The rock art sites of La Zarza and La Zarcita are one of the most important archaeological assets of the Canary Island archipelago. La Zarza occupies a spacious caboco (circular depression in the bottom of a ravine), between the La Mata and Llano Negro districts, while the latter is located on the left side of the La Zarcita ravine, a short distance away. Both sites are situated at an altitude of around 1,000 metres and are immersed in mixed vegetation of myrtle-heather woods and pine forest. The rock engravings are the most spectacular element at La Zarza, both for the extent of the engraved surface (29 panels), as for the complexity and ample chronology they exhibit. La Zarcita is less extensive (18 panels), but also shows a great diversity of patterns. The combination of circular, meandering, and lineal motifs is extraordinarily varied. The Park also has an interpretation centre providing a general picture of the auarita culture, with numerous explanatory panels about the natural characteristics of the surroundings.
In the 17th century, the first petroglyphs discovered in the Canary Islands were found at Belmaco. The importance of these rock engravings made the site a reference point and obligatory visit for researchers interested in La Palma’s past, and in that of the archipelago. The archaeological complex is made up of ten natural habitation caves and a magnificent rock-engraving site. These caves were inhabited by the benahoaritas, the ancient settlers of Benahoare (the prehispanic name of the island). In addition to the previously mentioned petroglyphs, in the Interpretation Centre, insight into the aborigine world is provided through models, photographic documents, multimedia facilities, and archaeological replicas, which illustrate and supplement the contents of the Park.
The Benahoarita Archaeology Museum shows the habitat, the industries, the exploitation of the environment, and the magico-religious beliefs of the benahoaritas, the prehispanic inhabitants of La Palma. To this end, its installations use the latest audiovisual and museographical media presently available. Its facilities are open to the island’s inhabitants, visiting tourists, and the scientific community. The display aims to convey comprehensive knowledge of prehispanic La Palma along three axes: the specific geographical setting (relief, climate, animal and plant biological diversity); the territorial organization of the island (the location of prehispanic settlements, the constant or seasonal use of natural resources and their typologies), and prehispanic culture (all the elements enabling comprehension of the wisdom of the benahoaritas in their use of natural resources, their knowledge, and their beliefs).