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Jameos del Agua (Spain)

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      09.01.2011 23:06
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      A fascinating place of unique beauty

      Jameos Del Agua - Lanzarote

      This very special attraction was initially formed by the lava flow from the eruption of La Corona volcano. These caves were formed as gas became trapped beneath the surface and after some time a part of the surface collapsed. I think this is similarto what is known in Mexico as a cenote, a sort of open topped cave but this one is actually formed by a lava tube that has collapsed leaving this cave which is partially open at the top and partially underground. In itself it is geologically quite interesting but after Cesar Manrique has added his special touches it has become one of the 'MUST SEE' places on Lanzarote.

      This site is now Lanzarote's second most visited attraction after Timanfaya National Park and enjoys 700,000 visitors on average per year. Apparently Rita Heyworth described this as "The eighth wonder of the world", I'm not sure I'd go that far but it was well worth a visit.

      Useful to know:

      Opening times: Every Day from 10.00 until 18.30 and then also in the evenings on Tuesday, Friday & Saturday 19.00-02.00

      Parking is free and there were plenty of spaces when we were there but it might get crowded in the summer and Easter holidays.

      Entry: 8 Euros as was everything we visited on Lanzarote

      How to find it:

      It is in the north of the island close to Punta Mujeres. From Tahiche follow the LZ-1, signposted for Orzola, past Arrieta and on through Punta Mujeres and then follow signposts for Jameos Del Agua.

      Cesar Manrique again:

      Thus wonderful man had the foresight to protect his beloved birthplace from becoming just another place where people came to sit in the sun. He wanted Lanzarote to be known for its natural beauty combined with art and culture. Many thought he was mad back in the 1960s but he managed to convince the powers that be to go with his ideas.

      He worked with them to create the Timanfaya National Park to ensure that it could be seen and enjoyed without spoiling it in any way and I think that the way they have achieved this is quite astonishing.

      The Jameos Del Agua was another and indeed the first of this great man's projects. With the help of two other visionaries, Luis Morales and Jesus Soto, Manrique transformed this giant collapsed lava tube into this unique, subterranean auditorium.

      By 1968 this collapsed lava tube had been transformed into the underground auditorium with tropical hanging plants and gardens, bars and a restaurant surrounding an underground lagoon. There was a small stage but I think they must cover part of the lagoon with something to seat more people. I am not sure how it works as an auditorium as we only visited during the day and there was no concert happening at the time. I believe that the auditorium might even be in another area anyway I am sure if you book to go to a performance all will be revealed. The acoustics are meant to be very special.

      Our visit:

      We walked down some natural stone curved stairs that were damp with dipping wet walls into the actual 'cave' area. The feeling was a bit like being in a cross between a damp cave and a large cathedral. It seems somehow very quiet, a bit like in a library and everyone spoke quietly.

      It is damp and cave like with beautiful hanging plants but as part of the surface above is ooen the light reaches in around the bar and restaurant area. It was very quite when we were there and we enjoyed a coffee while admiring the surroundings. It is cool down there so if you decide to visit take an extra light layer to wear even in summer.

      Unique white crabs and a swimming pool for a king:

      I was really very taken with these tiny little blind albino crabs which live in the underground salt water Lagoon. This particular species Munidopsis Polimorpha is found nowhere else except in Lanzarote in this lagoon.

      Throughout this attraction Manrique has incorporated symbolic crabs and lobsters including the giant statue of the lobster at the entrance and the lobster pots used as hanging baskets around the cave which hold beautiful ferns.

      After leaving the lagoon area with the tiny crabs you come out into the open air again and a magnificent pool, very similar to that in Cesar Manriques' house almost blinds you with its brightness. The pool is surrounded by bright white and the water a stunning turquoise blue. This pool is solely reserved for the use of the King of Spain, I wonder if it has ever been used!

      We had our little granddaughter with us and after climbing up the spiral staircase we reached the Casa de los Volcanoes where we were able to look around an exhibit showing volcanic activity in the Canaries as well as other art exhibits but we didn't spend long as it was getting close to feeding time again.

      It could be a problem visiting this site if you have mobility problems as the steps are wet, steep spiral and uneven I am not sure if there is disabled access so phone to check if you need this before your visit.

      If you ever find yourself in Lanzarote do take a look around the island as it is quite an unusual place and the attractions that Cesar Manrique had a hand in creating are very different and worth a visit in my view .I was very impressed as I had gone to Lanzarote thinking it would be very like Tenerife but it really is a different world, almost lunar in its landscape.

      Thank you for reading. This review may be posted on other sites under my same user name.
      © catsholiday

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