Guide to Tijarafe
Tijarafe is a lively little town which lies in the mid-west of La Palma in between the two municipalities of Puntagorda to the north and Los Llanos and Tazacorte to the south. It’s not particularly touristic but thrives on agriculture with some tourism. So, for the tourist who is looking for authenticity with the locals going about their normal business but in a friendly and relaxed way, Tijarafe has much to recommend it.
Access and Location
The LP1 main road runs through the centre of Tijarafe town between the 85 and 86kms marker signs (distances which are signposted and measured from Santa Cruz via the north).
The municipality of Tijarafe covers 53.76 sq. km. rising from sea level to the Cumbre, bordering El Paso.
The town of Tijarafe is at 650m above sea level, coordinates 28°42′47″N 17°57′25″W
The area of Tijarafe has 11 districts including the town of Tijarafe and these are from north to the south end of the municipality Tinizara, Aguatavar, Bellido, Tijarafe, El Jesus, El Pinar, Arecida, La Punta, Amagar and La Costa.
The population of Tijarafe is 2577 residents as of 2016 which has been fairly stable over recent years.
The history of Tijarafe centres around the original hermitage built for religious worship which was constructed around the year 1530. As the settlement became increasingly populated, a more substantial church was built at the end of the 17th century which is the Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria (Church of Our Lady of Candelaria),.
In previous times, Tijarafe was one of the poorest areas of La Palma due to the fact that almost all of the land was owned by wealthy barons who lived in Santa Cruz and who were literally landlords.
Whilst agriculture has traditionally been the mainstay of the municipality, historical documents often note a lack of water. When water was short however, the long trek was made down to the Barranco de Angustias to collect what water they could.
From the 20th century onwards, farmers began to acquire land for themselves and to develop far more efficient systems of water supply piped from the water galleries and from the water flowing into the Barranco de Angustias. This was the boost that the land needed and transformed the economy.
From mixed agriculture, much of the land is currently turned over to terraces of bananas with the area of La Punta one of the main banana plantations on La Palma. Other main crops include grapes, almonds and avocados.
Main points of interest in Tijarafe
1. Tijarafe Church – main plaza of Tijarafe town.
2. Cobbled streets - historic town
3. Prensa de Vino (Wine press) - Original wooden wine press
4. Poets Garden – Tijarafe town centre
5. La Cueva Bonita – (the Pretty Cave) accessible only by sea
6. Mirador el Time – (Viewpoint el Time) Fantastic viewpoint
7. S.A.T. Bodega Vinos Vega Norte – winery
1. Tijarafe Church - The church of Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria was built between the 17th and 18th centuries on the same site as the original religious hermitage which was built around 1530.The style of the church is very much of the Mudéjar type with a simple nave. The main altarpiece is by Antonio de Orbarán which is of great value and artistic interest and is one of the few examples preserved in the Archipelago that show an architectural idiosyncrasy of five streets.
The belfry is of particular interest as the bells are set into a wall that extends vertically from the exterior at the rear of the church. As there is no access to it from the main building, the steps are on the outside. At the base of the belfry there is a stone engraved with the date 1686. The main entrance of the church has been recently restored, exposing the stonework of the corners of the whole building.
The coffered ceiling of the main chapel is very rich in details, also emphasizing that of the central nave. The Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament or the Rosary is the most primitive part and contains the richest of all the arches in it.
2. Cobbled streets - Although the town of Tijarafe is not big, it is still worth getting out of the car and exploring the cobbled back streets and quaint houses. One street with a particularly interesting name is ‘Calle Adiós’ (Goodbye street). This is with reference to the many emigrants left La Palma for other lands, particularly Venezuela and Cuba, where a decent wage could be earned. Adiós amigos!
3. Prensa de Vino (Wine press) - Original wooden wine press – located in the main plaza by the church
4. Poets Garden – Tijarafe town centre near the bus stop. An attractive little garden with statues of poets
5. La Cueva Bonita - Accessible only by sea, the cave has beautiful colours and a small beach inside. Boat trips from Tazacorte Puerto are available which include trips to go inside the cave, including sunset trips where the setting sun shines inside the cave
6. Mirador el Time - Viewpoint on the LP1 main road just before descending into the Barranco de Angustias. At 600m above sea level, the view is amazing over Tazacorte, to the ridge of the Caldera, to the south of the island and the Volcano Route and to Tenerife, El Hierro and La Gomera.
7. S.A.T. Bodega Vinos Vega Norte - Winery for the north of La Palma specialising in the local wine ‘Vega Norte’ situated by the LP1 at 81.7km. You can buy cases of wine directly from their shop including Vega Norte red, white, rose (blended wines), Albillo Criollo (non-blended) tea wine (with the taste of resin from the pine-wood wine barrels) and the sweet Malvasia wine.The Bodegas Noroeste de La Palma was created in 1998 with just 50 vine growers. There are now 240 vine growers supplying the bodega. Most of the vineyards are in the northwest region of the Island of La Palma, in the municipalities of Tijarafe, Puntagorda and Garafía. They grow on what was volcanic matter and a mix of sand/clay soil.
Most of the vineyards are between 1,000 and 1,500 metres above sea level where the predominant climate is continental with a significant difference in temperature between day and night. This results in a slow process of ripening and therefore perfectly balanced wines.
Another great advantage is the landscape of deep ravines where the red wine varieties occupy the sunny side whereas the white wine ones are on the shady side. Pruning is still done virtually all by hand partly because of the terrain but this way, each vine is carefully and expertly tended to.
Open 10.00 to 14.00hrs and 16.00hrs to 18.00hrs (closed Saturday afternoon and all day Sunday). http://vinosveganorte.com/en/
September (first week) – Fiesta Nuestra Señora de Candelaria during which time the statue of Our Lady of Candelaria is carried in a procession around the town to the accompaniment of the local brass band.
07 September – Danza del Diablo (Dance of the Devil). The town plaza is packed with people for this major event which draws crowds from all over the island. With live music and dancing, the 3m tall ‘Devil’ appears with fireworks spouting from his arms. All family friendly stuff!
Bodegón San Antonio – bar/restaurant in the centre of Tijarafe town. Popular and busy with good selection of food and reasonable prices. Usually fast service. +34 697 717 886
Pizzeria la Fuente – Calle General Franco (near church). Open 18.00 to 23.00hrs. Closed Mondays. Tfn: +34 922 49 06 41
Restaurante Los Olivos – main street, north end, first set of buildings. Open 07.00 to 23.00 hrs. Closed Mondays. Tfn: 0034 922 491330/0034 675 477 129
Out of Town:
Restaurant La Muralla – very nice bar/restaurant with view point. Also recommended for star gazing by night. Situated 2.5km north of Tijarafe town by the LP1 at 83km. Open 12.00 to 22.00hrs. Sunday 12.00 to 16.30hrs. Closed Mondays. Tfn: +34 922 695 371 http://www.restaurantlamuralla.com/index.php/en/
El Time Restaurant – café/bar with great views as it’s right on the mirador/view point over the Valle de Aridane. Situated south 8km south of Tijarafe town by the LP1 at 93.5km.
Cervecería Isla Verde, El Jesús – café/bar, very pleasant atmosphere, great tapas. Buy some beer to take with you! Open 14.00 to 22.00hrs, Sat/Sun open at 13.00hrs. Closed Tuesdays. Tfn: +34 691 445 153 http://cervezaislaverde.com/bar-restaurante/
Bar Canarias – Tijarafe main street, smallish bar with seating at the bar or outside.
El Kiosko Diablo – main street - a wooden kiosk-style bar, outside seating only. Open 10.00 to 22.00hrs. Closed Sunday.
Bar El Garome – bar/café on main road at Tinizara. There is a compact grocery store next door and this is also the location of the bus stop.
Others – there are many road-side bars or kiosks in the area
Facilities in Tijarafe Town
Spar supermarket – on main road on bend opposite Kiosko bar. Largest of the three supermarkets and open Sunday mornings
Supermercado – opposite Spar
Udaco mini-market near church
Bank – branch of La Caixa bank
Chemist (Farmacia) located in the centre of Tijarafe by pedestrian crossing
Bus – bus timetable at bus stop
Police Station (Guardia Civil) – down side road Calle la Molina by Kiosko bar
Health Centre (Centro de Salud) – Calle La Molilna. Open 08.00 to 15.00hrs Monday to Friday. Tfn: 0034 9224919964. Outside these hours, the nearest health centre is Los Llanos. Or Hospital, on LP35.9km from Santa Cruz.
Supermarket La Punta, bar/café alongside
Baptist Church – in the area of La Punta next to LP1 main road http://www.iglesiabautistalapalma.com/
Prois (or Poris) de Candelaria – a huge hollow at the base of the cliff face which has enabled a small settlement to develop there using the caves and overhangs to form simple (and not so simple) dwellings. Part of the attraction is the moderate-sized sand beach and azure seas which not only allow swimmers to easily get in and out of the water, but also the small fishing boats which are kept there.
Locals love to spend the weekends or summer there but don’t seem to mind tourists coming to appreciate their little place. In fact, the tour boats from Tazacorte come in quite close so that the tourists/dolphin spotters on board can take a little look.
By car, take the road Calle la Molina at the north end of Tijarafe town next to the bar Kiosko Diablo. Follow this to its end, approximately 10/15 minutes’ drive along the twisting road. From the small car park, follow the track down to the sea, approx. 20 minutes walking time.
La Veta beach – similar to Prois de Candelaria, a sandy beach at the foot of rocks with small settlement of weekend/holiday dwellings. By car, turn off the LP1 main road in the area of Aguatavar opposite the Bar Guagua (approx. 83.5km sign). Drive to end of road then walk 15 minutes down to the beach.
Tazacorte beach – at the small resort of Puerto de Tazacorte 15km distance. Sand beach with restaurants and bar/cafes. Nudist section of beach. Large and modern marina.
GR130 Camino Real (linear walk) passes from each end of Tijarafe town on the higher road by the church and over the plaza. On the GR130 it is 10.6km to Puntagorda to the north or 14.5km to Los Llanos to the south.
PR LP12.2 route Poris de Candelaria (circular walk) of 10.3km length, approx. 3hrs 15 minutes walking time,1000m accumulated ascent, 1250m descent. The walk passes through Tijarafe by the Kiosko Diablo wood bar on the main Tijarafe road, northern end on the bend following the sign. From there, it steadily goes down to the Poris, across the Barranco del Purado and up to El Jesus, eventually following the same route as the GR130 back to Tijarafe. 100m ascent, 1250m descent.