To be aware, or not to be: what is Lanzarote doing to be a sustainable tourist destination?
The scientific community could say it louder but they couldn’t say it any clearer: we must adapt and mitigate climate change. Lanzarote is a pioneer in the design of experiences that impact on the traveller’s memory, while protecting the environment.
Lanzarote is not just any island.
Since aboriginal times, generations of Lanzarote men and women have lived in symbiosis with nature.
They have learned to observe the environment. They have progressed in harmony with it. They have maintained their close links with the volcano, the sea and the sands.
In the 1990s, UNESCO recognized this fact and named the island a Biosphere Reserve, believing it to be the perfect laboratory in which to test a model of sustainable development.
How can the traveller experience this ecological sensitivity that permeates the island? Here we talk about several experiences that speak volumes about the difference Lanzarote makes in terms of sustainability.
Getting around in an electric vehicle
We are in a rent a car office in the César Manrique airport. We want to rent a vehicle so we can watch the sunset behind a sea of lava, at our own pace.
What a joy to discover there are several electric cars in the fleet. It’s a relief to be able to drive without qualms, with zero emissions, without contributing to air pollution.
As we are two couples, we organize yourselves to share the car. From north to south the island is 80 kilometres long: a small distance, which works well with the car’s range.
Zero kilometre gastronomy
What does Lanzarote taste like?
One of the best ways to get to know the essence of a place is to taste its local gastronomy: fruits of the land we’re walking on and the sea we’re sailing in, foods that encapsulate the minerals, the volcanism and the peculiar history of the island.
There are several restaurants known and recognised for their exquisite treatment of Lanzarote’s produce, and these include some of the island’s Centres of Art, Culture and Tourism, for example the Monument to the Farmer or the International Museum of Contemporary Art – Castillo de San José.
The variety of island cheeses helps us understand the goat herding that we’ve seen on the island’s jable soils. The coastal noodles, capable of restoring the most dejected mood, are cooked slowly with fresh seasonal fish (in January they’re not the same as in June) and the slow, simple preparation is based on respect and knowledge of an excellent raw material, allowing us to understand the importance of the protection provided by the Marine Reserve that extends to the north of the island.
Wanting to cook in your apartment or buy a sustainable and nutritious souvenir? The Saborea Lanzarote website offers a guide to local producers and distributors of fruit, vegetables, pulses, cheese, jams, sea salt, fish, wine, craft beers and a long etcetera of ‘made in Lanzarote’ products.
Sleeping in conscientious accommodation
For fifteen years, Lanzarote has had a network of sustainable accommodation whose business policy is based on a commitment to the environment, culture and socio-economic development of the island.
The photovoltaic panels of the Hotel Nautilus, in Matagorda, prevent the emission of greenhouse gases (an amount similar to that produced by 62,000 cars per year).
Its luminaires are efficient and reduce light pollution. Its facilities are adapted for people with reduced mobility and its prestige in the cultural sector is well known: it organizes artistic residencies and its contemporary art collection grows every year.
The Hotel Grand Teguise Playa has a plan that measures the water efficiency of its facilities and has water meters in its gardens that allow a sustainable use of water.
One way to measure the success of these measures is through the digital platform Sustainable Lifestyle, which indicates the actual level of sustainability of your accommodation and its commitment to achieving the goals of the 2030 Agenda.
This system, which has been implemented in Lanzarote for some time, allows companies to develop personalised sustainability plans and monitor their progress.
Active sustainable tourism
More and more people are seeking to get to know the island in an authentic and respectful way. There are no end of possibilities in Lanzarote – check out these 34 different options for active, sustainable tourism.
- Learn how to ride the waves on a surfboard.
- Hike the paths of La Geria and taste the wines of the Lanzarote Denomination of Origin.
- Explore the southern plains or the massif of Los Ajaches on horseback.
- Contemplate the cliffs, badlands and the different geological formations that have ensured Lanzarote is listed as a Geopark.
- Sample an aloe vera liqueur on an organic farm, and find out how the production method slows down desertification and preserves the island’s soils.
Today, Lanzarote has more than 200 companies dedicated to active tourism and ecotourism.
The only problem for the travelling community is choosing what to do, because the sustainable offer is as extensive as it is appetising.
This island offers peace, adventure and a change of chip. From here, the environmental challenges we face are much better understood.