Many of the beaches in Playa Blanca suffered badly from a hurricane and are yet not fully recovered.
Papagoaya beach in Playa Blanca is difficult to get to. There is a toll of about around ?5 to enter the beach. It is long and sandy the nicest beach on the island.
It does have nudist beaches. There are no sunbeds or umbrella's for hire on this beach. Just a large expanse of lovely sand.
If you have a hire car, this is the only part of the Island you are not insured to drive to as the road is uneven and difficult.
Jabillo beach in Costa Teguise is a favorite of mine built into a small bay, clear blue water,ideal for children and snorkeling
Puerto del Carmen has a nice long sandy beach and some rocky .
Fondest memory: The beaches in Lanzarote are mainly sandy, most of them have umbrellas and sunbeds for hire, the sea is clean clear and blue, most are blue flag beaches. Don't always have plenty of water and sun cream with you at all times.
Lanzarote is not an island of tea drinkers!
Fondest memory: If you go to a cafe bar or restaurant you will find cafe con leche (coffe with milk) decaffeinated coffee, expresso coffee, white frothy coffee (americano), and cafe con leche con leche (coffee with milk AND evaprorated milk...very very sweet). camomile tea is popular (manzanilla), at most Spanish bars.
Ocassionally a Spanish bar may have teabags. But they often serve it with luke warm water, you may want to remind them to serve it in boiling water! (Con agua caliente) If you want tea go to an English bar, bring your own or stay away!
February and early March is carnival time
Bring a costume or fancy-dress and join the crowd - everyone does- dancing in the town square until the early hours after the main processions.
If you drive into carnival areas (particularly Playa Blanca or Puerto del Carmen), or the capital in Arrecife, parking might be restricted, congested and long queues for taxis at the end of the processions.
The order for the carnivals is usually Arrecife, Puerto del Carmen, Playa Blanca, Costa Teguise. The dates change slightly every year, see below
Fondest memory: Arrecife:
MONDAY, 15th FEBRUARY 18:00h. Grand Carnival Parade. Starting at the Ciudad Deportiva and ending at the Recinto
TUESDAY, 16th FEBRUARY (Shrove Tuesday) 11.00h: Carnival of children at the Recinto Ferial, Arrecife.
WEDNESDAY, 17th FEBRUARY: 18.00h. The "Entierro de La Sardina" (The Burial of the Sardines with carnival parade and 'mourners') fireworks after the sardine is set alight on the beach!.
Puerto Del Carmen
THURSDAY, 18th FEBRUARY: 6 pm. Children´s Carnival at the Beach Avenue (opposite Mc Donald’s).
FRIDAY, 19th FEBRUARY: 8.30 pm.- Grand Gala performance by the carnival groups: “Los Gruñones” “Chimbay”, “Sur Caliente” and “Guaracheros”, at the Beach Avenue (opposite Mc Donald’s). After the performance, open-air dance by orchestras “Suso y Familia” and “Rika Banda”.
SATURDAY, 20th FEBRUARY: 5 pm.- Carnival Parade at the Beach Avenue, starting from Barcarola and ending at Fariones Playa Hotel.
9 pm.- Open-air dance by orchestras “Suso y Familia”, “Rika Banda” and “Los Conejeros”, at the Beach Avenue
FROM 27th TO 28th FEBRUARY 5 pm.- Carnival Parade
There are 3 main resorts. Puerto del Carmen - 5 minutes drive from the airport.
Costa Teguise - 15 minutes drive from airport. Playa Blanca - 35 minutes from airport.
Puerto del Carmen has everything most people want for a beach related holiday (restaurants, bars, clubs, white sandy beaches, shops, tourist office, buses, cycle hire) all in one long stretch of resort. It is probably the liveliest of the resorts with a charming 'Old Town' overlooking the harbour. Not if you want a quite holiday, its popular with young families and singles.
Playa Blanca is relatively 'new' as a resort becoming more & more popular (especially with the cheap all inclusive deals)and has expanded hugely in the last 5 years with lots more bars/restaurants etc. It is broken up into several different areas quite separate from each other, but all linked by an attractive paved coastal walk. Catch the ferry to Fuertuventura from here). Popular with everyone but is much further away from the other island attractions.
Costa Teguise, on the coast, has plenty of places to eat & drink, and a couple of shops, dive & surf shops and cycle hire, buses etc. but it doesnt have the charm of Puerto del Carmen's old town, not as many night spots and its not as integrated.The Pueblo Marinero seems to be its heart with bars and restaurants. There is a lovely paved coastal walk with fabulous beaches and views. Quieter than Puerto del Carmen.
If visiting Lanzarote please print these numbers off, you never know when you'll need them.
112 - Police,Fire and Ambulance.
928 84 60 01 - Lanzarote Airport
928 811 546 - Lanzarote Buses.
928 - 595000 - Arrecife General Hospital
928 597 292 - Grua (breakdown truck).
676 455 282 - Translator and Paperwork Advise.
928 804 153 - English Speaking Lawyer.
928 520 176 - Lanzarote Taxi Service.
The tropical park is located in the north of the island, near the Mirador del Rio. It is an interesting place for a visit, especially if the weather is cloudy or you cannot possibly sit for another minute in the sun.
Half of the park is devoted to caged tropical birds, and some of them are very poorly kept and displayed in old and worn cages. The area called the 'breeding station' I found disturbing - with dirty old cages with very depressed birds. They had no natural features to give them a good lifestyle, but at least they looked well fed.
On the other hand, the other part of the park was very different. An enormous area was developed in an attempt to give the birdlife as much of a natural environment as was possible. Visitors are allowed into this area with a controlled entry and exit system. Inside there were trees and water features and the birds were flying overhead and nesting. They seemed very happy.
Fondest memory: It is worth a visit. I do hope the company are slowly developing the whole site to provide a quality natural environment.
There are some animals also, monkeys and meerkats.
There is a cafe on site. And there is a parrot show twice a day, 11am and 3pm which was funny and entertaining, if you dont mind seeing beautiful and intelligent birds pulling up national flags, roller skating and riding on a cycle!
The island of Lanzarote can be very windy, but this is great for surfers. One of their favourite beaches is on the north of the island at Famara. You can now catch a bus from Costa Teguise (every 2 hours daily) to get to this lovely long stretch of beach.
The village of Caleta de Famara has many cafe bars and fish restaurants, overlooking the beach and high cliffs of Famara.
Fondest memory: The beach is uncommercial, there are no facilities on the beach. Caleta de Famara village is a five minute walk away.
The beach is a favourite haunt for nudists.
The red flag indicating dangerours waters flies on Famara most of the time.
Lanzarote and Water
Lanzarote is a dry island, with hardly any water resources. The island suffers chronic drought. Help originally came by sea: a tanker brought fresh water in its holds, which was then transported, on the backs of horses, to wherever it was needed. There are still cistern fields, check dams, storage tanks, banked fields, cross-terraced fields, etc., to be seen, which bear testimony to the difficult days gone by.
THE SOLUTION FROM THE SEA
Although Lanzarote is completely surrounded by sea - it is salt water, and cannot be used for agriculture or human consumption. The only solution is to eliminate the salt from seawater - desalination - and turn it into fresh water.
WHAT IS A DESALINATION PLANT?
Basically, the seawater is filtered in tanks, installed near the seashore. Then the water is pumped through filters - sand and purifying materials - where the water is freed from any substances it may be carrying. Then the water is sent under high pressure to the membranes where the miracle occurs: on one hand salt-free water comes out, the fresh water, whilst on the other, the rest of the water carries off the salt brine.
CAN YOU DRINK THE WATER?
The water is completely safe to drink. But many people do not like the taste. Almost all the locals invariably drink bottled water.
You shouldn't drink water from public spouts and fountains unless there is a sign saying 'Aqua Potable'. But you will more often see signs saying 'Aqua Non Potable', 'Water Not Drinkable'. In bars, supermarkets or restaurants ask for 'agua sin gas' (still) or 'agua con gas' (sparkling).
The original name of Lanzarote before the Spanish consquest is Tite-Roy-Gatra, which translates as Rose-coloured-Hill.
Lancelloto Malocello, a trader who arrived on the island in 1312, is credited with making its presence known to the European powers of the time. The name Lanzarote got written on to maps after his name (lancelloto).
The original inhabitants of the Canaries are known as the Gaunches, all the islanders spoke a similar language with slight variations on each island.
The Gaunches had a hierarchy; the royal family, noblemen and the farmers at the bottom.
Lanzarote's famous architect/ artist. His influence on the development of Lanzarote has had a lasting impact. Without him, Lanzarote would probably look like all the other high rise holiday resorts. As it is, most of rural Lanzarote contains white washed, low structured houses with strict building controls.
Look for his unusual mobile constructions seen around the island, mostly built on roundabouts near the main roads. Sadly he died when he was hit by a car in 1992 and is buried in Haria.
His bizzare house which he constructed from a series of volcanic bubbles in now open to the public, it is located a short distance from the town of Tahiche, buses run there everyday from Arrecife. It also contains some of his artwork, as well as paintings by his contempories, Picasso and Matisse.
Follow signposts from Arrecife to San Bartolome and look out for a sign pointing to FUNDACION CESAR MANRIQUE at Tahiche.
see also my travelogue 'who is Cèsar Manrique?'
The Fred Olsen ferry leaves Playa Blanca five times a day for Fuertuventura.
There is a free bus service from Puerto del Carmen outside the Biosphere shopping mall, at 9.00 to catch the 10.00 ferry to Corralejo in Fuertuventura, the new high speed ferry takes 20 minutes. The ferry takes vehicles too. There is also a bus service to Playa Blanca from Costa Teguise.
In Fuertuventura there are white sandy beaches, restaurants and shops in Corralejo, spend all day there and return on the last ferry. Fantastic beach and conditions for windsurfers.
Costs about 15 euros single. Tel: 902100107
or website: www.fredolsen.es
Fondest memory: Now there is a passenger-only ferry to Corralejo from Puerto del Carmen harbour twice a day. Takes one hour.
The kissing camels got their name from pursing their lips at visitors, as they are attracted by the smell of perfume and tobacco.
Don’t worry, due to health and safety issues the camels in the National Park now have to wear a muzzle.
Fondest memory: Only 200 of the 350 camels that live on the island, are allowed to work. They work from 6 am to 4pm every day, starting with a one and half hour walk from their stables in Uga to the edge of the Timanfaya National Park. A camel herder will be in charge of 6 camels (or caravan) at a time, which will carry twelve people around the volcano. Each caravan will make about 4 trips every day before returning to their stables. When they have been fed and watered, the camels sleep for 10 hours. The remainder of the camels are either too young, old or sick to work.
The camels in Lanzarote have only one hump and are the descendants of the original camels brought the island at the start of the conquest of Lanzarote in 1402. They were used for ploughing the land and carrying crops. In their heyday, 5,000 camels were used in agriculture. In the early 19th century, visitors to the island could expect to be transported around on camel or donkey.
Did you know that in extreme conditions camels can go without water for 7-8 days, and can drink up to 100 litres of water in 10 minutes?
Favorite thing: One of the most spectacular of the many amazing beaches is the Caleta de Famara or Famara beach. 2km of white, wind blown Saharan sand overshadowed by the most enormous cliffs I have ever seen. There is often a strong current and big waves which means you have to treat the sea with respect and never go out of your depth. The beach is a favourite of surfers, kite surfers, nudists and families but as it is so long, you are rarely within 100ft from another person, especially if you take the dirt track over the round villas (or Noruegas) and follow it down to the long stretch of shingle parking. Stone semi-circular shelters have gradually been built along the coast as protection from the wind but these can often get roastingly hot. This is not a float around in a calm, waveless sea kind of beach. It is a wind in your hair, exhilarating beach with incredible views.
Why I took Houellebecq's book "Platform" with me on Lanzarote? I don't know. Maybe because it was the smallest book on my shelf called: "read them necessarily". Anyway I hadn't special purposes to take just this book with me.
Reading it, slowly I become convinced that "Platform" was great choice. Why?
"Platform" is the controversial story with some obscene and sexual elements. But one of main plots is strictly connected with modern style of tourism. Visiting Lanzarote and reading Houellebecq I can compare the author's ideas and mass culture criticism with real situations, places and behaviors.
Lanzarote is not a place such devastated by tourist industry than other destinations. But even visiting this place, relativly free from mass tourist invasions I have to agree with Houellebecq ideas. Most of people with big smile take all the stuff, which travel agencies push in. And even more... they expect that the industry will give them this all "splendid holidays kit' including artificial natives, German pubs on Majorca and tours around island: from shopping mail to the heritage parks and from aquaparks to the ancient excavations.
Great novel not only for vacation!
P.S. Big surprise!!! Looking for info about Houellebecq I found that he wrote the novel called.... LANZAROTE. It sounds like magic. Totally by coinsidence I took with me Houellebecq "Platform" and reading it I compared author's ideas with island's reality. And... at the same time existed the same writer's book devoted just for Lanzarote. I've already ordered it from net-bookstore :))
I'm not a jewellery expert. I can only say - from my point of view - that rings, neckleces, earrings, bracelets made from Lanzarote Lava can be great souvenir or gift from your travel to this island. And these things are simply pretty. Absolutely black and porous rock with some holes in it (I suppose they were created by the evaporating water) are original body decoration.
The most bigger choice of lava jewellery you can find in Teguise art-shops. There you can also buy lava bijou mixed with olive (also post-volcanic) material called ... olivin.
And... what for people which are not wearing jewellery? Hmm... it can be difficult... healthy product form aloe, maybe cactus liquer or honey rum, if you like... t-shirt with camels or lizard.