Canary Islands – Lanzarote

Lanzarote was the first Canary Island we visited and a very good ambassador for the other islands. We were impressed with its strange lunar landscape, black sand beaches, and many activities. Although this island has many affordable accommodations and amenities, it is clear that there is a lot of thought, money, and effort that has gone into making this an oasis for the upscale traveler.

Fresh wide roads lined with imported palm trees, national parks, official tourist sites, art, architecture, an underwater sculpture installation, and a glossy local magazine make this island well suited for anyone but particularly alluring for an older crowd.

While sitting at a pier side eatery on nearby Fuerteventura island, on another trip, my husband and I looked longingly at Lanzarote from a distance. As we tried to drink a half-decent coffee while fellow tourists smoked and even drank alcohol(9am), we realized we were too old, maybe too uptight for the extreme sports/party-hard vibe of Fuerteventura.

While Fuerteventura has white sand beaches and a little something for everyone, Lanzarote is a beacon of a well-designed and maintained experience. Buses that take you through active volcanoes, flower and cacti gardens, and restaurants serving fine local wine.

The Mirador Del Rio

Lanzarote was home to the famous artist/architect, CΓ©sar Manrique and his imprint is everywhere. The Mirador Del Rio offers amazing panoramic views of neighboring islands and the Atlantic Ocean, Jameos del Agua (pictured below) FundaciΓ³n CΓ©sar Manrique, and Museo Lagomar to name a few. Not to mention, at the request of CΓ©sar Manrique, most of the homes and buildings on the island adhere to a standard look- white walls with green window shutters and doors.

Can you imagine having so much power or sway that you can decide how others paint their homes? I guess that exists in some condominium complexes, but I can’t imagine buying a home or flat and getting a knock on the door because I went wild and painted my window shutters taupe.

Jameos del Agua
Salt fields

Aside from tourism, Lanzarote is known for its salt fields and wine vineyards. Two products that are possible as a result of the volcanic activity on the island. We bought some salt from an old guy and his cats in a small shed near the salt fields above.

JardΓ­n de Cactus – CACT Lanzarote

We spent a nice hour or so at this cactus garden. Beautifully maintained with many different types of Cacti. Another work by CΓ©sar Manrique, the buildings offered large bulbous windows, a windmill lookout, and over 1400 species of Cacti.

4 wheeling tour along the coast

Although my husband and I spent our original honeymoon in Cuba, we took a sort of second honeymoon six months later. We started in Seville where we attended one of the best weddings I’ve ever been to, five nights in Lanzarote, and then finished with a week in Lisbon.

So, we were the ultimate travelers booking day trips and seeing the sights like it was going out of style. The first few years with our son were very different. If we could make it to a restaurant and walk around a bit, we were satisfied. I’m glad to say things are getting back on track and our vacations are filling up once more with activities and sites to see.

So, if tours and sites are your thing, then Lanzarote is the place. Aside from visiting art and architecture points of interest, there are many land and water sports to try as well. We did a 4 wheeler tour along the coast that was so much fun. My husband drove and I sat on the back taking photos, videos and enjoying the scenery. We drove along dirt paths sometimes by the water other times seemingly inland. It’s no surprise that Lanzarote has been the location of many films as its landscape is a mix of strange and extraordinary.

By the end of the 4-wheeler experience, everyone looked as though they had sat in the sprain tanner too long as our skin was a bright clay color from all the dirt and dust.

Surf’s up! Surf lessons

We tried-lol! Back in 2017 before having a baby, I was in pretty good shape. I was a chronic and habitual super fast walker, yogi and did the nautilus machines at the gym a few times a week. But, I clearly lacked a lot of core strength, strong stomach muscles as I just couldn’t do the pop-ups with much luck. I think I managed to get up on one knee a few times, but that was it. But, it was so much fun. The beach was beautiful, and the water was the perfect temperature. We went with a nice team of instructors and some Irish families.

There are surf schools all over the island, so just do a search for what you’re after. If you’re looking to go out, like we did, for a few hours, or if you refuse to leave the island until you learn how to surf and need to surf all week, there is an option for everyone.

Kite Surfing

Although we didn’t attempt to kitesurf, I’ve long heard that the Canary islands provide some of the best conditions for epic kite surfing.

Scuba diving! I have long wanted to try this. We did an introductory lesson and then the next day decided to try to swim the underwater art installation Museo AtlΓ‘ntico Lanzarote. My husband did both and really enjoyed himself. I however did not.

The first day, I was taken with how heavy the scuba equipment was and how uncomfortable the weighted belt was. I definitely enjoyed swimming underwater, watching the fish and as we were only 2 metres under the surface, I felt fine. Until my throat felt so dry from the oxygen and I was terrified I would start coughing.

I really wanted to see the Museo AtlΓ‘ntico Lanzarote underwater art installation, so we attempted to go the next day. However, it was much deeper than I had been led to believe and I didn’t feel safe. I had painful pressure in my ears and was once again worried about my throat.

My husband went and was able to enjoy the underwater statues. I went back to the boat and heard some hilarious stories, tales of dives gone wrong, and life on Lanzarote from the boat driver.

I love to swim and would have spent hours snorkeling in an underwater art installation if it had been shallower. But, I really don’t think I’ll ever be able to scuba dive. Something about the oxygen, my throat, and ear pressure made me really nervous- although, I rarely have a problem with my ears when flying…so I don’t know.

If I do try again, I will take my time with an in-pool scuba diving course. There are so many things that you only learn by experience. It’s less scary to learn those things in a controlled environment.

If you have any trace of a cold or headache, allergies, throat irritations, you probably shouldn’t dive.

Tourist center at Timanfaya National Park

So, we took a greyhound like bus up through the volcanos at Timanfaya National Park, and I have to say it was one of the scariest things I have ever done. The roads are narrow, and the bus driver went fast. At some points, I couldn’t look out the window as I couldn’t for the life of me understand how the bus had not tipped over. However, upon reaching the top, we saw a geyser spouting from the ground, grabbed a snack, and shopped for souvenirs.

Lanzarote is definitely a place I would like to go back to. Maybe even stay for the summers and try my luck at surfing again with my son. There are 6 vegan and vegetarian restaurants and almost 80 places offering some kind of veg options. We went to a few places including, The V Factor, which was fantastic. But, it looks like there are some nice new places so we’ll make a repeat visit soon.

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