Another day that I set out to discover what this wonderful Island has to offer. Today, big time, it’s time to see the island with the Grand Tour, one of those excursions in which you see the island from end to end visiting the most important sites. Certainly the name of the trip is just right because is a big excursion that takes more than eight hours.
My pick up point is at the Atlántico Shopping Center bus stop in Puerto del Carmen. As always I arrive before the time, so I dedicate myself to watch as buses arrive to pick up the people who have hired other excursions. Finally after having waited a little longer my bus arrives. After reviewing the list we settle into our seats and stop at the last collection points to begin our tour.
With everyone already settled Paul introduces himself, he is going to be our guide and the person in charge of explaining us everything that he can of the island and to take care of our questions; and to Nacho, that is going to be our driver today. Paul apologizes for the slight delay and explains that they have to do not only the checking but also wait a few minutes if someone is missing and give them time to arrive so that no one misses the experience.
On the way to our first stop we take a good coffee or a breakfast to gather strength for the day so intense that awaits us at the Restaurant El Campo in Yaiza. Our next destination is the fishing village of El Golfo.
Heading to El Golfo, Paul begins to tell us the characteristics of the island, its peculiarities to be a desert island and dependence on a resource as precious and basic as water that elsewhere is taken for granted and until recently was a scarce commodity on the island as the first desalination plant in Europe was settled in Lanzarote in the mid-sixties. Another important resource on the island was salt, when passing through the Salinas de Janubio and see its extension we can get the idea. Being an island that lived mainly from fishing, salt was vital for the conservation of fish.
We arrived at El Golfo where we got to admire the shore as beautiful as peculiar. The village was named after the volcano that has its open to the sea and within the crater it is El Charco de los Clicos or the Lago Verde which gets its color from a small seaweed that lives in it.
Again on the bus and in the Timanfaya National Park we stop at the Echadero of camels, here we can enjoy one of those experiences that you have to try at least once in life, take a camel ride in unique place. Also we can take a photo of our ride as a souvenir.
In this place we also find a cafeteria and a small museum dedicated to this animal and its importance in the past for agriculture and freight transport on the island.
Next stop: Montañas del Fuego, this is the most famous point of the National Park of Timanfaya. We leave behind the huge queue of entrance because the buses have preference and we arrive at the Islet of Hilario. In it we’re on top of the hottest area in the Canary Islands, about ten meters below the surface reach 600 ° C, this thermal peculiarity is exploited masterfully in various demonstrations, such as the burning of gorse by spontaneous combustion simply inserting them in holes on the floor and the heat eventually turns dry the wood, geysers formed ten seconds after introducing a bucket of water in metal tubes partially buried in the ground or oven dug into the rock where the food of the Restaurant El Diablo is prepared.
After the demonstrations we got the bus to travel the roads of the park while listening to the diary of priest D. Andrés Lorenzo Curbelo Yaiza which tells about the eruption that began in 1730 and lasted five years.
The eruptions that happened in this place buried whole towns, people had to flee to be safe. However what was a disaster for the inhabitants of that time to us has left us this wonderful lunar landscape, used in numerous films. It is not surprising that the vision of this land born of fire has captivated so many artists. The colors that we can enjoy in Timanfaya, deep, black and an almost infinite range of ocher tones up to vibrant red tones, are uniquely mixed. Looking around we have the feeling of being in another world.
Still with the image of Timanfaya engraved in our eyes we go to Mancha Blanca, it is necessary to make a stop to eat and enjoy the zone where the lava stopped in the last eruption. Here we can enjoy a buffet well served for little money and you can enjoy some typical dishes of the island.
One of the great economic activities of the island is wine, and that is reflected in the landscape of La Geria. Here the “lanzaroteño” sharpened his ingenuity taking advantage of the volcanic ash and the ground, digging a few holes where the vines are protected by souks in the form of a crescent to keep the humidity and protect them from the wind giving place to the unique landscape of La Geria. We continue on the way to one of the wineries that populate the Geria road to be able to taste some of its wines born of lava and enjoy the unique views.
With the taste of the wine still in our mouth we set off towards the north of the island, a journey where Paul tell us a little more about the towns of the island and agriculture until we arrive at the Viewpoint of the Ferns, from the height we can see the beautiful village of Haría with the Volcán de la Corona in the background, the highest point of Lanzarote and the northeastern coast of the island with the Roque del Este in the background.
Jameos del Agua
Our last stop is a totally unique place, Los Jameos del Agua, part of a very long volcanic tube that is born in the volcano of La Corona and that extends for more than 7km until entering in the sea. Conditioned by César Manrique, Jameos del Agua has a natural auditorium, the Volcano House Museum dedicated to volcanic activity, a beautiful sea water pool, a restaurant and a cafe where it is possible to eat or drink in a place completely exceptional.
In the tube lives a unique species of crab, endemic to this place: the blind crabs, symbol of the island. These crabs are albino, approximately one centimeter long and blind. The changes in their habitat affect them a lot and it is totally forbidden to throw coins into the lagoon where they live.
After the visit to Los Jameos del Agua we start our return to our places of destination. I say goodbye to Paul and Nacho who have been lovely and very kind and I go to rest from a tiring but incredible day.
In the end there have been more than ten hours of excursion, a very complete tour of the island visiting in a light way some of the most important points of interest and skipping the queues in the tourist centers, very important thing in high season. If you have a few days but want to see the island, or just want to enjoy the rest of days doing other things, I would definitely recommend this experience.