Lanzarote for the non sun-seeker – Part 1

We are a family that normally spurns sitting in the sun and yet here we were in the sun drenched island of Lanzarote and staying at one of the tourist resorts. What fun could we have? Quite a lot as it turned out.

Playa Bastian apartments
Playa Bastian apartments

We were based in a lovely apartment in the resort of Costa Teguise and were lucky enough to have a pool, be near the sea and have quiet neighbours. The key to enjoying the island as a non sun-seeker however is a car. Nowhere on the island is more than a 30-40 minute drive from Arricife and the roads were well maintained and for the most part well sign-posted. For those interested in a bit of culture and some stunning natural scenery there is at least a weeks worth of things to see and do.

We were here in late September, early October which is the off-season for Lanzarote. It meant that things were generally fairly quiet but also it was quite warm (late 20’s) and a fair few places were closed or had limited opening.

Castillo de San Jose and the Museum of Art
On the outskirts of Arricife and overlooking the town and port is the small but well preserved 18th century fort of San Jose. It’s nice views and interesting architecture make this interesting enough but it also houses a contemporary art collection. The restaurant here is amazing both for views and interior decoration. The wooden bar is particularly cool.

Castillo de San Jose
Castillo de San Jose

Jardin de Cactus (Cactus Garden)
The most influential person on the island, visually at least, is the artist César Manrique. Apart from his many art works his style and influence over the island is still far reaching. One of his last projects was the Cactus Garden, built out of a disused quarry and using over 10,000 different cactus plants it is quite a wonderful place. I’m not a person normally that fussed over gardens but this really intrigued me and I liked it a lot.

Jardin de Cactus
Jardin de Cactus

Cueva de los Verdes (The Green Caves)
In the middle of a lava sea in the north of the island lie the Green caves (named after a nearby family, not the colour of the caves). They are formed out of an old volcanic tube, where a lava river has crusted over and created a tunnel. In total there is something like 7km of tunnel to be explored.

You can only explore as part of a group and ours was huge (at least 30-40) with a guide speaking spanish and then an English translation. I never timed it, but the spanish bit always seemed to take a lot longer. Hmmm.

The caves themselves were fairly interesting but slightly tricky to get through with a couple of smallish passages and low ceiling sections. The whole thing was made more difficult by me having my 16 month old daughter in a baby carrier on my back. She, however, loved it. The coolest bit was an underground pool that perfectly reflected the ceiling like mirror. Good but i’m not sure it was great value for eight euros although I may have felt better if the translation from the guide had been longer and the group size smaller.

Cueva de los Verdes
Mirror pool at Cueva de los Verdes

See all the pictures from the trip.

For the continued adventures, go to part 2.

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