Garajonay National Park

Garajonay National Park (Spanish: Parque Nacional de Garajonay ) is situated in the Canary island of La Gomera.

With a size of 3,984 hectares of National Park Established in 1981, covered 10 percent of the island. Its unique ecosystem is as a world natural heritage under the protection of UNESCO since 1986. Since 1988, the area is also European bird sanctuary.

Development and landscape

La Gomera is volcanic in origin, with the last eruption dates back more than two million years. By water erosion a steep relief has formed on the island, which is criss-crossed by deep ravines. Characteristic features are referred to as " Roques ", exposed by erosion volcanic vents.

The forests in the park are a relic of the during the Tertiary in Europe and in the Mediterranean region (Southern Europe, North Africa and Southwest Asia ) frequent subtropical laurel forests. While these plants disappeared in Europe through the ice ages ( in the Mediterranean region during the last ice age ), this plant community was able to partially hold on La Gomera, on the other Canary Islands and Madeira and the Azores ( Macaronesian Islands).

The National Park includes the central plateau of the island with the 1,487 meter high Garajonay and the subsequent north, steep island flanks, where often form dense by cooling trade winds in the ascent of the moist trade winds. If condenses the moisture in the clouds at the lush vegetation, one also speaks of horizontal rain. Like a sponge takes the floor the water, and it can lead to a significant groundwater entry. The rainy season quickly seeped, stored water occurs from countless sources to the surface again.

Laurel, laurel forest

Small Tenerife Lizard ( Gallotia caesaris gomerae )

Crassulaceae in the National Park Garajonay


In the national park reign moderate temperatures, with mean values ​​14 to 15 ° C. The precipitation values ​​are 600 to 900 mm per year. Most rainfall occurs in autumn and winter.


85 percent of the national park area is covered with Canarian jungle. The heart of the national park consists of evergreen cloud forest with up to two meters high ferns, hanging from the trees long beard lichen and moss-covered, gnarled branches.

The nearly 1,500 -meter-high central massif acts as a weather divide. The north side is much more humid, while it is always dry to the south. Due to the mentioned damming the trade winds on the north side still grow here up to 30 meter high trees, as they were to find millions of years ago in the Mediterranean, as there is a warm and humid climate made the flourishing lush jungles possible. This includes the laurel and the fabulous El Cedro laurel forest, growing more than half to La Gomera from its total portfolio.

The higher you climb up the slopes in the Garajonay National Park, the lower the woods. He goes into an approximately 3 to 10 feet high scrub on which and primarily from tree heath (Erica arborea ) and the endemic Gagel tree ( Myrica faya ), but also from Montpellier Rockrose (Cistus monspeliensis ) and two endemic gorse species ( Adenocarpus foliolosus Chamaecytisus proliferus ) composed.


The national park is home to more than 1,000 species, including more than 150 endemic species. Nowhere else in Europe will you find so many endemic species per unit area. The only mammals that came to the island without human intervention, were bats. Among the birds are particularly noticeable the Bolles Laurel Pigeon (Columba bollii ) and the laurel pigeon ( Columba junoniae ). Also, get in the park reptiles, such as the Little Canaries Lizard ( Gallotia caesaris gomerae ), the Kanarenskink ( Chalcides viridanus coeruleopunctatus ) and amphibians such as the Mediterranean Tree Frog (Hyla meridionalis ) ago. The majority of animals in the national park are invertebrate species.

Man and nature in La Gomera

The people of La Gomera protect their laurel forest and walk sensibly around with it. After the conquest of the Canary Islands by Europeans in the 15th century shrank the original forest area of ​​90,000 hectares, which accounted for 10 percent of the Canary Islands, where scarce 17,000 hectares, which still exist today. La Gomera managed, thanks to the National Park to get half of its original laurel forests. They show us how it could be used to look at the world. The forests and a large number of endangered plants and some prehistoric species are strictly protected, since the national park Garajonay has about almost a million visitors each year. On guided tours, but also independently on trails, you can explore the area exactly.

The legend of Gara and Jonay

The beautiful princess Gara lived before the Spanish conquest in the 15th century on La Gomera. You fell in love with the poor farmer's son Jonay from Tenerife. This drove out of love every day on a raft to the neighboring island to meet his mistress. But the connection was ill-fated: A priest told the two great disaster ahead. When both wanted to give our vows for marriage, the prophecy seemed to fulfill. A strong earthquake shook Tenerife. The Teide volcano spewed lava, the sea to La Gomera colored blood red, and the island began to glow. The noble family of the princess then tried to prevent the marriage of the two and brought forcibly to Tenerife Jonay back. His love, however, was so great that he again landed a few weeks later, on La Gomera. Together, the couple fled to the highlands and hid in the dense forests high up on the island. As both no way out for her love saw more, they took a sharpened at both ends lance of laurel wood and drove them through the chest. In an intimate embrace the couple went to his death.

This is only one version of this legend, some different. But since that time, the Gomeros say carries the highest mountain and the present National Park on La Gomera the name Garajonay. There are Princess Gara and the poor Jonay as stone sculptures in the park.

Visitor center

The visitor center Juego de Bolas is located outside the park in La palmita - Agulo. It is built in Canarian style and offers exhibits and films about the National Park, as well as the history and culture of the island. The garden of the visitor center is designed as a botanical garden and many local shows at La Gomera plants.