Garajonay National Park
The climate of the laurel forests is determined by the frequency of fog.
Roque de Agando
View of Los Roques.
Water Jumping at the Cedar.
Summit with heather.
Til laurel valley..
Fayal heather in full bloom.
Garajonay National Park is named after the legend of two lovers, Gara, Princess of La Gomera and
Jonay, from Tenerife. The two lovers faced the disapproval of their love from their family, and
decided to kill themselves by sticking a wooden spear and jump from the highest peak of the island.
"Garajonay" consists of a dense forest made up of different plant species, often surrounded
by a sea of clouds that gives the forest a magical aspect. These fogs, are intercepted by the
forest itself, producing a moisture load which is essential for the survival of a green territory
located in an arid island. These type of forests are classified as “laurisilva” forests or “evergreen
laurel”, which means a forest of laurels, since most of its component tree species have leaves
similar to the laurel. Their existence is possible thanks to the high humidity and the mild temperatures,
accompanied by little fluctuations during the year.
This forest of Canarian laurislva covers an area of 4,000 hectares, representing about 11 percent
of the total area of the island. It is a relic of the subtropical forests that occupied much of Europe
and North Africa about several million of years ago, so "Garajonay" can be considered a true living
fossil. To protect this ecosystem, Garajonay was declared a National Park in 1981, and then in 1986
it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, the highest recognition that can reach a protected
Garajonay forests are not homogeneous; we can appreciate different types of forests and other
vegetation. There are about 2000 species of plants in the Park, and we must highlight the high
number of endemic species unique to this particular island and to the rest of the Canary Islands.
Among the different forest types that we can find, we must mention: the Dry Heath Fayal, in areas
where there is less moisture, and the where the predominant species are the Mocan, the Palo Blanco,
the Barbusano, heather and faille, among others. We can find the areas of valley laurisilva in the
more humid valleys that are facing the north, where the vegetation consists mainly of huge viñátigos
and tiles, which can reach 35 m height. The hillside laurisilva can be found on the humid slopes of
the mountains, composed primarily p by “Loro” (Prunus Lusitanica), fayal, and Acevino. On the summits,
where the incidence of fog is higher enigmatic heather summits appear and on the south side we find
the fayalbrezal (a low forest composed by heather and fayal). You can also see streams in this National
Park. It´s network of permanent water flows are the best preserved of the Canaries.
The varieties of habitats in the Park are rich and diverse in fauna, consisting of invertebrates,
vertebrates, amphibians, reptiles and birds, many of them endemic. Within this latter group the “Rabiche”
pigeon and the “Turque” pigeon must be mentioned.
The park has a wide infrastructure of facilities and services, which include a Visitor Centre,
an Information Centre, a wide network of viewpoints, recreational areas and a network of well marked
trails, which allow a better understanding to enjoy a truly natural gem of nature.