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El Balcón de Santa Ana

Playa de Santiago, La Gomera

Why is Garajonay so important?

Posted by Luci Ackers on Jun 24, 2015
Garajonay National Park
Garajonay National Park
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UNESCO Inscribed

The Garajonay National Park is an exquisite and unique UNESCO World Heritage Site on the island of La Gomera and has been protected since its inscription in 1986. La Gomera may be one of the smallest Canaries, located off the coast of Africa, but by no means does it lack in culture. The floral heritage of the island has earned itself a place among some of the most important in the world.

La Gomera's landscape is characterised by rugged volcanic scenery. The ash and lava fields have been eroded away over time leaving mature soil, ravines and mountainous peaks. At the centre of it all is the National Park and the atmosphere here is different to the dry heat of the rest of the island; here mist and moisture clings to the air, providing an ideal microclimate for the growth of lush forest habitat.

Why so special?

Garajonay is incredibly biologically diverse with approximately 2000 species of plant reported across the 4,000 hectare Park; a large proportion of which are endemic to the island. The Dry Heath Fayal and heather species grow in the dryer sections while other types of vegetation are influenced by the damper environments. Altitude and geographical orientation effect growth and the lushness is maintained as a result of the mist and the Park's numerous springs and streams. The famous laurisilva resides here in the more humid areas and is one of the largest continuous stretches of laurel forests remaining. Laurisilva has almost disappeared entirely from southern Europe and North Africa, but occupies around 70% of Garajonay where the subtropical environment resembles that of Europe during the Tertiary period. This unique habitat supports many diverse species of fauna, almost 50% of these are endemic to the area and many are even considered nationally threatened.

See it for yourself

For visitors to the area, Garajonay National Park is certainly not to be missed and there are a number of routes and walks specifically for you to experience as much of the amazing habitat as possible. The walks vary in length and difficulty, so there is something for every visitor. Take a circular walk and make a day of it, admire the beautiful blooming flowers and hear the wonderful bird song. Or you could even join a guided walk to really delve deeper into the history and be certain you are seeing all the very best bits. Do remember to be prepared when visiting – it may be worth packing a light-weight waterproof!

Take a look at the Canaries National Parks website for a list of some of the walks and trails around Garajonay.

Here is a link to the Bookings Office and the Visitors' Centre for those interested in guided walks.

Stay on La Gomera and discover all of its incredible places for yourself. Follow the link below.

FIND OUT HOW YOU TOO CAN STAY HERE
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Luci Ackers
Author: Luci Ackers

Luci loves getting out and about for a good cycle ride or easy-going walks in the countryside, and thoroughly enjoyed the time she previously spent working for the National Trust. Her love of writing started from a young age and on rainy days nothing beats curling up in a secret corner with a good book.


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