The magical hiking island of LaGomera is situated 60km off the south-west coast of Tenerife. It’s 378km2 has a diametre of 28km and the current population is 19,000. The capital is San Sebastian and the island is crowned by Alto de Garajonay, a peak of 1,487m.
The Guanchas were the original inhabitants of the Canaries whose ancestors most probably were the Berbers from north Arfica who’s ancestors again were of Skandinavian origin. This is due to the Spanish occupation of the Canaries and allowed a connection to Europe. The Gauchas were pale-skinned, tall, well developed and many of them had blue eyes. It is said that they were generally a peaceful race, however, when invaded were prepared to defend their island to the death.
La Gomera was occupied for thousands of years by Africa until it was invaded in the 1500s by Europeans.
Since the days of Chrisopher Columbus, who was on the way to India in 1492 and looted water and provisions, the island has also been known as ‘La Ilsa Colombia’. The Watch tower ‘Torre del Conde’ and the church ‘Iglesia de la Asuncion’, where it was said the seamen were blessed, are remnants of the days of Christopher Columbus.
From the interior of the island to the coasts there are numerous natural gorges ‘Barancos’. This wild- romantic landscape cannot be compared to any of the other Canarian islands. Frugal mountains, spectacular ravines, fertile meadows, luscious vegetation in the central highlands and especially the tropical due forest of El Cedro and terraced cliffs, imprint a picture of this island.
Peace and beauty dominate the artistic little villages, light years away from stress and hectic. The island’s foundation is an exceptionally efficient eco-system.
The island of Gomera is primeval and gorged with rugged sea-cliffs, volcanic beaches and luscious vegetation on the cliff wallls. Amongst the numerous, varied and impressive landscapes The Garajonay National Park offers the most exciting experiences. UNESCO declared The Garajonay National Park to be a worldwide, National Heritage of Humanity – the most prestigeous award for a precious landscape. Parts of the laurel forest are still to be found in the park, the largest part of which covers almost a complete hillside. A tight network of hiking tracks criss-crosses the park. Additionally there are innumerable hikes over the whole of the island including some more demanding walks, gorge adventures and even a couple of scrambles. They are mostly old mountain trails which the natives used for hundreds of years to cross the robust terrain. The many tracks offer not only spectacular views but also remind one of how simply man can live.
Few places in the world can boast the raw nature of Gomera where truly ecological treasures with a prehistoric character are hidden.
The Garajonay National Park homes more than 20 types of trees, 18 types of fern and 120 different plants, in the undergrowth there is also a multitude of plant varieties. Typical of the island are various types of laurel trees, Canarian palm trees, heather trees, the incomparibly, scented Canarian-Lemon-leaf and also unique to Gomera the yellow blossomed ‘Teline’.
To solve communication problems in the forest and mountain world of Gomera the inhabitants created their own special language in the form of ‘El Silbo’ (whistle language) to communicate from mountain to mountain. However, in our modern world of telephone and mobiles, El Silbo almost disappeared until a recent decision was made to integrate it into the schools as part of the daily curriculum. There are still many older natives who remember the language and have helped in developing the program for schools on Gomera.
The Canary Islands are of volcanic origin and about 20 million years ago they were raised from the sea. Gomera is about 10 million years old and has been dormant for a long time.