Mountain climbing La Gomera, Canary Islands, Spain

A brief ferry journey from Tenerife, La Gomera is principally a small round lump of volcanic rock that stands out of the ocean, rising to a top of virtually 1500m. An extended distance strolling path, the GR132, circumnavigates the island crossing many steep-sided barrancos or canyons which reduce into the shoreline. The strolling is rugged right here and at all times entails a specific amount of ups and downs.

At numerous levels the path climbs to the upper elements of the island, getting into Laurisilva cloud forest, remnants of a a lot bigger forest which as soon as flourished throughout the Mediterranean. It’s been designated as a protected space, the Parque Nacional de Garajonay, the place you’ll be able to expertise this uncommon woodland for your self.

I’m going to be strolling round La Gomera for nearly every week, beginning within the capital San Sebastian and ending in Playa de Santiago. I’ll be carrying a small again pack and staying in a distinct place each night time. There aren’t any roads across the coast, simply nicely signposted strolling trails, and that is one of the best ways to get intimate with the island.

Day 1 Alto de Garajonay to Valle Gran Rey 15km 5.5 hours

It is sensible to begin on the highest level of the Island so, after taking a bus from San Sebastian to the Pajarito roundabout, I climb up the signposted path to the summit. Sadly, I’m already within the cloud so I miss the marketed beautiful views. It’s then downhill following the indicators to Chipude the place I’m immediately in brilliant sunshine. This can be a small village with bars and eating places however I press on, at all times descending.

For some time the trail runs alongside an irrigation channel after which meets the GR132 for the primary time. I’ll be following this for the subsequent few days and it climbs as much as the rocky hole of Degollada de los Bue. Right here there are great views of Valle Gran Rey and the ocean. The paved monitor winds down, typically steep however after crossing the barranco, reaches La Calera, my vacation spot. I’ve made good time and there’s even an opportunity for a refreshing swim.

Day 2 Valle Gran Rey to Las Hayas 11km four.5 hours

The one approach is up immediately and it’s a step climb on a great path with views of Teide on Tenerife within the distance. I comply with the cliff edge with the ocean on one aspect and the deep inexperienced Valle Gran Rey on the opposite. After about two hours I attain the point of view “Riscos de La Mérica”, actually only a single solitary tree. The trail then traverses a plateau coated with low bushes to a few rocky outcrops.

From right here, I can see the white homes of the village of Arure the place I’ll be leaving the GR132. I’ll be coming again this manner tomorrow however want to hold on climbing upwards to Las Hayas, my lodging for the night time. The cloud has come down and it’s a mix of drizzle and mist as I comply with the path by way of a forest. Feeling distinctly dejected, I lastly attain my vacation spot the place shelter and a beer lifts my spirits.

Day three Las Hayas to Vallehermoso 17km 7 hours

It’s an extended distance immediately so I set out early within the morning mist. I stroll again down primarily on the street to Arure and rejoin the GR132. From right here it’s a spectacular slim traverse throughout the cliff face, negotiating buttresses and gullies. There’s sporadic drizzle and a spectacular rainbow seems over the valley of Taguluche, as I descend to the village of Alojera.

From right here it’s a steep climb, crossing loops within the street, and I’m now fully in cloud and driving rain. Pine and Laurasilva forest encompass me, and it looks like a very totally different local weather zone. A small church looms out of the mist, the Ermita de San Isidro after which I attain a big street earlier than taking a delicate downhill path alongside the crest of Lomo de Los Cochinos. Vegetation is now junipers and prickly pears and the solar comes out as I enter Vallehermoso.

Day four Vallehermoso to Hermigua 17km 7.5 hours

One other powerful day forward and it begins with a gentle climb as much as Roque Corno, the landmark overlooking Vallehermoso. I am going spherical it after which enter Laurasilva forest, the path moist and muddy underfoot. It drops right down to a reservoir then climbs as much as the Garajonay Nationwide Park customer centre which has exhibitions on the natural world of La Gomera

Sadly the conventional path right down to Agulo is closed due to a landslip so I take a steep vertiginous various. It zigzags immediately throughout the cliff face, very onerous on the knees, however finally I’m down among the many banana groves of Agulo. From right here I drop right down to the ocean and comply with the coast to Playa de Santa Catalina. A brief street stroll brings me to Hermigua.

Day 5 Hermigua to San Sebastian 18km 6.5 hours

The day begins regularly climbing by way of banana plantations on the aspect of the valley. At 600m, I’m in a cloud after which go away the street and enter Laurasilva forest. The ascent is steep and the slim path leads by way of timber coated in shaggy moss, barely mysterious. At 850m I immediately cross the watershed and look down into an extended valley within the sunshine.

The trail drops down, by way of cacti and agaves, to a street after which one other path, the panorama changing into lush and inexperienced. Additional down I meet the street once more and I comply with this all the way in which to San Sebastian, round 10 km. There’s little visitors and it takes me previous enticing gardens and small hamlets earlier than reaching the outskirts of the capital.

Day 6 San Sebastian to Playa de Santiago 21km 7.5 hours

I’ve intentionally saved the hardest day till the final, a coastal path crossing a mess of barrancos. There are a number of ups and downs immediately however the sea is at all times with me. After an hour, I attain the primary seashore, Playa de la Guancha after which zigzag upwards. Then it’s right down to the subsequent seashore, Playa del Cabrito, a former banana plantation now a resort.

Extra switchbacks lead upwards to a ridge after which climb to the deserted settlement of Morales. Then it’s a leisurely descent down previous Contreras, one other deserted home, with Playa de Santiago tantalisingly within the distance. Sadly there are three extra barrancos to cross earlier than I lastly attain the Resort Jardin Tecina. This can be a luxurious institution the place I sink into the swimming pool and sooth my aching limbs.

Factfile

FLY: There aren’t any direct flights to La Gomera, as an alternative Ryanair flies from Stansted to Gran Canaria after which Binter Canarias takes you to the island. One other various is to fly to Tenerife South and take a ferry.

INFO: La Gomera Journey has details about the island.

STAY:  San Sebastian: Resort Torre del Conde

Valle Gran Rey: Resort Jardín Concha

Las Hayas: Casa Amparo.

Vallehermoso: Resort Añaterve

Hermigua: Resort Escuela Rural Casa de Los Herrera

Playa de Santiago: Resort Jardin Tecina

GUIDE: Cicerone’s Strolling on La Gomera and El Hierro is an indispensable companion.


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