Guide to Tazacorte
Tazacorte is the smallest municipality of La Palma but despite that, it is probably one of the most fascinating!
On the face of it, Tazacorte is just about tourism – after all it has a great beach, a colourful selection of holiday apartments, fish restaurants along the boulevard, the biggest marina on La Palma and the most sunshine hours in Europe. So one might think that’s all there is to it but in fact, that’s just one half of Tazacorte, the half we refer to as El Puerto.
Just 1.5km inland is the other half – the small town of Tazacorte with its own charm and a great local vibe. This is where you’ll find the usual facilities of supermarkets, small shops, banks, etc. along with a central plaza for sipping local wine or a coffee while putting the world to rights. But step just one street back and you’re in the tangle of narrow cobbled streets lined with tiny cottages and three storey houses. Opposite the church down another cobbled street, you might want to explore the area where the sugar cane barons lived in their mansions.
And if you’re looking for a bit more activity, the largest city of Los Llanos is only 4km away.
Tazacorte lies in the west of La Palma with the municipality of Tijarafe to the north and Los Llanos to the east and south. Google Maps: Tazacorte town
Tazacorte is the smallest municipality on La Palma at only 12km² and has a population of 4,600 residents as at 2018.
On 29th September, 1492, Adelantado Fernandez de Lugo and his troops, the Spanish Conquistadores, arrived on the beach at Tazacorte to invade and conquer the island of La Palma. Tazo, the king of Tazacorte, died heroically trying to defend his people and his lands and this is how the place got its name - Corte del Rey Tazo – Tazacorte - the breaking of King Tazo.
From 1513, land was dedicated to the cultivation of sugar cane partly thanks to the abundant water from the Caldera which flowed down the ravine to Tazacorte. And with relatively easy access to the sea, the port was a key factor in transport.
By the end of the 18th century, the productivity and profitability of sugar cane decreased and by 1830, the last sugar mill was closed. In 1850 fishing and the cultivation of cochineal took its place which brought wealth to some but of course not to all.
From 1890, there was trade in tobacco as well and then tomatoes after which bananas were introduced.
In 1919, the British company Fyffes came on the scene and by the mid-1920’s, 70% of the population of Tazacorte worked in production and export of bananas. Business in Tazacorte was bigger than that of nearby Los Llanos de Aridane and this caused Tazacorte to fight not just for its independence from Los Llanos but also from that of Spain.
In 1925, independence from Los Llanos was granted.
Photo video of El Puerto: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bhp3TxNdl5E&t=330s
Despite its small size, Tazacorte produces the most bananas in the whole of the Canary Islands due to its ideal climate. Farmlands, producing almost exclusively bananas, occupy as much as 85% of the land area of Tazacorte.
In recent years, there has been much development of the port thanks to which the marina is nearly always full with small traditional fishing boats, cabin cruisers and sailing yachts. There is also commercial fishing which is very successful.
With the extension of the harbour wall and hard standing, and then a second even bigger extension, it was hoped to encourage small cruise liners. Although this hasn’t really happened so far, it does at least provide a vast amount of sheltered water which the marina of Santa Cruz is unable to rival.
Things to see and do in Tazacorte (in no particular order):
- Church of St. Michael Archangel (Iglesia de San Miguel Arcángel), Tazacorte town
- The Pergola, Tazacorte town
- The banana museum (Museo de Plátano), Tazacorte town
- The Aqueduct and Water Basins (Los Aqueductos y Lavaderos), Tazacorte town
- Boat trips, dolphin watching from Tazacorte harbour
- Fish restaurants by the beach at Tazacorte
- Cemetery with gardens (Cementerio), outskirts of Tazacorte town
- Harbour and marina, Puerto de Tazacorte
- Tazacorte beach
Church of St. Michael Archangel – The church of San Miguel, located in the Plaza España in Tazacorte town, was constructed in 1513 and restored in the 18th, 19th and 20th century. However, the hermitage dates back to 1492 when Alonso Fernández de Lugo, head of the Spanish Conquistadors completed his conquest of La Palma.
In 1570, a group of 40 Portuguese Jesuits who were on route by sea from Lisbon to Brazil but paused at Tazacorte were attacked by a French pirate ship and the group were killed at sea.
In 1854, the group was beatified as the forty martyrs of Brazil and in more recent years, one of stained glass windows in the Church of San Miguel was dedicated to them. Additionally, crosses have been placed on the sea bed in dedication.
Pergola - located next to the church. Not too much is known about this tiled pergola with its beautiful covering of bougainvillea. However, in 1933 in the local newspaper commented on its beauty and that the tiles were from Sevilla. With this lack of information, this could mean it was a private rather than Government project.
Banana Museum – Tazacorte town. Never been to a banana museum? Now is your big chance! Everything you always wanted to know about bananas – history, cultivation, exportation and the biology of the banana. The grounds and little road down to it are also interesting with the big houses once owned by the sugar cane barons. One such house often cited as being the most grand on all of La Palma has been converted into the exclusive Hotel Hacienda de Abajo. All are located in Camino San Antonio, el Charco down a cobbled road opposite the church. The banana museum opening hours are:
From 10.00 – 13.30hrs and 16.00 – 18.00hrs Monday to Friday
From 10.00 – 13.00hrs Saturday. Closed Sunday.
The Aqueducts with Water Basins – are an amazing construction which sit just below the town. This is where waters from the Barranco de Angustias were harnessed and the waterfall was used to provide energy to make the sugar mills turn. With no water going to waste, washing basins were built and these were a key feature for the laundry of clothes. New washing basins were built in the 1950’s.
Boat trips – Yey! Tazacorte is the perfect spot for taking a boat trip with a chance to see the dolphins and even, occasionally, whales. In fact, Tazacorte is the only place on the island that offers boat trips. There are several to choose from:
Fancy II – has the greatest capacity, an upper deck plus two underwater viewing windows
Bussard - a restored motor-sailing vessel with lots of old-fashioned character. Takes a maximum of 12 passengers
Inia – a bright yellow RIB (Rigid Hull Inflatable) with a bit of speed and close up water fun
Flipper – fitted with underwater cameras and each person can see what’s going on underwater via the on-deck viewing monitors
Fantasy – a luxury, 12-seater boat with a large underwater viewing bubble, no need to jostle for places. Bubbly and tapas served.
And there are at least two sailing yachts for your own sailing adventure: Mojo Picon sailing yacht and the Ecofancy, a Beneteau Cyclades 43.4 sailing yacht.
See photos of the boats on our Tazacorte webpage.
Fish restaurants at the Puerto de Tazacorte – whilst there are about 13 restaurants in and around the port and by the apartments, you might want to sample fish at one of the three main fish restaurants – El Kiosko Montecarlo (open from 12.00hrs daily, closed Mondays), Kiosko Teniguia (open from 10.30hrs, closed Tuesdays) or Taberna el Puerto (opens 12.00hrs, open daily). The restaurants are on the walkway right next to the beach and all have both outdoor and indoor seating. The Montecarlo and Teniguia are an interesting arched type design in respect of when this area was the old port. The Taberna was the original warehouse.
Do be sure to look at the old photos that adorn the walls of these and other restaurants and bars so you can appreciate how they looked in times gone by - it’s fascinating!
Cemetery – I agree that this is perhaps not the first place you think of to go sightseeing, however, what sets the Tazacorte cemetery apart is the size of it, the layout and the beautiful forested setting.
The construction of cemetery started in 1901 which was done by volunteers. However, due to lack of finance, work stopped before it was finished. In 1917, the first priest of Tazacorte was appointed and he immediately took up the organisation of the project and it was completed by the following year.
The cemetery is laid out over three large areas over two different levels connected by tree-lined walkways. With ancient family vaults, old and new niches set into the walls, there are now approximately 2,000 internments.
Harbour and Marina – from the apartments at one end of Tazacorte, it is a very pleasant stroll of 500m along the promenade to the marina and port of Tazacorte. This is where you’ll see row after row of gleaming white yachts and other sports boats. At the far end of the marina are two restaurants.
At the opposite side to the marina is the commercial area where you can see the fishing boats coming in with their catch of tuna or other fish.
Boats for dolphin-watching and the ticket offices are near the entrance to the harbour.
Tazacorte beach – this is a long beach which curves around the bay. The area near the old port and breakwater is generally calmer. The centre part has bigger waves and more undertow. The far beach next to the marina is more stoney and is a nudist beach.
Tazacorte is no exception to the island’s love of fiestas and whilst there may be several mini-fiestas, the three principal ones are:
The Fiesta de Nuestra Señora del Carmen and the Fiesta de Beatos Mártires in July and the Fiesta de San Miguel in September which also includes the Caballos Fufos with men being the front legs of decorated pantomime horses.
Restaurants, Bars, Cafes
The port area:
There is a selection of good restaurants on the promenade around the corner from the apartments which serve fish – see Things to See and Do, point 5.
But they also serve other food! So do try the Canarian food (goat’s cheese, papas arrugadas which are the wrinkly potatoes, mojo sauce, etc.) plus salads, meats, etc.
There are also several cafés in the boulevard at the front of the apartments.
In the port area there are four more restaurants – two near the port entrance and two right at the end of the marina - all of which serve fish.
Surprisingly there are not many restaurants in the town although all bars serve snacks/tapas.
However, very popular is the Carpe Diem (Open 6 - 10pm, closed Monday and Tuesdays) and the relatively new Re-Belle situated near the Tourist Office (open 5 – 10pm, closed Saturday and Sundays). These two restaurants lean a little more towards fine dining.
In the underpass walk (this is under the open-air café seating, opposite the Pizzeria and bar/cafe of Marmota), is La Tasquita tapas restaurant, closed Mondays. Open 12.00hrs to 15.00hrs and then 18.30hrs until later.
Bar/Café/Restaurants with sea view and great sunset:
The Pizzeria Venezia along the Avenida Constitucion where you can eat outside at the dining area opposite. They serve other dishes apart from pizza for example fish lasagne. Open Monday – Friday 19.00hrs until late and weekends from 12.30 until late.
Bistro La Marmota also in the Avenida and with sea-view seating. The have ‘creative’ tapas, cocktails, a selection of gins and local beers. Anyone for sunset cocktails?
Apart from Tazacorte beach, there are a series of beaches further south, the main one of these is at Puerto Naos which is a popular beach resort, larger and slightly more commercialized than Tazacorte.
A few kilometres beyond Puerto Naos there are several other beaches which are not at all commercialized and although of course there are no shops, some have a restaurants/bar. Worth a look though if you would like a more ‘way-out’ beach. The shanty village of El Remo lies at the end of the road from Puerto Naos and in calm seas, you can swim from the jetty or rocks.
Tazacorte town: The centre of town has the larger shops of the Hiper Dino supermarket, Spar Supermarket and Asian Bazar where you can find practically anything you need. Nearby there is a stationery shop, hairdresser, pharmacy and also a side road heading out of a town a sports shop with trainers, t-shirts, etc.
El Puerto: By the apartments at the beach there is a small supermarket, a sports/beachwear shop, a shop with jewellery made from volcanic rock, a funky clothes shop.
If you’d like to go on a proper shopping expedition, Los Llanos will most likely exhaust you with its selection. However, the centre is now completely pedestrianised so you can wander from shop to shop without having to worry about traffic. There is also a new indoor shopping centre, the Centro Commercial Trocadero which is very swish with attractive shops – plus it’s nice and cool when hot outside! Opening hours: 09.30hrs to 21.00hrs Monday to Saturday.
The nearest shop to the apartments in El Puerto is a mini-super market. Although it’s small, it’s packed with products – it’s open 7 days a week from 08.00 (ish) to 20.30 hrs except on Sundays when it closes at 13.30 hrs.
There is a large HiperDino supermarket in the town of Tazacorte plus a Spar which are both open all day, Monday to Saturday. The Spar closes at 14.00 hrs on Saturday. There is also a Lidl supermarket in Los Llanos near the bus station.
Although there isn’t currently a Health Centre in the Puerto, there is a Health Centre in Tazacorte town, just to the rear/right-hand side of the Town Hall.
Opening times: 08.00-17.00hrs Monday to Friday. 09.00 – 17.00hrs Saturday. Closed Sundays.
There is a larger Health Centre in Los Llanos which is open 24hrs, 7 days per week.
The main hospital is situated on the east of the island (near Ikea) on the LP3 road, which runs between Santa Cruz and Los Llanos.
At the Puerto de Tazacorte, there is a chemist (Farmacia) located next to the little supermarket, under the Luz y Mar apartments. Opening hours are Monday to Friday 09.00 to 14.00hrs and then 16.30 to 18.30hrs. On Saturday, the hours are 10.00 to 14.00 hrs and 17.00 to 20.30 hrs. Closed Sundays. It also has a self-service machine which can be used from outside the pharmacy.
Tazacorte town also has a pharmacy which is located in Calle Caballos Fufos which is along from the Asian Bazaar. Opening hours are Monday to Friday: 08.30 – 13.30hrs and then 16.00 – 20.00hrs. Saturday and Sunday: 09.00 – 13.00hrs.
For chemists out of hours, including the middle of the night and Sundays, there is a list on display by the door of the out-of-hours chemist. If it is very late evening or during the hours of darkness, allocated chemists have a speaker phone by the door and a capsule system whereby you pay and receive the item.
Tazacorte town: There are two banks in the town, Santander and Caja Siete. Both have ATM’s.
Puerto de Tazacorte: There is no bank but there is an ATM next to the Tourist Information at the rear of the blue mosaic building.
Banks close at 2 pm and all day on Public Holidays.
- The short walk from the Puerto up to Tazacorte town only takes about 15 minutes and is very pleasant. The walk begins on the road going uphill from the port after which it is a cobbled path.
- The GR130 is just 1km from the Puerto apartments. Follow the road alongside the barranco and from there either turn right as signposted to Los Llanos and onward to San Nicolas and Fuencaliente or left to El Time and onward to Tijarafe.
- Starting next to the restaurant Kiosko Teneguia near the apartments, follow the GR131 El Baston route up to el Time look out point and restaurant. Continue on the GR131 or pick up the GR130 towards Tijarafe. Or return by bus to Tazacorte.
- Other routes can be accessed with transport including the Caldera de Taburiente and Volcano Route
There is a regular bus service between Tazacorte and Los Llanos which, between the two lines of bus numbers 27 and 110, run more or less every half hour. There is also the bus number 29 which is less direct and only runs twice a day.
As Los Llanos is the main hub in the west, from there you can get a bus to anywhere on the island. The bus timetable is on the website https://www.tilp.es/ - just watch out for weekend and fiestas times when the buses run less frequently.