Discover Lanzarote through the eyes of César Manrique
Lanzarote and Manrique Route, in the Canary Islands, Spain To experience the island of Lanzarote, in the Canary Islands, Spain, through the eyes of Cesar Manrique is an enriching experience. The wonders of Manrique appear in a place where the seas of lava rule in a near-lunar environment, where colors are mixed, the color of the earth with the intense blue of a clean and transparent sea. There, time appears to be still and life to be extinct. There and as if from where nothing exists appear Manrique’s wonders bringing light, life and harmony to that which had seemed lifeless and without of charm.
Each of his works distributed through the island can be easily recognized, because his distinctive seal makes them unique and different. There are circular spaces that allow light to filter through mysterious openings, vegetable life inexplicably appearing out of the dark surface, floors and walls of an intense white color, and water, always as the star, in puddles, fountains and pools.
As you go through the island, you will recognize easily each one of Manrique’s works, because his seal of distinction makes them easily distinguishable. His abstract design is not only reflected in his sculptures and paintings. Manrique’s architecture also appears to defy harmony and reason. After becoming acquainted with his work, you will surely admit that you have never seen anything like it.
Manrique was never married. He had no children. He was a hard-working and methodical man. He loved his native land which he adorned with his talent as he tried to show the world the beauty of Lanzarote, in the Canary Islands, Spain.
The route we are proposing is 3 days in duration and it has 3 parts: northern route, central route and southern route. Each day the departing point will be Arrecife.
You can depart for Arrecife toward the village of Teguise, which has been declared a historic-artistic ensemble, and pass through Tahiche and Nazaret. Across from La Villa, you can see Guanapay Castle (or Santa Barbara) on the Guanapay mountain, place where today the Emigrant’s Museum is located. After visiting the historic village of Teguise, going north you will pass by San Jose’s hermitage, El Valle’s hermitage, and the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Snow at Risco de Farama.
When you cross Los Valles village, you will arrive at the peculiar town of Haria, known as the valley of the ten thousand palm trees, a beautiful place that brakes away from the normal arid landscape of the island. You can stop to contemplate its beauty from the lookout (el Mirador). After a promenade through its streets and plazas, you will continue the route to Guinate, where you can visit Loro Park, the Guinate Tropical Park. From there continue on to Mirador del Rio (1) , one of Manrique’s best works, excavated in the rock, where you are invited to an impressive panoramic view of Chinijo Archipelago.
The route continues to the south passing by Los Molinos. As you take the route to your left stop at Los Verdes cave and the Jameos del Agua (2) and its spectacular natural auditorium, Cesar Manrique’s first work. A stop at these places are obligatory with top appeal worldwide. Back on the road going south and passing by Arrieta get off toward Mala until you reach Guatiza. There you can visit the Cactus Garden (3), another one of Manrique’s creations.
To begin the route, visit Arrecife, the capital of the island where you can visit the 18th-century church located near San Gines pond. Arrecife is named after the group of islets that appear and disappear with the tide. On one of those islets, is San Gabriel’s castle. You can reach the castle by the bridge of Las Bolas. Finally, you can visit San Jose’s Castle (4), refurbished by Manrique to house the Museum of Contemporary Art.
From there you depart for Tahiche, taking the road toward San Bartolome before you arrive to the town. You must stop at Fundacion Cesar Manrique (5), the artist’s home built on 5 volcanic bubbles. On the same rout you will find Tanit Museum, crossing Zonzamas’s Archeological site. Following and before arrival in Mozaga, you can visit the Monument to the Peasant also conceived by Manrique and the Peasant’s Museum (6) where you can taste the typical food of the island.
Moving on to Yaiza, beautiful town where you will find Benito Perez Armas house and Los Remedios Hermitage.
After leaving Yaiza, you can visit the National Park Timanfaya (7) of volcanic landscape, which you can go through by car and onto the Hilario Islet (Mountains of Fire) where geothermic shows are presented and where meals are cooked by the fire of the earth’s bowls.
The most significant works of Manrique end here, however this route leads to other important sites in the island. Returning by the same road toward Yaiza, you will arrive at El Golfo where you will see the Charco de los Ciclos and the Laguna Verde. By the same road toward the south you can visit Los Hervideros and the Salinas del Junibio. By the way of return you can take the same road toward Arrecife, passing by La Hoya, Las Breñas, Femes and Las Casitas until you reach LZ-2.
(1) Mirador del Rio
Mirador del Rio dates back to 1973. It has a semicircular shape and it is built entirely on stone at the peak of Famara in a way that is perfectly integrated in the Risco wall. You can get to the interior by a small, undulating passageway leading to the restaurant. Its large windows unveil from the top of the cliff a most surprising and awe provoking view. It is located at 500 meters in altitude. You can view though the binoculars placed outside the group of islets called Archipelago Chinijo. You can also access a higher level.
Schedule: Open daily 10 am to 6 pm.
Fee: 4,70 ?
(2) Jameos del Agua
This is a touristic site of great interest. It was Cesar Manrique’s first invention based on Lanzarote’s landscape. Even though it was inaugurated in 1966, the construction was not finalized until 10 years later.
In what used to be a volcanic tube opened on the top after its top had fallen (receiving the name of jameo), you can admire a natural lake of transparent waters and barely illuminated. In it lives a native specie of the island, a minuscule, albino, blind and gleaming little crab of unknown origin. They are called jameitos.
In the place where Jameo Chico comes together with Jameo Grande, where the auditorium is located, you will find a pool of emerald-color waters inviting you to relax. Do not fail to visit the baths-even if it is only out of curiosity-which are open to the exterior at the top. They are lighted directly by the sun, and adorned by plants and vegetation.
Schedule: Open daily 10 am to 6.30 pm.
Phone: 928 84 80 20
Fee: 8 ?
(3) The Cactus Garden
The Cactus Garden was the last of Manrique’s work completed in Lanzarote in 1991, an amphitheater made of volcanic rock. On its grades, the different types of cactus can be easily recognized by of the identifying labels. The Cactus Garden was constructed over an old volcanic rock quarry. The place is presided by a mill, which had been refurbished by the artist in 1973, and opening the way to the interior. This botanical garden holds almost ten thousand types of cactus proceeding from more fourteen hundred different species coming from America, Madagascar and the Canary Islands. The different cactus had been collected by the Botanical expert Estanislao Gonzalez Ferrer This place has a restaurant with terrace across from the garden, an ideal place to rest after a busy touristy day, and a gift shop, both perfectly integrated in the space.
Schedule: Open daily 10 am to 6.00 pm.
Phone: 928 52 93 97
Fee: 5 € (includes a snack)
(4) San Jose’s Castle
This castle was built primarily to watch for pirates arriving into the island. King Charles III ordered its construction and was named the famine fortress. After it had been abandoned for more than a century, Cesar Manrique was able to obtain it and converted it into a Museum of Contemporary Art. The castle displays a collection of modern sculptures. It has a restaurant opened to the Ocean through a crystal wall that extends through the front.
Schedule: Open daily 11 am to 9 pm.
Phone: 928 81 23 21
Fee: Entrance is free of charge
(5) Cesar Manrique’s Foundation
The Foundation is located in what once was Cesar Manrique’s house. It raises on a peculiar and unique ground over five volcanic bubbles and one “jameo.”. Its building began in 1968. In the basement floor and using the volcanic bubbles, he built five different rooms: the fountain room, the white room, the red room, the black room, and the yellow room. The bubbles are 8 meters in diameter and 5 meters high. They are opened and each one decorated in the color of their names. Inside the jameo, the artist placed a pool, with an identical design as the “Jameos del Agua” but smaller in size. In the lower floor, where once was his house, is the museum where his work can be viewed as well as other works of his personal belonging of authors such as Picasso, Miró, Chillida, Guerrero, Chirino, Sempere, and others.
Schedule: Opened daily 10 am to 7 pm
Phone: 928 84 31 38
(6) The Peasant’s Museum
Located next to each other, the House Museum and the Monument to the Peasant, they were built to immortalize the peasant’s community of Lanzorote’s hard work. The monument, located at Lanzarote’s geographical center, was created with old fishing boats tanks of water and elevated above a rock platform.
The House Museum was and old farm house, renovated by the artist. It contains an extraordinary collection of utensils used by the farming community and several artisans’ workshops, a ceramic workshop, an embroidery workshop, and a textile shop, an old kitchen full of house objects of Manrique’s former life.
Schedule: Opened daily 10 am to 6 pm
Phone: 928 52 01 36
(7) The Mountains of Fire or Timanfaya National Park
The Mountains of Fire stand out among others by their unique beauty, without match in the world. If you access the park from Yaiza, you will find the camels stalls and the opportunity to take a short tour on camel’s back (5€ per person) of the south side of Timanfaya.
The route by car ends at the Hilario Islet, the place of departure by private coach toward the volcano’s itinerary. The landscape, full of craters, takes on a fantastic lunar appearance that is dominated by the brownish orange and gray colors of the volcanic lapilli and the shuddery silence that enfolds the air.
A residual magmatic camera located at 300 kilometers below, reaches from 100 to 200 degrees Celsius at the surface. This causes a unique column of vapor that is expelled violently when a small amount of water is introduced through a hole on the ground.
Schedule: Opened daily 9 am to 5:45 pm (last run at 5 pm)
Phone: 928 84 00 57
Fee: 8€ per person (includes the volcano’s itinerary)