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Santa Cruz de la Palma is the capital of the island La Palma, one of the Canary Islands. The city used to play an important role in export of sugarcane to the European mainland. Santa Cruz was often attacked by pirates and fortifications were therefore built to defend the city. These fortifications are still there: Castillo de Santa Catalina and Castillo de la Virgen.
The city has 18,000 inhabitants.
Santa Cruz is located on the east coast of La Palma, close to an old stream of lava of the Caldereta, a volcano just south of the city.
Bananas, sugarcane, grapes and tobacco are grown on La Palma. Forestry as well as fishing also provide work and income to a fair number of inhabitants. La Palma draws far less tourists than Tenerife or Gran Canaria. This is mainly because this steep island has few beaches and an exuberant nightlife is non-existent. Still the spendings of tourists that are drawn by the beautiful and rough nature form the main source of income.
La Palma airport is situated eight kilometers south of Santa Cruz de la Palma. There are various charter connections with European countries and scheduled flights to the neighbouring Canary Islands, the Portuguese island Madeira, and cities such as Madrid, Barcelona, Paris and Milan. It is easily reachable by rental car via the LP-138, the widest road on La Palma.
Public transportation on La Palma consists of busses that call at all important places on the island. Busses tend to run every half hour and right on time. From the harbor of Santa Cruz there are ferry connections to other Canary Islands.
There's a two-lane road between the capital and the airport. This is also the only 'big' road on the island. La Palma is a mountainous island and the other roads are therefore narrow, winding and hilly. On all roads you need to factor in falling rocks and boulders on the road, especially during and after rainfall. People, goats and dogs also walk on the (smaller) roads.
In between Santa Cruz and the airport there's a huge tourist center: Los Cancajos. There are also some hotels in the capital itself, but most tourist resorts can be found at the western beaches of the island. Many people choose to rent a small house ('casitas'). As these are often very remote a rental car is indispensable.
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