The Tunnel - Santa Cruz to El Paso (La Palma)
This is the main road cutting across the middle
of the island. It begins above Santa Cruz and is signposted to
As you cross the old airfield you will see the long low building of the new hospital.
The road rises up through the tree-lined hills, passing the entrance to the new tunnel that will make a second route through the backbone of the island joining east and west.
There is a lookout point where you can stop and look out over the area north of Santa Cruz, and you can often see the Teide (the mountain on Tenerife) in the distance.
After passing through a small tunnel you will arrive
at the main tunnel. Note in this area the abundance of vegetation,
mainly sweet chestnut trees, laurel and tree-heather. There are
also many succulents clinging to the cliff faces. This is an indication
that this area is often covered in cloud. You may even drive through
it in the last few kilometres.
The tunnel is single lane each way and a little bumpy. Water drips from the tunnel roof onto the road.
About 100 meters after the tunnel there is just enough room on the side of the road to park you car and take a look at the Valle de Aridane in front of you, and the Cumbrecita and Caldera to the right.
This area is covered in magnificent Canary Pine trees, which have very long needles and rough flaky bark.
The road twists down and to the left before
taking a sharp bend to the right, passing a road to the left which
is the beginning of 'The Old Road' route.
After the sharp bend the road goes across a flatish area of fields bounded by ancient stone walls. To the right you can see the other entrance to the new tunnel, and also the chapel of Pino de la Virgen, set among the pines at the bottom of the hill.
A little further on you see the Caldera Visitors Center, a low concrete building on the right. It has much information about the island and specifically the Caldera. A film about the Caldera is shown regularly, so if you don't have the time of physical condition to walk in the Caldera this is the next best thing.
The road carries on into El Paso. Try taking one of the side roads to the left to see typical village houses.
Canary Islands guide