Some describe La Gomera as being like a cow-pat. It’s not the most flattering of descriptions but it does sort of conjure up an image that isn’t far from the reality. Having walked on La Gomera in the past we knew that there weren’t going to be many flat sections. On La Gomera you’re either going up or you’re going down, so six days of checking walking routes for Inntravel was an opportunity to get in some serious barranco hiking and boost fitness levels following a more sedate and food indulgent trip to Lanzarote last month.
Hiking across La Gomera was also an incredible way to get to know this quietly stunning island and its amiable people much better.
Day 1: Hiking around Vallehermoso
The beautiful valley is aptly named and with the landmark of Roque Cano touching the heavens you pretty much always know exactly where the town of Vallehermoso lies so no real chance of getting lost in the vertiginous ravines.
Day 2: Hiking to Vallehermoso
There were too many ‘WOW’ moments on the second day’s walking to mention but the most enchanting was possibly the path through the mythical and atmospheric ancient laurisilva forest. All that was missing from the sea of gnarled, moss laden trees was Tim Burton, Johnny Depp and a headless horseman.
Day 3: Walking to Hermigua
Another day, another epically stunning valley with the quaint town of Hermigua strung out along the valley floor and rows upon rows of neat terraces creating step effects on the mountain slopes. As an added bonus you get Tenerife and Mount Teide completing a very special vista. The Gomerans claim they have the best views of the mammoth mount… it’s hard to argue with that.
Day 4: Exploring Hermigua’s Valleys
Swap one valley for another in Hermigua and you get a very different landscape. The valleys adjacent to the town were sparsely populated with only the occasional and often ramshackle farm where vehicles were left to rot where they died; messy but not without a certain attraction. In some parts it seemed more like South East Asia. I thought this scene could have come straight out of Apocalypse Now.
Day 5: Descending to San Sebastián de La Gomera
In a walk that saw the weather change from wet and wild to misty and mysterious to hot and sunny our descent into San Sebastián was blocked by some of the local wildlife. These young donkeys were simply off the cute scale. Carrots were demanded as payment for passage. As we had none a nose rub had to suffice.
Day 6: Coasting to the Beach of La Guancha
A complete change of scenery took us along the cliff tops from San Sebastián whilst gusting high winds transformed ascending and descending steep barrancos (valleys) by way of narrow goat trails from hiking into something of an extreme sport. The pay off was the Playa de la Guancha – a remote and dramatic looking nudist beach that was once home to some of La Gomera’s indigenous peoples, the Guanche. There weren’t any Guanche or nude sunbathers… but there was an ageing hippy living in a cave.