A Travellerspoint blog

September 2018

Lava and Lounging in Lanzarote

Canary Islands - Lanzarote

sunny 27 °C
View Canary Islands on kmmk17's travel map.

After around half an hour of crossing the short channel between the islands we arrived in Lanzarote. The ferry port is on the south side of the island in Playa Blanca, which was luckily where we were staying, and it was only a short walk with our suitcases to the hotel.

Inside the hotel

Inside the hotel

Similar to the last, being built into the hillside, we arrived at the reception on one of the top floors of the hotel. Check in was pretty quick and we walked down the corridor towards our room we noticed ours had an extra sign. As we got closer we couldn't believe our luck as it said "suite".

Our room

Our room

Inside we found that we hadn't just been given an upgrade, but had received the best they had, a suite with a huge bed, sofa, two tvs, double balcony with sun loungers, and a complimentary bottle of wine.

Inside the room

Inside the room

After settling in, and taking a tour around the complex, we made our way down to our first dinner in the new hotel, and found it far better than that in Fuerteventura.

Sunset

Sunset

The rest of the evening to this long day of travelling was spent chilling and enjoying the sunset from the room - at least until the fireworks show later on, which were exploding just metres from our window!

Fireworks

Fireworks

The following day was another relax day. After breakfast we took a walk down the coast to the harbour, before sitting around the pools and taking a dip. The evening had an ABBA tribute act, and so we decided to sit watch the performance.

ABBA Tribute Act

ABBA Tribute Act

The following morning we had booked an excursion to the National Park. We woke up earlier than usual to be ready for the pick up at the hotel. Waiting before the pick up time many coaches showed up, but not the one for us. We waited and waited, as did a few other people who appeared to be on the same tour as us, but nothing. By now it was half an hour late so I made a call to the number of the confirmation form. I was told it would be on it's way, but when i queried that it was already now half an hour late I was told that it had already been here and we weren't there. Absolute rubbish, as we were there 15 minutes prior, but nevertheless no trip for us. I was told there was space on the excursion the following day but I would need to rebook.

I contacted the booking agency and explained and luckily they rebooked us without further charge. However by now I was not only annoyed at being lied to, but also having to get up early to sit around and wait for nothing. Tomorrow would now be another early start and who knows if we would even make it on a bus? Nevertheless we still had the day to relax, so we did the same as yesterday sitting around the pool before dinner and an evening walk.

Evening stroll along the coast

Evening stroll along the coast

The following morning after another early start we were not very hopeful. We showed up even earlier, and tried to be more pushy with each coach that did turn up to make sure we didn't miss the right one. But eventually the correct bus showed up - right on time and right outside the hotel, exactly where it was supposed to. This definitely didn't happen yesterday! As we boarded the bus the lady asked if I was Kevin - yes I said as she apologised for yesterday saying it was her fault!

Well, at least we were on the right bus. The other couple who were on the same tour as us however we not so fortunate, as after a bit of confusion were not allowed on. Who knows what was going on, but we were on a bus at least and headed to the national park.

Lago Verde

Lago Verde

After picking up many others, we finally made it to the tour proper. We began by stopping at the the Lago Verde, a green lagoon in the middle of a half submerged volcanic crater, filled with minerals and microorganisms. We had a nice view from the edge overlooking the lake, black sandy beach and the sea.

Landscape

Landscape

Continuing through the remnants of dried black lava from the last volcanic eruption, the next place on the trip was just down the coast at Los Hervideros. This coastal area has cliffs made from the solidification of the lava and subsequent erosion, causing unusual balconies overlooking the sea smashing into the cliffside.

Los Hervideros

Los Hervideros

After driving past the salt farms we headed further inland to the wine growing areas. Here grapes are grown in holes in the ground, which keep them warm and shielded from the wind. We had a taste of the local wine, which was almost syrup like, before boarding the bus again.

Wine Fields

Wine Fields

We were now headed for the edge of the national park proper, where there are camel rides. Although we weren't interested in taking a ride, we did watch others, including the couple who were refused onto our bus this morning - they must have been on a different tour to us after all!

Camel rides

Camel rides

After a lunch break we finally made it to the national park. Here it looked like Mars, with orange sand, and craters unlike anywhere else I'd ever seen. We stopped at the entrance to the park where a restaurant sits on the top of a steep hill next to geological experiment areas.

Fire

Fire

We were first shown the heat beneath us, with burning gravel just inches beneath our feet, before shown hay burning from just sitting inside a hole, and the most exciting - a geyser experiment with water being poured into a vent.

Geyser

Geyser

We then took a look inside the complex to see that the food served in the restaurant is cooked over a large natural chimney, before boarding the bus again for the last time.

National Park

National Park

We were now headed for a half hour tour around the national park which would take us up, down and through the landscape showing the rocks and craters that make this place so unique.

Looking inside a crater

Looking inside a crater

By now it was already getting late and after arriving back at the hotel we took a short rest before making our way down for dinner.

Our final day was spent enjoying the sun, pools and beach, as well as taking a walk down the coast and popping into the local shops.

Playa Blanca

Playa Blanca

With our time for collection the following day confirmed, tonight would be our final meal at the restaurant, and after tucking in to the last buffet, we enjoyed what remained of our final evening on the island.

The following morning we checked out and boarded our transfer bus to the airport. After 4 hours of screaming children and views over Central London, we eventually made it home, but again like the journey on the way there, found by the time we got home we were pretty tired and it had taken all day!

Nevertheless it was a great trip, enjoying something different from before, as well as a chance to finally rest after 9 months of working hard on our house.

Tips

Posted by kmmk17 10:38 Archived in Spain Tagged sea beach island spain sand sun resort pool geothermal geology geography geysir canaries Comments (0)

The Calming Canaries, part I

Canary Islands - Fuerteventura

sunny 24 °C
View Canary Islands on kmmk17's travel map.

After finally getting our house sorted, we treated ourselves to a relaxing week away in the Canary Islands. Not wanting to have an exact copy of the enjoyable holiday last year, we narrowed down our choices to Greece, Cyprus or the Canaries, eventually settling on the latter. As they are geographically African, and seeing as we were flying that far I wanted to make the experience feel as North African (and less Spanish) as much as possible, and so booked two hotels - one designed like a Moroccan Kasbah and the other surrounded by dunes. Being me, I couldn't spend a week trapped on a single islands, and so we were island hopping between Fuerteventura (the one that looks like the Sahara) and Lanzarote (the one with the volcanoes and landscape like Mars).

After a week of work, we got up early on Saturday to take the journey up to the airport. Heading to our gate once boarding commenced we joined the priority queue, along with most other passengers, and somehow managed to board the plane first. Nevertheless it was still another 4 hours before we landed in Fuerteventura, and then boarded our transfer bus on to Costa Calma, where we were staying.

Most of the island is rocky, but parts are full of sand dunes. This included Costa Calma, which is built on a low lying isthmus in the south of the island. And as our hotel was on the southern edge of the town, we would have views directly over them.

View from the room

View from the room

Eventually arriving almost 12 hours after we had awoken earlier that morning, we checked in. After a bit of confusion we were told our room 'is a nice one'. Heading off to take a look ourselves, we found it on the top floor, where just a handful of rooms were located, and it had glorious views of the whole complex, including the pools, terrace and beyond over the sea, lagoon and sand dunes. Exactly what I had hoped for now were had arrived in Africa!

View of the hotel from the pools

View of the hotel from the pools

The hotel was 7 floors high, and built into the hill. The reception was on the fifth floor, at street level, whilst lower levels had the restaurant and spa, before opening to the ground floor with a turtle pool, and the outdoor pools.

Turtles within the hotel

Turtles within the hotel

Further on from the pools heading further down the hill were more rooms, which led on to a gate and a path to the beach.

Our hotel from the beach

Our hotel from the beach

By now I was already feeling tired, and after popping to the supermarket and touring the complex we made our way to our first dinner. Being the same hotel chain we stayed in the previous year, we were expecting a full range of buffet options. Although this hotel was not quite as good as that in Salou, it was still good, but my tiredness didn't allow me to enjoy it tonight as much as I would on following nights.

After an early night, the following day was to spent between the pools and the sea. After eating a big breakfast, we were fortunate to find that the pools were warm enough to swim in. We spent the morning between the pools and the sun loungers, topping up our tans, and then in the afternoon we went for a walk down the the beach, and then across towards the Lagoon.

Sotavento Lagoon

Sotavento Lagoon

We had seen the lagoon from our hotel room, and by afternoon it had filled with water, being a popular place for kitesurfers as well as people taking a dip. The lagoon is separated from the sea by two long spits, with a small opening into the sea, and it was possible to walk along the spits with a shallow amount of sea water rushing into the lagoon. This was an interesting experience, being safe yet surrounded by water.

After walking back we chilled before it was time for dinner. This time getting to full enjoy the full range of delights on offer, before enjoying Sangria on the balcony.

The beach

The beach

The following day was much the same, between the pool, sun loungers, and then off to the beach. After chilling and then dinner (this time sat on the sea view balcony, rather than inside) we took an evening walk around the area, before enjoying the final night in Fuerteventura.

The next morning we had plenty of time, as although we were crossing the island, heading for Lanzarote, we had all day. We awoke and grabbed our final breakfast in the hotel, before checking out and heading to the bus stop. Once we arrived, we saw a big crowd of people, which meant a) we were in the right place, and b) we hadn't missed the imminent bus.

With our suitcases in tow, a German suspected we were headed for the airport and came to ask me in German if we were headed to the airport. Hardly surprising, as it appeared this whole resort was mostly full of Germans, with very few English people. I replied "Ja, ich... glaube" (Yes, I think so), trying to remember which was the appropriate verb. He then realised, like most Germans do, that speaking in English was more time efficient than me speaking in broken German, and so instantly switched the conversation to English.

We explained that although we thought the bus was headed to the airport (most didn't, but coincidently this one was), it was irrelevant to us as we weren't heading there anyway. Somewhat bemused by what we were actually doing, he went on to tell us all about how he often travels here for wind surfing - leaving us to wonder why we were somehow the experts in local transport when we had never been here before and he'd been here loads. Nevertheless the bus soon turned and we headed off towards the capital of the island.

After an hour and a half we arrived in Puerto del Rossario, and had half an hour before the next bus. We decided to take a quick walk into the town as we had plenty of time, finding a small town much more traditional and different to the tourist resorts across the island.

Puerto del Rossario

Puerto del Rossario

Heading back to the bus station we had missed the next bus by a minute or so, so took the following bus on to Corralejo - the northern port town. Unfortunately the usual route through the dunes was closed, which I had hoped to jump off at, and instead headed on a route more into the island, where we could only see the dunes from a distance.

Corralejo Port

Corralejo Port

By now it was getting later, and the much cheaper ferry we had wanted to take was still well over an hour away. Instead of hanging about to see some of the town, or head to the dunes with our suitcases in tow, we decided to take the next ferry and not long later, after walking through the mouth of the ship, we island hopped to Lanzarote.

Posted by kmmk17 13:58 Archived in Spain Tagged sea beach island spain sand sun resort pool canaries Comments (0)

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