Stage 4 GR131: La Palma, Canaries

Sunrise La Palma
Sunrise from our tent

Stage 4 of our hike across La Palma on the European hiking trail, GR131. Read about the day before here.

The wind had picked up a little but the tent held strong and I had a fantastic nights sleep, a little too hot in fact as I had gone to bed in my clothes. Marco on the other hand struggled. His mat had deflated halfway through the night and woke up shivering. He had attempted to blow it back up whilst still on it, trying not to wake me in the process. He half succeeded.

Stage 4 GR131
Time to descend

The sun started to hit the rock face our tent was perched on, it’s always nice to wake this way, before an alarm. The sunrise over Mount Teide, the grandest volcano on Tenerife was unforgettable. Whilst packing the tent away we fuelled up with another Nutella wrap. There was a slight overestimation in the amount of Nutella we would need. We wanted to shed weight coming down so Nutella was the main event that breakfast and the wrap was merely a filling. I had to mix salted cashews with it so it was less sickly!

Clours GR131
Above the clouds

The coffee was barely drinkable, again – thanks to the dodgy water and purification tablets. Stirring in some hot chocolate and sugar certainly made it more bearable. As soon as the sun came up it was around 20c again and we stripped off to our shorts and t-shirts. It was time to make our descent to sea level, 2500m below.

Pine Forests La Palma
A lovely walk through pine forests

The first part of our descent was pleasant. Nice and gentle down a rocky path and through soft pine forests. Just before the path went under the clouds we stopped for a peanut butter wrap, so we could admire the view one last time. It was a bit early for lunch but we know once in the clouds it would feel cold again and the views would disappear.

Catus GR131
Walking down the rocky path

We practically ran down the mountain, until we reached civilisation – a bar called Mirador de El Time (viewpoint of time), where we enjoyed a pint of beer in the sun. It was a strange feeling being around so many people and we soon realised most of them were German.

Stage 4 GR131
View of Tazacorte from Mirador de El Time

Feeling a little pissed after our beer, we were speedy on our decent. It wasn’t the most scenic of walks, a track past abandoned houses and neglected farm with lots of barking dogs and a fair bit of rubbish. The last part of the walk seemed to go on forever!

Tazacorte Beach
Puerto Tazacorte Beach – and the cliff face we had just walked down!

The final kilometre was the worst. Very steep and rocky with many stairs. This last km we called the knee breaker! It was most definitely the toughest and worst part of the whole hike. This made reaching the end even more worthwhile. We found a bar by the beach and enjoyed a cold beer and some olives and garlic prawns. Then we went for a dip in the sea and laid on the beach for a bit. What a way to end our hike!

Marco looking lovely after 4 days without a shower!

The town of Tazacorte was very quiet and by the time we had checked in and gone for a glass of wine, all of the restaurants were closed. There was a beautiful terrace overlooking the banana plantations which we would have enjoyed if we were there longer. As everything closed early, we were forced to have a tortilla and mayo sandwich at a really rough-looking local place which cost us about 1 euro. It was surprisingly tasty!

La Ferreteria
Roasted veggie and cheese tart for breakfast – don’t mind if I do

The next morning we went to La Ferretería – Deco & Art Tea Shop – a Parisian tea room – for a fancy breakfast. I had a roasted veggie tart and Marco, avo and tomato on toast. We returned to the rough local place and got two tortilla sandwiches to take away as we were heading to Playa de Charco Verde which was a short bus trip down. The beach was beautiful but it clouded over and got a little cold so we walked 30 minutes or so to the nearby town of Puerto Naos.

Puerto Naos
Life’s little luxuries

What a wonderful little holiday resort Puerto Naos is. It certainly had more life than Tazacorte. The evening was spent with a G&T looking out to sea at sunset and a lovely fish dinner by the water. Bliss!

Banana plantations from Tazacorte terrace

The next day we took a bus to the capital Santa Cruz which was a beautiful ride but not one to make if you are feeling a little queasy. The morning was spent walking around the colourful city with our big packs on. Luckily we made plenty of stops for plenty of beers, tapas and live music on the way.

Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz

After lunch, we hopped on a bus to our hotel. Our last night was spent in 4* H10 La Palma, dinner and breakfast included. It was a nice hotel, dinner was OK, not many veggie options, and the pool’s quiet but not warm enough to swim in. We noticed that we seemed to be the only ones under the age of 60 and there was an abnormally large number of people with leg problems; either missing legs or prosthetic legs!

Stage 4 GR131

Breakfast at the hotel was great and we enjoyed glasses of cava with our scrambled eggs and pastries. Not having showered and living off peanut butter and Nutella wraps for four days made our two days a well-deserved luxury. This is how we like to do things. Switching between two extremes makes us appreciate the finer things even more. 10/10 for our hike – it was awesome!

Flick x

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