Mirador Del Rio
At the very northern tip of Lanzarote at Punta Fariones, an outcrop of rock and lava that cuts like a gigantic knife into the sea, between the cape and the South-eastern coast of the island Isla Graciosa is a stretch of water known as El Rio or the river. Some 1500 feet above the sea perched on top of Punta Fariones cliff is the Mirador Del Rio, an incomparable spot from which to contemplate a view which will not be easily forgotten. Your gaze will stretch out between the sea and the sky as if from the bow of a giant ship.
In the most privilege corner of the Mirador is a peaceful restaurant from whose window the visitor may gaze out. You aree able to see the islands of La Graciosa, Montana Clara and Allegranza only La Graciosa is inhabited.
Venture past the souvenir shop up the spiral staircase to the roof of the Mirador for an even more spectacular view of this natural wonder, below are the Famara cliffs and the Famara salt flats and what seems like only an arm’s length a way the principle town of the little island.
Just under 300 years ago a young man who lived on the island of Lanzarote discovered the power of the dormant volcanoes ash. During the 1730 – 1736 eruption the fertile agricultural lands of the island had been covered in lava, the inhabitants who stayed on the island had to rely on the other islands and the fisherman to survive. It was found that by digging a small hole in the soil, planting a young vine and then covering it with volcanic ash the vine was able to grow and flourish.
Jameos Del Aqua
Jameos Del Aqua is the name given to the part of the Coronas volcano lava tube where it meets the Atlantic ocean. Here you’ll discover the small underground lake which is below sea level, the water is filtered through the volcanic rock and is crystal clear. The fauna of this lake has been cut off from the sun for three thousand years and includes unique species such as the blind albino lingoustine.
Jameos Del Aqua has been turned into a modern and highly original entertainment venue which without spoiling the natural beauty of the place provides the visitor the opportunity to attend musical events in an unusual setting.
You enter the Jameos from an opening in the earths crust and walk down volcanic steps, first into the famous restaurant. On this level do not follow the crowds but head left and look deep into the earth in the opening to the rear of the bar. Head back to the volcanic steps but take care as they go all the way to the bottom of the crystal clear lake and your eyes can deceive you. Spend a few moments here to allow your eyes to adjust from the bright sunlight until you can see to the bottom of the lake. As if by magic you will see what look like white crystals when in fact the are the unique blind albino lingoustine, found nowhere else on earth.
Walk alongside the lake and through the cavern, noting the chimney in the roof that lets some sunlight penetrate this underground lake. You will walk upwards and out into the actual Jameos which is where the roof of the lava tube collapsed creating this wonderful open space, which is dominated by the beautiful swimming pool designed by Cesar Manrique. On your left is a waterfall and a path that leads to the auditorium where Pavarotti once played.
Walk up the staircase and you will arrive at the little cafe bar, however venture over to the far right and you will find the volcanic museum and views overlooking the Jameos Del Aqua.
In the northern part of the island the visitor finds one of those natural phenomena with which Lanzarote surprises us at every step.
The Jameos Del Aqua is a volcanic tube caused by an eruption from the Corona volcano. This tube cooled and solidified externally, whilst inside the lava continued to flow until it ran out, the walls collapsed to various levels leaving behind caves of various sizes.
One of the most important stretches of these formations is called Cueva De Los Verdes or the green caves. These caves measure two kilometers in length and between thirty to forty meters in height.
Galleries, passages, natural stairways, labyrinths, underground lagoons flanked by cliffs, seemingly bottomless abysses give the visitor the impression of being the first person to gaze upon these stones and stalactites.
However the hand of the artist is present, albeit unseen, a magnificent system of artificial lighting helps nature show itself in all its splendour without technology being apparent.
Halls specially prepared for conferences, with seating capacity for more than five hundred people, or for music, where lava stone walls provide sound of outstanding purity; these are just a few of the surprised which await the visitor to these natural wonders.
Low and behold La Geria and the wine region was born, a short distance away La Geria looks like the pitted surface of a golf ball with its individual vines and the Zocos a curved wall made out of basalt volcanic rock. The Zocos captured moister from the wind and protected the delicate vine from the strong Northerly winds. In each mini crater the inhabitants grew vines that yield abundant crops and produce a wine that Shakespeare himself praised highly. “El Grifo” is one of the vineyards that specialise in producing the wine that is extracted from the Malvasia grape. In spite of there being no rivers or rain, the holes in which the vines grow capture the humidity swept in by the sea breeze thanks to a fine layer of sand and volcanic ash laid by the farmers, a wonderful example of ecological engineering and popular wisdom.
To the west of Yaiza lies El Golfo, a marvellous natural bay still unaffected by tourism or agriculture. This is a veritable paradise waiting to be discovered by visitors searching for peace and tranquility. The scenery is just one more of those extraordinary gems that Lanzarote keeps jealously to itself and then reveals itself little by little to the visitor. On the beach there is an emerald-green lagoon, separated from the sea by a bank of sand and flanked on the other side by the interior cliff of a volcanic crater with its hypnotic symphony of colours that contrast with the deep blue of the sea and the brilliant green of the water at its foot.
El Golfo is well worth a visit to enjoy the beauty that nature alone is capable of creating. The village which is close by is famous throughout the island for its excellent fresh fish and its cuisine.
Salinas Del Janubio
On the Southwest coast of the island visitors will encounter a large brackish lake and the salt flats of the Salinas Del Janubio, an impressive man made landscape like some immense chequered board of blinding whiteness, surrounded by dark lava and with the deep blue sea as a backdrop.
The Salinas Del Janubio produces most of the salt required by the fishing industry of Lanzarote. The mounds of salt, lined up in almost military ranks, contrast with the picturesque windmills dotted around the area. The main tourist attraction in the area are “La Hoya” and “Las Brenas”, ancient and peaceful villages of stark white and wonderful beach of dark volcanic sand.
The same combination of volcanic eruptions and relentless attack of the sea that shaped El Golfo has also created an entirely different landscape at Los Hervideros. Where in El Golfo there is peace and tranquility at Los Hervideros there is force and energy; where in the former there are polychromatic cliffs, here is the eternal dark grey volcanic lava.
This is a cliff lined coast with enormous boulders tumbling into the sea in a cascade of tangled shapes and deep clefts into which the ocean roars with each surge of the waves. It is this constant surge and the roar that gives the place its name “Los Hervideros or the boiling pots”. Columns of foam shoot upwards into the air, always the same and yet ever-changing, embellishing the tortured dark rocks with brilliant arabesques of white lace.
After reading this article you no doubt will be wondering why Timanfaya Volcano hasn’t yet been featured. Well as this area is most likely the main attraction I have dedicated a whole post just for the national park.
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