Integrated in the Canarian archipelago and located between the central (Gran Canaria and Tenerife) and western (La Palma and El Hierro) group of islands, La Gomera island has an area of ca. 400 km2, a highest elevation of 1489 m (Alto de Garajonay), is about 11 M years old and has a population of ca. 20.000 inhabitants.  

Lacking of recent volcanic activity, La Gomera´s orography is very complex, including volcanic domes (Agando, Zarcita, Ojila, Cano, etc.), huge ravines and, especially, a central plateau from which a radial net of ravines cross the whole island. The northern, windward slope is steeper than the southern, leeward one. This complex orography has indirectly created the conditions for a very well conservation status of its ecosystems and biota.



Although the island counts with the presence of few Canarian pine populations (Roques de Garabato and Imada), the present elevation of the island precludes the existence of a pine forest. Nonetheless, the plateau is occupied by a laurel forest in an exceptional conservation status (probably together with Madeira’s one the best preserved of the Macaronesia), which constitutes the National Park of Garajonay.This is the most recently declared (1981) of the four Canarian National Parks, and that was as well awarded with the UNESCO world heritage declaration in 1986.

Below the laurel forest, at both slopes, the best preserved thermophilous woodlands of the archipelago can be found. Here the Juniper (Juniperus turbinata ssp. canariensis) dominated vegetation (sabinares) rule, being especially noteworthy those of Vallehermoso and Tamargada. Besides those sabinares, La Gomera palm groves, characterized by the dominance of the endemic Canarian palm (Phoenix canariensis) , splash all the ravines, forming a very singular landscape. Many of these palms have been sustainable exploited for the production of palm sap (locally known as guarapo) and the product of its cooking, the splendid palm honey, constituting besides the almogrote and the Gomeran cookies, the biggest culinary treasure of the island.

Beneath the thermophilous woodlands, in both windward and leeward slopes, although very much expanded in the Southern part of the island, the coastal sub-desert scrub rules. The formation, of a clear African character, is dominated by several species of the genus Euphorbia, which in La Gomera reaches the highest biodiversity of the archipelago (E. aphylla, E. berthelotii, E. bravoana, E. broussonetii, E. lamarckii, E. regis jubae, E. balsamifera, E. canariensis, E. lambii, E. mellifera, E. paralias).

La Gomera counts with an exceptional flora, composed by ca. 40 insular endemisms of vascular plants, besides many more either Canarian or even Macaronesian endemisms (such as the laurel forest tree species). Among the more charismatic insular endemics outstands the arboreal sea lavender (Limonium dendroides), the very recently discovered picopaloma (Lotus gomeritus), two spurges (local name tabaiba) (Euphorbia bravoana y E. berthelotii), the blue tajinaste (Echium acanthocarpum) and the mayflower (Pericallis steetzii).

From the political point of view, La Gomera is divided in six municipalities (Hermigua, Agulo, Vallehermoso, Valle Gran Rey, Alajeró and San Sebastián de La Gomera), being the last of them the island capital and seat of the Cabildo Insular, the island Government. The capital, locally known as La Villa, will be the symposium place. The city has several hotels and restaurants where to stay and eat (see list), besides an excellent Parador Nacional located in a high place where views of the capital are splendid. The symposium venue will be the superb facilities of the Cabildo Insular building.