The Anaga Rural Park is a protected natural area in the Anaga Massif. It was declared a Biosphere Reserve in 2015 because it is home to the largest number of endemic species in Europe. It covers most of the northeast of Tenerife with an area of 140 km², spread out over 3 municipalities: Santa Cruz de Tenerife, San Cristóbal de La Laguna, and Tegueste.
There are 26 inhabited settlements in the park, accounting for 2500 people or less than 1% of the population of Tenerife's Metropolitan Region. Due to it isolation and the decline of traditional activities such as agriculture, it has seen significant emigration since the 1960s. This allowed the park to retain much of its charm. The largest settlement within the park boundaries is 1 Taganana. The urbanized southeast coast of the islands, with towns like San Andrés, has been excluded from the park.
The area was first protected as a National Park in 1987, and reclassified as a Rural Park in 1994. The Coordination Council of the Canary Network of Biosphere Reserves unanimously presented and approved the proposal to declare the entire Anaga Massif a new Biosphere Reserve in 2013. The Spanish Committee of the UNESCO Program approved the candidacy later that year, and is supported by the regional government of the Canary Islands, as well as the universities of San Cristóbal de La Laguna and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. The park achieved its Biosphere Reserve status during the annual UNESCO meeting held in Paris in 2015.
The Anaga Rural Park is the second most important natural heritage site of Tenerife, after the Teide National Park.
There are paleontological sites of scientific importance within the boundaries of the park. It was inhabited by the Guanche aborigines before Spanish colonization, and has historically been important as grazing grounds.
The Anaga Rural Park has a diverse landscape of natural and cultural importance. It is a highland of mountains with sharp peaks and deep ravines. Several geomorphological elements are unique to the island's geology, and of particular scientific interest. Examples include the Chinobre pythons, Anambro, the Taganana arch, and so on.
The highest peak in the park is ca. 1000 m above sea level.
Flora and faunaEdit
Because of the large variation in altitude, from seal level up to 1000 m, there is a variety in flora each tried to their own altitude ranges. Laurel trees are common on the highlands, whereas palm trees and dragos (Dracaena draco, endemic to the Canary Islands) are found at lower altitudes.
The park is a zone of special protection for birds, since the forests are a vital habitat for laurisilva pigeons.
From La Laguna you only need fifteen minutes in car to arrive to the border.
Fees and permitsEdit
Hiking is possible in many places, however some areas require a permit to enter. Permits have to be booked online in advance – official information in Spanish: El Pijaral trail, Monte de Aguirre Zone).
While the park itself is relatively small, the roads are very winding - multiply the time navigation suggests by factor of 2. Road from La Laguna to Chamorga takes approx. 1:45 - 2 hours.
There are no loops, and distances are quite considerable (for example the trail from Cruz del Carmen to Bajamar is 10 km). It may be favorable to combine the hike with a TITSA bus ride, i.e. take the bus up to Cruz del Carmen and then walk back to Tegueste, Bajamar, or San Cristóbal de La Laguna.
There are numerous walking trails signposted throughout the park, look for the white signs and yellow-white marks on posts and trees.
- 1 Mirador de Jardina, Carretera del Monte de las Mercedes (on the way to Cruz del Carmen). 24/7. Magnificent viewpoint overlooking San Cristóbal de La Laguna and El Teide in the distance. Free.
- 2 Llano de los Loros. 24/7. A small viewing platform overlooking the south Anaga valleys and container port of Santa Cruz de Tenerife. Free.
- 3 Cruz del Carmen (bus stop ). 24/7. One of the highest viewpoints looking west. It is possible to see the peak of Mount Teide on clear days. The parking lot of Cruz del Carmen is rather small and very popular, so it is recommended to come early when travelling by car to avoid long waiting lines. Free.
- 4 Chapel of Cruz del Carmen (Ermita de la Cruz del Carmen), Cruz del Carmen (bus stop ). In 1836 the cross that gives name to this place was placed to bless the walkers who passed through. Already at the end of the 19th century a small chapel was built where the cross stood. In 1961 another chapel was built that was later enlarged until reaching its current dimensions, a chapel dedicated to the Virgin Carmen.
- Don't forget go to the 5 Pico del Inglés viewpoint where you can see a beautiful view of the island (if the weather is good).
- 1 Anaga walking trails, Cruz del Carmen (bus stop ). 24/7. Three signposted walking trails, no. 1 accessible by wheelchairs. The longest trail leads to a weather station and viewpoint, and takes about 1 hour in dry weather conditions and 1.5 hours in rainy weather when mud slows the pace of walking considerably. Walking shoes or good sandals are highly recommended. Free.
- A very incomplete list of treks follows:
- Chamorga - 2 Roque Bormejo. A round trip starts at a picturesque village of Chamorga, goes through mountains, along the shore (grand views!), a lighthouse Faro de Anaga, Roque Bormejo village and back up through a valley Camino de Roque Bormejo.
- A relaxing walk (almost flat road) to 3 Cabezo del Tejo viewpoint through a (often) misty forest.
- 4 Roque de Taborno ("Matterhorn of Tenerife") - a few hours trek around a picturesque mountain. The path crosses a cliff for a few meters, beware if you are easily scared of hights.
- Other places are Taganana, Roque las Bodegas, Almáciga (black sand beaches).
- 2 San Andrés — coastal town and failed beach resort with a large artificial white sand beach
- 3 Santa Cruz de Tenerife — the modern capital city of Tenerife
- 4 San Cristóbal de La Laguna — colonial capital overflowing with architectural treasures, and a historic centre that is a UNESCO World Heritage site
- 5 Tegueste — laid back colonial town