An amphitheatre-shaped depression dominating El Hierro’s northwestern flank, the gloriously green Golfo is, like the rest of the island, largely rural, with banana plantations dominating its low-lying coastal areas. A string of quiet hamlets are laid out just inland from the coast, where tempting natural swimming pools sparkle against a desolate yet peculiarly beautiful volcanic wasteland.
Inland, the growing commercial centres of Tigaday and, to a lesser extent, La Frontera serve as the economic engines of the western half of the island. To the south, a rugged mountain ridge looms like a 1000m-high wall hiding the rest of the island, its steep expanses home to stone-walled vineyards.
More than 90% of the terrain on this part of the island is protected as some sort of reserve.