The island of La Palma with its breathtaking landscapes, imposing volcanoes, dense forests and its incomparable starry sky, together with the island of El Hierro, is one of the most western islands of the Canary archipelago. Like every island in this archipelago, La Palma owes its existence to volcanic activity, but is one of the youngest of the seven islands, dating back some 1.7 million years. The volcanic origin of La Palma is still clearly recognizable today, especially the southern part of the island with the volcano Teneguía, last erupted in 1971, offers interesting insights into the geological past.
The year-round mild climate with average temperatures between 18 and 27 degrees Celsius is primarily determined by the north east trade wind. This weather phenomenon is responsible for the fact that on the island La Palma pleasantly subtropical climate prevails and by the humidity carried along in the trade wind clouds also a rich vegetation thrives.
Combined with the unique geological structure of the island, this results in a variety of vegetation zones that are rarely found in such a small area of the world.
In 1983 the “Isla Bonita”, as La Palma is also called, was declared a UNESCO biosphere reserve. Another special feature of La Palma is the unique starry sky. Due to its location in the Atlantic Ocean, the comparatively sparse population and the highest elevation, the 2426 metre high Roque de los Muchachos, the island was chosen as the location for one of the most modern and largest observatories in the world.
The official population of the island is approximately 80,000 people spread over a total area of about 708 square kilometres. Traditional festivals such as the Bajada de la Virgen or the Los Indianos carnival, famous far beyond the island’s borders, bear witness to the zest for life of the Palmeros. Not only the geographical location, but also the numerous immigrants from Central and South America show a variety of Hispanic influences in island life, cultural events and also in the cuisine.