Garajonay National Park – A Hikers Dream – Hiking in the Canary Islands

Garajonay National Park on the island of La Gomera offers some of the best hiking in the Canary Islands. Here you won’t find the razzle dazzle of Tenerife but a wonderful oasis of greenery shrouded in a cloak of swirling mist.The World Heritage site of Garajonay National Park sits on top of this “orange squeezer” shaped island which rises to 1500m above sea level. The segments divided up by deep ravines.Large areas of Europe were covered in this type of rainforest but the effects of climate change, man and pollution has led to its demise. On La Gomera the World Heritage Site status protects it from mans worst endeavours and the main threat comes from fire.

You have to take a car or bus to reach the summit and once the hairpin bends have been successfully negotiated you are rewarded with a wonderful view of Mount Teide some 40 miles way on Tenerife. The top is often shrouded in a tree hugging mist and as you descend into the forest by foot a tangle of green branches beckons.

The light fades the deeper you go in as does the temperature – so make sure to bring a light coat or top. That said, its great to escape from the heat of summer which can reach 43deg.

Islanders used to trade with each other and transported much of their goods on the very paths that the walk follows. It was only in the 1950’s that La Gomera started to have contact with the outside world and roads didn’t really exist.

Eventually a small village appears – could it be a long lost civilisation? Probably not, but the rustic restaurant is a welcome site where delicious local dishes of soup with “Gofio” are on offer.

A short walk away you will find a secret tunnel that leads to the next valley. Make sure to light a candle as the passageway is long, dark and wet! A great way to round off your walk in Garajonay National Park.

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