The perfect question for every pub quiz is where on the planet will you find the island of EL Hierro? The El at the beginning may help a few of those university professors who do the pub quiz rounds to supplement their drinking, and to show off how clever they are but for the vast majority of people El Hiero in Spain’s Canary Islands is a place they have never heard.
El Hierro Island is the most southerly of the islands, and the one that has seen the least amount of change over the years recently had 60% of the island classified as a Biosphere reserve by UNESCO. Today El Hiero remains the least changed of the Canary Islands with the majority of the population living in an old volcanic creator called El Golfo which they share with the highly endangered El Hiero Giant Lizard. The lizard is omnivorous feeding only on plants and insects growing to a length of about two feet (seventy centimetres). With between only three and four hundred left a program of recovery has been developed with captive-breeding and a reintroduction to the wild.
El Hierro Island is also committed to sustainable living having a system of managed forests that provide free firewood to islands inhabitants and is poised to be the only island in the world to be completely energy self-sufficient with the opening of a five turbine wind farm producing enough electricity for the island’s needs, along with a pump that will transport water from a reservoir near the capital of Valverde to another reservoir at a height of 700 meters where the water is stored in a volcanic crater. Three kilometers of pipes will run between the two reservoirs and in situations where the wind drops water will be released from the higher reservoir to drive six hydraulic turbines there by supplying the island with a continuous supply of electricity.
The island has very little tourism except for a few savvy divers who have discovered one on the best places to dive in the Atlantic, and certainly the best place in the Canaries. All the diving centers around the town of La Restinga on the Tranquil Sea where thanks to the volcanic nature of the island the water drops off steeply to 300 meters, which combined with the warm sea temperatures, provide an abundance of marine life. If you are the kind of tourist who wants to go diving during the day, and then party at night you are probably better off staying on one of the other islands as La Restinga is still a sleepy fishing village.
Where to stay
The are no hotels as such in La Restinga but there are a few places offering holiday apartments to let. Canary Islands holiday accommodation options can also be found by visiting Outlet4Spain Gran Canaria, a site offering a range of holiday apartments in Spain.
The best thing to do is probably check with your Dive Centre telling them your requirements, and see what they recommend. A centrally located place to stay is the Apartamentos Bahia set above the busiest bar in town with a supermarket just around the corner, great sea views and a roof terrace for sipping evening cocktails.
How to get to El Hierro Island
Fly to Tenerife South airport Reina Sofia (TFS) there are many daily departures from the U.K. including Easyjet from Gatwick. Once in Tenerife you will need to get to the port of Los Cristianos for an overnight stay both on arrival, and departure a nice hotel to stay at before and after your diving holiday is the Reveron Plaza on the Play Los Cristianos with plenty of places to dine nearby.
The first boat in the morning leaves Los Critianos at 8:00 arriving at Valverde 10:15 a journey of two hours and fifteen minutes. On arrival in Valverde you will either have to take a taxi or arrange to be picked up by your dive center for the thirty five minute drive to La Restinga.
Travel Article by:
Jonathan Ross is a travel author who loves Spain and has traveled it extensively. Jon loves writing about his travels and sharing his experiences with other fellow travelers.