get lost in the narrow streets of the old town, to marvel at its colorful houses with balconies and gardens and the omnipresent starry sky that is always present in La Palma.

Day 2: Hiking excursion to the Roque de los Muchachos and tour of the Tajogaite volcano

Roque de los Muchachos, Las Palmas| ©Carlos Lopez Echeto
Roque de los Muchachos, Las Palmas| ©Carlos Lopez Echeto

If you felt that the tour of the first day did not have enough adventure then get ready, because on the second day you will visit the Roque de los Muchachos, the highest point of La Palma, following a hiking route.

In the afternoon I propose you to visit the volcano of Tajogaite, on a route of medium difficulty that will take you a few meters from the main crater.

These two excursions will not only take you to two of the most visited natural sites on the island, but will also give you some of the best panoramic views of La Palma.

Take a hiking tour to Roque de los Muchachos

The Roque de los Muchachos, located at an altitude of more than 2,400 meters, is the highest point of La Palma and the place where you will be able to contemplate the best open views of the island. Its extraordinary location and the fact that it has one of the clearest skies on the planet led to the installation of the Astrophysical Observatory, with some of the most powerful telescopes in the world.

From the viewpoints of Roque de los Muchachos you will be able to see the islands of Tenerife, La Gomera and El Hierro and also a panoramic view of the National Park of La Caldera de Taburiente, especially on clear days.

The name of this attraction derives from the three rocks of about 3 meters high each that can be found at the top and that have a shape similar to that of three boys gathered together.

From Santa Cruz de La Palma you can reach the Roque de los Muchachos by car through the winding LP-4 route in a journey of just over an hour. Ideally you should visit the roque in the morning, as to enjoy it in its entirety you will need to hike the hiking route , which could take between 2 and 3 hours.

Tour the Tajogaite volcano on a guided tour

Old Summit| ©Ivan Borisov
Old Summit| ©Ivan Borisov

The Cumbre Vieja volcano is the main attraction of La Palma and the Natural Park that nucleates it and covers a large part of the island, crossing 6 municipalities, also includes other smaller volcanoes that, being inactive, can be visited without risk. One of them is the volcano of Tajogaite, in the municipality of El Paso.

You can reach the Visitor Center of La Caldera de Taburiente from Roque de los Muchachos by car through the LP-1 route in a journey of just over an hour and a half, and once there you can have lunch and start a hiking route with the assistance of a local guide for a total distance of about 3 kilometers until you reach a few meters from the crater of the Tajogaite volcano.

During these hiking tours, the local guide will explain the process of volcanic formation of the island of La Palma, which is one of the newest among the Canary Islands, and you will walk at heights of approximately 1200 meters while passing through the ash and lapilli of the eruptions.

On the way back to Santa Cruz from the Tajogaite volcano you can visit the Church of Las Nieves and the viewpoint of La Concepción, which will give you a beautiful image of Santa Cruz de La Palma, especially if you visit it at sunset.

Book the Cumbre Vieja Safari in La Palma

Day 3: Hiking tour through Porís de Candelaria, visit to Tazacorte beach and dolphin watching tour.

Poris de la Candelaria| ©Ingo Ronner
Poris de la Candelaria| ©Ingo Ronner

The third and last day in La Palma will include a complete tour of the west coast of the island, which holds some of the paradisiacal sites of the Canary Islands, such as the Porís de Candelaria, the Cueva Bonita and the Playa de Tazacorte.

As it could not be less, for this day I also recommend you to take one of the fun dolphin watching tours from the marina of the port of Tazacorte, so be prepared for an intensive tour.

The dolphin watching excursions have an approximate duration of 2 to 3 hours and can be done in the morning or in the afternoon, but in this case I recommend you to do it in the afternoon so you can do the hiking tour through the Porís de la Candelaria with peace of mind.

Take a hiking tour through Porís de Candelaria

On the west coast of the island it is possible to do some of the best full day tours from La Palma. Among them, the itinerary to Porís de Candelaria stands out, a small village built inside a marine grotto in the municipality of Tijarafe, with buildings more than 100 years old and one of the most wonderful natural views of the Canary Islands.

You can get to Porís de Candelaria from Santa Cruz by car through a route that combines the routes LP-1 and LP-3 or by bus on lines 300 and 100 to Tijarafe. Once you get there you can hire a hiking tour that includes a walk of about 7 kilometers from the Jurado ravine, a natural monument with walls that exceed 600 meters high.

I recommend doing this tour in the morning, as it is an excursion that lasts about 4 hours to the Porís de Candelaria There you will be able to contemplate the intense blue color of the sea that surrounds it and the image of the Virgin of Candelaria.

Keep in mind that this excursion can be exhausting and it is ideal to do it if you are planning a stay of a week or more on the island, but if you are one of those who prefer an intensive tour you can not leave it out of your itinerary. If you plan to visit La Palma in 7 days, here is a list of activities you can see and do during your visit.

Visit the beach of Tazacorte

After visiting the Porís de Candelaria and having lunch, you can visit the beach of Tazacorte, which is one of the most striking of the west coast of La Palma for its black sand, the result of volcanic eruptions, and its stony seabed, which combined with the crystal blue waters creates one of the most beautiful landscapes of the island.

Tazacorte beach can be reached by car along the LP-1 route in a half-hour drive. If the weather is good, you can swim and enjoy a snorkeling experience before opting for some of the best dolphin watching excursions in La Palma. If instead you plan to tour the island in winter you can simply stroll along the beach.

The beach of Tazacorte is located in a bay very close to the marina of the port, from where the dolphin watching tours depart along the west coast of La Palma. In addition, you can make the most of your visit to this area by visiting the Mirador de Tazacorte, the Casa Massieu Museum and the commercial stores on the Avenida de la Constitución.

Keep in mind that if you visit La Palma during the summer months or high season, there could be a large influx of tourists, which could lead to delays in excursions or price increases, so I recommend that you book tours in advance.

Go on a dolphin watching tour

One of the most popular activities in La Palma is dolphin watching and for this the best option is to hire one of the excursions that start at the marina of Puerto de Tazacorte, which also stands out for its design.

There you can opt for catamaran tours in boats for more than 100 people or in smaller boats, such as sailboats or private cruisers.

On these excursions you will be able to see dolphins and whales, as well as other cetaceans of the Canary Islands such as orcas, beaked whales and sperm whales, which are protagonists of the marine fauna of La Palma.

On the glass-bottom boat excursions you can also see other animals that do not come to the surface, such as sharks, rays and colorful fish.

Visit the Bonita Cave and the Lava Delta

During these trips you can also visit the Bonita Cave, a shelter between the rocks generated by the erosion of the ocean.

Weather permitting, dolphin watching tours also often include a stop at a main beach on the west coast and a walk through the Lava Delta, the volcanic formation of the Cumbre Vieja eruptions.

Book a dolphin watching excursion in La Palma

Close your visit to La Palma with dinner at Los Llanos

Los Llanos| ©coupeuse meier
Los Llanos| ©coupeuse meier

After the dolphin watching excursion on the east coast and on the way back to Santa Cruz, you can't miss Los Llanos, which is the largest and most populated town of La Palma. There you will find some of the best restaurants of the island, so to close your visit you could have dinner in one of your choice.

In the center of Los Llanos I recommend you to visit El Duende del Fuego, which is often pointed out as the best restaurant in La Palma, and which stands out for its conceptual cuisine inspired by local flavors and products.

If you prefer fish and Spanish continental food, you can opt for El Búnker, although it is advisable to book in advance to ensure a seat at this restaurant.

Other recommended options to savor the best beef dishes are Los Argentinos and tasca La Luna.

  • Day 1
  • Northern part of the island
  • Los Tilos forest
  • Blue Pond
  • Historic center of Santa Cruz
  • Day 2
  • Adventure circuit
  • Roque de los Muchachos
  • Tajogaite Volcano
  • Viewpoint of La Concepción
  • Day 3
  • Western part of the island
  • Porís de la Candelaria
  • Tazacorte beach
  • Dolphin watching