The GR130 through Puntagorda

As anybody who follows this blog will realise, I am pretty much smitten with the amazing long-distance GR130 Camino Real trekking route around La Palma. Well, after all we do live a stone's throw away from it and overlook some of the  most magnificent stretches of the route as it winds its way between us and El Tablado.  In fact, having walked the entire route ourselves over a period of time, I like to compare it to life; full of ups and downs! Yes, it's the walk of life.
For those think of walking the route, I am happy to report that more than 90% of it is well sign-posted but strangely enough, the biggest mystery is through the towns. Los Llanos, Los Sauces, Santa Cruz, you name it and you'll struggle to spot a white over red blaze, let alone a signpost.
How lovely then that we had the opportunity this week to walk the Camino Real route through Puntagorda once again. I remember the first time we tried to find the route through this small but stretched out village/town. It certainly took some finding and we ended up in people's gardens or wood sheds more than a few times!
Of course it all starts well and good but after leaving the eco-campsite of La Rosa Centro de Naturaleza heading in a southerly direction, that's when you'll see your last good tip for a while - Puntagorda 1km.
So having crossed the main road and walked down the path through the nursery, it might be some while before you see a sign again, that is if you see one again at all because if you go off piste, so to speak, there are no signs to direct you back to where you should be.  That's fair enough, otherwise the place would be littered with signs.
However, if you have armed yourself with the Freytag & Berndt map, there is a clue there because you'll see that the route appears to follow the road. In fact, you may think the route is on the road. But no, it is as near the road as it can be - so keep walking parallel to the road as much as possible. And whilst that sounds as if you are close to traffic really it feels like you are deep in the country.
Along the way of course the route tries to fool you in a few places. For example, when you come to crossroads, the natural inclination is to carry straight on. But no, who would have guessed it, you go uphill. And then having settled into the new course and stoutly walking uphill, the route dodges off to the right. Ah, those signs facing away from you that disguise themselves as a garden post, you didn't think we'd fall for that one did you?
 But now the route settles itself into a very nice pattern of 'meet road, cross road' and keep going. Oh yes, we can all understand that one, especially with great big signs to tell us that we should just cross the road and continue along our merry way.
But of course nothing lasts forever, so when you try and apply your new-found logic to the next junction, this time without any signs whatsoever, it's only natural that you cross the road onto the path opposite which is a beautiful cobbled path. A GR130 path if ever I saw one. But no, it is of course nothing more than a cunning decoy which invites you to a runner bean teepee in a back garden.
In fact the route goes uphill to the left and by simply bearing left again at the Y-junction then you will arrive at the main road. Here, you can apply the 'meet road, cross road' mantra and if you look carefully enough you will in fact see the Camino Real signed to Tijarafe on the path opposite. Yay, you've done it!
However, in one way none of this really matters if you are pausing in your quest to conquer the Camino Real and staying at the Pension Mar y Monte in Puntagorda because all roads tend to lead there, or pretty much anyway. You see, Puntagorda is arranged in such a way that it is a series of houses and streets over several mini-barrancos which are linked by one long street which runs parallel to the main road. If you head down one of the lanes at 90 degrees to the main road you will hit the village street at some point along its length.
With shops and bars dotted about in various places in Puntagorda and a decent mid-sized supermarket at each end, it tends to be around the clock tower at the southerly end that most of the amenities are located. Around it, along with the Town Hall, you'll find the bank, post office, pharmacy, supermark and the Pension Mar y Monte located close by too.Simples!
And if you are thinking of one of our luggage-transported walking holidays, then full notes are of course provided.

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