Lanzarote. Even the name just speaks to you of golden beaches, blue seas and skies that don’t have a single cloud in them. It conjures up images of family holidays, pool inflatables and melted ice creams. All in all it’s the destination for sun soaking and relaxing. The thing is, that is all we think of when Lanzarote enters our minds. There is so much more to this dynamic volcanic paradise. I was determined to explore the real island.
I went to Lanzarote a couple of years ago for a family holiday as many people do. Now two weeks of relaxing in 30+ degree weather is most people’s idea of heaven. After about four or five days I was starting to get a little stir crazy. There’s only so long I can stand being in the same place for. I was starting to get sick of the sight of sun loungers and I intended to do something about it. Looking through the villa information pack I found the trip that stood out to me the most. The famous Jameos Del Agua! I dragged my mum with me around Puerto Del Carmen looking for the booking office. For 25 Euros we had our place on the bus. That night I even welcomed the sight of a sun lounger and laid there excited about what we were going to discover the next day.
The Jameos Del Agua are volcanic caves, moulded and created by a past lava flow. The local artist Cesar Manrique turned these ‘Jameos’ into an auditorium, swimming pool and gardens. There’s no surprise as to why many tourists flock to it each year for either day trips or for one of its famous concerts. When we arrived we walked down to the main cave, here you are greeted by a beautiful sapphire lake. The water is exceptionally clear. It turns quiet and all you can hear is the soft mumbling of people admiring the charm of the place and the clicking of cameras as they take photos. As I went to sit on a bench I accidentally stepped in the water and the sound was almighty compared to how silent it was – Whoops!
The lake is home to the endangered blind albino crab. You will only find this rare breed of crab in the Jameos Del Agua, they don’t live anywhere else in the world! We saw them pottering around the bed of the lake minding their own business, looking like little pearls scattered across the water as the sunlight shone on them. I made sure I took some time to appreciate them, after all they are the symbol of the Jameos Del Agua.
We continued our exploration by climbing the steps away from the lake. We were greeted with the outdoor gardens, the centrepiece being a beautiful crystal clear swimming pool. Lined with a clean white material. It looked like it would be amazing to jump into. Unfortunately you won’t be able to do the breaststroke when you visit the Jameos Del Agua because only the King of Spain is legally allowed to swim in it! Are you surprised though? – it just looks like it’s made for royalty. Next we visited the attraction’s famous auditorium. There is a stage and seating for audiences all within this cave constructed from lava flow. It must be beautiful to experience a show there, all tucked into the cosy space at night as the music fills the room. I would love to go back and do that and I recommend you look at concert dates in advance to try and catch one.
We finished our trip by visiting the gift shop for souvenirs and enjoying a drink at the café which overlooks everything. Later that night me and my friend were talking to a guy who had been living on the island for a few years now. I was telling him that I visited the caves, he just brushed it off and said that they were boring. It stuck with me because I thought they were really exciting and had an interesting story behind them but because he lives on the island they’re just seen as touristy. It made me realise we do the same. We walk past monuments or landmarks that we see every day and it just becomes part of the background. We all have a moment where we think “Why on earth are they taking a picture of that!” I’m also guilty of this. Visiting the Jameos Del Agua made me realise that it is important to appreciate the beauty and significance of the places around us even if we see them every day. They are part of what makes our countries, ourselves and our travel experiences.