About Garafia

Welcome to our 'Garafia' page.

Here you can enjoy a little bit of history and information about Garafia and a few snapshots too! With your booking of holiday accommodation in Garafia, we include our full 6-page area guide for free!

Garafia is the oldest part of La Palma and the first to be inhabited due to its source of natural springs, abundant vegetation and caves. In fact, the name ‘Garafia’ in the original language of the Aborigines literally means ‘living place’ which distinguished it from other parts of the island that were barren and not a ‘living place.’
Although it is the most rural part of La Palma with acres of countryside, impressive gorges, mountain ridges and cascading terraces, it also has the amenities to help everyday life along such as two small supermarkets, numerous bars, restaurants and an excellent bus service. 
Garafia spans from sea level right up to the highest point of the island at 2426m and extends from Barlovento in the east to Puntagorda in the west. Although it is the second largest municipality on the island, it is also the least populated. It's a special place to be, especially for anyone who wants to experience the stillness and beauty of nature that Garafia offers. And apart from having the highest point on the La Palma at the Roque de Muchachos, it's also got a mighty fine beach!
To holiday in Garafia is like stepping back in time - here the norm for holiday accommodation is casas rurales, the old traditional houses and cottages of La Palma made from stone and wood. Lovingly built more than 100 years ago, they provide the perfect place from which to enjoy the countryside. Along with the rural houses, quaint shops, walking paths, trekking trails and restaurants where meat is cooked over firewood, Garafia is an experience not to be missed!

Main points of interest in Garafia:

   The Roque de Muchachos

The Roque de Muchachos (or Rock of the Young Men) is at the highest point of the island at 2426m above sea level. It sits right on the GR131 El Bastón walkiing route which runs all the way from the Puerto de Tazacorte up to the Roque de Muchachos and then down the spine of the island, the Cumbre, along the Volcano Route and down to the Fuencaliente lighthouse.  
The views from the Roque de Muchachos are spectacular with several look-out points down into the Caldera and over to the islands of Tenerife, El Hierro and La Gomera. 

 Roque de Muchachos
Roque de Muchachos Observatories

The observatory of La Palma is located at 2400m above sea level, just below the Roque de Muchachos. 
It is the second most important in the Northern Hemisphere after Hawaii due to the clear skies and quickly gained altitude. This is the place to go for the Wow factor!
It is currently possible to take part in a day-time guided tour on certain days with a previous booking.
You can check out our page about astronomy and star-gazing on La Palma here.


La Zarza

In the 1950’s, a series of rock engravings were discovered at this site and these, along with later findings, have proved to be the most important in the Canary Islands. The small museum at La Zarza depicts life in Garafia from the 15th century onwards when people lived in caves. Alongside there is a circular walk along a wooded path to view the petroglyphs and caves.


The Church of Nuestra Señora de la Luz, Our Lady of the Light, Santo Domingo

The current church was built between 1651 and 1664 and, with its two naves, it is the only one of its type in La Palma and one of only a few in the Canary Islands. It has one of the most important Moorish alters in the Canaries.

The Church of San Antonio del Monte at San Antonio (photo : right) was the location of the first church for Santo Domingo. Nowadays it is an important part of the annual 3-day fiesta centered around 12 June with a procession, animal fayre and live music. 

 san antionio church

The Port of Santo Domingo and Port of La Fajana, Franceses

There are only two major ports across the whole of the north coast although neither of these is in use any more. They do however remain an area of natural beauty and interest.
The walk down to the port of Santo Domingo reveals many caves where people once lived and still today they are used at weekends.
The port of La Fajana can be accessed by road almost all of the way and the port buildings are still largely in tact. There is a small village alongside currently with approximately eleven inhabitants whose main income is from the surrounding banana plantation. It is also a popular spot with fishermen who fish from the rocks.

 la Fajana
 windmill garafia

Windmills and Eras (stone threshing circles).
In times gone by, Garafia was known as the ‘threshing floor’ of La Palma as it had both the fertile land and manpower to grow wheat but also the wind to mill it and failing that, the beast to drive the grinders using a stone era. The eras were threshing circles measuring approximately 5 metres in diameter and edged with large stones. The oxen were driven around the perimeter of the circle, grinding the wheat or corn as they went.
Eras are in many locations in Garafia including Franceses, although many are now overgrown. Take a look at the windmills in Llano Negro and Santo Domingo!


 Walking and trekking in Garafia
If you are coming to La Palma for the walking, Garafia certainly has some of the most stunning scenery and trails to keep you amused (and challenged)! La Zarza, GR130 Camino Real, Roque de Muchachos ... caves, pine forests .... it's all there. Detailed walking notes are included with your booking.