Santa Cruz de la Palma
A 4 hour ferry from Los Cristianos, Tenerife took us across the sea to the island of La Palma, La Isla Bonita with its population of 80,000 people. The ferry stopped briefly on La Gomera and the cost was 50 euros each as foot passengers. On arrival to Santa Cruz we walked to our apartment which was only 15 minutes from the port. La Palma is a small island, 708 square kilometres and covered in volcanoes, Canarian pine trees and of course bananas. Santa Cruz de la Palma, although it is the capital of the island it is not the largest town on the island, that is Los Llanos de Aridane (more about that later).
We spent 5 fabulous days in Santa Cruz. The city has a major port, one of the most eclectic and fabulous museums, a couple of castles and a replica of Cristopher Columbus' ship the Santa Maria. In front of the ship is the quirky statue of the Dwarf of La Palma which is to be found all over the city on everything from tea towels to murals. It is also home to the festival Descent of the Virgen of Las Nieves, a huge festival which runs every 5 years and where the dwarves dance in a group of 24. In a normal year the port would see around 200,000 cruise visitors.
Whenever we change destination we take a few things into consideration. The main one is yoga classes. It means we tend to move on a Friday to give us time to settle in, work out the internet and also find more accommodation as in a completely new place like this we only book a few days stay so we can decide where to stay for longer. This has invariably proved invaluable.
Santa Cruz although beautiful, is at this time of year a bit chilly and not what I was expecting. We met our friend that lives here and she pointed in the direction of a bit more sun and heat and the largest town on the island Los Llanos de Aridane. She also lent us a car for the duration of our stay here, this has given us such freedom. Its quite amazing as you drive through the tunnel from the east to the west there is a change not only in temperature but also in climate. It's a lot warmer and sunnier on the west, so guess what we have decided to stay here. I have a bit of affinity with the west coast anyway.....
Our yoga classes have been continuing as normal and I also took part in a full day yoga class online as part of my 500 hour yoga course, it was hard going but it is always a learning opportunity. The main focus this time was standing yoga postures and mudras. The main mudra we use is the chin mudra which connects us to our higher selves. This mudra joins the tip of the thumb and index finger in a circle and extends away the other 3 fingers. We do this with both hands mostly during meditation or pranayama. We have also been focusing on meditation, we both practice transcendental meditation which has been a wonderful thing and a real blessing during the last year.
Apart from yoga and meditating we love hiking and La Palma is home to some beautiful hikes and a lot of the reason to me it is La Isla Bonita (the beautiful island). The first one we did was Pico de Bejenado. It was an unexpected 19 k hike up to 2,000ms through Canarian Pine forests. Why unexpected, well we left the house thinking we would go to the Caldera de Taburiente visitor centre and ask about a short hike close to the centre. We headed up to the Valencia road and as we reached the top of the Valencia hike very quickly continued onwards and upwards, fortunately we were prepared with water and snacks.
The hike is a mid range one, there was a lot of climbing from around 800masl (2,400 ft) to about 2,000 masl (6,000 ft). Some of the climb was filled with stones and pretty slippy and I was happy to find a stick to help me on the way up. The views once you reach the top are incredible and the hike down was also magnificent. One of the things that we really loved were the trees, they are amazing. The trees have this ability to be burnt (which does happen), it is one of the most fire resistant trees in the world and has regrowth just a few days after forest fires. As you walk through the forest you can see the effects on the bark of the trees as it is burnt through to the core. The bark is left a beautiful copper, gold and silver colour. The entire hike took us 5 hours and it took my legs about 2 days to recover.
We have also been exploring other parts of the island. We are a 10 minute drive from the beach of Tazacorte on the Atlantic Ocean which also has a large port. The beach itself has a lot of very large waves and volcanic black sand, it fortunately has an area that it is a little easier to get in the water and swim. it's a wonderful feeling and something I miss when unable to get into the sea.
For the meanwhile we are going to stay here on La Palma, we have found a nice apartment with room for us to practice and teach yoga, the internet is okay, the produce is great and we are a short walk into town. We are enjoying the hiking trails and some of the other tourist sights on the island. We still have time to check it out a bit more.
We will continue teaching Iyengar yoga, yin yoga and holding chats on meditation. If you are interested in one or more of our yoga classes let us know or check out our availability here. We also teach private yoga classes which can be traditional yoga or yin yoga, whatever you prefer and of course you can also sign up for a yoga retreat just have a look at our website and as I say we will be adding a Tenerife Yoga Retreat very soon, its taking a bit longer than I expected.
You can also get a hold of us here this is where you can also ask us questions about yoga classes or anything else really and you can also follow us on Facebook or Instagram and follow our daily adventures.