Closer to the Western Sahara than it is to Madrid, La Gomera is warm enough that you can swim in the ocean year round. At five million years old, it is one of the youngest of the Canary Islands and the same age as Hawaii—a pubescent sweet spot as far as volcanic islands go. People sometimes call it Spain's Galapagos for the huge number of endemic plants it is home to.
As Columbus made his last stop on both his journeys to the New World at La Gomera’s capital, San Sebastián, it's more often called "Isla Colombina.” People and plants have been going back and forth across the Atlantic ever since, with passion fruit, papayas, and avocados growing wild in the island's green north, and cactus like agave and aloe vera are abundant in the sunny south. (Other than a very rare magic mushroom, none of the endemics are edible.)
I first stumbled across La Gomera while flicking through Google Earth one winter, looking to escape London for as little money as possible, to somewhere as warm as possible. Viewed from above, in 2D, the island looks like an irregular orange cut perfectly in half. Near-vertical valleys mark out the fruit’s segments, misty forest ridges make the pith, and black boulder-strewn beaches and sea cliffs give the zest. The moss-bearded laurisilva trees of the Garajonay Forest grow 3000 feet and up, crown the center of the island with an evanescent mist 10 degrees cooler than the coasts.
“This is a story about the most 3D place I've ever seen.”