Since La Gomera has no International Airport visitors (either for a day trip or for vacationing on La Gomera) need to get there via the Garajonay Ferry which departs from Tenerife's Los Cristianos harbor or with the Fred Olson Ferry from Tenerife to La Gomera's harbor of San Sebastian and then further with the Hermigua/Vallehermoso bus. The boat trip by smaller Garajonay Ferry took about 90 mns. I personally threw up half of the time. Taking the big Fred Olson Ferry helps to have less of sea sick feeling.
We got to La Gomera on the Fred Olsen Express, a trimeran fast ferry that was extremely fast and rather luxurious. You're greeted aboard by a hostess (similar to the one pictured) in much the way as you are onto an airline. No being ushered aboard by greasy dock workers, as seems to be the case at other places.
The ferry has a variety of spaces, all with their own cafe/bar and there's an open-air section out back at the rear. We sterted out there before moving into the spacious and comfortable forward cabin, to watch our approach to La Gomera.
The crossing takes 35 minutes and there are several per day by this large boat (which takes cars, buses and lorries) as well as there being a smaller Olsen catermeran that does trips in between the times of the larger boat.
In addition there are two other companies, Arnas and Garajonay Express, that run services. The former is a traditional, large "slow" ferry, the latter a small(ish) catermeran. This latter boat does something that the others don't - it stops at a variety of ports on the island. As well as San Sebastian, where all of the other boats call, it stops at Valle Gran Rey and Playa De Santiago, which is especially useful if you want to visit one of those locations.
All boats leave from Los Christianos ferry terminal, where there is a port building selling tickets for each of the operators. Ticket sales typically close a few minutes before the boat sails and the offices only appear to be open in the hour or so preceeding a sailing too. Tickets can be bough at travel and excursion agencies in the main towns of Las Amaericas and Los Christianos.
We went on a ferry and coach trip combined excursion for 54 Euro each. The foot passenger price of the ferry only was 38 Euro. As you can see, the extra cost for the coach trip (which lasts a full 8 hours and includes lunch!) is rather good value for money and should not really be missed!
Fred Olsen is more comfortable and slightly faster, but rather more expensive.
Return ticket costs 42 euros + 6 euros (fuel surchage) = 48 euros
The trip is 30 min long.
Departures from Los Cristianos to SS de la Gomera: 08:30 - 09:30 - 13:30 - 17:30 - 20:30
Departures from SS de la Gomera to Los Cristianos: 07:30 - 10:30 - 13:00 - 16:30 - 18:30
Altough there are other ferry companies that link los Cristianos (Tenerife) with la Gomera, the cheaper option is Garajonay express.
The return ticket costs 31,84 euros.
The trip is 45 min long.
Departures from Los Cristianos to San Sebastian de la Gomera: 08:40 - 14:15 - 18:30
Departures from San Sebastian de la Gomera to Los Cristianos: 07:25 - 11:35 - 17:15
If you're in a hurry, one day trip is a good option. In this case you'll need a car to travel around the island. Garajonay offers a good deal that includes round trip ticket+rent a car. For exemple 2 people return ticket+one day rent a car costs 89,68 euros
Take the ferry from Los Christianos early in the morning & return in the evening.
Excellent day out.
Alternatively take the ferry & some hiking boots & book some place to stay for a few days - I might next time for a more indepth look at the lovely island.
Booked a VIP trip to La Gomera.
There was an option at a cheaper price to take a bus tour - It is only VIP if you get the front seats - or if your fellow guests (3) swap seats now and again. We were in fetal position all the way !
Only difference between the two trips is the bus can't go up the goat tracks!!
Save yourselves some money & take the bus!!
To my fellow passengers THANKS FOR SHARING!!
The bus connections are sparse. As so often in areas with a low density of population and small widely-spread communities, buses tend to leave outlying areas early in the morning to head for the main town, returning in the evening.
The roads have been considerably improved. There seem to be plenty of taxis available. As an example of pricing, expect to pay in the region of 50 euros from San Sebastian to Playa Santiago, which takes the best part of an hour.
The cost of a hire car is currently (January 2005) around 40 euros for one day. Considerably less on a weekly basis. Garajonay ferries offer a package of transfer from Tenerife and hire car. There is very little traffic.
Mountain bikes are available for hire in all the bigger towns on the island.
This reasonably-priced service from Los Cristianos on Tenerife transports you not only to San Sebastian, the main town on La Gomera, but also on to Playa Santiago and Valle Gran Rey. The crossing between the islands takes about 45 minutes. The next two stretches are about 20 minutes each.
Three crossings a day - morning, afternoon and evening.
The service may occasionally not run due to adverse conditions - strong wind and/or rough seas.
This TransMediterranea ferry is a huge craft, holding cars and buses as well as people, with several decks of comfortable chairs, or chairs and tables and snack bars, and even tv monitors playing the latest in European and US music videos. We arranged our day tour out to the island directly from our hotel's reception desk. Bus transport to and from the port, the round trip ferry ride, and a bus tour around La Gomera were all included in the one price. A pretty decent way to while away a day, I say.
In San Sebastian we hired a car for a few days. There are several agencies. We found some local ones in Calle Ruiz de Padron, not far from our hotel.
Prices are abour 25 euro a day (all included).
To discover all the parts of the island it's very easy to have your own car. Most parts are very remoted. At the beginning of most hiking tracks we found good parking lots.
There are also three buslines from San Sebastian to other parts of the island, but only serving the larger places like Playa de Santiago, Valle Gran Rey and Vallehermoso.
Another possibility is to take a taxi, the starting price is 1.80 euro and then 0.65 euro for every KM.
Rumours about an airport being built have been spreading since our first visit, but every guidebook I have read recently suggests that it still hasn't been completed. The location for the airport is not far from Playa de Santiago, but there isn't room for a large runway, so when it opens, only small planes will fly between La Gomera and Tenerife. For the moment, the only way to get to La Gomera is by boat. The largest is the Ferry Gomera, owned by Fred Olsen, which takes 3-4 hours and does the journey between San Sebastian and Los Cristianos (Tenerife) twice a day. Hydrofoils also operate between Los Cristianos and San Sebastian, and on some days there are boats going to La Palma and El Hierro. Ferry Gomera is better than the hydrofoils, even though the hydrofoils are much quicker (one hour), because on the large ferry you can go out on deck - on the hydrofoils you are stuck inside with people being seasick....not pleasant!
I didn't see any signs of a bus, so the most likely way to get around the island is by hiring a car or a taxi. Distances are not huge, but because of the mountainous and twisty roads, crossing the island takes hours. An hours drive from San Sebastian, you are still climbing, and can still see the town. The main roads are all tarmacced, but for visiting remote villages, you'll need a jeep for the rough stony tracks. Hiking would be an even better way to see the island and get thoroughly off the beaten track!
It's possible to rent a car on the island. I don't know if it's better to hire a car on Tenerife, and put it on the ferry? I guess it will depend on the time that you want to rent the car, and if you want to use one on Tenerife as well.
Or you might hope for friendly tourists (hitchhiking) :-)
By plane you go to Tenerife and then there is a plane or ferry /hydrofoil link with all other islands.The ferry for la Gomera is very frequent because the two islands are very close (40 min).
The transportation on the island is made by buses with convenient timetables.Don't forget to hire your car at Tenerife if you want to save money.Actually car hire for some reason is very cheap.
There are four line on the island. Mainly East-West orientated. It's not so easy getting North-South.
People will tell you that the busses are mostly not on schedule (they can even be ahead !!). The 2 busses we took were right on time, so I guess it's getting better...
There are some pretty fast ferries between all of the islands. Check http://www.fredolsen.es for information and timetables.