La Gomera, description of the island

La Gomera offers many unique sceneries, full of heritage and biodiversity, its rich vegetation has a great international interest and its culture and tradition are very-well preserved thanks to its impressive topography, which could be considered a great natural and ethnographic museum.

The island, with its circular shape, is the second smallest of the Canary Islands Archipelago and it is located between Tenerife, La Palma and El Hierrro. It has a surface area of around 370 square kilometres and its highest elevation point is the Alto del Garajonay with 1,487 metres. La Gomera, known as la isla colombina because it was the place where Christopher Columbus made provisions of food and water supplies for the voyage of the discovery, has a population of around 24,000 inhabitants divided into 6 municipalities. San Sebastián de La Gomera is the capital of the island.

La Gomera is about 12 million years old and it is formed by radial and very deep ravines. It contains different ecosystems which are spread out over very-well represented vegetation levels. The island is noted as a home to a large number of endemic species not only plants but also animals, becoming one of the territories with more endemisms per square kilometers of the European Union.

That is why the island has 17 nature reserves (protected areas), including the National Park, Garajonay, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is also a World Biosphere Reserve since 2012 and it is included in the Natura 2000 Networking Programme. 33% of La Gomera’s surface is legally protected.

Garajonay National Park, considered the jewel of the Canaries natural heritage, is a vestige of the Tertiary Era. It is covered by dense vegetation, giving a jungle look. You can find and enjoy extraordinary botanical species such as laurels, aceviños, mocanes or viñátigos walking through the many paths that this ancient thousand-year-old forest has.

Regarding the fauna, there are lots of endemisms on the island, being worth mentioning the Giant Lizard, the endemic doves from the National Park or the fantastic marine biodiversity, many of them are exclusive species from La Gomera or Macaronesian region.

La Gomera has also been transformed by human activity due to the lack of resources in the past. However, its inhabitants have been able to adapt to the environment. Nowadays, can be found beautiful sceneries and a lot of heritage and tradition such as “the palm tree culture”, terrace farming called paredones, or el silbo gomero, a kind of whistled language that native people used in order to communicate to each other from long distances and which was declared an Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO. Also, it has to be highlighted Gomera’s geology, its genetic and endemic richness, and the heritage linked to its primary sector, that is to say, farming, livestock, fishing, craftsmanship or gastronomy.

For all these reasons, La Gomera is an excellent nature-based tourism destination, with lots of activities related to sport, culture and science. It also has to be mentioned its large number of beaches and its warm and stable climate that along with the quality of its products and the kind-nature of its inhabitants, will ensure an unforgettable experience to the visitors. It must be highlighted that there are more than 600 km of hiking tracks on the island. The traditional paths, considered as heritage, are available as a large network of hiking which allows the visitor to go all over the island.

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