Blog Islas Canarias OFFICIAL CANARY ISLANDS
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www.hellocanaryislands.com
Blog Islas Canarias OFFICIAL CANARY ISLANDS
TOURISM BLOG
www.hellocanaryislands.com

A walk across Llano de Las Cuevas in La Palma


Highlights
How to Enjoy Carnival on Tenerife
Deserted beach and abandoned salt pans in Lanzarote
La Palma: A Heaven for Stargazing
Experience participating in Transgrancanaria
A Road Trip Around the North of Fuerteventura
A Journey to the end of the World, or to Punta de Orchilla
Diversity on the rocks: Hundreds of unique species
La Gomera, the romantic getaway
Following a Tapas Route on Tenerife
Enjoy a trek to the highest point in Lanzarote
Fiesta de la Cruz on La Palma
Gran Canaria’s Other Rock: Sacred Roque Bentayga
A day in the outback of Fuerteventura
Walking to the Beautiful Valley on La Gomera
"Fototrek” an amazing annual photographic adventure in El Hierro
An incredible Whale & Dolphin watching experience in Tenerife
The secret white sand beaches of Lanzarote
On the sunny side: Los Llanos de Aridane
Exploring South Fuerteventura by Car
The Best Bit of Las Canteras Beach is Underwater
La Gomera, lush and beautiful
Paragliding above the valley of El Hierro. What an experience!
Three ways to enjoy Teide in Tenerife
Tasting Lanzarote: Cosecha 2015
La Palma, a taste of the tropics
Jardín Canario Viera y Clavijo, one of the highlights of Gran Canaria
From a Magic Spring to a Secret Lake, Five Curiosities on La Gomera
Jinama and Charco Azul
Amazing boat excursion to the Archipiélago Chinijo marine reserve
Lanzarote sunrises
La Palma: a Treasure Trove of landscapes in One Island
Viewpoint Mirador de la Peña, the smallest hotel of the world and the giant lizard
A Hike Around Gran Canaria's Volcanic Hotspot
Fuerteventura, Strong Wind
La Gomera: A day visiting dolphins and whales
Lanzarote fishing: Fresh fish for lunch
Exploring the Historic Centre of La Laguna
“Ruta de la Tapa” in Valverde
Driving the Las Mimbreras road
Discover the Beautiful North of Lanzarote by Car
Excursion to the Isla de Lobos
La Gomera – a rural tourism paradise
Festival of La Bajada de la Virgen de los Reyes
A morning in Santa Cruz de La Palma
The water route, Valverde and the Bonanza rock
Exploring the San Juan Volcano
Vegueta: Time Travel In Las Palmas de Gran Canaria’s Old Town
Why You Don’t Want to Miss Out on Trekking Masca in Tenerife
Experience Tinajo: Rural traditions and breathtaking natural beauty
A lovely stroll around Villa de Valverde
A Spring Tour Of Gran Canaria
Through the back roads of El Paso
Relaxation and wellbeing, enjoying Lanzarote´s natural treasures
A trip along the coast of El Golfo, El Hierro
Exploring the Highs and Lows of Puerto de Mogán
Why You Will Absolutely Love Exploring Amazing La Graciosa
The Wild North of La Palma
Tenerife, best locations and the British favourite hotspots
Enjoy the best of Lanzarote at Noches de Jameos
Relish the thrill and views of El Faro La Entallada, in Fuerteventura
Menceyes and our Lady of Candelaria, in Tenerife
The Wine Run Lanzarote: food, wine and scenery
Experience the beauty of the pink caves of Puertito de Los Molinos
A Saturday in the beautiful village of Haría, Lanzarote
A must do in Fuerteventura – Picnic in the dunes of Corralejo
Playa San Juan in Tenerife, a charming place
A walk along the El Golfo ridge, El Hierro
The five best places to eat in Puerto del Rosario, Fuerteventura
A cup of coffee at Casa José Saramago, Lanzarote
Why Forestal Park is One of the Best Experiences in Tenerife
San Sebastián, the high part of Santa Cruz de La Palma
Sunset On The Rocks At Puerto de Mogán in Gran Canaria
A walk from San Andrés to Hoya del Morcillo, El Hierro
Enjoyment for the active traveller – Climb the Volcanic Mount Roja
Teguise: immerse yourself in Lanzarote’s history
How to Enjoy a Stunning Walk in Tenerife from Playa San Juan to Los Gigantes
Tazacorte, in La Palma: more than just a sun trap
Art, Architecture and Frogs in Gran Canaria's Garden City
Carnival time on El Hierro
One of the best family days out in Fuerteventura
Journey to another planet at Timanfaya National Park, Lanzarote
From the sea to the sky, a circular drive in South Tenerife
A journey through La Palma’s plant world
Los Carneros de Tigaday, El Hierro
Relaxing Weekend staying in the picture perfect beaches of El Cotillo – Fuerteventura
Lanzarote’s southwest coastline: where ocean meets lava
How to Enjoy North Tenerife and Wine Tasting in One Amazing Trip
A trip around La Palma’s south coast
The Quiet South Gran Canaria Beach With Two Names
What to explore, How to get there and where to stay in San Sebastian the capital of La Gomera.
Relax by the sea in El Tamaduste
The best olive oil in Fuerteventura – Verde Aurora Bio Farm
Hiking in La Geria: a bird’s eye view of the volcanoes
How to Enjoy a Unique Excursion Around Stunning Santa Cruz
El Tablado, La Palma’s remotest settlement
Swimming And Snorkelling At El Puertillo in North Gran Canaria
Enjoy a morning at the local produce Market in San Sebastián de La Gomera
A tour around El Hierro’s “Mirador’s”
Betancuria, the ancient capital in the mountains of Fuerteventura
How to Enjoy an Easy Adventure from Puerto del Carmen to Puerto Calero
A walk across Llano de Las Cuevas in La Palma
How to Enjoy a Superb Luxury Sailing Trip in Tenerife
From Jungle To Desert at Maspalomas In South Gran Canaria
The sweetness of La Gomera and the Canary Islands – Palm Syrup
Cycling on El Hierro is a great way to see the Island
Isla de Lobos, a natural Paradise
Volcanoes, wine and British history in Lanzarote
The mini-Volcano Route, La Palma
How To Try And Do Tenerife From Top To Bottom In Three Days
Playa Santiago – A glorious mesh of sleepy fishing village and luxury hotel complex
A Day at the Canaribbean In Gran Canaria
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How to Enjoy Authentic Lanzarote at the Lovely El Charco de San Ginés
La Gomera’s longest beach in the Valley of the great king – Valle Gran Rey
The Charm of Vallehermoso – The Beautiful Valley in La Gomera
How to Discover La Gomera With an Amazing Jeep Safari Adventure
Calle Cano: A Las Palmas Street Where Old And New Blend Together
Three places off the usual tourist track in Tenerife
La Gomera one of the most gorgeous island for hikers, ramblers and casual afternoon walkers
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An ascent of Bejenado
Four best places to visit in Fuerteventura
Up The Monte: Exploring Gran Canaria's Wine Country
5 Excellent Experiences to Try When You Visit Tenerife
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4 best places to visit in La Gomera, by a Canary Island resident
A lovely walk from Mirador de Jinama to The bell tower Joapira
Walk the beautiful arid landscapes of Fuerteventura – Betancuria
In Gran Canaria And Sick of Sand? Head To The Parque Sur For A Siesta
Keep cool with a craft beer tour in Lanzarote
A walk from Arenas Blancas to Verodal (Local walk reference SL-EH2)
Tijarafe: touring La Palma's sunny northwest
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The grand array of Markets of Fuerteventura: which Market to visit?
A day-trip to Puntallana Hiking, history, and La Palma's most famous beach
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Experience participating in Transgrancanaria
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Diversity on the rocks: Hundreds of unique species
La Gomera, the romantic getaway
Enjoy a trek to the highest point in Lanzarote
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Walking to the Beautiful Valley on La Gomera
"Fototrek” an amazing annual photographic adventure in El Hierro
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Three ways to enjoy Teide in Tenerife
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From a Magic Spring to a Secret Lake, Five Curiosities on La Gomera
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A Hike Around Gran Canaria's Volcanic Hotspot
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The mini-Volcano Route, La Palma
La Gomera one of the most gorgeous island for hikers, ramblers and casual afternoon walkers
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A lovely walk from Mirador de Jinama to The bell tower Joapira
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8 reasons why you must visit the Cactus Garden in Lanzarote
A day-trip to Puntallana Hiking, history, and La Palma's most famous beach
From Los Sauces to Barlovento Hiking through La Palma's natural and cultural landscapes
www.hellocanaryislands.com
Previous article
27 Aug 2018

Visitors to La Palma are inevitably impressed by the island’s array of precipitous gorges, craggy summits over 2,000 metres high, and stark volcanic landscapes... with subtropical forests adding an exotic touch to the picture.

But what makes Llano de Las Cuevas remarkable is that it contains none of these features. It boasts neither deep ravines nor soaring peaks. It has few trees, and lacks outstanding landmarks. At first sight, Llano de Las Cuevas is merely an agricultural area criss-crossed by stone walls and tracks, superficially resembling certain parts of the English countryside.

And that’s one of the remarkable things about it: Llano de Las Cuevas is almost unique on La Palma in that it is flat... in a place where flatness is a scarce commodity.

Llano de Las Cuevas in the distance, La Palma, Canary Islands

You might have guessed from the name, of course. Llano de Las Cuevas, literally translates as “Plain of the Caves”, and the plain in question forms part of that stunning panoramic view which unfolds ahead of travelers who cross the island via the tunnel and emerge on the sunny west side.

The sudden change in mood can be magical: you leave the gloomy, humid laurel forests behind on the east side, and come out into clear blue skies in the west, the road descending rapidly towards a gently undulating expanse of farmland surrounded by pine forests. After a sharp right-hand bend, a fast section of highway takes you cross the southern end of Llano de Las Cuevas and looking right, you can see the rest of the plain rolling away northwards, towards the Caldera de Taburiente National Park and the pine-clad Mount Bejenado: a stunning view on a clear day...

As to the “caves” in the toponym, more later.

The area is easily reached by private vehicle or local bus, and makes an ideal destination for a leisurely walk, as opposed to a strenuous hike. The most convenient starting point is the National Park Visitor Centre in El Paso, where I left my car and set off along the signposted PR LP 1.1 footpath.

From the outset, the way was flanked by basalt walls, running in parallel lines towards the shady, pine-clad slopes of Cumbre Nueva to the east. Certain paved sections almost recalled the straightness of Roman roads. Fields lay on both sides, some used as pasture for livestock, others planted with forage crops such as the island’s very own Tree Lucerne (Chamaecytisus palmensis), an endemic shrub from La Palma now cultivated in Australia and New Zealand, where it presumably got its English name.

The plant, also known as Tagasaste, is part of La Palma’s native flora, and is widespread on the island. When managed as green fodder, the tender stems and leaves are regularly trimmed off, with the result that the bushes grow very dense foliage and acquire a gnarled, somewhat stunted aspect. The foliage is harvested to feed stabled goats, so don’t expect to see herds browsing in the open.

Tree Lucerne (Chamaecytisus palmensis), La Palma, Canary Islands

Another striking element of the landscape are the so-called pyramids. I could see numerous examples on both sides of the track as I walked along. Almost Mayan in style, esoteric hypotheses abound as to the origin of these intriguing structures. Vanished civilizations? Ancient burial sites? Astronomical observatories? At the risk of sounding prosaic, the generally-accepted explanation is that the pyramids are monumental heaps of stones which were painstakingly cleared from the fields by previous generations of islanders, in order to create land for the growing of food crops.

It should be borne in mind that the island was formerly much more self-sufficient than it is nowadays, and people needed to produce a large part of their own food supply. Vital cereal crops such as wheat and barley were once grown in these fields. Every usable patch of land was put to service, but first, the myriad stones had to be neatly piled out of the way.

Two of the so-called "pyramids", La Palma, Canary Islands

Bird activity was plentiful alongside the path on the morning I visited the area. I observed flocks of wild Canaries feeding on seeds, and the ubiquitous Chiffchaff flitting among the bushes. The plain is also a classic location for large groups of Red-billed Chough, observable both flying overhead, or foraging on the ground. But perhaps the most characteristic species of the area is a sparrow-sized bird with a speckled breast, a curious creature that has the habit of perching on the walls just ahead of you.

Berthelot’s Pipit is perhaps not the most striking of birds, but then, we can’t all be Resplendent Quetzals, can we?. Every so often, as I walked along, one of these endemic pipits would pop up on the wall ahead, wait till I got within a certain distance, and then hop or fly another few metres away. This is the only resident pipit on La Palma, and is a subspecies exclusive to the Canary Islands.

Berthelot's Pipit (Anthus berthelotii), La Palma, Canary Islands

As for larger animals, La Palma has a number of recognized livestock breeds. One of them is the so-called Palmeran cow, a descendant of the Rubia Gallega, or Galician Blond breed from NW Spain. These hefty beasts can reach weights of 600 kilos, with bulls up to 800 kilos. They are valued for their strength and placid temperament, and were formerly used as work animals for ploughing and threshing. I spotted several small herds as I crossed the fields.

Palmeran cow, La Palma, Canary Islands

The first section of my route took me east for just over 1km, to a point where the dirt track came out onto an asphalted lane known as Camino de Las Cuevas. This is a popular walking area for local residents, who often go out for exercise in the cool of the late afternoon or evening. I turned left and followed the quiet backroad for a short distance. Now heading north, I had mount Bejenado and the Cumbrecita pass as a spectacular backdrop, with the Virgen del Pino hermitage and it’s legendary pine-tree visible to the right.

Palmeran cow, La Palma, Canary Islands

Turning left, I took another variant of the PR LP 1, this time in a westerly direction towards El Abrigado. Most of the wayside plants thriving in this cultural landscape were inevitably non-native. True cosmopolitans like bindweed, field marigolds and bugloss, created patches of colour amid the predominant green. But, here and there, I came across isolated clumps of La Palma’s endemic Pericallis papyracea, an attractive purple ragwort similar to florist’s cineraria.

Purple Ragwort (Pericallis papyracea), La Palma, Canary Islands

Within about 15 minutes I was back at the road to the Visitor Centre, only a few hundred metres from my starting point. The whole route had taken just over an hour to complete, with frequent stops for photographs, and for looking at things. Longer walks could also be put together in this area, perhaps including a detour to the Virgen del Pino hermitage, or even to the cuevas - the caves from which the plain takes its name.

These are assumed to be a row of natural cavities at the foot of an outcrop found at the northernmost limit of the plain, near the Cumbrecita access road. They now lie on the far side of a busy quarry, but were formerly inhabited by the island’s pre-hispanic people, whose archaeological remains have been found there. Nowadays, they no longer seem to belong to the adjacent plain at all, having been cut off from the rest of the area by developments in recent times. It requires some effort to mentally reassemble what might have been the original picture...

To be honest, you won’t find many mentions of Llano de Las Cuevas in guidebooks and brochures. It’s the kind of place most visitors drive past on their way to somewhere else, which is a pity.

For anyone with an eye for detail and an inquisitive mindset, the Llano de Las Cuevas plain makes a fascinating stop. Local history, agriculture, flora and fauna are just some of its many facets, and there are even information panels in English to help you interpret them.

Interpretation panel, La Palma, Canary Islands

Enjoy your visit!

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Highlights
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Deserted beach and abandoned salt pans in Lanzarote
La Palma: A Heaven for Stargazing
Experience participating in Transgrancanaria
A Road Trip Around the North of Fuerteventura
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