La Gomera is a must see in the Canary Islands, it is one of the world’s most unique biodiversity hotspots. It’s because of its volcanic nature, its geographical location, its remarkable morphology and altitude, because of its pleasant climate and isolation that La Gomera is worth a visit. This island is home to one of the greatest and richest environments in the Canary archipelago: the National Park of Garajonay. The park covers 10% of the entire island and has one of the best known examples of laurisilva, a cloud forest of evergreen species that once covered almost all of Europe during the Tertiary.
The park was declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO and impresses with its beauty and mysticism. It also forms the centerpiece of the management model in sustainable tourism developed in La Gomera around the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism (CETS), one whose overall aim is to promote the development of tourism in terms of sustainability in protected natural areas in Europe. The Charter is in a very advanced stage of development on the island, the result of a good collaboration of different administrations, insular organizations and the privet sector.
Ymaguara: accredited company in the CETS
Ymaguara, committed to adjust the tourist proposals to sustainability and rural development, works with a philosophy that fits like a glove with the values of the Charter. For this reason it has had the honor of becoming an accredited company in 2015 by the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism on the island of La Gomera, promoted by the Garajonay National Park. Today, there are 33 tourist companies that work in a distinctive tourism model, creating networking strategies that directly have an impact on local development and therefore on improving the quality of life of the Gomeran people.
For Ymaguara it all began in 2012, when they started walking the path of sustainable tourism and rural development. In recognition of Europarc, and especially the Technical Office of the Garajonay National Park to believe in this proposal and to help realizing all the work. Undoubtedly, this is a great example of collective work within the Canarian tourist sector.
Ymaguara’s commitment to sustainable tourism doesn’t stop there, since they received the certification of Ceres Ecotur for outdoor activities in 2015. This project is an initiative of the Foundation Eco-agritourism, representative in Spain by ECEAT International (European Centre for Ecological and Agricultural Tourism), to unify a network of ecological tourism in Spain. Ceres Ecotur represents the natural continuation of the Ecotur portal for the promotion of Ecoturism in Spain. The project was born as an initiative aimed at the preservation, conservation and dissemination of the rural, ethnographic and environmental heritage.
The conceptual areas – Eco-agritourism
The project Ceres Ecotur works with a combination of two concepts: Ecoturism and agritourism. It promotes Ecotourism seen as an environmentally responsible tourism practice, which consists of traveling or visiting natural areas, protected or not, in order to enjoy, appreciate and observe the natural attractions and any cultural manifestation of past and present through a process compatible with conservation. All this encourages the active participation of local populations and it promotes a model of sustainable development of the environment. Meanwhile, directly or indirectly, agritourism is developed. An example of this kind of tourism is farms offering leisure activities related to the traditional world of agriculture and livestock, with a link towards tourism. This can include gastronomic activities based on local providers that promote biodiversity. This cultural aspect can lead to the discovery of the history of rural spaces and the whys of certain crops and their processes.
All this fits perfectly with the desire to add value to ancestral cultural and ethnographic resources of the island of La Gomera through each and every one of our proposals. From the Gomeran Silbo, an ancient form of communication, declared World Heritage by UNESCO, to the pottery traditions, direct legacy of the old Gomerans, primitive inhabitants of the Canary Islands, through the famous Palm Honey, the ‘guarapeo‘ and many other ethnographic elements such as the stone culture, wisdom through popular romances, couplets, stanzas or legends and gastronomic resources as Gomeran almagrote, a gift even for the most demanding gourmets, a philosophy towards working, which is also a philosophy on life in general and it’s a way to understand how tourism on the island should be.
A formula that generates opportunities for the local population, revealing its rich natural and cultural heritage from equilibrium, minimizing impacts and maximizing economic and social benefits for both target value.
Now that you know everything, Ymaguara and La Gomera are waiting for you to check it out!