Witness to this evenful history are the culture and lifestyle of the Palmerans. La Palma is a European island off the African coast with South American charm. A subtropical island on which continual immigration have led to a colourful mixture of people. A spanish island with a Flemish past, in which the Portuguese and Latins also added to the misture. An island moulded by agriculture, where the traditional and the modern go hand-in hand.
The centuries old seclusion and imposed self- sufficiency are responsible for the fact that, even today the craft industry is still alive on La Palma. Some of the old techniques go back to the stone- age Benahoaritas like for example the matt black earthen ware pots with their archaic, scored patterns. On the other hand, textile work , silk fabric and embroidery are all of European arigin, while cigar manufacture comes from Latin America- to be more precise, from Cuba.
The close ties with Cuba and Venezuela are also refected in the language, life-style, music and cuisine. Both the pronunciation and the vocabulary of the Spanish spoken on La Palma have been strongly influenced by Latin America. The same applies to the traditional music and folklore, to the way people drink their coffee or gossip and to certain dishes sush as Arroz a la Cubana.
The immense wealth of Flemish art treasures housed in the churches, the suggestively colonial architecture of the noble town houses in the old part of Santa ruz de La Palma and the haciendas of the big land owners of the past, in the Ariadne Valley all recall the days of the sugar lords. The rum distillery in San Andrés and the omnipresent very sweet pastries and deserts are also reminders of the former sugar industry.
And of course, the Banahoaritas have also left their traces, for until not all that long ago, this pastoral people still lived on the island. Rock inscriptions, cave dwellings, burial sites and the previously mentioned earthenware pots serve to remind us of this prehistoric culture.