On an island whose landscape never ceases to amaze the visitor, the Garajonay National Park is guaranteed to take your breath away. Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, the Park occupies approximately one tenth of the island’s entire surface area.
On the roof of the island, cool Atlantic trade winds clash with warmer breezes, creating a constant flow of mist through the dense forest. The frosty fingers of the last Ice Age didn’t make it as far as the Canary Islands, and so the rainforest in La Gomera was common across the Mediterraneum millions of years ago.
Humankind has caused more damage to this living relic than ice, but in this case the goverment has acted fast to protect the forest. The National Park was declares in 1981, and it englobes 3,984 hectares. The different ecosystems that coexist in the park are between the 800 and the 1,500 mark above sea level.
The National Park Laurisilva, a combination of many evergreen trees in a humid atmosphere and constant temperatures is in fact a combination of different forests. In the north, more humid and protected valleys have the most lush and complex rainforest. This is the Valley Laurisilva, a subtropical jungle. The peaks lose the most delicate species and the forest changes into the Mountain Laurisilva. The southern slopes are dominated by heather and fayatrees, two species better able to cope with the dryer atmosphere. In places where mist tends to form you will often find tiny healthland plants with twisted trunks that are completely covered in moss and lichen.
The park is extremely accessible since it is crossed by numerous roads, tracks and footpaths linking the various villages and hamlets scattered around the island. The main road through the National Park is GM-3 or Southern Route(some maps still mark it as TF-713). From east to west are three trekking itineraries that start at the boundary and link the hamlets of Los Roques-Benchijigua, la Zarcita-La Laja and Tajaqué-Imada. The most well-trodden rout is on the northern side of the Park: The Contadero-El Cedro route.
The Park has four recreational areas, the most popular being Laguna Grande. The others are Jardin de las Creces, El Cedro and Chorros de Epina. A Visitor’s Centre set up by the managers of the National Park in La Rosas contains an exhibition focusing on the island’s wildlife and culture. It also has a video room showing documentaries, and ethnographic museum, craft workshops and gardens. It is recommended to begin your visit from this center, in order to understand this forest's particularities and gather information on routes and footpaths. Opening hours from 9:30 to 16:30 daily.
The National Park administration offer weekly guided routes (only in Spanish). Visits depart from La Laguna Grande, and last approximately 4 hours. Make your reservation online here: www.reservasparquesnacionales.es
Garajonay National Park and the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism:
Garajonay National Park receives yearly thousands of visitors from all around the world. The touristic activity is, at first, not compatible with the preservation aim of a National Park. That is why the management of the Park decided to adhere to the Europarc Network of European National Parks in the Sustainable Tourism Charter. With the assistance of this network, Garajonay National Park is working to make tourism become a drive force for La Gomera and that the visitor and private sector participate in this effort for the conservation of the laurel rainforest.
Find out more about the Charter in La Gomera here: www.turismososteniblelagomera.com
More info about Garajonay National Park here: reddeparquesnacionales.mma.es/
Self-guided trekking routes of Garajonay National Park here: http://www.parquesnacionalesdecanarias.es/
Apartments Los Telares & Garajonay National Park:
We are one of the 20 local private companies in La Gomera belonging to the Phase II of the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism. We are also certified as an Official Information Point for the NP. We know the Park top to bottom and, if doubts, we do have direct consultancy link with the National Park. Our guests can learn with us everything there is to know about Garajonay, the variety of species, the interest areas, ...