Exploring Lanzarote with Low Cost Tours

Lanzarote, Tour, Travel, Low Cost Tours, Bus Tour, Island, Canary Islands,
We recently spent a week in Lanzarote and although we stayed in a hotel, we ventured away from the complex for half of it. As we didn’t have a hire car, we decided to book an excursion to explore the island – and booked the Grand Tour through Low Cost Tours. The tour lasts for 10 hours; runs on a Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday; and is priced at 45 for adults (that’s 12+) and 23 for children (11 and under), with babies going free. We were picked up from our hotel at around 9am and were back to our hotel slightly later than planned (should have been 7pm), as the bus broke down towards the end of the tour and we were left on the roadside, as well as one of the stops, for a while.

After all the hotel pickups, our first destination was the small village of Yaiza. Replete with traditional white-wash houses, decorated with green or brown shutters and panels, it was a beautiful little place – and a twice winner of ‘Spain’s prettiest village’. It certainly gave a taste of authentic Lanzarote, unspoilt by tourism with a lack of hotels and bars/restaurants. There wasn’t too much to do, but we weren’t also given much time to explore. However, we later returned here for lunch – and we discovered an aloe vera museum in our free time.
Lanzarote, Tour, Travel, Low Cost Tours, Bus Tour, Island, Canary Islands,
From here, we rode to the coastal town of El Golfo, famous for its green lagoon (Charco de los Clicos). Unfortunately, with several busloads of tourists arriving at a similar time and the track being steep and narrow, we were unable to get to the view point with Alfie, to see the lagoon. Instead, we stayed on ground level and marvelled at the stunning craters and rock formations, the beautiful black beaches and glistening waters. It really was beautiful – but also a shame we weren’t able to see the lagoon. That said, as we got back on the bus, not many of the other guests talked about it!
Lanzarote, Tour, Travel, Low Cost Tours, Bus Tour, Island, Canary Islands,
We continued on to Timanfaya National Park, which was very hot and dry. Here, we were allowed to ride a camel (at an additional cost of 6 per person). Again, it wasn’t really suitable for us and I wasn’t that keen either – in my opinion, it’s like donkey rides: cruel. Those, like us, who didn’t partake, were left to walk around the museum, shop and cafe. It wasn’t permitted to pass a certain point and walk on the terrain where the camels were. The museum was only small, so you only needed to spend 5-10 minutes there (it’s free, btw). Explaining the history of the use of the camel (to transport goods, as opposed for tourism use), the development of the saddle over time and the agricultural side of things, it was interesting, but I’d have rather spent the time exploring the terrain.
A bit more exciting were the geothermal experiments that took place in another section of the National Park – a treat for the senses! The first saw our guide dig up the sand stones from a dormant volcano crater, before passing them around the group. He wasn’t lying when he said they were hot (definitely hotter than my GHDs!) and we were left juggling the stones between hands, before throwing them on the floor in shock. I’ve never known anything like it. The second experiment again proved how hot the terrain is, as the guide threw a fork load of hay and straw down the volcano’s crater and it burnt. I quickly took myself and Alfie away from the circle as the smoke engulfed us and the smell was unbearable. My favourite of the three came last: our guide poured a bucket of water into the dormant volcano, which saw it react with the heat and form a geyser. The first time I managed to film it, but for the second, I tried to take photos, which weren’t so successful (the reaction made a popping sound that made most of us jump). As we left the park, we were even able to witness raw chicken cooking on a grill (parilla). This got us feeling hungry, so thankfully it was back to Yaiza for lunch... after the 14km drive through the luna route, which was spectacular, as we got to witness the lava fields in all their glory.

Lunch and the travelling obviously tired us out, as Alfie napped en route to the next town: Mancha Blanca. We made the decision to stay on the coach, as it was only a quick 10 minute stop to view the church of Senora de los Delores. Like the rest of the buildings, the church was white-wash and was built in the 18th century. We reserved our energy for the final two points of interest.
Lanzarote, Tour, Travel, Low Cost Tours, Bus Tour, Island, Canary Islands,
The first, Bodega Antonio Suarez in La Geria, wasn’t what I was expecting. I’ve been to many wineries across Spain and France and embarked on tours that have been fascinating, but also fun, always with samples. This was only a small bodega and we spent 10 minutes cramped in a small museum, with one sample that resembled a double shot. To be fair, the sweet white wine I chose was very palatable; with notes of vanilla and peach (I think it may have been a moscatel). It’s just a shame we weren’t able to compare grapes and have a bit of queso – or meander the vineyards.
Lanzarote, Tour, Travel, Low Cost Tours, Bus Tour, Island, Canary Islands,
Our final location, the Jameos del Agua in Haria was a fitting end to our day’s tour. The volcanic caves were breathtaking, as was the lagoon. We even got to see the rare blind crab, which are albino and also smaller than an inch in size. You could, therefore, be forgiven for missing them, as they looked like little specs on the rocks. However, on closer inspection, there were hundreds and although they barely moved, you could certainly see their pincers. Unfortunately, they weren’t the easiest things to photograph. The caves were so serene and almost magical – and even though we spent close to an hour walking around, admiring the surrounds, I’d have loved to spend more time there, maybe even relaxing with a drink, or sampling a bite to eat. Some nights, there are music recitals or performances, with a set menu and I imagine these are incredible to experience... I can only begin to imagine the acoustics in a wonder like that. There’s also an auditorium and museum we had a look around on our way out. And then it was time to board the coach and head back to the hotel.

Although if you were to self-tour, it would take longer and most likely be more expensive, I thought that 45 per person was a lot to pay, especially considering all the additional extras (I’d have thought that lunch would be included, being such a long tour and that the operators have deals in place with local establishments). For example, if you paid for your ticket, a camel ride, the accompanying photo and (the offered buffet) lunch, the overall cost would be 121 per couple, which is fairly extortionate for a day out! The coach breaking down, while unfortunate, held us up and not only were we left on the side of the road, we had to spend longer at a cafe en route to the bodega (again, another expense). Other tour operators run this tour and the cost appears to be the same across the board; however, if you’re on a package deal with the likes of TUI, they are likely to run their own version, but very similar. It was worth it to witness the landscapes and also experience areas of the island we’d not have visited otherwise.

Love, Lucy xx

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Love, Lucy xx

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