By Liz Carlson
Sometime around the beginning of January, I was beginning to get cabin fever holed up in my chilly apartment in Logroño. I began looking at flights to somewhere warm and close by. I settled on Lanzarote in the Canary Islands. I am not a fan of high-rise block hotels and overcrowded beaches, and from what I found on Google, Lanzarote seemed to be one of the less touristy islands, with many beautiful nature spots and local beaches. Multiple airlines fly to the Canary Islands from Spain and Europe, and after searching on my trusted flight sites, I found a flight for 50 euros round-trip from Madrid on Ryanair. I was sold.
Lanzarote is small island based on tourism so finding a hotel wasn’t very challenging. I decided to stay in Puerto del Carmen, a beach town south of the airport and the capital, Arrecife. I got a great deal on Booking.com for an apartment right on the water. Club Pocillos is a whitewashed apartment complex a stone’s throw away from one of the bigger, less crowded beaches in Puerto del Carmen, and it has a lot of good restaurants and cafes around it, though it is a bit of a hike down to the city center. Since I am not a fan of cookie-cutter beach shops and overcrowded tourist traps, I was happy to stay somewhere a bit more secluded where I could see the palm trees and the blue waves from my window. I recommend staying in an apartment to have more control over your meals.
Renting a Sweet Ride:
After checking-in and changing into my swimsuit (did I mention it was February?) I popped over next door to a local car rental place called Cabrera Medina to see about renting a car for my trip. There are tons of car rental agencies around Lanzarote and the Canary Islands, and the easiest way to get around is by car. Growing up in the States, I had never learned to drive a manual car, but luckily, Cabrera Medina hooked me up with an automatic car for a decent price, no deposit or credit card required. When I went to pick up the car the next day, they upgraded me to a luxury convertible for no extra cost. This was when I knew it was going to be a good trip.
What to Do / See:
With the sun shining and the wind blowing through my hair, I was off to explore. For being a tiny island, there is a lot to do on Lanzarote. My favorite places were visiting Timanfaya National Park and getting a tour of volcanoes, though I skipped the camel rides. I have ridden camels in the desert in Africa, so it didn’t have the same appeal for me. The view from the Mirador del Río is breathtaking along with watching the huge waves crash around the rocky cliffs at los Hervideros. I dodged the more touristy places like a cactus farm and the green caves to spend some time at the beach. My favorite beach there has to be Playa Papagayo in a nature reserve. Spending my last day with my toes curled in white sand and paddling around warm clear blue water was the perfect end to a perfect trip.
All in all I spent around 120 euros per day, including gas, car rental, accommodation, food, fees to get in the tourist sites, and coffee, of course. I could have easily spent more or less, and I would have saved money traveling with friends, but in the end, I just needed a peaceful, beautiful place to relax for a few days. Lanzarote is the perfect destination for this.
Liz writes at Young Adventuress which is about traveling and expat life abroad.