Lanzarote ~ where desert meets the beach

Trip Start Nov 01, 1999
1
6
Trip End Nov 30, 1999


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Flag of Spain and Canary Islands  ,
Thursday, November 10, 2005

Lanzarote ~ This arid island is only 330 sq. miles; pretty small for being home to 300 extinct volcanoes. Its lunar appearance radiates natural hues of red, copper, gray and black. The lava-rich soil is used by locals to balance with the lack of rain to grow garden vegetables and maintain healthy vineyards. Their pristine beaches are popular with many European visitors (although we found the water in November is a little to cold for our liking).

We stayed at Los Fariones, one of many beach-front resorts that cater to the European group tours. Vacationers spend most of the days around the pool or on the beaches, which leaves the island's more interesting sites free of tourist crowds.

Typical landscape for this island consists mostly of volcanoes, palm trees, cactus and vegetable gardens. A main attraction is Jardin de los Cactus in Guatiza houses more than 1,400 species artfully displayed in a volcanic crater. The gardens are designed by the island's own Cesar Manrique who masterfully turned nature into works of art.

The centerpiece of the island is Timanfaya National Park which provides an extensive look at the "mountains of fire" and offers a tourist favorite, camel rides around the entrance of the Park. Doubling up on a dromedary outside the entrance to Parque Nacional de Timanfaya, we experienced a seesaw ride while avoiding the camel antics of others....for some, there's no holding back.

What we liked about Lanzarote:
1. The efforts of local Cesar Manrique - "Wow!" - what beautifully designed natural landmarks
2. Our Los Fariones resort was conveniently located to the beach and the main promenade of town - and daily tours to any site on the island (or others)
3. Cleanliness of the island - even the buildings are painted in clean white with either blue trim for coastal locations or green for interior
4. Typical Canarian dishes found "off-the-tourist-circuit" and at Municipalities de Camsepito is superb esp. limpets, octopus, and guelds (fried minnows)

What we didn't care for on Lanzarote:
1. Toilets with no water tank - where's the natural preservation where it comes to toilets that run for minutes to no end
2. Beating out the early risers in claiming a claise lounge by the pool with the hotel's $2.00 deposit beach towel
3. Shopkeepers seemed more interested in stalking customers than helping them
4. The island's stray cat population likely out- numbers the shopkeepers who feed them at closing time
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Comments

oskar
oskar on

Love traveling abroad to exotic locations
Enjoyed reading about Lanzarote...what an interesting island. It makes me want more information. Can't wait to read about the other Canary Islands.

zoeg
zoeg on

Canary Islands or bust...
Right? Some people love them, some don't...but what an unique place to chill...or I should say, sun! The beaches will do, waters a bit cold, but the volcano park is a must. Pass on the camel ride and try their volcano grilled fare. Wash it down with one of their awesome local vinos. Loved not running into too many tourists. Keep island hopping...

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