La Gomera

Location: In the Atlantic Ocean midway between the Canary islands of Tenerife and El Hierro.

Position: 20 miles W of the port of Los Cristianos in Tenerife from where ferry boat and hydrofoil services operate to San Sebastian de la Gomera. The Garajonay Expres hydrofoil also continues from Playa de Santiago to Valle Gran Rey, which takes just 15 minutes. Small aircraft fly to the local airport at Playa Santiago from the neighbouring islands of Tenerife (N and S airports), Gran Canaria (Las Palmas) and La Palma.

General Description: Smallest and oldest of the 7 Canary Islands, La Gomera is also the tip of an extinct volcano: circular and a mere 15 miles across. The central peak is only 4,879 feet high and usually shrouded in mist creating a microclimate ideal for the island's unique bay laurel forest, a protected World Heritage Site forming the Garajonay National Park. The park is threaded with well-marked walking trails and is a hiker's delight. Steep-sided valleys descend from the cool and damp of the peak to the warm equable climate enjoyed on the coast where the main villages and resorts are situated. Like Tenerife, the north is verdant while the south is arid. The major activity for the small native population of 17,000 is still agriculture with cochineal, bananas and tomatoes the major produce. Tourism is very undeveloped as yet but accounts for an increasing part of the island's economy.