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KNOW BEFORE YOU GO - STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD (foreign office travel advice)

Los Cancajos

Los Cancajos Holidays

Los Cancajos offers a relaxing getaway on the east coast of La Palma, the smallest Canary Island. With black volcanic sand, sheltered coves and a great view out across the dramatic Caldera de Taburiente mountain range, the resort is quieter than other Canary Island destinations, and instead lets nature do the talking.

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A laid-back spot

Just south of the of capital, Santa Cruz de la Palma, lies the cluster of hotels, restaurants and bars that make up Los Cancajos. This resort is relatively new and tends to be popular with families looking for a more chilled out vibe for their holiday. The enclosed beaches provide safe areas for children to play and the lack of bars and nightclubs allows for a good night's sleep.

Due to its proximity to the capital, Los Cancajos is the main beach area and seaside town for the Santa Cruz. With all the convenience of a beach resort – restaurants, bars, grocery stores, a children's play area – it attracts both day trippers and tourists, and its small size means it's easy to navigate.

Along the main street in the town centre you'll find an assortment of tapas bars, with friendly owners serving fresh fish dishes and local wine. Towards the seafront there's a well-stocked promenade, lined with restaurants and palm trees. It's only a 10-minute drive from the airport too.

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  • Spanish
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A trio of black sand bays

Los Cancajos' beach is a Blue Flag winner, awarded for its cleanliness, water quality and ecological rating. The black sand beach is actually made up of three black sand bays – the closest one to the resort centre has the usual parasols and sunloungers, and is right next to the promenade should you wish to relax with a cocktail or two.

The furthest bay is a 10-minute walk down the boardwalk where it'll be just you, the sand and the sea, in all its natural glory.

Under the sea

The Canary Islands are known for their plentiful waters, and Los Cancajos is no exception. The resort is home to La Palma's best diving centre – snorkelling and scuba diving excursions are offered year-round, and cater to all ages and abilities.

Under the watchful eye of a trained instructor, you'll soon be face-to-face with some of the most colourful fish in the Atlantic. Expect red parrotfish, damselfish, starfish and more – the centre offers a guided tour just for beginners, so even if you're a novice you can still swim down and take a look.

Further afield, the beach at Fuencaliente also has a reputation for being a diving hotspot. Marked by the historic red and white lighthouse up on the cliff, this black sand bay offers parrotfish, and even some Canarian lobster for those willing to take the plunge. It's a 30-minute drive away, and the volcanic landscape makes the area great for hiking too.

A cultural day out

If you fancy a day trip, it's easy to travel into the island's capital, Santa Cruz. Buses run frequently from the main road in Los Cancajos, and only take 10 minutes to reach the city centre. Once there, you'll find chic bars and restaurants on Calle O'Daly, and you can stroll through the cobbled streets shopping at the boutique stores.

For art and culture lovers, a contemporary art gallery opened in Santa Cruz in 2014 – it showcases the best modern Canarian artists, and is a bright, inviting space. Take your time to look around at the sculptures, paintings and photography with an authentic Canarian twist. On a slightly quirkier note, history fans can climb aboard a full-scale replica of the ship Christopher Columbus sailed to America on – inside it you'll find an informative naval museum.

The architecture of Santa Cruz de la Palma is also something to see – it's colonial in style but with a distinctly Caribbean feel, which makes sense if you consider the island's trade history. In the old town you'll find a 15th century church with a beautifully painted ceiling, with traders selling mangoes just outside its doors.

Starry-eyed

Due to the absence of light pollution, La Palma is one of the best places for stargazing. Stay in Santa Cruz after the sun goes down to find a bar with a terrace, and enjoy looking up at the constellations you can't spot back home. Alternatively, there are stargazing tours that can be booked at the Los Cancajos tourist centre, or in Santa Cruz.