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Serie: Southern Towns





For a long time, Domingo has owned a house in this old fishing village on the west coast, and he has seen how it has grown from a few houses to the present day size. Although you can’t really speak of “size” as only 143 people are officially registered in El Golfo.


“In the old days El Golfo was very different” says Domingo. “The precipitous coastline with strong waves and not very high standards of living didn’t entice many people to visit the village. The main attraction today, the half destroyed volcanic crater with the green lagoon, Charco de los Clicos, was used by fishermen to search for worms, the were not aware of how incredible their surroundings were, it was just accepted as being a part of their world.


Once you reach the village you can see that those days are over, you immediately see a parking area with tourist buses and rented cars. Everyday lots of tourists come to see this unique spectacle of nature and to visit the village.

“Some of the old fishing families now own restaurants and the numerous visitors provide plenty of customers” Domingo explained. “In El Golfo fish is caught and served on the same day, which has not changed”.


A lot of the local restaurants do not offer menus, they just prepare the fresh catch of the day. This is one of the reasons why the restaurants in El Golfo are so popular with their plates of fresh fish and seafood. Sitting in one today, it is hard to believe that the whole village did not have electricity until 1995. Before that you could find and hear behind every house a little generator that provided power. Today compared with the old days, the evenings here are very quiet, with a lot of people just coming to enjoy the fabulous sunsets of this coastline.

With a little smile on his face, the people of El Golfo watch the many tourists trying to find the volcanic semi-precious stone, Olivina near the volcanic crater. On this beach the chances of finding Olivina are minimal because every metre has been searched thoroughly before. However the inhabitants still know exactly where to find the green shimmering stones. On some tables near the parking spots some locals offer the nicest stones that they have found, and the visitors are happy to get the chance to take home one of these typical souvenirs of the island.

In the evening when nearly all the tourists have left you can still experience how the village used to be. The old inhabitants sit in the street with their neighbours and friends on old plastic chairs, discussing the daily events, gesticulating and commenting on the political situation. Emanating from some of the still open restaurants, you can hear quiet music that seems to fight continuously against the ever present sound of the sea. Today as ever it has no chance because here nature is still stronger than modern technology. That is one of the many reasons why the inhabitants wouldn’t change El Golfo for any other place on earth.

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