Los Charcones: Natural Pools in Lanzarote

Los Charcones: Natural Pools in Lanzarote

Let’s discover the natural pools of Lanzarote: Los Charcones
When we talk about Lanzarote, we immediately think about fantastic golden beaches or with the finest black sand, and the impetuous ocean that surrounds the island. However, the big waves and the strong currents along the coast often prevent us from diving into the ocean and enjoying a nice, refreshing bath. One solution might be to spend a day at Playa Papagayo, where ocean currents are usually weaker. But if we want a bit of peace and relax, especially during the summer months, this solution may not be the best for us. 
Recently, while looking at some photos of Lanzarote on Instagram, I discovered a fascinating place I had never heard of before. This amazing place was called Los Charcones.
Los Charcones (from Spanish: the big ponds) are just “puddles”. They were created by the proximity of the rocky coastline to the ocean, creating beautiful natural pools.

 

Here, we can dive without the fear of waves or strong currents, as if we were in a pool!

 

This phenomenon occours in several parts of Lanzarote, but the most famous Charcones are those located on the southwest coast. From the far west end of Playa Blanca, for several kilometers to the north, we can find several natural pools.

Reaching this place isn’t very easy. I personally managed to find Los Charcones only at the third attempt! But if it were so simple, it wouldn’t be so quiet and without any crowd.

How to get there

There are two ways to reach Los Charcones.

• From Playa Blanca: Go to the west of the city and then head north along the coast. It’s very risky to drive on this road if you don’t have a SUV or 4x4. I suggest to park the car just as soon as you realize that the condition of the path is too poor to continue. Then just go ahead walking.

• From the north: get to Las Salinas de Janubio and take the Via Ciclista that leads to Playa Blanca. You’ll be on the parallel path to the main road. Pay attention to your right, because at some point you’ll see a small sign saying PLAYA. Here you have to turn. If you fail you have to arrive until Playa Blanca and come back!
So take this road, get to the proximity of the coast and you’ll see the Water Station on the right. At this point you can decide whether to park the car and walk for a few kilometers or, if you have a car that has no problems on the dirt road, drive to the path on the left.

Unfortunately, I can’t tell you exactly where to stop, because there aren’t many landmarks on the dirt road. I suggest you to stop every now and then to go and have a look on the coast to see if you are near any Charcones.

Be very careful: some natural pools are really beautiful to see from above but impossible to reach! (Unless you have a helicopter 😃.) If you see that there is literally nobody and the descent seems too difficult, just keep walking! You’ll surely find other Charcones with an easier descent.

So, after discovering that Lanzarote isn’t just made up of golden or volcanic beaches but also by beautiful natural pools, we can thank Mother Nature for the wonderful work it has done and enjoy our well-deserved relax!

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WATCH MY VIDEO DISCOVERING LOS CHARCONES:

Jameos del Agua: a Tiny Underground World

Jameos del Agua: a Tiny Underground World

Jameos del Agua: a tiny underground world

Lanzarote is an island full of surprises and extraordinary places: one of these is the gorgeous Jameos del Agua.
Located on the northeast of the island, just after the village of Arrieta, Jameos del Agua is the final point of the volcanic tunnel that also includes Cueva de los Verdes.

The term “Jameo” means puddle: in fact, there are several lakes inside this underground tunnel. This phenomenon is attributed to its the proximity to the ocean and its location below sea level!

Cesar Manrique was the one who had the brilliant idea of adapting a unique ecosystem with architecture, respecting the naturalness of the place. Inside the Jameos del Agua we can find rare species of plants and animals: inside the cave, there is a natural pool where a kind of albino crab unique in the world is living!

Outside the cave, there is a wonderful garden with a crystalline pool surrounded by palm trees and different species of plants like beautiful Hibiscus!
It’s such an enchanting place that makes us feel like in a fairy tale!

There are two more fascinating places in this structure: the Auditorium and la Casa de los Volcanes.

  • The Auditorium is a concert hall that takes advantage of the natural acoustics of the volcanic cave. Inside, concerts of classical music and Dj sets are regularly organized.
  • La Casa de los Volcanes is a museum and an interactive center dedicated to the study of volcanic phenomena. Here they carry out numerous scientific studies and training activities accompanied by audiovisual material: interactive maps, photos, videos and much more. After visiting this center, the world of volcanoes will no longer have secrets!

If all this is not enough, in the Jameos del Agua you can find a restaurant and a bar ready to satisfy your culinary needs!

How to get there

Head towards Costa Teguise and follow the directions for the Jameos del Agua or Arrieta!

How much

• Adults: 9 euros
• Children up to 12 years: 4,50 euros
• Discount for canary residents

In my opinion the Jameos del Agua is one of the most fascinating places on the island, and is well worth a visit! During the summer, I suggest you visit it early in the morning or in the afternoon so you can enjoy the tour without too much crowd!

If you have any comments or questions about Jameos del Agua please leave a comment below!

Caleta de Famara: the surfers’ paradise

Caleta de Famara: the surfers’ paradise

Caleta de Famara: the surfers’ paradise
You know those movies set in California, where the boys with their vans loaded with surfboards scan the horizon waiting for the perfect wave? Caleta de Famara seems to be out of one of these films, with the difference that we are in Europe and not in America!
Situated on the northwest coast of the island, Caleta de Famara has always been a fishing village but, recently, it has developed tourism thanks to surf.

Throughout the village, we can find many surf shops that sell not only sport products but also surf and kite surfing lessons! In fact, heading towards the great Famara beach, we can see many groups of surf schools!

Famara beach is a rare beauty: almost 6 km long,  it’s the largest of the island and the wave-shaped mountain that dominates the bay is a unique charm. This mountain is called “Risco”, and it’s the highest peak of the whole island with its 670 meters.

The beach is of fine golden sand and it’s absolutely forbidden to take a bath! Here the currents are very strong and dangerous and it’s allowed to enter in the water only when you practice surf, under the supervision of lifeguards.

How to get there
• By car

Follow the directions for Teguise. Just before arriving in this town, you will find a roundabout with a sign indicating Caleta de Famara: turn here.

This road is very beautiful and panoramic: you’ll drive surrounded by desert, framed by La Graciosa and Risco mountain and the ocean on the horizon.

• By bus

Line 20 from Arrecife

Line 31 from Costa Teguise
Where to eat

As I said at the beginning of the article, Famara was a fishing village and its history is mainly related to fishing. For this reason, we can find good seafood restaurants all over the village, but in particular one stands out to be in the Michelin guide: the restaurant “El Risco”. The quality of the products and the fresh fish used by this restaurant makes it certainly one of the best on the island and it’s definitely worth a try!

Where to sleep
During a holiday, staying at Famara could be a smart choice as the village is in a strategic location, convenient to reach both the north and south of the island.

There are different kinds of accommodation, depending on how much you want to spend and how many people you are.
• Famara Bungalow
High budget. Suitable for families or groups

Exactly in front of Famara beach we find these very recent residential buildings, independent cottages that climb on Risco de Famara and overlook the village. From here there is a great view and if you have the economic possibilities I recommend this kind of accommodation.

• Surfhouse
Medium / Low Budget. Suitable for single travelers, groups of friends or couples.
Every surf shop you will encounter certainly has a surfhouse under management.
The Surfhouses are houses shared with other people who come to Famara mostly for surfing and / or take lessons. There are both single and shared rooms available, and the rest of the house is all to share. It’s a very fun experience if you want to meet other people and make friends!
• Apartment in Caleta de Famara
Medium / High budget. Suitable for families or groups

Inside the village there are plenty of houses for tourists. Most of these apartments can be found on Airbnb’s website.

Famara is definitely one of the most magical places in Lanzarote and a visit to this resort is compulsory!
I recommend a walk on the beach during the sunset: the colors of Risco mountain and the coast will leave you breathless!

If you have any questions or comments about Caleta de Famara, leave a comment below!

Cueva de los Verdes: inside a volcanic tunnel

Cueva de los Verdes: inside a volcanic tunnel

Cueva de los Verdes: inside a volcanic tunnel

We’ve already seen in the previous articles that Lanzarote is a volcanic island, characterized by many craters and volcanic rocks.The island’s landscape is not the only part to have these characteristics, but its undergrounds too: Cueva de los Verdes is the proof.

 

Cueva de los Verdes is a cave formed in the volcanic underground due to various eruptive activities of the volcano Corona.
We are in the north east of Lanzarote, where volcano Corona is the main protagonist of the northern landscapes: it’s the highest volcano of the island, with its 609 meters high.

Cueva de los Verdes extends into a tunnel of several kilometers, starting from the Corona volcano and reaching the coast. Its interior is of a disarming charm: crossing the tunnels you feel as if you have been swallowed up in the center of the Earth.

Between 1500 and 1600 this cave was used by the population to hide from pirates coming from the African coasts. Only later, after 1800, this cave started to become the subject of studies and an obligatory stop for travelers and scientists enchanted by this incredible volcanic formation.

During the last century, César Manrique and Jesus Soto, a native artist of Fuerteventura, worked together to ensure that this enchanting creation of nature was accessible to visitors who wanted to discover the secrets of this magical place.

How to get there

You can get to the Cueva de los Verdes only taking your car, following the signposts for Arrieta. Arriving here, turn left following the directions for the Cueva, located in the opposite side of the Jameos del Agua.

How much
  • For adults: 9 euros
  • For children under 12 years: 4.50 euro
  • Discount for canary residents

The tour that is offered takes about an hour. Throughout the route you will be accompanied by a guide that will explain to you many interesting things about this fascinating tunnel.
At some point, in the middle of the Cueva, you will notice a stage and some chairs: here concerts of opera and classical music often take place, taking advantage of the natural acoustics of this magnificent cave!

If you have any doubts or comments regarding the Cueva de los Verdes leave a comment below!

Mirador del Rio: to be in the seventh heaven

Mirador del Rio: to be in the seventh heaven

Mirador del Rio: to be in the seventh heaven.

Have you ever wondered how does God look at us from the clouds? Well, from Mirador del Rio we can get an idea. 🙂

At the top of the far north of Lanzarote, located on the edge of the Risco de Famara mountain, we find a magnificent viewpoint that shows us from above the wonderful island of La Graciosa and the entire Chinijo archipelago.

The landscape is surreal, it seems to be in the middle of the clouds and the color contrasts of the sea and the island are spectacular.
We are more than 470 meters high, and beyond the splendid view of the islets in front, we can admire the Risco mountain and the beach below where the Salinas del Rio are located: the oldest saltern of the island.

The “Rio” is the name of the strip of sea that separates La Graciosa from Lanzarote’s coast placed under the Mirador, which is why it was called “Mirador del Rio”.

Mirador del Rio is a very characteristic work of the famous architect Cèsar Manrique: it’s a stone building that adapts perfectly to the surrounding landscape so that you don’t immediately notice where the entrance is.
Inside there is a bar where you can order food or drinks enjoying an unbelievable panorama.
There is also a souvenir shop where you can buy typical products to bring home.

How to get

The only way you can get to the Mirador del Rio is with your own car.
Follow the signs for Harìa and here you will find many road signs that will show you how to get to the Mirador.

How much
  • For adults: 4,50 euros
  • For children under 12 years: 2.25 euros
  • Discount for canary residents

If this panorama has fascinated you, when you leave the Mirador del Rio with  your car go along the road that starts on the left of the building: from the road you can still enjoy the exciting view of Graciosa from above!

If you have any comments or questions about Mirador del Rio, leave a comment below!

La Graciosa: the eighth island of the Canary islands

La Graciosa: the eighth island of the Canary islands

La Graciosa: the eighth island of the Canary archipelago
Although it has not been officially recognized as such, we can state that La Graciosa is the eighth largest island of the Canary Islands, underpopulated due its reduced  dimensions, but with its inhabitants proud of their origins on this corner of paradise of the size of just 29.05 km².
Located in front of the north coast of Lanzarote, La Graciosa is part of the Chinijo archipelago, a group of very small islands of which La Graciosa is the largest and is the only inhabited one.

There are only two settlements: Pedro Barba and Caleta de Sebo. The first is on the north and it is almost completely uninhabited, just with few houses close to the coast.
Caleta del Sebo is the main core, where we find the important services of the island, houses, shops and the harbour.

The rest of the island is completely uninhabited and wild, an ideal place to break away from the routine and immerse yourself in a state of deep relaxation.
How to get

First of all, you must reach the north of Lanzarote, more precisely the port of Orzola. From here there are two ferry companies that take you directly to La Graciosa:

If you click on the company name you can see the departure times from the port of Orzola and Caleta de Sebo.

Roundtrip fare
  • For adults: 20 euros
  • For child (under 12 years): 11 euros

 

  • Canary resident: 10 euros
Getting around in La Graciosa

Crossing the sea tongue called El Rio that separates Lanzarote from the Graciosa, you will soon notice that this island is a true paradise. The light blue turquoise color of the sea has nothing to envy to the Caribbean, and the whole island enjoys calm and peace.

There are several paths across the island and you can visit La Graciosa in different ways, depending on your physical preparation !

  • On foot

If you are trekking enthusiasts and enjoy walking a lot, you can visit this lovely island by following some routes that take you to the different beaches.

  • By bike

If you don’t want to walk and want to be independent, this is the option for you. As soon as you get to Caleta del Sebo you will notice several shops where they rent bicycles for a price around 10 euros a day.

  • Taxi Jeep

You will immediately notice that at La Graciosa there are no roads with asphalt: the reason is to preserve its nature.
That’s why you can’t bring your own car to visit the island.
If you aren’t used to walking a lot or to use a bike, you can contact one of the Taxi Jeep in Caleta del Sebo. For a price of around 20 euros you will be carried back and forth from a beach of your choice.

Where to eat

As I said before, Caleta del Sebo is the only core of the island and for this reason only here you can buy food in a Bakery, or stop at a typical restaurant and enjoy what the kitchen offers!
Since it’s all fresh food, you will find a daily updated menu with available dishes!

The most beautiful beaches

All the beaches of Graciosa are wonderful but my favorite is Playa de las Conchas.
Located on the opposite side of the island from Caleta del Sebo, Playa de las Conchas is a small piece of paradise on Earth. After about 40 minutes by bike from the port, or an hour and a half walking, you will reach this divine beach with golden and super thin sand that it looks like flour.

Across the bay, surrounded by the impressive contrasts of color of the sea, it emerges Montaña Clara, a small and curious island of only 2.7 km². Also Montaña Clara has volcanic origin and it is part of the Chinijo archipelago along with La Graciosa.
Behind the beach we find a particular purple hill, called Montaña Bermeja (Red Mountain), which creates beautiful contrast colors with the surrounding environment: the green of the vegetation, the golden beach and the celestial blue of the sea and sky!
This beach is really something unique to see and, with no doubt, it’s worth a visit!
Useful recommendations

If you decide to explore the island and get away from Caleta del Sebo, you have to keep in mind that you will not find any shops or bars for refreshments or protection from the sun.

That’s why you should not forget to bring with you:

  • At least one large bottle of water to keep you hydrated
  • Something to eat in order not to lose energy
  • A hat that repairs your head from the sun
  • Sunscreen
  • Sneakers, especially if you have to walk or go biking

Take a day off and visit this beautiful island, I promise you will not be disappointed!
If you prefer to visit it all around with more calm, you can rent an apartment for few days!
By clicking here: Booking.com , you can find lots of accommodation, just typing “La Graciosa”!

If you have any comment about La Graciosa, please leave a comment below!

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