La Gomera, Canary Islands
La Gomera is a small island located in the western parts of the Canary archipelago, between the islands of Tenerife, La Palma and El Hierro. It occupies an area of 370 sq km and is located amidst the waters of the Atlantic. The nearest neighbor of La Gomera is Tenerife. The distance between the islands is about 28 km. La Gomera is located about 378 km off the coast of Africa.
Climate. La Gomera falls within the tropical climate zone and enjoys all year round lovely weather. The cold Canary Current exerts a refreshing influence and maintains the island’s temperatures in a very nice range between 21°C in January and 28°C in August and September.
At the southern parts of the island as well as along the coast as a whole, the weather of La Gomera is very dry and sunny. The higher parts of the northern slopes however, which receive most of the precipitation, are extremely wet and fresh.
Nature. Because of its volcanic origin, La Gomera is a mountainous island. Most of its territory is covered with a plateau-shaped highland. La Gomera is a rising over the ocean surface volcanic cone and therefore has an almost oval shape.
The relief forms of this beautiful island are not very sharp but rather rounded, especially compared to the other Canary Islands. The highlands and the northern slopes are covered with dense evergreen rain forest, which is under the auspices of UNESCO. Garajonai peak is the highest point of the island.
It rises to a height of 1478 meters above sea level. The slopes of the island are furrowed with narrow gorges and wide plains, surrounded by steep mountain slopes. Valle Hermoso and Valle Gran Rey are the most famous planes of the island and also the most attractive tourist destinations.
Coast. The coasts of La Gomera are steep, rocky, moderately indented, without large and deeply cut bays or peninsulas. This is not the right place if you are looking for white sandy beaches. The sand along the coast is black. Many local beaches are covered with rounded volcanic pebbles instead of sand.
Best known are the beaches of Puerto de Vueltas, located on the coast of Valle Gran Rey and the city’s beach of San Sebastian, though both are almost always deserted.
Although local beaches are few and most are still very rocky, La Gomera has an exceptional advantage – pristine water and sand. Sea water temperature is stable throughout the year. During the winter season does not fall below 17-18°C, while in summer reaches up to 23°C.
The transparent and refreshing blue water that surrounds the island of La Gomera attracts diving lovers from near and far. The most popular destination for divers is Playa de Santiago, located on the south coast of the island.
Population. The population of La Gomera is about 22 000 people. Unlike the other Canary Islands there is not so large influx of foreigners to settle here permanently. Foreigners still exist, but they are not enough to change local culture beyond recognition.
Official language is Spanish, and German and English are less popular in comparison with Tenerife and Gran Canaria. Local residents are almost entirely Roman Catholic Christians.
Largest city of La Gomera is the capital San Sebastian, whose population is about 8000 inhabitants. Other places with high population density are Valle Gran Rey and Valle Hermoso.
The official currency of the island is the Euro. Once fully dependent on agriculture, today the island of La Gomera gets its main income from tourism and other branches belonging to the service sector. Eco tourism is leading industry.
Tourists come here to see the best-preserved forest in Europe, and to experience the charm and peace that reign in attractive areas such as Valle Hermoso and Valle Gran Ray.
The island offers excellent opportunities for outdoor recreation, walking tourism and an excellent environment for overall physical and emotional discharge.
Agriculture is second in importance. Like the other Canary Islands, La Gomera enjoys very fertile volcanic soils. This, combined with well-developed irrigation systems makes possible the cultivation of almost everything that comes into your mind.
Here are grown bananas, tomatoes, potatoes, onions, garlic, dates, spices, citrus, peas, beans and whatnot. Goat and pig farming are leading industries. La Gomera is a large regional producer of outstanding honey, excellent wine and unique goat cheese. The fishing industry is also very important source of incomes.
When to visit La Gomera? La Gomera enjoys a perennial tourist season. However, it is good to know that in the highlands can get pretty chilly during the winter season.
If you want an ideal weather both into the low-lying and higher parts of the island however, spring and autumn are probably the best time to travel.
What clothes should I wear? Summer clothing plus a light overcoat is the ideal combination in the low-lying parts of the island throughout the year. In mountainous areas, where the climate is cooler warm anorak, spring jacket and long pants are required during winter months.
The weather conditions in Valle Hermoso and Valle Gran Ray should not bother you – you can lie around the pool all year round. And do not forget that the sun here is always quite strong, although the refreshing wind can fool you into thinking that it is not!
How to get there? San Sebastian, the capital of La Gomera, is easily accessible by regular ferry service to and from Los Cristianos, Tenerife. Ferry boats usually travel every day no matter the season.
In addition, close to Playa de Santiago in the South of the island is located the small but very modern airport of La Gomera, which serves only domestic flights to the island of Tenerife.