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Saint Joan Xar Nature Reserve Activities and Nature

Diseminado, s/n, 31790 Igantzi, Navarra

This area of harmony and peace was declared a Nature Reserve due to containing the only native forest for hornbeams (Carpinus betulus) and birch trees on the Iberian Peninsula, although there are other species of trees found along the walk it offers.

Inside, is the sanctuary of San Joan Xar, a hermitage and grotto with a fountain of three jets whose waters are said to have skin healing powers. The tradition goes back a long way: before the image of Saint John the Baptist arrived, prayers and offerings were for the lamiak, nymphs who inhabited this area, according to mythology. This tradition is remembered every June 24 on Saint Joan’s Day.

Along the road connecting Igantzi with Arantza, at 4.4 km, is the entrance from where you can walk to the cave. Going through the arch, a path that runs along the riverbed, leads to the 3 sources, and climbing a staircase to your right, you reach the grotto/hermitage.

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