Fun meter: Epic
Location: Valle Gran Rey, La Gomera
Type: Swimming with Rays
Time: As long as you want
Level of difficulty: Easy
Good for what ages: All ages.
Access: Long windy roads but drive right up.
Hint: Step carefully!!!
Getting to the Valle de Gran Rey is a journey. Windy roads and huge mountains. But it was so worth it. I SWAM WITH WILD RAYS!!! Hundreds of them. I still can’t believe it. And you should too if you are there in summer. The local restaurants were yummmmmmmmmy, especially the hand made mango ice cream and fresh juice.
How to Get to Valle Gran Rey
Dad jokes that distance on La Gomera is an illusion. We went to dinner one night to a restaurant 1km from our rental house. It was a 30+ minute drive with no traffic. It turned out to be one kilometer straight up. You frequently need to go up and then down just to go to the next village or beach.
The Valley del Gran Rey is on the southern end of La Gomera. We drove through the national park of Garajonay from where we stayed in Hermigua. We live in Las Palmas on a pretty dry side of Gran Canaria. I miss green trees. La Gomera is so green with cool cloud rivers flowing through the valleys and cloud waterfalls cascading over peaks. Dad tried to be careful of the twisty turns but La Gomera was hard on my tummy. Thankfully we loaded up a new podcast and enjoyed The Adventures of Fin Caspian. Sojourn loves the robot bebop.
There is really only one single road to get there from Garajonay. Once we got to the village of Valle Gran Rey, we took a left to the harbor and Playa de Vueltas. The harbor had plenty of parking, but since there aren’t foreign tourists right now, I could see parking could be harder once it gets busy.
Swim With Wild Butterfly Rays
After eating in the village, we wandered down onto the beach at the harbour. The ocean was calm, the water was crystal clear but the boats smell when they run their engines. There are giant cliffs that are a 100m tall. We thought it was going to be a lame dirty beach and only picked it because it was in front of the restaurant. We hit the sand, which was HOT, and I ran and jumped in. We were goofing off when suddenly dad jumped a meter straight up into the air. The ground moved under his feet.
I noticed that there were some circle like shapes in the water, so I climbed onto a big rock. There were rays everywhere!!! Rays in front of me. Rays to the right. Rays on rays. And they are huge. The biggest ones were my size.
The lifeguard said that there are hundreds of them in the whole beach and that they don’t sting or hurt people. They come to have babies in the calm water in summer. I eventually decided to be brave and got close to saying hi. I swam right alongside and reached out. They are sooooooo soft. Dad and I thought that they would be scratchy like the sharks we petted at the Monterey Bay Aquarium but they were smooth like silk. And gentle. It looks like they are flying.
We went swimming further because dad wanted to see baby rays. Well, no luck there, but we saw this wacky giant white snail as big as my hand. It kept staring at me. That snail was creepy. Dad absolutely loved it. And he loved the rainbow crabs that shine like the sun. I got felt like we were in the nightmare before Christmas aquarium, freaked out, and make him take me back.
I Would Go Back Just for The Mango
I was hungry. Well… more like hangry – FEED ME NOW MOM – but most of the restaurants were closed. With the crisis, there are almost no tourists in La Gomera, so many shops are not opening up. We finally found a small cafe called Esperanto right in front of the beach where she made her own mango juice. It was so good, I want some right now. We had ribs (pretty decent) and flatbreads my parents loved. She then made sorbet from the mangos, which was also super good.
The Grand Canyon
The canyon of the high king is enormous, but I can’t remember much about it. The road is so windy that I became really car sick. Mom was such a nice person because she let me sit up front after I felt super sick. I spit out the ginger candy dad gave to help my tummy because it was gross. Dad kept describing what he saw as we drove. Cave houses. Cacti. The millennium falcon. Rogue smurfs. Sadly, I never saw any of it. Maybe some day. So drive slow and bring your nausea meds.