Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

La Gomera

La Gomera is a Spanish island, the second smallest island of the Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Africa. It is located at 28°06' N, 17°08' W.

Table of contents
1 Political organization
2 Ecology
3 Culture
4 External Links

Political organization

La Gomera is part of the province of Santa Cruz de Tenerife. It is divided into six municipalities:

The island government (cabildo insular) is located in the capital, San Sebastián.


The island is of volcanic origin and roughly circular, about 15 miles in diameter and rising to nearly 5000 feet at the central peak of Garajonay. It is shaped rather like half of a peeled orange from which the segments have been parted, leaving deep ravines or barrancos which are coated, like icing, with laurasilva - or laurel rain forest.

The upper reaches of this densely wooded region are almost permanently shrouded in cloud and swirling mist, which has created lush and diverse vegetation. This is the Garajonay National Park which enjoys UNESCO recognition and protection of the environment. The slopes are criss-crossed by paths, presenting varying levels of challenge to walkers, and stunning views to reward the energetic.

The central mountains catch the moisture from the trade wind clouds and create a jungle climate rich in vegetation high in the cooler air, which contrasts with the warmer sun-baked cliffs near sea level.

Between these extremes is a fascinating range of vegetation, and the Gomerans have for centuries farmed the lower levels, channelling water for the irrigation of their vines, fruits and vegetables, such as bananas.


In 2002, some 19 100 people lived on La Gomera.

The local wine is distinctive, and complements a tapa (snack) of Gomerian cheese, roasted pork or goat meat.

The Gomerans have a unique way of communicating across the barrancos by an amazing kind of whistled speech called the Silbo. Invented by the original inhabitants of the island, the Guanches, Silbo was adopted by the Spanish settlers in the 16th century and survived after the extinction of the Guanches. When this unique medium of communication was about to die out early in the 21st century, the local government required all children to learn it in school.

Christopher Columbus made La Gomera his last port of call before crossing the Atlantic in 1492. The house in San Sebastián in which he stayed is now a tourist attraction.

External Links