Friday, February 24, 2023

New 4* hotel under construction set to open this year

Image taken from the hotel's website (see below)

 A new 4*star hotel is under construction in La Gomera's north-east near the island's capital San Sebastian de La Gomera in the townland of Lomo del Clavo. The site was occupied by a semi-finished holiday apartment development that had been deteriorating for years as an ugly, deserted construction site. This is now being redeveloped into an eco-friendly amenity with all mod cons.
The new hotel with its own organic farm, gardens and spa will have far in excess of 500 beds and should give permanent employment to about 100. It boasts conference and events rooms as well as nine restaurants and bars, including to quote the developers: '' Guro Show Bar - A creative and unforgettable programme awaits at the Guro! Get ready for the most original nightlife ''. 

'Bancal Hotel & Spa' intends to open at the end of this year and already presents its own impressive website in English, Spanish and German. 
The developers behind the venture, Corporacion Arca, introduce themselves with '' We are a corporate group that is not afraid to invest, with a collective conscience that includes you and everyone...''. They describe the facility under construction as follows:

 '' Located on a bluff (sic, yeah 'bluff' also means 'cliff' or 'promontory', but let's just hope that  their choice of word wasn't a Freudian slip - Ed.) overlooking the sea just 5 km from the capital, the Lomo del Clavo hotel project has been specially designed for people looking to enjoy the island of La Gomera, its nature, its history and its people.
Situated in an exceptional location with stunning views of Tenerife and its volcano, the Lomo del Clavo Hotel combines design, health and cuisine with the utmost respect for the environment and a sustainable philosophy that begins with the recovery of the landscape through the refurbishment of a space that was completely dilapidated. The use of clean energy, efficient waste management and involvement in the development of local economies are the basis of a philosophy that aims to reconcile tourism with the natural environment.
276 rooms with terrace
3 pools (2 of them infinity) and 2 children’s pools
Nudist area
5 bars
4 restaurants
Natural forest
Wellness area with gym, in/outdoor directed activities area, water, treatments and hair styling area
Club Store Event Rooms
Covered parking
Electric vehicle charging points
On-site ecological estate...''

The developers intend to plant acres of gardens and orchards, including a large proprietary organic farm, all irrigated with treated waste water from the hotel. 
That arid area could do with a bit of green again, which would indeed be better than the previous dereliction. San Sebastian de La Gomera is ''soon'' to get La Gomera's first and long overdue water desalination plant, so the hotel's water needs shouldn't take away from the town's scarce water supply. But more about water another time...

The Lomo de Clavo construction site near San Sebastian de La Gomera (Image:

Sunday, January 15, 2023

Irish break record crossing Atlantic from La Gomera

The winning Irish team on arrival in Antigua (Image: Atlantic Campaigns)

This winter's Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge (click here to see previous posts about the race) has been won by an Irish team who set a new record for the fastest crossing of the Atlantic by a team of five rowers. They managed to row  from San Sebastian de La Gomera to Antigua in just 33 days 12 hours and 38 minutes.  

The team comprised of Tom Nolan, Diarmuid Ó Briain, Shane Culleton, Gearoid O'Briain and Derek McMullen crossed the finish line of the The Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge Saturday evening. They were rowing under the team name, 'Row Hard or Go Home', and set off from La Gomera in the Canary Islands on 12 December 2022.They broke the previous record set by 'The Ocean 5' team, who completed the same race in 35 days 19 hours and 50 minutes in 2019.

The five lads had to endure storms and other difficulties during their crossing of the Atlantic in aid of the RNLI and other charities. Today many of their competitors are still far out at sea trying to complete the race including two other Irish teams, a four-person team, also rowing under the name 'Row Hard or Go Home', only has about another 130 nautical miles to go and is currently in 11th place, and solo rower Jamie Carr. He is competing under the name 'Nothing Ventured'  and currently placed second in the solo race with over 1,000 nautical miles still to row.

Another Irishman, Gavan Hennigan from Galway, had previously set a record in 2017 with his impressive solo row in the same event, known as 'the world's toughest rowing race'. He crossed the Atlantic from La Gomera in 49 days and 12 hours on his own.

Saturday, December 24, 2022

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Tragic death of popular publican

Manolo in his small bar (Image source Facebook)

Manolo, a good friend of mine and the popular former owner of 'Bar Teguerguenche' in La Puntilla, better known simply as 'Manolo's' was tragically killed when he was knocked down by a car on Valle Gran Rey's main thoroughfare recently. Emergency services attended quickly but despite their efforts he died at the scene of the shocking accident.

Manolo was an avid soccer supporter and had a massive collection of jerseys and fan items in his bar, where many were added by customers from all over the world. He also attended every match of the local Valle Gran Rey soccer club and even closed his bar for those occasions. 

He was also one of the few remaining publicans that actively supported live music of all kinds and often went out of his way in the difficult task to obtain licences and permits for many events outside his bar (and some even inside the tiny establishment), while also making sure his neighbours were not disturbed late. Some famous musicians as diverse as Peter van Hooke (Van Morrisson band, Mike & The Mechanics, etc.) and renowned Irish uilleann piper Mickey Dunne, plus many more played there and Manolo treated every musician like royalty.

Furthermore his good English attracted a lot of English speakers, often seeking advice with the refreshments, and he had a special welcome for the Irish. Last but not least the food and snacks he served in very cramped but spotlessly clean conditions was excellent and his was the best hamburger in Valle Gran Rey, that's what the locals always knew. He seemed to have four arms and four legs as he managed to do all of this on his own most of the time.

He was taken from us in his mid 50s and will be sorely missed by all. RIP Manolo.

Thursday, October 06, 2022

Prettiest village of Spain officially is in La Gomera

 Seen from the 'Mirador de Abrante' viewpoint: Spain's most beautiful village is1000 feet below, and 
  the Atlantic ocean is a further 500 feet below La Gomera's historic and stunningly beautiful small town

I've always said it and several publications did same over many years: the prettiest village, or town as the locals would call it, in the Canary Islands and even all of Spain perches on La Gomera's north coast and is named Agulo. The village with its twin 'centres' sits close to and high above the rugged Atlantic coastline and offers spectacular views of neighbouring island Tenerife. 

The town and its municipal rural area is home to just over 1.000 residents and sits below sheer vertical cliffs with Garajonay national park above in the mountains. Agulo is best viewed first from the breathtaking viewpoint with a restaurant and glass-floored skywalk hanging onto the clifftop. However the serene town itself with its historic buildings and maze of narrow lanes is a must-explore and worth paying an extended visit. 

British daily 'The Timesearlier this year promoted the fact that Agulo has been officially selected as the prettiest village in all of Spain. They described the source of their article thus:

''...In a land of such bounty it’s not easy to pick Spain’s prettiest villages. There are 7,582 municipios with a population of 15,000 or fewer, and you could argue until las vacas come home over which has the most dramatic castle or most charming plaza, or conjures the best magic with flowers, water, sunshine and shade.   

Alternatively you could ask the experts. Founded in 2011 Los Pueblos Mas Bonitos de España is a highly selective association of villages deemed the nation’s prettiest. To be considered the community must have a population of 15,000 or fewer and have “an architectural or natural heritage” — in other words, it has to be pretty. It is then judged by the association according to 29 criteria, including “the harmony of windows, doors etc”, “the aesthetic treatment of overhead lines” and — crucially in the 21st century — “the existence of artisans”.

Those (villages, Ed.) that pass selection become part of a highly selective club that comprises just 105 members — or the top 1.4 per cent of all Spanish villages. ...''

Agulo won the Spanish title in 2022 and it's easy to see why. I nearly moved there when I first came to La Gomera, such were the charms of this town. There's little tourism and most visitors are day-trippers from Tenerife that you'll only see passing through around lunchtime. Most other times you'll have the beauty of the village almost to yourself.

By the way, Fyffes, the global fruit and fresh produce company headquartered in Ireland, once owned land and premises in and around Agulo from the late 1890's for many years. They grew bananas there and later tomatoes as well for export directly to Europe via packing facilities and a crane at a small beach and rocks just below Agulo town. 
Anyway, 'The Times' described Agulo as follows:

''1. Agulo, La Gomera

Eleven hairpins from a black rock beach and hidden in banana plantations amid an Escher-like confusion of terraces lies the village of Agulo. Such is the might of the surrounding topography, and the colonial beauty of its cobbled lower town, that you can feel at times that you’re in Peru. Come for the hiking on marked trails that offer views of Tenerife and El Teide, or through the rainforests of the Garajonay National Park. Choose carefully: some are Andean in scale. Stay dead centre in the historic Casa de la Oje. It’s basic, with sea views, but charming nonetheless.''

Here's more posts about Agulo and the spectacular viewpoint (click)...


Saturday, September 24, 2022

Storm Hermine: Heavy rain in Canaries - WARNING

                                                                             Archive image

A tropical storm named Hermine has formed north of the Cabo Verde Islands and is moving slowly north towards the Canary Islands. The associated heavy rainfall is imminent in the Canaries and warnings have been issued by the Spanish authorities for today, Sept. 24th 2022, tomorrow, and Monday. The American National Hurricane Centre has also issued a public advisory in its latest bulletin:

Tropical Storm Hermine Advisory Number   4
NWS National Hurricane Center Miami FL       AL102022
800 AM CVT Sat Sep 24 2022

RAINFALL: Tropical Storm Hermine is expected to produce 3 to 6 (75
to 150 mm) inches of rainfall with localized higher amounts up to 10
inches (250 mm) across the Canary Islands through this weekend. This
rainfall may cause some flash flooding in areas of higher terrain.

These rainfall amounts are especially hazardous after years of drought in the Canaries. Rockfalls and landslides can be expected. Do not walk or drive in the mountains. The Canarian government has issued the a ''maximum alert'' and recommends to avoid all travel and all outdoor activities. Traffic disruption is to be expected. All events have been cancelled. Flooding in valleys and all lower regions is also possible. Thunderstorms have been predicted which can deposit extreme amounts of precipitation in a short space of time. The western Canary Islands are most at risk and for these level orange warnings have been issued for La Gomera (even red for parts of La Palma island and same for all of El Hierro island), as well as numerous public advisories by local authorities. Rainfall may accumulate up to 30mm in just one hour in La Gomera

One bit of good news is that winds won't be extreme, but still an added hazard with warnings in place of peak gusts of around 70 km/h, but possibly higher in exposed mountain areas.

Below is a summary of the warnings issued for tomorrow, Sunday 25th of Sept. 2022:

Friday, July 15, 2022

Body discovered in Tuesday's fire outbreak

The scene of the fire near Playa del Ingles (Image: Bomberos Valle Gran Rey)

A fire broke out in Valle Gran Rey on Tuesday afternoon around 4pm. The small area of scrubland affected is close to the minor road between La Playa and Playa del Ingles, near art gallery Oasis. The local voluntary fire brigade arrived quickly on the scene and the fire was subsequently brought under control. However, when the area was checked more thoroughly a male body was discovered. Rumour has it that the fatality is a Swiss citizen and that a small gas container had exploded. Another person is said to have narrowly escaped the flames uninjured. The Guardia Civil police continue to investigate the incident.

Friday, July 08, 2022

Tuna fair in Playa de Santiago tomorrow

Tomorrow, Saturday July 9th 2022, Playa de Santiago in La Gomera's south will host a 'Tuna Fair' from 10am with cookery demostrations, fish and wine pairings, free tapas, children's events, market stalls, live music and surprises. All is themed around fresh tuna, as Playa de Santiago's port is where most of La Gomera's tuna catch is landed and all along the south coast you can still see the ruins of several tuna canneries.

Tuesday, July 05, 2022

Police station moved to the harbour of Valle Gran Rey

La Gomera's president Casimiro Curbelo speaking at the opening of the new Guardia Civil post (Image:

Valle Gran Rey's Guardia Civil police station has recently moved from its previous location in La Playa to the harbour of Valle Gran Rey. The refurbished building on the pier in front of the fishermen's co-op once housed the office of the 'Garajonay Express' direct ferry, but had been vacant for years since the termination of said ferry connection. Now the Guardia Civil police have relocated to what is meant to be their permanent station in Valle Gran Rey, and NOT to 'Casa Maria' as I reported as an April fool's joke last year..., but who knows if the Policia Canaria or some other Spanish police force is not eyeing that vacant building to cover the western side of Valle Gran Rey ?

Wednesday, June 15, 2022