Tinajo, a foray into the awe-inspiring world of lava
The beautiful iron soul of Lanzarote is forged in its volcanoes and there is no better municipality than Tinajo to soak up this essence. Let Timanfaya enchant you, walk the Cuervo Volcano, gaze down into the enormous crater of Caldera Blanca and don’t forget to find refreshment in the coastal village of La Santa.
The beautiful colours of Lanzarote‘s sunset are spellbinding, with that unique light that you never tire of – and there are two perfect, not-to-be-missed activities that you really should check out. The first is to enjoy a wholesome dip in the cold Atlantic in the middle of December at a temperature of 25 degrees. The second, and no less important, is to immerse yourself in the awe-inspiring volcanic landscape. We recommend heading for an area that offers both experiences: Tinajo.
Take your longing for salt, sun and seafoam, grab your board and head for the coast, specifically to La Santa, a place of worship for surfers where the Quemao Class, an international competition, has been held for years. This fishing village, which all its traditional charm, has managed to adapt to the impetuous youth of lovers of the waves.
From this seafaring town you will take away the exquisite smell of vieja and dorada, typical island fish that are served fresh in its restaurants, and the increasingly well-known and appreciated La Santa prawns. In addition, your camera will be packed with snapshots in which the authenticity of the pier and the wild dance between humans and the ocean are intermingled.
Then it’s time to leave La Santa. The soul of the volcano is calling. The reddish and black tones that cover everything exert a magnetic attraction. What caused destruction for six long years (although it seems an incredible nightmare, the eruptions began in September 1730 and lasted until April 1736, to be resumed 90 years later), have become one of the most extraordinary landscapes, both aesthetically and geologically speaking, with the tranquillity of time.
Your mouth will gape in admiration on arriving at Timanfaya National Park. Its mischievous devil logo symbolises what was once a hell and is now a miracle. Let the Fire Mountains enchant you on the way to one of the most successful tourist spots, the Route of the Volcanoes, which emerged from the ever ingenious mind of César Manrique.
Get on the bus and press your face to the glass like a child, amazed by the reddish surroundings of the lapilli, by the brave and colourful green tabaiaba plants as they push their way through, by the contrast between the incarnate volcano, the blue sky and the shadows cast by the white clouds. Walk slowly, bewitched by the poetic narrative of the parish priest of Yaiza, Andrés Lorenzo, three centuries ago, as he relays what happened: lands that gaped open, mountains that spit fire, lava that flowed like honey. It seems incredible that this apocalyptic earthly movement could end up becoming a space where now the most absolute peace, silence and beauty reigns.
It’s hard to leave this extra-terrestrial landscape, so why not eat at the El Diablo restaurant, in the middle of the Natural Park. Here you can sample pork and chicken skewers cooked in a natural oven, which is fed by the heat of the earth beneath your feet, as you discover that Timanfaya is not only beauty: it is also science, since it hosts several national research projects that research its seismic, volcanic and geophysical aspects.
You’ve been sitting for too long so… it’s time for a walk! Put on some comfortable shoes, set your hat and cover yourself with sunscreen before exploring the first volcano that emerged from the first eruption: the Cuervo Volcano, which can be reached after a comfortable walk that can be enjoyed by young and old alike. A pleasant path takes you over volcanic rock and volcanic ash, where you can enjoy the contrast between the malpaís (badlands), the black rock and the green lichen.
Breathe the nature deeply into your lungs to fill your soul, which will come close to breaking in the face of so much beauty. The silence takes possession of you, and excitement comes as you realise that this untamed place was the setting for the Lanzarote Audiovisual Festival, conceived by the multifaceted artist Ildefonso Aguilar, who two decades ago convinced Brian Eno to put a soundtrack to the volcano.
It’s time to reluctantly said goodbye to these volcanic lands, but you won’t be leaving them completely behind. Make some time to visit the Ermita de Mancha Blanca, the home of Nuestra Señora de Los Dolores, patron saint of the island to whom tradition attributes the miracle of having stopped the mantle of fire that threatened to destroy Mancha Blanca and Tinajo. Every 15th of September, thousands of islanders and visitors from the rest of the Archipelago march in pilgrimage wearing traditional costumes, with timple music in the air, their promises fulfilled and carrying fresh vegetables and fruits ready for offering, since this is a municipality where agriculture occupies an important place.
The sky begins to turn red at dusk and you won’t want to leave Tinajo without enjoying the mark left by the volcanoes for one last time. In this case, it’s the crater of Caldera Blanca, which is more than one kilometre in diameter. You will be left speechless at the top, feeling small in the face of so much greatness. The nature of Lanzarote, once again, robs visitors of words.
Just surrender to the silence and let yourself be carried away.