La Gomera

La Gomera comes from an Aborigine word. Its inhabitants were and are called Gomeros. It was know by navigators as "Junonia Minor".

La Gomera is one of the seven Canary Islands, located in the Atlantic Ocean, and 150 kms. from the African coast.

The island is almost circular and measures 383 Sq. Kms. Its landscape is different from the rest of the islands due to its brusqueness, its deep circular valleys caused by water erosion and from the top open down on to the sea in the shape of valleys, and the local population take advantage of this. The weather is mild and temperate throughout the year, thanks to its privileged geographical situation. Precisely the climate gave the islands the name "Afortunadas" the Fortunate Islands. The highest point on La Gomera is Alto de Garajonay, standing 1,487 M. above sea level. Around this you can find spectacular greenery that has been there for centuries and respected by the Gomeros : the National Park Garajonay which consists of a crowned forest and occupies 10% of the total surface of the island. In which you can find many species. The principal species of tree in the forests are "laurisilva" which have practically disappeared form the planet and now a fingerprint from past times.

Geographical Location

The island of La Gomera is situated West of Tenerife, South East of La Palma and North East of El Hierro. It is a mass that rises abruptly form the sea, like a half dome. It is almost round in shape and has a total of 372 Sq. Kms. The highest point on the island is Alto de Garajonay (1,375 m).


LA GOMERA has witnessed a passionate history Since the birth of its name, the product of a legend that takes us back to the biblical times of a son of Jafet, who was a son of Noah, named Gomer.

Known by the Phoenicians and quoted by classical authors such as Pliny and Ptolemy, who called the island Pluvialia, island without rivers, where the water always comes from rain, La Gomera entered western history in the 15th century with the arrival of the conquistadores.

In 1492, on his way to unknown lands, Christopher Columbus stopped in the bay of San Sebastián, the island's capital. Since then, Gomerans have called their island the Isla Colombina, in reference to Columbus's visit. The Tower del Conde, the Church of La Asunción, where members of the expedition and their mission were blessed, and the Well of the Aguada, all still existing, were witnesses to the presence on the island of the discoverers of America.


LA GOMERA is a small island having a total area of some 378 sq kilometres and hardly 20 km. from north to south. Yet it conceals an ecological treasure without precedent and has been declared a Property of Humanity by UNESCO. Few places in the world have such a wealth of natural beauty as La Gomera, even more interesting because of its past prehistoric character.

The island, with its steep terrain, drops sharply from the peak of Garajonay down to the Atlantic Ocean in a sequence of mountains and cliffs that form almost perfect circles.

The rich vegetation, a relic from the beginning of the time, and having species that are almost non existent on any other part of the planet, descends little by little to the coast.

Steep ravines lead down to fertile valleys and agricultural areas, where the human hand works hard to gain the fruits of the land, and at the same time shapes the landscape. Rain clouds driven along by the mild prevailing winds, meet the high mountains and unload their moisture, drop by drop, in a unique way called horizontal precipitation.

Natural Parks

situated in the centre of the island in lands belonging to all the municipal districts, has the best specimens of laurel forest in the world and pertains to the network of national parks.

situated in the caldera of the same name in the municipality of San Sebastian, is of notable geomorphological and botanical interest.

is an interesting geomorphological enclave of island lowland, the only one in La Gomera, situated to the north of San Sebastián, home to an excellent spcimen of sweet purge.

located to the northwest of San Sebastián, corresponds to a former pasture still used for flocks of sheep and goats where an interesting spurge grows together with other species of flora of lower altitudes, and an important representation of fayalbrezal.

situated in the valley of the same name, brings together striking geomorphological elements such as deep ravines and steep cliffs, in addition to spring waters and certain endemic flora, together with the remarkable traces of human activity evident in the terraces that climb the slopes, tha palm groves grown next to the crops and the small houses that are dispersed over the slopes.

situated on the northen coast of Vallehermoso, is a cliff made of ancient volcanic rock, whose cooling and subsequent erosion have given it a characteristic silhouette in the form of organ pipes falling vertically to the sea. The organ pipes can only be seen by boat trip from the harbour in Playa de Santiago - Ask for times at the Tourist info shop opposite the beach.

is a phonolitic protrusion which rises over the one of slopes delimiting the town of Vallehermoso. This singular bulk is so much a part of the self-image and history of its people that it forms a principal motif of the municipal shield.

is formed by materials similar to those of Roque Cano. Its walls are not particularly steep and within them is sheltered one of the best groves of madroños (Arbustus Canariensis, strawberry trees) in the islands.

is found in the area of chipude. Its profile presents a configuration in the form of a meseta of trachitic rocks and steep walls where specimens of some rare endemic flora such as the siempreviva grow.

occupies the middle and lower zones of the ravine of the same name, in the district of San Sebastián, in a semi-leeward area, such the xerophytic (pertaining to dry areas) and coastal vegetation predominate, with abundant euphorbias and some palm groves.

corresponds to the best preserved volcanic cone of the island, in which no volcanic activity has occurred in the last million years. The predominant vegetation is the spurge.

El Monumento Natural del Lomo del Carretón (The Natural Monument of El Lomo del Carretón)

is a cliff that is situated at an altitude of between 450 and 850 metres over Taguluche, and contains a good number of endemic plants that live together with other regenerating species.

is situated in the divide that separates the head of the ravines of La Laja and Benchijigua. the territory includes the rocks of Agando, ojila, La Zarcita and Carmona, spectacular examples of intrusive volcano activity, excavated by erosion.

covers two great ravines, that of Erques-La Rajita and that of La Negra. Within this area, ideal for hiking, semi-abandoned villages like Erques, Erquito and La Rajita are found.

is an area which is difficult to reach by land is quite beautiful to contemplate from the sea. It is characterized by the presence of certain botanical species such as the Ploclama pendula and by certain fauna such as guirres and shearwater.

is a coastal ecosystem formed by a natural swmming pool greatly enjoyed by children, surrounded by certain botanical species such as the tarajal (Tamarix canariensis). There are also restaurants and tourist facilities here.

is also a coastal ecosystem, situated on the coast of Valle Gran Rey and characterized by its flora halophile (Tamarix canariensis) and by the presence of a small dun.


LA GOMERA has a great gastronomical tradition. The delicacies from the surrounding sea, the agricultural products grown on the island and the special culinary methods all make for simple yet very tasty dishes. Typical dishes waiting to be discovered in the small village inns.. Dishes like the watercress soup, served in wooden bowls. A unique culinary experience. Or the cheese, made from the milk of three different breeds or prehispanic goat, which is made in the old way and considered by some to be the best fresh cheese in the world. The people of La Gomera use this cheese to make a special food calles almogrotre. Butter, oil, garlic, pepper, salt and sometimes tomato are the others ingredients. The result is a piquant and delicious spread for bread or potatoes. The two variety of potatoes used, called locally papas negras and papas bonitas, were brought from the American continent several centruries ago. Today they are still cultivated in the traditional way and they have become a real delicadecy for even the most demandig appetites. With these potatoes and a popular local fish called vieja, which has a very special flavour, a succulent dish is prepared which is typical on all the Canary Islands. But the queen of Gomeran gastronomy is the palm honey. A syrup extracted from the Canarian palm tree, of wich there are more than 100,000 such trees on La Gomera, boiled and thickened, it servers as a raw material for a long tradition of local desserts. It is also used for making different kinds of cocktails or served with cheese or gofio, which is toasted wheat or corn flour.

Gomeran Whistling

On a small and dramatically uneven island like La Gomera, distances were measured in the past by the time and effort necessary to hike the paths, and not by the number of kilometres between two places, which is never very high. The tripo from one ridge to another of a valley or ravine, descending a slope to cross the bottom and climb up the other side, sould supposse various hours for the traveller, although the distance might be scarcely a few hundred metres.

In this geographical environment, the gomeran whistle was a special form of communication originated in pre-Hispanic times and does not constitutea language in the strict sense of the word, but a modality of speech that spells out syllabes by means of the whistle, with the help of the fingers introducen into the mouth. As the rural society that used this language has disappeared and other means of communication such as the telephone have been introduced, the Gomeran whistle is scarcely used outside exhibitions or demostrations, which means that fewer and fewer people nowadays know how to.

All schools on the island now teach the children Gomeran whistling, as they do English. Nowdays all children can whistle, even though the mobile phone has arrived, and you hear whistling whereever you are on the island. I suppose its cheaper than the phone?  

If you would like more information about La Gomera, see the following website:

Patronato Insular de Turismo de La Gomera
(La Gomera Island Tourist Board)
Tel: 00 34 922141512 
       00 34 922870281
Fax: 00 34 922140151

One of the best restaurants in Santiago La Cuevita

One of the best restaurants in Santiago La Cuevita

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