24 mar. 2015

La Gomera, peace between forests and beaches

If you look La Gomera island from above, you will see a giant orange juicer 1000 m high. On the top, a plateau (the Garajonay National Park) occupied by a lush forest that resembles those that covered the entire Europe thousands of years ago. The sides drop almost vertically, with deep ravines that end in small villages and pebbly beaches.

Not very easy, so, to built large resorts here. Only San Sebastian (the main town and the largest harbour in the island) and Santiago (next to the small airport) have some kind of urban development. The rest are small villages with small houses perched on the slopes taking advantage of the few flat areas. Due to this La Gomera has kept its essence almost unchanged till now. The "silbo", for instance, a unique language used by the local people to communicate at long distance through whistles.

Most of the island is included in the National Park. Garajonay is a unique example of how the world could have been in the age of dinosaurs. The humidity dragged by the Atlantic winds condense at this altitude and the area is almost permanently covered in a white mist. This humid environment is perfect for the laurel forests that seem to have found here their last refuge. The whole area is a paradise for walkers with lots of marked routes of different length and dificulty that lead you to incredibly beautiful places. The fires in the summer in 2012 have destroyed an important part of the forest, but with its inmense recovery capacity, as soon as 4 months later young trees already appeared between the charred trunks.

Vallehermoso is a good option to stay if your plan is to hike in Garajonay. In fact, distances are not very important here when the diameter of La Gomera is only around 20 km. What matters in this island are the roads. Most of them are quite narrow with sharp bends and steep slopes, so you can not drive fast. Not so bad since it allows you to enjoy the landscape.

Things are completely different at sea level. Here the temperature is similar to the other Canary Islands, and so the 300 sunny days per year. In general, beaches are small and mainly made of peebles. The most beautiful, no doubt, is Playa del Ingles, only 1 km away from Valle Gran Rey. The beach itself is really nice with its black sand at the foot of high cliffs, but not the best place to swim due to the huge waves. It is a clothing-optional beach where nudists and textiles mingle together. By no means you can loose the sunset here. Photography enthusiasts will love the golden colors in the limestone cliffs or the reflections of the sun in the water.

Valle Gran Rey is your place if you are looking for relaxed and laid-back holidays. You can still feel here the allure of the hippies that came to this village in the 70's in things like the drums and fire shows that are performed on the beach every day after sunset or the meditation center at Argaga beach (another good option for nudists).

These are not the only nude beaches in the island. Quite the contrary, many of the beaches are remote, surrounded by vertical cliffs and only accessible on foot. La Guancha, Chinguarime, Arguamul... beautiful names for amazing places. You can expect to be almost alone in most of them, and nobody will mind if you decide not to wear clothes.

Tourist infrastructure hardly exists. Just a bunch of small hotels and holiday appartments. Until recently, Germans were the only ones that have discovered it, even before than Spanish tourists. Now it is becoming more popular, but the lack of direct flights (it is only connected by air or ferry with Tenerife) discourages people from coming here. Take advantage of this and enjoy La Gomera while it is still a secret. An do not tell anybody.

Nat Biss

About the Author

Nat Biss

Author & Editor

I have dedicated most of my free time in the last years to discover the world, and beaches offer some of the most stunning landscapes on Earth. The next step was to enjoy them as naturally as possible, which obviously mean without clothes. Now I think it is time for me to share this liberating experience and try to help others to discover it.

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