Official UK partner to the Paradors, Pousadas, Pestana Hotels & Resorts, Les Collectionneurs (Chateaux), and European Hotels Collection. Keytours International, formerly Keytel International, your agent in the UK.

How to get to the Hotel?

The Island of La Palma is easily accessed by boat or airplane. Ferries operate from Los Cristianos in the South of Tenerife. The boat arrives at the Port of Santa Cruz and visitors then follow the main road south in the direction of Breña Baja. Having entered the region known as El Drago, they then take the turn-off towards San Antonio (2 km). On reaching this town, the main road then turns off towards El Zumacal, with the Parador located approx. 2 km away. From the UK, La Palma can be reached by plane via Madrid, Las Palmas (Gran Canaria) and Tenerife North (Tenerife) to Santa Cruz de La Palma. Flights via Madrid are operated by Iberia. Many UK airlines fly to Gran Canaria and Tenerife and Binter Canarias operates flights from these destinations to La Palma. (Flights to Tenerife can be to Tenerife North or South and it is important to remember that Binter flies to La Palma from Tenerife North.) By plane, from the airport of El Mazo, visitors take the main road which links the airport to the town of Santa Cruz de La Palma and, having reached El Drago (3 km), then follow the route described above for arriving by boat.

Location

THE CANARY ISLANDS

The seven islands are some of the most popular tourist destinations in Spain, particularly the islands of Tenerife, Gran Canaria and Lanzarote. Just off the coast of West Africa, the Canary Islands enjoy year-round mild temperatures and are surrounded by the wild and majestic Atlantic Ocean.

Despite their beaches being famous as a haven for sunbathers and windsurfers alike, the Canary Islands do not have any natural white-sand beaches. The volcanic nature of the islands which creates the wonderful rocky terrain also means that their natural beaches are formed of black sand which can get very hot, so white sand has been imported from locations around the world - including the Sahara Desert – in the areas frequented by tourists, although the traditional black beaches are still a favourite amongst locals.

One of the main attractions of these islands is the natural beauty on offer. There are 141 protected nature areas on the islands, four of which are National Parks which vary from rocky volcanic landscapes to verdant forest such as La Gomera’s UNESCO World Heritage Garajonay National Park. The island has been declared a Biosphere Reserve and laurisilva forests and dense vegetation create misty, atmospheric nature park where you can ‘walk above the clouds’ on designated walkways and marvel at the thousands of examples of indigenous flora and fauna. The natural beauty is not just to be found on land, whale and and dolphin watching are popular activities on the islands, and you can even take a boat trip around the islands to see some magnificent structures such as ‘Los Organos Natural Monument’ – a rock formation handing onto the island of La Gomera - so named because it resembles a church organ.

Tenerife, the largest of the islands, is home to Mount Teide, the highest peak in Spain, an imposing dormant volcano that is so grand it can be seen from neighbouring islands on a clear day. The volcano is the centre of the Teide National Park whose surrounding landscape is rocky and cavernous, resembling a foreign planet, and as such has been used as a filming location for numerous science fiction films and TV shows. The national park’s terrain and location are also perfect for high-altitude training so do not be surprised to find groups of cyclists practicing on the island. The cosmic theme does not end with Tenerife’s Martian-like terrain; the archipelago is renowned as one of the best locations for stargazing. The island of La Palma is particularly famous as an excellent location for stargazing due to low pollution levels and the ‘Roque de los Muchachos Observatory’ is an internationally renowned astronomical facility.

The history of the Canary Islands is heavily interwoven with the Discoveries and the Spanish Conquistadors. The strategic Atlantic location of the islands made them an ideal stopover for fleets heading out west to discover the New World. The islands were conquered in the early 1500s with the indigenous Guanche peoples being overrun by Spanish soldiers and settlers. Some elements of these native peoples can still be found in archaeological discoveries, local patterns and designs, typical Canarian names and in local folklore on the islands. The Canary Islands, and Tenerife in particular, are also famous for their role during the French Revolutionary Wars and Admiral Horatio Nelson famously lost his arm in the Battle of Santa Cruz. The Canary Island’s connection with Spain’s colonial past is evident in much of the architecture and you will notice many old buildings are very similar in style to the colonial architecture often found in the Caribbean. Traditional wooden balconies are also a staple of the typical island architecture and examples can be found in the Parador de La Gomera.

Cuisine in Spain can vary greatly from region to region and the Canary Islands are no different with their very own range of delicious local specialities. Gofío, a type of flour, is unique to the islands and is used in a variety of dishes including various breads, stews and even desserts; it can be somewhat of an acquired taste but locals are passionate about it. No visit to the Canary Islands is complete unless you try their staple potato dish papas arrugadas. The name translates to ‘wrinkly potatoes’ and is created by boiling the islands’ indigenous potatoes in heavily salted water until the potatoes shrivel up, resulting in a delicious fluffy centre. The potatoes are typically served with ‘mojo’ a traditional red or green sauce made with olive oil, peppers, garlic, cumin, coriander and paprika. Chickpeas are a staple in Spanish cuisine across the country but Canarians love their chickpeas so much there is an entire dish simply named 'chickpeas’; garbanzas is a chickpea stew made with chickpeas, pork belly, chorizo, tomatoes, onions garlic and seasoning and is the perfect sharing starter. As with any island, fresh fish and seafood forms a large part of the local diet, particularly sardines, prawns and chicharros (Blue Jack Mackerel), the last being so synonymous with the islands that ‘chicharrero’ is an affectionate nickname given to people from Tenerife. In addition to the readily available fresh seafood, meat is used heavily in Canarian cuisine with pork, rabbit, chicken and goat forming the base of many dishes.

Of the seven Canary Islands, there are currently Paradors on five of them: La Gomera, La Palma, El Hierro, Gran Canaria (Cruz de Tejeda) and Tenerife (Las Cañadas del Teide) each of which aims to make the most of their individual locations.

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