How to get to La Gomera?
You can see La Gomera from the tourist areas in the South of the neighboring (and much more known) island of Tenerife. Take the ferry from Los Cristianos, a former fishing village, and the comfortable boats of Fred Olsen will take you to another world in just 45 minutes. You will arrive in San Sebastian, the capital of La Gomera. Well, don´t expect a big city, rather a small town with a nice promenade with palm trees, some cozy cafés and restaurants, and also a few ugly buildings, to be honest. No need to spend too much time here, visitors to La Gomera rather come for the spectacular nature this small island has to offer. I don´t feel like taking another ferry to Playa Santiago, so I am negotiating with a local cab driver who takes me to the Jardin Tecina Hotel in 30 minutes, at a rate of 35 EUR. This was a good idea since the transfer is like a little island round trip. We go up the mountains and the weather changes from sun to fog. Here and there I see happy looking goats. They look to me as if they are wild. My taxi driver assures me that they belong to someone, but I cannot see any sign of civilization. Whatever – I know that these animals provide one of the best cheeses. We are far away from any kind of tourist resorts which is not a bad feeling at all.
A gorgeous Sea View from the Jardin Tecina Hotel
After 30 minutes, we reach the little village of Tecina overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. The Jardin Tecina Hotel is spectacularly located on a giant rock, just stunning. I have to walk quite a long way from the reception to my room, but it´s worthwhile. My home for the next few days is in a small building and from my deck, I have an awesome view of palm trees and the Atlantic. Take a deep breath! The room is nicely equipped with a flat screen TV and WiFi (free of charge) works well. Isn´t it crazy how much we care about Wifi? The sun is shining, it still is warm in these late October days and I have to explore the hotel with its abundant gardens. There are beautiful flowers all over the place – bougainvillea, hibiscus, flamboyant, and all those wonderful palm trees, mixed with fantastic sea views. Nature can make you so happy! At the poolside, I am getting a first impression of the typical Gomera tourist: many hikers who have put their hiking shoes over their shoulders, wearing trekking sandals - which are not really my favorite. Anyways, this is not a catwalk and why should I care about it? I have a quick snack „al fresco" and continue to explore everything. These walks keep you fit, there are staircases all over the place. What an excellent workout for legs and ass.
A stunning Flora and a very special Elevator
I cannot get enough of all the wonderful plants and trees. As I will learn later, there are seven gardeners working at the Jardin Tecina Hotel. These guys do a great job for sure. I reach an air-conditioned elevator that is built into the rock, how cool is that? It goes down to a cave with a little photo exhibition about La Gomera now and then, very interesting. When leaving the cave, you walk over a little path to reach the sea with a beach full of pebbles. I walk along the path to the hotel´s beach bar with two restaurants, a big pool, and comfy Balinese beds. The bar will be my watering hole for the next few days, I go there for another coffee after breakfast and a delicious fresh juice.
Beautiful Art and a black Beach
And there are more surprises to come. There is a beautiful art gallery in an interesting little building. Gwen is French and has come to the island with her Israeli partner 11 years ago. „Friends talked us into coming to La Gomera. No crime, nice people, no stress, great weather and nature. Those were convincing arguments. In 2006, we decided to completely change our lives. We arrived here with our suitcases, an 11-month-old boy and a six-year-old girl. We did not speak any Spanish and did not have a clue. We then renovated this little ruin and opened a studio for local artists. The art gallery was opened in 2011, together with a friend who now has a gallery on the island of Tenerife. During the summer season, we organize workshops and exhibits over there.“ Wow! Such unusual stories always impress me.
From the gallery, it is another 10-minute walk to „downtown" Playa Santiago. A dark sandy beach with pebbles, a few kids in the sea and a small but cute promenade along the beach with some cafés and restaurants. On the little square, the locals are sipping coffee and having a chat, just next to a very small supermarket. And that´s all there is of Playa Santiago, sort of the (nice) end of the world. And the Jardin Tecina Hotel is sitting above it all; you can see the buildings and palm trees from below. The next day I go for a swim in the rather warm ocean. It is not easy to walk over all those pebbles and stones. I am sure it does not look too elegant. But I really enjoy my swim and regret that I did not bring suitable shoes.
Bon appétit at the Jardin Tecina Hotel
Back to the hotel. The dinner buffet is pretty good – however, there are too many people for my taste. These days, the Canary Islands are well booked since Spain is so much in demand. For the next days, I have a perfect solution: I can dine in one of the four à-la-carte restaurants where you only have to pay a ittle supplement for a wonderful menu. Make sure you reserve your table in advance. Two of these restaurants (Trattoria and El Laurel) are located next to the beach bar – while having dinner you can smell and hear the Atlantic. Heaven on earth!
The breakfast buffet is likewise excellent. Don´t go too late in order to get a table on the popular terrace, in the middle of nature. And at this time of the day, you will also have the best photo opportunities.
Go green ... and social!
Unfortunately, the restaurant „Gara" is still closed during my visit. Lídice, the very lively PR Director of the Jardin Tecina Hotel, tells me that only local dishes will be served there. „We want to keep our ecological footprint as small as possible and are fully aware of our responsibility". I like that! Organic veggies are grown on the eco finca close to the beach. There are also bee hives and edible animals. „Our guests should know where the animals they are eating come from – and that they had a good life." As a vegetarian who loves animals, I am happy to hear this, although I am aware that the chicken and lambs will end on the plates of tourists. By the way, in all of the hotel restaurants you will get wonderful vegetarian dishes, no worries if you don´t like meat.
Lídice continues to tell me about the life on the island. „This place is very social. People know each other and care about their neighbors. If someone has chicken or goats, neighbors and friends will always get cheese and eggs. I regularly see my girlfriends for coffee or a „copa", or we go for a nice hike. We chat a lot and often leave our smartphones at home." Digital detox at its best!
Wellbeing for all the Senses
I have a quick look at the chic duplex apartments. This is now a new zone for adults only. With a total of 434 rooms at the Jardin Tecina Hotel, you can have your choice, of course – kids or no kids. A very cool outdoor spa has just been opened. How about a massage under the sky? The Jardin Tecina Hotel is THE perfect place for wellbeing with all senses.
Golfing with a Sea View
I go for a workout in the well-equipped gym although all the walks up and down are already a great exercise. And shortly prior to my departure I have to have a look at the golf court next to the hotel, although I am not at all into golfing. From here, you have the best view of the Teide, Spain`s highest mountain (3,718 m) on the neighboring island of Tenerife. WOW! The golf court is overlooking the ocean with an awesome lonely beach. I am sure that some balls will get easily lost here ;-).
A Restaurant in a Cave
No more time for a swim, unfortunately. I take a cab to the ferry in Playa Santiago. It is 6 EUR for a 10-minute drive. Since I have some time left, I sip an espresso in a very interesting place. „La Cuevita“ is located in a cave! It is popular for its fish dishes which look pretty good. My espresso is only one Euro – one of the cheapest coffees I have ever had! And just next to „La Cuevita“ there is the smallest chapel I have ever seen. As I said before, I am at the nice end of this world.
Time for the ferry to San Sebastian. The Benchi Express is a very modern boat which also belongs to Fred Olsen. We pass by bizarre rocks and empty beaches. Again, no people. I recall that 100 years ago, some of the inhabitants of La Gomera had never seen the sea, imagine that. And there is something very particular about this island. A few people still „speak" Silbo, a whistling language which was used in the old times to communicate between lonely villages in the mountains. Today, Silbo is a UNESCO Cultural Heritage. Make sure to keep this „language" alive!
More to see on the island of La Gomera
During the short time I spent on La Gomera, I could, of course, not visit all the attractions this island has to offer. Next time I will definitely hike in the Garajonay National Park and visit the „Mirador de Abrante" – a glass box overlooking a beautiful gorge (only for people not suffering from vertigo). In short: La Gomera is „la isla mágica", the magic island. It is a paradise for nature lovers and those tourists who do not spend their entire holiday on the beach. Life here is much more authentic than in all the resorts of the bigger and much better known islands. So, what are you waiting for?
For more information, visit the hotel website.