La Palma is recognised on an international level for the exceptional conditions in which to observe the stars. The quality of the sky is such that it is protected by the law for the Astronomical Quality of the IAC Observatories and has the privilege of having three Starlight Reserves, a hallmark that confirms the low level of light pollution in the area.
The Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos (ORM) is situated on the edge of the Caldera de Taburiente National Park, 2.396 m. above sea level in the municipality of Garafía. It is home to one of the most extensive fleets of telescopes to be found anywhere in the world.
On a cloud free night you can observe a large number of constellations and from our garden the Milky Way is clearly visible amid the many constellations that fill the sky.
This amazing walk is one of the most breath taking on the island. Starting at Refugio del Pilar, which is a short drive from Hotel Olio, the walk is around 18km long and traverses the ridge of the island ending at Los Canarios in the South. The walk allows you to see several volcanoes, along with spectacular views of both the east and west coast of the island. Depending upon fitness, the walk will take around 5-6 hours. It begins in the shade of the pines of El Pilar and gradually climbing uphill to La Deseada at 1945m. The terrain changes to volcanic soil along the ridge of the island. It’s important to take enough water. food and to bring warm clothing as there can be strong winds and clouds on the higher parts of the walk.
This amazing walk is one of the most breath taking on the island. Starting at Refugio del Pilar, which is a short drive from Olio, the walk is around 18km long and traverses the ridge of the island ending at Los Canarios in the South. The walk allows you to see several volcanos along with spectacular views of both the east and west coast of the island. Depending upon fitness, the walk will take around 5-6 hours. It begins in the shade of the pines gradually climbing uphill. The terrain changes to volcanic soil along the ridge of the island. It’s important to take enough water and to bring warm clothing as there can be strong winds and clouds on the higher parts of the walk.
The Virgin de los Pinos is a beautiful church nestled amoungst the pine trees. It is also the start of many great walks. A fantastic half day hike from this starting point is a circular route which begins at the church, takes you through El Pilar and then descends through the spectacular volcanic terrain.
The walk beings with a steep assent up the ‘camino real’ cobbled pathway. This route was one of the original roads on the island and climbs through the pine trees to the ridge of the island. From there the walk continues along the relatively flat ridge track, giving wonderful views of both East and West of the island. Once the walk reaches the El Pilar campsite, it is then all downhill through the volcanic landscape.
There are many walks which can be started from Olio, or a short drive away. This circular walk begins at the Virgin de Los Pinos church which is around 5 minutes drive from the house. The walk climbs up, up, up through the pines to the ridge via the steep ‘camino real’ – an old cobbled roadway.
After around 1 hour of climbing you reach the ridge and on a clear day you can enjoy amazing views of both sides of the island. You then follow, a relatively flat, track along the ridge for around 6km until you come to the El Pilar campsite.
The path then goes down through the pine forest and then through the volcanic landscape back to the Virgin de Los Pinos. The loose volcanic sand can be slippery underfoot, so hiking boots and poles should be used. The walk should take around 5 hours.
La Palma has a number of beautiful beaches which are only a short drive from Hotel Olio. Puerto Tazacorte is a wonderful family friendly beach with colourful houses and many restaurants and shops lining the sea front. Also, close by are Puerto Naos and Charco Verde which are also easy to access and have lifeguards on duty.
For the more adventurous there are some remote and rugged beaches in the North of the island. Playa de la Veta is a stunning secluded cove but to enjoy this beauty you have to hike some 30 minutes down a steep pathway and drive down an ‘interesting’ road which tests the nerves and driving skills. However, this special place is well worth the effort to reach.
Tazacorte – A short drive from Olio is Puerto Tazacorte. It has a lovely long black sand beach with shops, restaurants and bars. There is also a port with lots of yachts moored – this is also where you can enjoy boat trips
Charco Verde – With beautiful clear water and a sheltered cove it’s no wonder Charco Verde is popular. There is a small Kiosko which sells snacks and icecreams.
La de La Veta – For the more adventurous. Getting to this beach involves an ‘interesting drive’ down a very steep single track road, and then a 30 min hike down the cliff side, but the beach secluded sand cove is worth the effort. There are no public services at the beach so pack a picnic, and some energy to hike back up the hill after your swim!
Santa Cruz de La Palma is a lovely town to explore. It is only 30 minutes drive from Olio and makes a great day out.
Santa Cruz de La Palma has many old buildings and beautiful cobbled streets – including its famous balcony houses with line the sea front. It was once the sea faring gateway to the Americas and the wealth of that time can be seen in the stunning architecture. There are many street cafes to enjoy a bite to eat and lots of lovely boutique shops.
A new beach was recently opened in May 2017 so you can now also enjoy swimming and sun bathing in the capital.
Santa Cruz makes a wonderful day trip. The capital of La Palma is an interesting place to walk around with a fantastic atmosphere. There are lots of street cafes and many lovely boutiques to shop in. In sea faring times, Santa Cruz was once the gateway to the Americas and the riches of those days gone by can be seen in the wonderful architecture and traditional wooden balconies. Santa Cruz also has a fantastic new beach (opened in May 2017).