Canary Islands are located near the north-west of Africa. It is archipelago in Atlantic Ocean made out of seven islands. Due to large quantities of rain that falls on these islands, the forests are always green and luxuriant. One of them, La Gomera is the home of Garajonay National Park, a protected area where one can enjoy foggy and mystical, almost fairytale atmosphere.
These forests are kind of monument to rainforests that used to cover majority of Europe and North Africa couple of million years ago. Here many endemic species found their last resort, with many of them threatened and close to extinction.
The park is located in the northern and central parts of the island, taking about 11% of the island area which is about 40 square kilometers. In that area it includes the highest peak Garajonay from which park got its name. The area was proclaimed as a national park in 1980 and just 6 years later UNESCO declared it as a World Heritage Site.
Due to its geographical position, climate is almost same throughout the year, so there is no best time to visit, you can go whenever soothes you.
Throughout the park there are many hiking trails, because the best way to experience the park is to walk. Visitor Center and Information Center are also part of the park allowing the tourists to get all the information they need.
The story behind the name is the local version of Romeo and Juliet, where Gara and Jonay were the ones that fell in love but could not be together so they found happiness in death. Combination of their names gives the name of the park and the highest peak.
Subtropical forests type – a laurel forest covers the park. This kind of forests once stretched across the two continents and today can only be found here and in couple more places. They are always green due to large concentration of humid during the whole year and they’re always covered in mist. This kind of scenery seems almost unrealistic, making the hike trough forest magical. But it is not just the flora, its fauna is incredible as well. There are many endemic species that lives only here like Lurel and Bolle’s pigeons, Gomeran skins, Gomeran lizards and stripeless frogs. Among these endemic species there is abundance of other creatures that thrive in these forests.
Wildfires are a great threat to the park. Back in 2012, one fire destroyed almost 20 % of the vegetation. Since the park is gaining on popularity, more tourist are expected which can jeopardize the Park itself, heightening the risks of fire incidents along with unintentional introduction of alien species that could act invasive, thus threatening the original wildlife of the park. Also with rise of the temperature which is consequence of climate changes, the pattern of rain is changing which can endanger ecosystem in following years.