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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.).