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La Gomera is a paradise for hikers with some unspoilt and untouched diving just offshore.
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|lars, © Author: Lars Hemel
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La Gomera is the second smallest island of the Canary Islands, just after El Hierro. This circular volcanic island is still quiet without mass tourism and has a laidback atmosphere. You won't find volcanic cones and craters since it hasn't erupted for more than twenty million years. It is also named Isla Colombina or Columbus Islands as it was the last island Christopher Columbus visited before its journey to the west. It has a whistling language named el Silbo which is unique in the world and used by the Guanchen who lived on La Gomera before the first settlers came in the 18th century. Since there aren't many beaches on the islands tourism hasn’t kept up with neighboring Tenerife. But there are some excellent volcanic beaches such as Playa de Alojera, Playa de la Vueltas and Playa del Remo.
The primary reason for a visit to La Gomera are its excellent outdoor hiking opportunities. All across the island you can find well marked trails that bring you from one valley to the other. You will walk on top of spectacular ridges, next to steep cliffs, seeing many views of its lush valleys and gazing at La Teide in Tenerife. Some northern valleys are green, covered in banana plantages, such as those of Hermigua and Villahermosa, but others are barren and dry such as those aptly named the Barrancos de la Negra in the south. Other valleys well worth a visit are Valle Gran Rey and off course the valley of La Gomera's capital San Sebastián. Hike to the huge monoliths of Los Organos and Los Roques or enjoy some of the beauty of El Cedro National Park. One of the more popular tracks is hiking to the summit of mount Garajonay (1487m) through Garajonay National Park which is famous for its laurel forests and assigned a UNESCO World heritage site. Besides tracking you can find many boat tours, mountain bike trips and jeep safaris.
Diving La Gomera is remote and not the first thing many visitors think of when visiting La Gomera. Scuba diving is not the main activity, but trips can easily be booked from Playa de Santiago which is a pretty and small fishing village and Valle Gran Rey. The north as well as the south has sandy barren underwater landscapes with rocks and many fish. Large schools of barracuda, tuna and jacks are common and since it is so remote species live well in these rich warm waters.
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