La Palma (Photo:Karol Kozlowski/Shutterstock)
4.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating

By Maria Harding
Cruise Critic Contributor

Port of La Palma

If your idea of a perfect day in port includes ambling along winding cobbled streets, browsing offbeat craft shops and watching the world go by from a street cafe, Santa Cruz de la Palma is an ideal destination.

The city is the capital of La Palma, the most northwesterly of the Canary Islands. On the island, the town is sometimes referred to -- confusingly -- as just La Palma. To further complicate the name game, the island itself owns many titles, too: Its full name is San Miguel de la Palma, but it's also known as La Isla Bonita y Verde, "the beautiful green island."

Whatever you call La Palma, often found on transatlantic itineraries, you'll find fine Spanish colonial houses with elaborate balconies and bougainvillea-draped white frontages -- and one of the world's largest volcanic craters. The Caldera de Taburiente measures nearly 17.5 miles across and nearly half a mile deep, and because it is home to rare animal and plant life, it has also been designated a national park.

La Palma is a volcanic island, just like the rest of the Canary Islands, and some of La Palma's dramatic volcanoes are still active. The island was claimed by the Spanish in 1493, and both human remains and ancient utensils indicate that the island has been inhabited since pre-historic times.

About La Palma


Pro

The port is filled with cute cobbled streets and a scattering of cafes, restaurants, bars and craft shops

Con

Traffic can be busy around the immediate port area

Bottom Line

There's beauty to be found in port and further out for those looking to explore the island's volcanic terrain


Find a Cruise to Canary Islands

Where You're Docked

You'll disembark at the port of Santa Cruz, located on the eastern part of the island.

Good to Know

Traffic is busy as you walk into Santa Cruz from the port gates; you need to cross several junctions. Although there are crossings, traffic seems to come from all directions, so be cautious and alert.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money

The currency is the euro. See www.oanda.com or www.xe.com for conversion rates.

Language

Spanish is spoken, and many residents speak at least a smattering of English, but it could be worth investing in a phrase book if you're heading off on your own.

Shopping

Glass-blowing is popular in La Palma. Opt for a glass La Palma frog, which represents the island's indigenous tree-dweller, or take your pick from the well-stocked antique shops along O'Daly Street, where you can buy a lovely, reasonably priced Tiffany-style lamp or a pretty cut-glass decanter.