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LANZAROTE Nine Day Last-Minute Trip May 2024

LANZAROTE Nine Day Last-Minute Trip May 2024

Old Jun 2nd, 2024, 07:49 AM
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LANZAROTE Nine Day Last-Minute Trip May 2024

I am posting this in the Europe forum because it gets far more traffic than the Africa forums, where Fodors has placed the Canary Islands. And since many visitors reach Las Canarias from Spain, as we did, or from other parts of Europe, I think this is a more appropriate category for this brief report.

I knew very little about Lanzarote, or any of Las Canarias; in fact my only knowledge of these islands came from a Canarian "boyfriend" who I met while I was in summer school in Valencia, in another lifetime. Since then, I associated the islands with cheap package charters from Northern European climes that included accommodation in soulless concrete high rises. How wrong I was, at least in the case of Lanzarote.

We became acquainted more recently with the island after watching Jose Andres' CNN food series about various locations in Spain, one of which was Lanzarote. We had already planned a visit to Galicia for May and when I learned that there was a $50USD or so once-a-week flight on Vueling from Santiago to Lanzarote, our plan was hatched. (Ryanair also flies this route, more often, but I was leery about flying with them, never having done so; comments welcome on this topic)


I've written a report here about our week in Galicia, staying in three different destinations.

https://www.fodors.com/community/europe/galicia-a-week-in-may-three-destinations-1722627/



From Santiago, we then boarded the Veuling flight for Lanzarote on a Wednesday night (note that there is a one-hour time change between the Canarias and the mainland), arriving at the airport in Arrecife early in the evening of a Wednesday. We were collected (free of charge) by the driver arranged by our hotel, LANI'S SUITES. We liked the driver so much that we engaged him again for a full day tour later in our stay.

LANI'S SUITES is beachfront all-suite lodging in the most bustling town on the island. Puerta del Carmen. This is not usually "our type of place" but we loved the lava-strewn beach, the beautiful views from two terraces, the free parking and free laundry, and the exceptional staff who did everything possible to make out stay memorable. Highly recommended IF you want to be in the tourist fray.

Its impossible to discuss Lanzarote without knowing about Cesar Manrique, the artist/architect to whom the island owes is present configuration. Manrique fought against many odds to ban high rises and other scars on the landscape which had been encroaching on the other islands in the archipelago. YOU need to read about him and his work, and to see the incredible additions he made to this island. We are in awe.
There are several Manrique sights on the island and we visited a few of them and although I hate the term, "mind blowing," this is exactly what they are.

Wine lovers will revel in the unique manner developed by the islanders to grow grapes in the lava soil, buffeted by winds from the Sahara....
Food lovers.......from fish to meat, to all sorts of dishes we'd never heard of..this is a revelation.


Population of the islands is a kaleidoscope of nationalities: We met many Cubans, many Moroccans, many people from India....each and every ride in a taxi lent to a long discussion of "where are you from??" It was marvelous!!!!!! Tears were actually shed by myself and some of the Cubans I met.

Food is beyond spectacular, from fish to shellfish to what may have been the best pork I've eaten in Spain (Palacio Ico!)

Not to mention the Timanfaya National Park with its otherworldly volcanic landscape, and the Manrique sights. You may not think you have an artistic bone in your body; just wait until you visit the Jardin de Cactus, or the James del Agua.

Last of all: The cactus. This was the ONE impression I will take away and remember in my dreams.

I am happy to answer any questions, but for now, I will post a few photos, in no particular order, of our nine days on this fascinating island that gets almost no visitors from the United States.






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Old Jun 3rd, 2024, 08:08 AM
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Church on the road to Caleta de Famara, our first destination for a seafood lunch.

Stopped on route at a shop patronized by locals, and filled with many typical Canarian products, from several types of potatoes including those destined for the famous "wrinkled potatoes" of the islands, served with red and green mojos (salsas)

Interior of LA TIENDA DE LOURDES, where I received an education in foods of Lanzarote including cheeses and spirits, including the ubiquitous island tipple, Ron Miel (honeyed rum) (!!!). Wonderful shop....so many workers and patrons trying to help me learn more about local foods! In the town of SOO, near Famara. I bought many cheeses, jams, heads of purpose garlic, chorizos, mojos, picos, and other snacks; some eaten while we snacked in our hotel room; many, like those kilos of cheeses brought home with no diminution in quality, (and, of course, I brought home about 30 tins of seafood conserves from Galicia!!!!). The value as compared to the USA is astounding!

Array of local cheeses at LA TIENDA DE LOURDES. Many supermarkets sell only industrial cheeses; you have to look for the local artisanal varieties..they are superb! I brought quite a few kilos home with me!!

The town of Famara, a surfing Mecca with sandy streets and good fish restaurants. A coveted second-home address. These are the rear of the houses, most fronts face the Atlantic Ocean. Apparently a few celebrities make Famara their second home.

Interior of fish restaurant, EL RISCO, in Famara. We were the only obvious foreigners at our 4pm lunch that first day on the island. Not fancy, just great seafood...just our style.

An off-menu special of the day: Shrimp on a bed of large-flaked salt, served on a black iron pan. Terrific house-baked bread with mojo rojo, in rear
of photo. Where can I buy a few of those black sartenes???? Note how they put the hot pan on a white plate for table service.


Patatas arrugadas, the celebrated "wrinkled potatoes" of Las Canarias. Served with two mojos, the red and the green. Not difficult to make, and later that week I was treated to a private lesson in making mojo rojo in the kitchen of our hotel after I befriended the (Basque) chef...I learned a lot, and laughed a lot!!!

That was a highlight of the trip for me.

We were impressed by the kindness of every single person we met during these weeks in Galicia and on Lanzarote. Sometimes I was brought to tears by the connections we made. Several times a taxi ride in Lanzarote ended with the driver exiting the cab and coming around to help us exit and embrace us both as we said goodbye.

I'd never remembered that level of connection before. Being from New York but with connections with Latin Americans,, I immediately established a bond with the many Caribbean (mostly Cuban and a few Dominican) workers we met on the island and many pointed out the polyglot nature of the population of Lanzarote and how that reminded them of New York. We shared some history with people who had emigrated to Cuba from the Spanish mainland in search of a better life, only to have their hopes dashed once the economy took a downturn under Fidel. Many thousands now found themselves in the Canarias. And oh, that accent!!! A Castilian speaking person from Madrid might think they were in Trinidad! I admit that I had to employ all my listening skills to get the gist of what was being said, at times, and a few times I had to ask the speaker to repeat himself, which brought about some ribbing!!

I was flabbergasted by the multicultural heritage of people we met: Many Cubans and Dominicans, many Moroccans (the original emigrantes to Lanzarote were Berbers from the heights of the Atlas). I need to read up more but from what I believe so far, the indigenous Guanche peoples were all but eradicated by the incursions of, first, the light-eyed Berbers, and then a parade of people from the mainland and a host of other lands who made a stab at populating the Canarias. And then there are those known as the Sahouris, from the swath of land south' of Morocco that remains "Western Sahara" on most maps but has been under dispute, at time violent, for decades,

As one might imagine, there are many attempt to reach Las Canarias, and Lanzarote, by flimsy boat; some succeed; some meet sad ends, This was not a topic that was easily discussed the few times I hesitantly brogue it up with people I thought might not be adverse to a light discussion.



https://lanzaroteinformation.co.uk/w...-the-guanches/





I know this will be of little interest to the average readers here, but does anyone know that there is a "whistling language" still in use and still taught in the schools of the small, nearby island of La Gomera?


https://lanzaroteinformation.co.uk/w...-the-guanches/


https://www.bbc.com/travel/article/2...tes-by-whistle



I am including these tidbits to illustrate the vast diversity, not only of the island of Lanzarote, but of all of the Cararias. The archipelago has gained a reputation as an inexpensive sun-and-frolic spot within easy reach of the European mainland. That was the impression that I had. But although you surely can relax on pretty beaches and eat plenty of foods familiar from home at less expensive prices, travelers who are interested in the islands myriad natural, architectural, and food gems should be well rewarded. Not sure where else within an few hours of European cities one can fund such diversity, and superb climate, not to mention the wealth of inviting hotels and apartments in many price ranges,

Last edited by ekscrunchy; Jun 3rd, 2024 at 08:34 AM.
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Old Jun 3rd, 2024, 09:15 AM
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We flew to Lanzarote from Santiago de Compostela (after a week in Galicia where we had a rental car). Our flight cost about 50 euro per person, but we added checked luggage which made the prices higher.

There is an hour's time change from the mainland to the Canarias (earlier on the islands)
We arrived about 7:40pm and were collected by private car, free of charge, from the airport in Arrecife (the capital of Lanzarote) to our hotel in PUERTO DEL CARMEN. The driver from our hotel (who we hired for a full day tour later in the week) met us just outside the secure area bearing a placard with my name. The airport is very calm.


Puerto del Carmen is the tourist hub of Lanzarote, stretching along the beaches on the south shore of the island. The Main Street is a line of clothing shops and restaurants known for their happy hours and featuring lots of Indian and other Asian foods. None of these eating places tempted us I the least.


We chose to stay in PDC because I wanted to be able to swim in a heated pool directly on the beach. LANI'S SUITES is a unique hostelry in many ways, Service was far and beyond what one would expect. Every need was attended to within minutes, be it how to access Netflix or a request for a suntan lotion of a brand not stocked in our room. No problem: The sustain lotion would be brought to the room within minutes, as no coast to us! Not only that: The hotel brought our rental car to us the following day, and we were allowed a free spot in their spotless garage across the street. Did I mention that laundry was free??? And that we were given Crocs in our sizes to keep, as well as cute straw fedoras, and nice waffly cotton robes?

I must say that some of the room decorations were........unusual.....bur never mind: we had a vast terrace with a giant hot tub (which we never used for fear of not being able to get out once we were finished with our soak!!). Such are the concerns of the nearly old!!!!

We adored all of the staff members we met, who went out of their way to insure that every last detail was attended to. Beds were comfy and quiet and the plantings around the hotel (a firmer Manrique apartment building) were enough of a lure to make us return to Lanzarote, and to Lani's.

So while PDC is the epicenter of the party life for (the mostly) British and Irish guests, Lani's was a respite away from all that for us, with smart white rooms and a breakfast area facing a glorious sandy beach riven by black lava spills and tidal pools.....water was usually calm enough for lap swimming although a bit too cold for this swimmer who prefers temps over 28C. I could have pushed myself but with that glorious and often empty heated salt water pool just above the beach..I found my heaven there!!!!

There are other hotels with much more local character in other towns but many of those did to have swimming pools, which were an important factor for me. We had dinner in two of those hotels and each one was a charm (more soon).



Here are a few random photos of PUERTO DEL CARMEN, and of our hotel, LANI"S SUITES. the planting at Lani's, and throughout much of the island, made it difficult for me to take my attention away from my camera...I've never been an aficionado of cactus but I am certainly one now!!!






Evening view from Suite 17 (all rooms are suites)

View of Ocean from breakfast table....hot and cold foods served

Our rental car in the sparkling clean garage at Lani's Suites..have you ever seen wallpaper in a parking garage before?
Nine-day automatic Peugeot rental (shown here)=237 euro with no deductible and all insurances included. Unlimited mileage; fill up included. No IDP requested; no driving license requested. One credit card requested.


One of hundreds of fantastically shaped cacti native to Lanzarote and planted along walkways throughout Lani's Suites

Another of the irresistible cacti...I learned from a visit to Basilicata: NO TOCCARE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Those tiny spines HURT!!!!!

Succulents everywhere...make mine back home look pathetic!!!

View from our terrace toward pool and Atlantic Ocean beyond....

Plantings here are more beautiful than priceless jewels






Last edited by ekscrunchy; Jun 3rd, 2024 at 09:46 AM.
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Old Jun 3rd, 2024, 09:59 AM
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A few photos taken from car of La Geria, the wine growing area. Grapes are planted far below surface to protect them fro the ubiquitous winds, and encircled by lava semi circles to Shirley further the grapes from the often fierce winds, This is a glorious landscape to behold!!!


One or two days spent visiting the various wineries would be wonderful but even with 9 days, considering our ample time swimming, eating and relaxing, we had little time to visit the wineries.

https://www.hellocanaryislands.com/n...e-of-la-geria/






Photos suffered, as most were taken from the car of our driver, with whom we had a full-day tour of Manrique sights, with a quick pass through the wine growing area.



Note windbreaks comprised of lava stones curled into a semi-circle to protect the deeply planted grapes; the soil is lava

Lava stone windbreaks protect deeply embedded grape vines

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Old Jun 3rd, 2024, 12:16 PM
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What an interesting place !
Thank you for another report and the great pictures.

Last edited by danon; Jun 3rd, 2024 at 12:36 PM.
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Old Jun 4th, 2024, 06:00 AM
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Danon I'm glad you enjoyed!
The entire archipelago seems to be a little unknown to North American travelers but is is so easy, and so inexpensive, to add it on to a trip to Spain or even another European country....great weather, wide range of hotels, vastly different landscapes, surfing, hiking, natural parks, lovely people, great food and reasonable prices!
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Old Jun 4th, 2024, 02:56 PM
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ecks, this trip report is so fascinating! Now we have a new place to put on our travel wish list!
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Old Jul 11th, 2024, 11:25 AM
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I just opened the blue sheep cheese from FINCA DE UGA and it is fantastic!!!
We had 9 days on the island and only scratched the surface.

I heard that there are direct flights from Newark to Fuerteventura, and then a fast connect to Lanzarote...don't take my word for it, but if true.....it would make the island so much more accessible. As it is now, I don't think we saw a single person from the US. I'd go now before some article comes out in the travel press naming Lanzarote as one of the "best places to go in 2025!)
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Old Jul 11th, 2024, 11:39 AM
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eks,
I don't see any current flights from Newark to Fuerteventura but there may be plans for the future. To find what destinations Spanish airports currently serve, go to www.aena.es, click on "inglés" for English, then click on "our airports", then choose your Spain airport, in this case, FUE, then "airlines and destinations", then choose "destinations" and look under the letter N.
FUE doesn't serve EWR but perhaps there are plans for a future non-stop.

I don't see any non-stops from Fuerteventura to Lanzarote. They all go through Las Palmas. But there are daily ferry crossings. See the schedule here.

We finally have the dates for Saborea Lanzarote! Sorry to have missed Worldcanic, that went on this past Mon.-Wed.
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Old Jul 11th, 2024, 03:03 PM
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No doubt I heard incorrectly about those flights from EWR.

Maribel, you are going to love Lanzarote!
And you are staying in a much more attractive place than we did, apart from the sequined gorilla at the pool, of course.

There are two European destinations that I think might be on the cusp of becoming "famous" with American tourists.
Lanzarote is the first.
Second is the tiny town in Basilicata, Tursi, which I think will become "the next" Matera, but that will be years off. Remember my prediction ten years from now!!!

Go to Lanzarote now (as you will do) and revel in the beauty the food, the extraordinary mixture of people.....it's an undiscovered gem among the North Americans.

Me, I'm counting the days util I can book my table at El Baret in Denia!
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