We have visited La Gomera for 8 memorable hours as a day trip during our holidays on Tenerife. La Gomera is inspiring island which is famous for being the last stop of Cristobal Colón on his “voyage” to yet undiscovered West in 1492. The island protects the unspoiled scenery and nature from the technology and industry impacts of modern era. There are still few cars driving and most of the locals made their living on banana plantations, fishing and a little bit of tourism. This unique place has been favourite for hippies. The quiet and relaxing atmosphere brought here German chancellor Angela Merkel. You are not going to visit la Gomera because of sunny beaches and it took us only couple of hours to understand why.
Organized day trip or on your own?
We were considering to bring our rented car from Tenerife on a ferry and discover the island travelling on our own. The island is really small and with GPS or good tourist map you can see all the important sights during one day. What we found as the biggest advantage of organized trip was the presentation of Silbo Gomero, unique language of ancient Canary inhabitants and also the comfort of not having to care about anything. We boarded the bus and set down to relax, listen, watch and enjoy the forgotten paradise in the Atlantic Ocean. If you prefer managing your time and itinerary yourself it is easy to go there from Tenerife south (Los Cristianos) by ferry. Fred Olsen is more comfortable and faster (40 min) but you can also cruise there with Naviera Armas (50 min)
National drink – El Gomerón
During the day we had plenty of stops so we get on and off the bus at least 20 times. One of the first stops was a small bar where we discovered the process of preparation and tasted gomeron. To prepare this traditional drink you just have to mix Canary palm tree honey with alcohol grappa (or vodka, etc) in a big jar, cool it and that is it. The country of abandoned mountains was transformed during our 1 minute drive through a tunnel to a green paradise full of life.
National park Garajonay – green heart of La Gomera island
In the middle of the island lies the Parque nacional de Garajonay recognised as world heritage by UNESCO. You can not miss the opportunity to see a Laurisilva, forrest which has survived the ice age. During the era of dinosaurs it looked like this in whole Europe and northern Africa. Today it is possible to find it only on Canary, Azore islands and Madeira. Lots of endemic species live here and more than 20 trees such as oak, willow, heather and many types of mosses and ferns. Some of these plants are growing to gigantic seizes e.g. dandelion is more than 1,5 metre high. Walk on the tourist routes during the mist is said to be hair-rising unfortunately we had really sunny weather during our visit.
One of the most popular photo destinations is Hermigua rocks. Botanic garden with awesome view of the mountains really make you feel that you are in a paradise. Our tourist guide Jose Angel showed us lot of tropical fruit (banana, mango, nectarine…) and explained some of the plants in more detail.
Surrounded by banana fields was founded one of the first cities on La Gomera island – Agulo. Inhabitants of this lovely village have extraordinary view of the Atlantic Ocean and the Teide volcano therefore it is sometimesscalled green balcony.
One of the beaches is called Santa Catalina which is quite close to Agulo on northwest coast. ktorú ohraničujú ako inak banánové plantáže. Do not miss the symbol of the island and the largest monolit called Roque de Agando.
Lunch in restaurant Las Rosas
When we said that organized trip has it advantages, one of them was typical Canarian lunch in Las Rosas restaurant. We were expecting sandwich in paper bag in the bus therefore we were pleased to get a full 3 course lunch served by very friendly staff in local traditional dresses. Beautiful scenery was visible around us thanks to large windows which supported the cosy atmosphere even though the restaurant is quite big. Vegetable soup with some bread, roasted chicken with rice and potatoes grilled with the skin and served with local spicy sauce mojo rojo picón, banana with ice-cream for the desert and local wine. Most interesting part of the lunch was the presentation of “Silbo Gomero” – whistled language.
Unique whistling – Silbo Gomero
Would like to whistle instead of talking? Guanchos, aboriginal inhabitants of Canary island used this type of language for centuries. It enabled them to communicate simple messages for long distance even in hostile canyons and mountains of the volcanic islands. Settlers brought Spanish and the whistling disappeared from most of the islands except of La Gomera where it modified to Spanish and survived till today. Silbo Gomero might survive thanks to UNESCO while it is recognized from 2009 as world heritage and again taught in Gomeran schools.
We were last to board the ferry in San Sebastián around 5 pm and our exploration of La Gomera was over. If you would like to stay on La Gomera longer, there are some hotels in areas of Valle Gran Rey and Playa de Santiago. We heard that one of the most beautiful hotels is Hotel Jardín Tecina. I hope we inspired you and that you enjoy your stay in La Gomera.