The Anaga Rural Park is a protected natural area that has a great landscape, natural and cultural relevance. Nature and human settlements form a rural, harmonious and beautiful scenery. Through a 4 hours trekking, we discovered the natural richness of that natural park, that covers from the top of the mountains to the coast (140m2).
Because Anaga Rural Park goes from the mountains summits to the sea level, it is an excellent oportunity to see the vegetation variation with altitude. In the higher elevations the vegetation is characterized by the laurel, the juniper in the midlands, dragon trees and palms, and in the lower areas cactus and tabaibas.
Laurisilva forest or green forest, is a living example of the subtropical forests that populated Europe ages ago, before the Ice Age. Nowadays this forest can only be found in Canary Islands, Madeira and Azores.
This type of forest is considered a center of biodiversity of plants and contains numerous endemic, rare, and residual species . Furthermore, this space has been declared a Special Protection Area for birds; for species such as laurel pigeons this forest is a vital habitat.
Anaga Rural Park is included in Natura 2000, which is an European ecological network of conservation areas of biodiversity. It consists of Special Areas of Conservation designated under the European “Habitats Directive” (1999) and Special Protection Areas for birds established under the “Birds Directive” (1979). Its purpose is to ensure the long-term survival of species and most threatened habitats in Europe, helping to halt biodiversity loss caused by the adverse impact of human activities. It is the main instrument for the environment conservation in the European Union.
Past and future, tradition and development
The current population in Anaga is around 2,500 people in about 26 settlements. The mountainous terrain encourages isolation, so the population is scattered in small hamlets. It has been a strong migration from the sixties, as a result of isolation and particularly by the decline of traditional activities, agriculture and cattle farming.
Las Carboneras (625 m.s.l.) was our starting point for the trekking. This village is one of the wettest areas of Anaga, where there was a dense forest that neighbors used to go in search of firewood to make charcoal. As trees disappeared, were planted vegetables, cereals and fruit. The continuous mist that protected people from summer drought and people from other places, back in the 50’s, came in search of potatoes, yams, millet … to satisfy the hunger.
Anaga is a rural area, agricultural production is mainly for the local market and is characterized by being obtained in family farms, usually part-time work. Agriculture has played a leading role in environmental conservation. Cattle farming is mainly engaged with agriculture and it helps to maintain the rural fabric, allows the use of pastures and forests, increases in organic matter availability for agriculture, allows conservation of landscape and environment, as well as the survival of life forms with historical and cultural value. Livestock Anaga Rural Park is composed mainly of goats, pigs and poultry, with a strong presence of rabbits.
Anaga has an interesting network of roads and trails that can bring everybody, by car, bus or walking to places with excellent views, spectacular natural beauty spots or meet its many picturesque villages and participate in the lifestyles of their people. Rural tourism and hikers make an excellent combination with traditions and sustainable development of Anaga. Many european nature lovers visit Anaga area every year.
Cave – houses
Chinamada is a village in the middle of our pathway. In this town, the aborigines (guaches) lived in natural caves. From 1506, after the Conquest, the new owners built barn-houses, with stone walls and mud, and roofed with branches on which they placed straw. Due to strong winds and because they burned easily, its inhabitants left these houses and imitated the Guanches, digging new cave – houses in the rock.
A leyend of love
The Two Brothers Rock is a rock broken by the pain. This mountain is named after the legend of two young Guanche brothers, whose love was banned and during a dark night, they climb the highest summit and jumped, falling into their death.
Legend says that the ridge groaned with sorrow, it ripped and splitted, as the two lovers who could never get to join. Since then, it is known as Roque de Los Dos Hermanos (Two Brothers Rock).
Punta del Hidalgo
This town was our final destination. It had an infertile rocky terrain and the water is its only wealth. The land and water brought from the mountain allowed to grow tomatoes and bananas. Tourism in the 70s revived this area, however, nowadays nothing is what it used to be.
We finished our trip having a bath in a seaside pool, filled with sea water and beaten by sea waves.