Garajonay was designated a National Park of Spain in 1981 and as a World Heritage Site in 1986. It’s situated in the centre and north of the island of La Gomera, one of the Canary Isles and occupies around 40 km2 (15 sq mi). It is named after the highest point on the island, a rock formation, which stands at 1,484 m (4,869 ft) and from which, on a clear day, you can see the other four Canary Islands: La Palma, Tenerife, El Hierro and Gran Canaria.
In contrast to the rest of the Canaries, which was carved and formed by volcanic activity, Garajonay is covered with laurisilva forest, thought to be one of the last remaining traces of the subtropical forest that covered most of Europe in the Tertiary Period. The evergreen laurel forest is fed by the many springs and streams as well as the mist that hangs in the air, providing an almost constant humidity.
As with most island ecosystems the variety of mammals on the island is limited, as the surrounding sea hinders migration, although endemic populations of reptiles and frogs are well represented and there are 27 species of bird, including the Eurasian Sparrowhawk, the White Tailed Laurel Pigeon and the Barbary Partridge.
The park has a well-travelled network of footpaths, a magnet for those who want to explore on foot and the park is also accessible from the nearby main road. Local companies offer boat tours, whale watching and guided trekking tours.