A Guide to Puntallana, Isla de La Palma
The village of Puntallana, or San Juan de Puntallana, lies just off the LP1 main road 10km north from the capital of Santa Cruz.
In times gone by, Puntallana was a large producer of wheat and was known as the granero – the granary - of the island.
For guests booking a rural houses through us, we provide an extended version of this guide.
The village of Puntallana has excellent amenities and everything is close at hand being clustered around the main plaza.
Amenities: Spar supermarket, Post office, various bars, hardware store, bank, health centre and a Saturday market.
Places of interest in Puntallana and nearby
Fuente de San Juan: (Fountain of St. John): A tranquil cobbled area with a cross, declared The Peace Corner. Water from natural springs oozes from the rocks and is collected in several small ponds close by. The holy patron is carried in an annual procession to the source in gratitude for the precious water.
Cardonal Spurge of Luis Martin: The largest natural reserve of the cardonal, or Canarian Island spurge on the island and protected by the Government as a Site of Interest. Looking like a tall candelabra (it grows up to 4 mts), it is often called the Hercules Club.
Playa Nogales (beach): A long stretch of sandy beach which is accessed by 400 steps. At one time, turtles would come here to lay their eggs.
Casa Lujan: A beautiful Colonial manor house built in the 19th century, used as a town hall and school until the 80's. It now houses an ethnographic museum and handicrafts centre.
La Fuentiña (water source): Quite different to the tranquil water source in the town of Puntallana, this was used as the laundry for the villagers. A row of stone basins line up by a natural spring ready for the washer-women to do their chores and catch up on news.
Iglesia de San Juan La Bautista (Church of St. John the Baptist): This beautiful church became a parish church in 1515 and has important alter pieces and sculptures, especially a Flemish sculpture from the 16th Century of San Juan Bautista.
Salto del Enamorado (Lover’s Leap) with the statue of the shepherd boy who lost his life trying to please his love.
Mercdadillo (Market): - A relatively new indoor market selling fresh fruit and vegetables, La Palma cheeses and wines, etc. There is also an outdoor fruit and vegetable market on the first and third Saturday of every month held in the Plaza in the centre of Puntallana.
Mirador y Cuevas de La Galga (Look-out point and caves of La Galga): The Mirador is still under construction but you can stop the car there anyway and look down into the barranco (ravine) and the caves.
San Andres is a picturesque village to the north of Puntallana. With cobbled streets, little old houses and 15th century church, it also has two good restaurants.
Roque de Muchachos and the Observatories: - The highest point of the island at 2426m above sea level is the Roque de Muchachos. The international Observatories are also located close to the Roque de Muchachos. With several excellent viewpoints, this is a must do!
Puerto Espindola – a large sandy beach partly protected by the harbour of Espindola.
Santa Cruz – the Bajamar beach, just south of the capital (they are currently making another one in Santa Cruz).
Los Cancajos – three beaches at the small resort of Los Cancajos, great for swimming snorkelling with clear water and lots of fish.
Charco Azul – a lovely sea pool of clear water with fountain. It is also possible to get in the sea when calm.
La Fajana de Barlovento - three sea pools, one of them quite large. Great for snorkelling as well as they are teeming with fish.
Los Cancajos has two water sport centres that offer canoeing and SCUBA diving.
Cubo de Galga: A mainly circular walk along the base of a deep and narrow gorge and then upwards through a natural forest of ancient laurel trees. The laurel tree is a specific type of tree which has survived from the tertiary period when dinosaurs roamed the earth. The laurel tree is very scarce and only found in certain parts of the world – the ones on La Palma are therefore very important.
Los Tilos – the original UNESCO heritage site before the whole island was granted this accolade. It is one of the biggest Laurisilva forests in the Canary Islands. There are several walks possible including:-
The Los Tilos Visitor centre to Barlovento and
The Marcos y Cordero springs which take you through 13 hand-dug water tunnels. Alternatively, for the Marcos y Cordero walk, drive into the area of Los Tilos, just before Los Sauces where you can leave the car and walk up to the tunnels and back again the same way.
GR130 Camino Real: The Camino Real is an eight-day walk of approx 155km and goes right around the island (but you don’t have to walk all of it.)
Other things to see and do on La Palma (in no particular order ..)
1. Balconies of Santa Cruz – explore this beautiful historic city and enjoy a coffee in one of the plazas
2. Roque de Muchachos – the roof of the island where the observatories are located and from you can look down into the mighty Caldera and over to Tenerife, La Gomera and El Hierro. Best go in the morning for the best chance of a good view. There are no facilities there at all.
3. La Caldera is the ‘inside’ of what once was called the largest erosion crater in the world. A walk in the Caldera takes you right into the base of this amazing geographic feature.
4. La Cumbrecita is a view point over the Caldera. There is a one-hour circular walk which gives a great overview. Parking is with ticket only as space is very limited – collect your (free) ticket at the Visitor’s Centre at El Paso.
5. Volcanoes of the south which are accessed from Fuencaliente where there is a visitor’s centre and a chance to walk around part of the rim of the volcano.
6. Los Tilos ancient Laurisilva forest – see ‘walks.’
7. La Zarza archaeological park and walk is located in the north and has a small exhibition depicting La Palma through the ages. Entrance to the exhibition costs 1.80€ and also includes a 20 minute walk where you can see the original cave etchings. There is also another walk from La Zarza which takes you past caves, hanging vines, wooden bridges and sheer rock walls.
8. Tazacorte beach and sea food restaurants
9. Tazacorte boat trips to see dolphins and whales.