Thanks to our participation at the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism of Garajonay National Park, we get information and documents usually not available to the general public. Here, we would like to share with you a document that has fallen in our hands and whose read we absolutely enjoyed. It is the description of the route to the Ermit inside El Cedro.

Technical file:
Route type: Lineal
Uphill/downhill: 43 meters
Maximum altitude: 961 meters
Minimum altitude: 918 meters
Time: 20 minutes
Distance: 750 meters
Level: Easy
Interests: Flora, fauna, ethnographic
You can go down to the Caserío del Cedro, about a Km downhill: Route 9, and once there, link with route 8 that brings you back to the departure point. You can also follow route 18, which is a circular path of about 6 hours that takes you to the Peak of Garajonay and back. Other possibility is to return by the same route.

This is one of the best footpaths to stroll and get to know the Laurel Rainforest.

There are National Parks that, due to geographic and conservation considerations, visits can only be made from viewpoints. It is not that you cannot do that inside Garajonay, actually, there are around 20 viewpoints available. For many visitors, lacking the time to do otherwise, it’s their only option. The best one, though, is through it’s routes.

Maybe it is your first time here, and they told you about some “cedars”, “giant trees”, “ravine with a river”…, maybe you have invested some time in finding out a bit about the place, maybe you were here before and wanted to return… or maybe you are here by chance. You will likely just hear your footsteps and the forests noises. You will walk a clean route thanks to the care of those who visited before you.

There are no Cedars here… There is a local variety of cedars, Junipers Cedrus. Inside Garajonay grow few of them. They are usually near rocky areas, for instance, by the Rocks “Los Roques”. The village is know as El Cedro (the Cedar), though there is none there. Was there ever? Maybe. In the past, it’s wood was considered excellent, which took it to the brink of extinction. Some say the name of El Cedro could be a modification of El Cedro (the Pig), animals that were raised and fed inside the forest.

A footpath with privileges:

Imagine that, for whichever reason, this area was cut down, or devastated by fire. The route would be a nightmare for those with vertigo, as we would only see a cliff with barren soil, lifeless. Nothing farther from what you are looking at.

It wasn’t always like this. The first Portuguese and Castilian settlers arrived to La Gomera on the 15th Century, and centuries before them, the aborigines from Africa. From the first person who set foot on La Gomera, the forests became a vital resource. When settlers arrived, the strain on the forests increased. In other islands, the result was the almost total annihilation of the forests. The inhabitants of La Gomera, thanks to the respectful traditional usage, still maintain more than half of the surface of the original forest.

In the first half of the 20th Century it had little resemblance with what you are looking at now. Here were raised pigs and goats, people made coal and gathered wood and dried leaves.

In 1981, the forests were declared National Park. The management intended to guarantee the natural growth of the wildlife without human intervention. Some years before that, the use of the forest was not necessary anymore thanks to emigration and lifestyle changes.

In front of you, the result of this evolution: a forest that has remained 50 years untouched. Nobody has seen this place in such a wild state, except for the first inhabitants and the current generation. You are very lucky indeed.

To whom belongs the forest? Of the presence of the aborigines are prints, archeological rests and names. After the arrival of the Castilians, La Gomera became an Island of Estate. The Counts regulated the usage of the forests, that belonged to them. After the abolition of estates in the 19th Century, Municipalities are created, and the forest surface is divided and assigned to these. The National Park is created on the almost 4.000 acres of Public Forests. In 1986 it was awarded by the UNESCO as Natural Humankind Heritage. It now belongs to all of us.