Autumn has come to Europe. However, there is a small island where the vegetation never stops being green, where the local population live an eternal warm spring, always in harmony with nature. The island of La Gomera, which belongs to the Canary archipelago, is the perfect destination to avoid the cold winter in Europe, an ideal option to relax without crowds and to bet on active tourism, a model of safe and sustainable tourism.
The Canary Islands are known for having the best climate in the world according to various scientific studies. But besides having an average temperature of 22º all year round, which favours active tourism in any season, the island stands out for its safety and its natural spots, which extend from its beaches of volcanic sand to the lungs of the island: a unique laurel forest mountain that gives shape to the Garajonay National Park.
Example of a trail within the Garajonay National Park. Photo courtesy of Burro Parque Gomera
For decades, La Gomera has had the tourist model that other destinations are now looking for
All the measures that we are seeing in other tourist destinations tell us that the model that La Gomera had was already responsible and safe, and it is the ideal one now, where everything is small, where people can relax in the open air, there is no mass tourism and distances have always been respected. On the island we have always worked with small groups and in open spaces, as the tourist offer is centered on nature, which is why the options for active tourism are so in demand. In this sense, small local businesses have decided to go one step further and reinvent themselves to offer an even safer experience, so they have digitized all areas, promoting online purchases and reservations and ensuring as little physical contact as possible, proof of which is the use of QR codes to access information
Use of QR codes to visualize the cetacean catalogues on the mobile device during a boat excursion (Valle Gran Rey) Photo provided by Excursiones Tina.
It should be noted that the Canary Islands is the first autonomous community in which tourists, both Spanish and foreign, will be guaranteed travel assistance coverage under COVID-19 circumstances, with medical expenses, health repatriation and extension of stay by quarantine. In addition, the islands were chosen in July by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) to make the world's first coronavirus-free flight. There is not much to ensure a trip to the islands, which are so isolated and connected at the same time, so a safe return of tourism is expected this winter.
View of the sea of clouds on La Gomera and the Teide volcano (Tenerife) in the background. Photo courtesy of Fabulous MTB – Trips in Europe
Reconnecting with nature in a safe and sustainable way
On the island it is possible to walk on the sky, as the trade winds that hit the summit form a sea of clouds that you can see all around from the highest points, as well as giving rise to the phenomenon of horizontal rain that makes these trees "sweat". The mountain makes trekking the activity par excellence for those who visit it, and there is no better way to go through it safely than with the help of specialized active tourism and nature guides. Visitors don't have to be too ambitious, as the island can be easily explored thanks to the arterial network of more than 600 kilometers of trails that extend into and out of the Garajonay National Park, the heart of the island. Download the official trail app to help you get situated!
Hikers finish their walk on the beach of La Guancha, near the capital of Gomera. Photo courtesy of Gomera Guide.
The footpaths that connect the whole island allow you to walk from its virgin beaches, crossing deep ravines and swimming in a continuous sea of clouds. In fact, it is possible to walk around the island along the GR-132 route which forms a circular path. Another interesting route is the GR-131 that crosses all the islands from La Graciosa to El Hierro, covering part of La Gomera, a 40 km route that is as magical as it is demanding due to the island's orography
Hikers consult a physical map of the island. Photo courtesy of Gomera Guide.
Connections with Tenerife are very good, both by boat and by plane, as there is a small airport in the south and a main port in the capital that can be reached by ferry, as well as three main roads (there are no motorways), so the wonders of nature have been preserved better than on other islands.
Section of one of the main roads that crosses the heart of the island. Photo courtesy of Ymaguara Turismo Sostenible
La Gomera is a meeting point for lovers of cycle tourism, its spectacular network of paths makes this place a unique park. The alternatives are endless when we combine the accessible bike paths that go partly into the Garajonay and extend along the natural island roads. If you don't like to walk, cycle calmly and discover nature at your own pace... no rush, but no pause! Remember that you can also tour the island by electric bike, there are many stations where you can rent one.
Cycle tourism around the island on an electric bicycle. Photo courtesy of Gomera Activa.
Another of the most popular active tourism activities is whale watching. It is essential to sail around the island to admire unique geological formations characterized by rocky structures of volcanic origin; furthermore, La Gomera is an ideal place to see cetaceans such as beaked whales, dolphins, pilot whales or even whales.
Whale watching excursion. Photo courtesy of Excursiones Tina.
There are several active tourism companies that make excursions and organize trips to see the sunset or admire the star showers, as well as to visit Los Órganos, an incredible architectural monument of basalt molded by volcanic lava that simulates an organ (musical instrument). Birdwatching is a very appealing activity during these boat trips, as there are an infinite number of species that you can see during the journey such as yellowlegged gulls, Cory's shearwaters, hawks or ospreys, herons, curlews, etc. But also, in the mountain areas, especially when entering the laurel forest, highlighting unique endemic species such as the “wood pigeon” (paloma rabiche) and the “turquoise dove” (paloma turqué)
Hikers take pictures of Los Órganos during a boat trip in the north of the island. Photo courtesy of Excursiones Tina.
Thanks to the good weather, diving and snorkeling activities are very attractive. There are very different depths, and the sea is usually very calm, so there are spectacular places to do sea baptisms. The depths and visibility are incredible, the fish come close because nobody hunts them... one of the best places to dive, as well as to practice water activities all year round like kayaking, paddle surfing or bodyboarding. The active tourism professionals who offer them like to work with small groups, so they can offer more personalized experiences, because tourism in La Gomera has always been characterized by being very family oriented and individual
Angelshark, a kind of shark that can be seen while diving on the island. Photo courtesy of Casa Diversa
Fairytale forests and black beaches: the choice of the digital nomads
The perfect climate of La Gomera creates the ideal conditions for teleworking, where "isolation" has never been so pleasant. The current situation has promoted the search for a healthy lifestyle that brings together the changes that are taking place at work level and changing the workplace in the city for nature. In this sense, the island has a great offer of accommodation, characterized mainly by typical rural houses and holiday homes, where it is possible to get lost in the middle of the mountains or near the sea, next to a farm full of organic products and cultivated in an ecological way, as well as small vegetable gardens. But always surrounded by nature!
General view of the village of Valle Gran Rey, in the southwest of the island. Photo courtesy of Ipalan.
En definitiva, La Gomera ofrece un destino naturalmente mágico y seguro en el que poder evitar el frío invierno en Europa. Esta pequeña isla del Atlántico es una fortaleza natural en la que poder evadirse de la pandemia, teletrabajar y disfrutar de actividades de turismo activo de manera responsable y en armonía con el medioambiente. Sin duda alguna, la alternativa idónea para pasar un invierno verde y soleado, donde la naturaleza y el aire fresco se convierten en las mejores medidas preventivas frente al coronavirus.
In short, La Gomera offers a naturally magical and safe destination in which to avoid the cold winter in Europe. This small island in the Atlantic is a natural fortress where you can escape from the pandemic, telework, and enjoy active tourism activities in a responsible way and in harmony with the environment. Without a doubt, the ideal alternative to spend a green and sunny winter, where nature and fresh air become the best preventive measures against the coronavirus.
More information at lagomera.travel