This week, Pedro from our Products Team, writes about part of his unforgettable trip to La Gomera, a haven for hikers and nature enthusiasts.
La Gomera is the second smallest of the Canary Islands, almost circular in shape and measuring only 25KM across. The island has been on my radar for some time as I have known it to be a great destination for hiking.
The flight from Dublin to Tenerife South Airport landed just before dinner time. A 20 minutes transfer brought me to the lively city of Los Cristianos where I spent a night to take the ferry to La Gomera early in the Morning. My time in the Canaries started with a nice fresh fish dinner with canarian potatoes and the local mojo (two different sauces, one green and the other red) that I was told, the Canarians have it with everything. All this, just facing the ocean. History says that Canarian potatoes are very close to the potato’s varieties brought from South America during the discoveries. I was traveling back in time in a place where Columbus was just before heading to discover America.
Hiking in La Gomera: Day 1
Next morning, from the breakfast room in the hotel, the weather didn’t look very promising. I walked to the port to take the ferry. As the boat went away from Tenerife, the sky started to open and I could see the mighty Teide on one side and La Gomera having a sunbath in the other. How lucky I was!
Soon after, I set foot in the nice town of San Sebastian de La Gomera. I had a quick walk around before meeting my transfer to the walking start. I was able to see the colonial origins of the town by the architecture of the buildings with its facades and wooden balconies. This style matches very well with the many palm trees. I met Juan, my driver, and our short transfer to the starting point of the first walk was enough to realize how hospitable the Canarians are.
As we went up the Valley, the landscape started to unveil and show its imposing hills overlooking us. My excitement was reaching high levels as I could already see what incredible walks were coming in the following days. Finally we arrived to the starting point in Chejelipes. Juan left me and took my luggage to the next hotel.
I was on my own now, and there was a cold feeling that moment, however, it quickly dissipated as I started walking up the road leaving the village behind and immersing myself in the palm trees and prickly pears. Eventually, the road finished and gave way to a narrow rocky path. Due to the height gain the temperature dropped about 10ºC and clouds started to be part of the landscape.
The path leads to a gap in the mountain that I approached on the south slope facing the sun. In that gap, I saw one of the most impressive phenomena I have ever seen, the climate changed from semi-desert to laurel rain forest in the space of just about four meters. The humid and cold clouds bathed the forest on the north slope and dissipated almost suddenly as they crossed the gap. Nature never ceases to amaze me!
I followed the path deep into the forest and soon, my pants were wet as I walked across the ferns on the ground. Zigzagging downhill I went until Hermigua Valley, I knew I was arriving when I saw the Roques de Hermigua, named Pedro e Petra, two big pointy rocks in the upper part of the valley as if marking the entrance. Hermigua is a little town that grew with the export of bananas, so the lower part of the valley is covered in a lush green and the beach below is dominated by an old structure, El Pescado, a series of brick towers where cranes were used to load boats with bananas, once swiped by a storm leaving behind a testimony of that time.
The Sun was setting in Hermigua. That was the stopping point for that day and I went to the hotel, a typical house on the hill from which the balcony in my room had great views over the town and the ocean. Soon after, I went down to a local restaurant to have dinner, again the Canarian potatoes and the two mojos, this time with fresh tuna. Delicious! By coincidence or not, the owner of the hotel, Isabel, stopped by and offered me a ride back to the hotel in her car, a nice touch after a day of walking.
Hiking in La Gomera: Day 2
The next day I had a great rich breakfast that the hotel offers, just what one needs for a day of hiking. I was going from Agulo, a town enclosed in a nest of ravines, easily reachable with a quick transfer, to Vallehermoso on a 13km walk, but with almost 800m of elevation gain, so some steep climbs were expected. The numbers didn’t lie, soon I was climbing up a steep hill touching the clouds and watching the sunny ocean below.
What a view! On the top, suddenly the dirt is red and the wind blows with a humid feeling. A few kilometers later, there was the interpretation center of Parque Nacional Garajonay.
There, it is possible to learn about the nature and formation of the island as well as its cultural ancient past. There was also a local shop selling Gofio biscuits. Gofio is a sort of Canarian flour made from roasted grains. Those biscuits are well worth the climb to get them!
A bit more walking and an opening in the forest allows a spectacular panorama of a giant rock standing at the top of a crest, that is Roque Cano. The route leads to the rock and so I rushed to take a few closer pictures. When I got there I was totally amazed and took dozens of pictures from all possible angles, then I continued walking just to find that I was taking pictures of a rock at least ten times smaller, Roque Cano is far more impressive. It’s so large that the camera can’t capture it in a single shot.
My resting point for the night, Vallehermoso was just down the corner. The hotel had a spacious room with views over Roque Cano and a beautiful inner garden with palm trees.
I went down to have dinner in the hotel’s restaurant, and again, Canarian potatoes and the mojos accompanied by pork loin. The lovely waiter from whom I learned that Canarians not only have the mojos with almost everything, as they also have palm honey with all the rest, so she recommended me to have cake with local palm honey, a very pleasant combination.