One of the things you will notice in Lanzarote is how big an impact Cesar Manrique has had on how people enjoy the island today. Thanks to him, Lanzarote’s nature has taken a primary role on every visitor’s and local’s lives. Natural resources and touristic attractions have become one. That is specially noticeable in his master works, also know as the CACT Lanzarote (The Art, Culture and Tourism Centers of Lanzarote).
In the 9 CACT Lanzarote locations Cesar Manrique brought culture, art and nature together in a harmonious way. Gardens, underground auditoriums, volcanic restaurants, are some of the wonders in CACT Lanzarote. He had a vision and a passion, which now more than 54 million visitors have enjoyed since 1995. Of course, we were not going to be the exception. During our recent visit to the island, I partnered up with Tourism Lanzarote. They graciously organised a combi ticket for me to visit the CACT Lanzarote centers.
As we only had a week to enjoy Lanzarote, we decided to integrate our CACT Lanzarote visits into our day-trip itineraries. Most of the CACT Lanzarote spaces are located within the north of the island. They are not far away from each other. But yet, not all can be reached by public transport. Renting a car, like we did, will make your life a lot easier.
We were staying in Puerto del Carmen so we drove up from there towards our first stop. We decided to start at Cesar Manrique’s Cactus Garden (Jardín de Cactus).
This garden is a collection of 10000 specimen of around 4ooo different species of cactus. It is located in an old volcanic sand (picón) quarry. This volcanic sand was and still is an important part of Lanzarote’s agriculture. The locals use it to cover their crop to keep water on the ground. The picón can keep the ground hydrated for up to six months. Given that in Lanzarote it rains about 20 days per year, it comes in handy.
By then Cesar Manrique had us fascinated. This resulted on us making an extra stop at his former house. It is now a museum. Unfortunately we got a bit lost looking for the Casa Museo Cesar Manrique. Most signs were a bit worn off. It was all worth it though.
After the inspiring stop at Cesar Manrique’s house, we drove on northbound to the Mirador del Río.
Here we fell in love with the view, who wouldn’t? And made a pact to visit La Graciosa (small island north from Lanzarote) next time we are in town. This, knowing me, will be sooner than later.
Anyhow, after a dreamy smoothie at the café inside the Mirador del Río,
we made our way through the coastline all the way to Cueva de los Verdes. It is a 7,5 km-long lava tube formed over 3000 years ago during the eruption of Monte Corona. originally used by the locals to hide from European pirates and other incoming dangers from the north of Africa. Now, a 2 km underground experience enriched by carefully placed illumination and background music, and a natural concert hall with capacity for 500 guests.
Once we emerged from earth’s gut, we crossed the street towards the ocean and into Jameos del Agua. Jameo is the local word to refer to a cavern, in this case the caverns resulting from the roof of the lava tube collapsing.
This complex structure created in the 1960s and 1970s around the natural “jameos” invites the visitor to admire nature and culture come together. With a restaurant, a volcanic research center and museum, and a volcanic auditorium, Jameos del Agua is also the home to a unique and endemic species of blind albino micro crabs. They only exist here and are extremely sensitive to the changes (light, temperature, oxide, etc) to the pond where they live inside the “Jameos”, which could kill them. For that reason, throwing coins is prohibited.
A short coastal drive away from Jameos del Agua is Arrieta. This picture-perfect fishing town was the cherry-on-top of the perfect day trip. With a romantic dinner by the soothing ocean with yet one more of those beautiful Lanzarote sunset as backdrop.
You can get several combi passes to visit the CACT Lanzarote centers.
Bono 3 Centers: 20€ adult | 10€ child (7-12 years old)
2 centers to choose from these: Jameos del Agua, Cueva de los Verdes and Montañas de Fuego
1 center to choose from these: Mirador del Río and Jardín de Cactus
Bono 4 Centers: 26€ adult | 13€ child (7-12 years old)
Jameos del Agua, Cueva de los Verdes y Montañas de Fuego
1 center to choose from these: Mirador del Río, Jardín de Cactus
Bono 6 Centers: 30€ adult | 15€ child (7-12 years old)
Jameos del Agua, Cueva de los Verdes, Montañas de Fuego, Mirador del Río, Jardín de Cactus, Museo Internacional de Arte Contemporáneo (MIAC)- Castillo de San José.
Children from 0 to 6 years old can go in for free.
All combi tickets are valid for 14 days.