Yaiza, the South of a Thousand Colours
The breaking of the azure waves over the black rocks of the Hervideros, the paradisiacal golden coves of Papagayo, the green water of Charco de Los Clicos, the pastel shades of the Salinas de Janubio, the immaculate charm of towns like El Golfo, Uga, Femés… What colour will you take away with you from the south of the island?
South… Five letters. One syllable. A cardinal point. And so evocative… The south feels as warm as the sun. It brings back memories of holidays. It smells of the ocean, of fried fish. It sounds like waves crashing against the rocks, laughter on a terrace. Yaiza offers all this, and much more – it’s a town that offers so many different trips, discoveries and sensations, that visitors’ heads can explode with excitement.
So we decided to calm down and have a coffee while checking the map to choose a destination. We chose to start at the Hervideros, a succession of volcanic cavities eroded by the force of the ocean. We set off with our camera on what turned out to be the perfect day. The water was wild and crashed fiercely against the rocks. The foam sprayed into the air. The ocean boiled. The blue fought against the black, and every shot of the lens was spot on, capturing incredible images.
We continued to El Golfo to complete our colour palette with the green of Charco de Los Clicos. It is seaweed that gives this lagoon its almost radioactive tone, contrasting with the black of the sand, and with the ochres and reddish tones of the rocky structures that shelter it and that are part of the Parque Natural de Los Volcanes.
It was an intertwined couple who stood gazing at this beautiful image that inspired Pedro Almodóvar to film “Los Abrazos Rotos” (Broken Embraces) in Lanzarote. Decades earlier, in 1966, this same spot had fascinated Raquel Welch, the star of the film “One Million Years BC”.
After falling in love with this cinematographic location, we walked to El Golfo, and there on one if the village’s terraces we ate vieja, a local species of parrotfish split and roasted, rice with carabineros (scarlet shrimp) and a sweet bienmesabe for dessert, all with a view of the sea. After this feast, we continued our journey through Uga and Femés, beautiful villages of small, traditional and immaculate white houses where it is impossible not to remember Mararía, that beautiful female character who gave her name to the novel by the Canarian writer Rafael Arozarena, and who embodied a misunderstood freedom and met an unjust end.
We drove along the old road towards Playa Blanca, overwhelmed by the volcanic landscape of the Montañas del Fuego, fascinated by the sensation of feeling like we were on another planet, unable to take our eyes off the new contrast between the red and black of the volcanoes and the blue and white of the sky. There is nowhere that leaves the soul feeling as small this.
We went further south to walk among luxury hotels, stroll along the busy maritime avenue until ending up at the Castillo de Las Coloradas, a circular fortification that protected Lanzarote from pirate attacks in the mid 18th century.
Like excited cabin boys, we set out to conquer another more intimate and valuable paradise: the beaches of Papagayo. They are immersed in the Natural Monument of Los Ajaches, the oldest volcanic formation on the island, some 15 million years old.
This is an area with an important archaeological heritage, in which caves, engravings and traces of ancient shepherding can be found. It can be explored thanks to several paths, some of them of notable difficulty due to their unevenness.
With no wind, golden sands and calm turquoise water, we found almost two kilometres dotted with attractive coves, including Playa Mujeres, El Pozo, Caleta del Congrio and Puerto Muelas, where it was impossible to resist having a good swim. The tranquillity of the ocean means you can explore all these mini paradises by kayak, enjoy them as you snorkel or visit them in pleasure boats.
In fact, two of the island’s best marinas are located in this municipality. From Puerto Calero and Marina Rubicón you can enjoy the coast like a real seafarer, thanks to the excursions offered by catamaran, which allow you to enjoy the best sunsets and wonderful swims in the open sea. There is also the possibility of copying Jules Verne’s Captain Nemo, discovering the wealth of secrets hidden in the depths of the Atlantic Ocean from a submarine.
Once again, it is colour that takes centre stage at the Salinas de Janubio, the largest salt flats in the Canary Islands, which are still active. To define its beauty, who better than a land loving artist like César Manrique: “I have always been impressed by the sight of a salt flat. The ones on Lanzarote caught my attention because of their linear beauty and their blinding colours… The whole space is framed by the compositional coordinates of Mondrian“.
With our minds still on Yaiza, we crossed La Geria, skirting the vines hidden in their dark volcanic hollows. We stopped at wineries to taste the Malvasia wine that we had heard so much about and to sample their goat and sheep cheeses. The south has captivated us and it’s hard to escape its hold.
Who could bring themselves to abandon such an explosion of colours, flavours and sensations?