La Caldera de Taburiente National Park

A national park with Canarian pines in the Isla Bonita
Photos simply cannot do justice to the spectacular sight of this eight-kilometre-wide cleft that reaches depths of up to one and a half kilometres, covered by dense Canarian pine woods, and criss-crossed with deep ravines: you just have to see it in person. The Caldera de Taburiente National Park in the centre of the island of La Palma is the number one attraction of the island known as “La Isla Bonita” (“The Beautiful Island”), a Unesco Biosphere Reserve. Here, nature guards a valuable treasure of geological and biological diversity.
Caldera de Taburiente, the best place to visit in La Palma
Excursions to see the night sky, walks that take you through the heart of island, bathing under colourful waterfalls – the list of what to do and see in La Palma is very long. One thing is true, to discover the secrets of Taburiente you have to put on your boots and enter the park via one of the signposted trails among the enormous Canarian pines. Alternatively, you can visit the modern visitor centre in El Paso and afterwards approach the edge of the crater from the superb viewpoint at La Cumbrecita.
Height
669 m
Flora interest
Parking
Perfoming center
Trekking routes
Public transport
Wildlife interest

TENERIFE

TENERIFE

GRAN CANARIA

GRAN CANARIA

FUERTEVENTURA

FUERTEVENTURA

LANZAROTE

LANZAROTE

LA GRACIOSA

LA GRACIOSA

LA GOMERA

LA GOMERA

LA PALMA

LA PALMA

EL HIERRO

EL HIERRO
No te lo puedes perder
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La Caldera de Taburiente National Park
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Cascade of Colours in the Las Angustias ravine

Cascade of Colours in the Las Angustias ravine

One of the main attractions of La Caldera de Taburiente National Park is the magical 'Cascadade Colores' or Cascade of Colours: a semi-natural waterfall practically hidden on a deviation along the trail through the Las Angustias ravine. In a bend of the Rivanceras ravine you will suddenly come across a six-metre-high wall, painted by nature in tones of green, yellow and orange, where water falls all year around.

The orange and yellow hues come from the iron in the ravine’s water, which has one of the highest concentrations of iron in La Palma, whereas the greens are from the algae and mosses. The result is a palette of colours that change with the season and the flow of water from the ravine. To enjoy this gift to the senses all you have to do is walk along the access path to this hidden corner of the park. 

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A camping area in La Caldera de Taburiente

A camping area in La Caldera de Taburiente

The camping area in the centre of La Caldera de Taburiente National Park is the only way to spend the night in the interior of this natural space and the best way to feel its raw, wild essence. The flora and fauna of the island of La Palma pose no danger whatsoever, so a night in the open air or in a tent under the majestic pine trees of Taburiente is definitely a safe and enriching experience.

Staying overnight is free of charge, but you will have to book a place in advance. The access is via a 5.5-kilometre trail, which starts out in Los Brecitos and ends at the Taburiente stream. Facilities include wooden tables and chairs, running water, toilets and showers as well as security personnel. Just beside the camping zone is the circular building of the Taburiente service centre, where you’ll find information about the many different walks through the zone and the rich natural resources of the park. 

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Network of trails in La Caldera de Taburiente

Network of trails in La Caldera de Taburiente

Within La Caldera de Taburiente National Park you can only move about on foot. Because of this, there is a truly excellent network of pathways and trails, all perfectly signposted and very well maintained. The main access points to the park are at the La Cumbrecita viewing point, just 25 minutes’ drive from the El Paso Visitors Centre, and at Los Brecitos, an hour's drive from the town of Los Llanos de Aridane.

To give you a general idea, the network has one long trail, the GR-131, which leads you around the border of the crater and reaches the summit of the island itself, the Roque de los Muchachos (2,426 metres) and many shorter varieties of the PRLP-13 path, which take you between watery ravines covered with pine trees. The most popular walk is that which zigzags slowly down from Los Brecitos through the winding ravine of Las Angustias.

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Taburiente beach

Taburiente beachInside

La Caldera de Taburiente National Park, far from La Palma’s coastline, you will discover a special kind of beach. These are sands of pebbles and gravel which line the banks of one of the few continuous water flows in the Canary Islands; the Taburiente stream. Here walkers can enjoy the murmur of water while contemplating the spectacular steep slopes of the crater.

To get to Taburiente beach you need to descend along the path from Los Brecitos to the camping area. The route lasts around two hours, and will take you through pine-covered slopes until you come to the freezing Taburiente waters, which meander between random –shaped rocks and small woods of intense shades of green. Just a short distance away you will find the camping area and the service centre. 

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Roque de los Muchachos Astrophysics Observatory

Roque de los Muchachos Astrophysics Observatory

The Roque de los Muchachos Astrophysics Observatory is home to a collection of more than 10 great pieces of equipment for solar and nocturnal observation. At almost 2,400 metres above sea level along the northern side of La Caldera de Taburiente National Park, the complex is now a Unesco Astronomy Heritage Site and is a fascinating place, both inside and out.

The observatory is close to the LP-4 road, an hour and 20 minutes’ drive from the island capital, Santa Cruz de La Palma.  The installations, which include the largest optical telescope in the world, Grantecan, can be visited in groups during the daytime, providing a reservation is made beforehand.  There are also private companies that organise astronomy safari trips to this and other astronomy observation points in La Palma, an island which has a Starlight certificate for the exceptional quality of its skies. 

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El Paso Visitors Centre

El Paso Visitors Centre

The natural treasures of La Caldera de Taburiente National Park are best discovered with boots and a backpack. That said, the El Paso Visitors Centre offers an informative virtual visit of the park that no potential visitor should miss. From its perfect model of the island to the audio-visual film about the origin of the crater (caldera), everything at the centre is easy to understand and very illustrative.

The centre explains the park’s geology, flora and fauna, emphasising the extreme value of the number of endemic species that you won't find anywhere else in the world.  It also outlines how the crater played an important part in the management of La Palma’s water and its economy, as well as the key role it held in the conquest of the Canary Islands by the Spanish in the 15th Century. 

Sustainability
Sostenibilidad
- Never leave waste of any type lying around, including cigarette butts. Leftover food leads to a proliferation of rats and wild cats, which pose a serious threat to the fauna.
- Respect the animals. Do not bother them or feed them. If you see an injured specimen, you can call the emergency number: 112. Do not pick flowers or plants.
- Do not pick up or take away stones or any other item from the natural environment. And do not move them to pile them up into sadly famous 'towers'.
- Do not walk in areas where it is not allowed and respect the signposting along trails. Leaving the set paths causes damage to the environment and could also be dangerous for you and anyone with you.
- Do not light fires outside the permitted areas and be especially careful during the summer months.
- Try not to alter the peace of the environment with excessive noise (loud music, yelling, etc.).
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