You might consider that, living in the Canaries, visiting the other islands would be a regular occurrence of everyday life. Sadly it isn’t so. Unlike the residents of La Gomera, El Hierro and to a lesser extent La Palma who have little choice but to travel to Tenerife, as International flights from their own islands are either scarce or non existent, living on Tenerife we’re pretty much self contained.
It would be interesting to conduct a poll of ex-pats to find out just how many of them ever visit neighbouring islands. I wouldn’t mind betting that for the majority the answer would be “never”, which is a lengthy way of admitting that, in the seven plus years we’ve lived on Tenerife, we hadn’t once visited Lanzarote… until last week.
They say you never get a second chance to make a first impression, but I’m not sure that’s true.
Before last week, the first (and only) time we have been to Lanzarote was 20 years ago when we sought some winter sun and booked a last minute, cheap ‘pot luck’ type holiday where you didn’t know which resort or accommodation you were going to until you got there, and we got Puerto del Carmen.
To be fair to Lanzarote and Puerto Del Carmen, we had recently returned from our honeymoon in Sri Lanka and been completely blown away by the island. I suspect that no matter where we had gone next, disappointment was the only emotion we were going to feel and in that respect, Puerto del Carmen didn’t let us down. As the coach drove along the sea front passing row upon row of ‘all day British breakfast’ signs, amusement arcades and British pub names, we looked at each other in horror and realised we had made a terrible mistake, this was our idea of holiday hell.
So it’s fair to say that when we had to go to Lanzarote on business for three days last week, it was with some trepidation that we boarded the Binter Airlines flight to Arrecife.
As we drove the short journey to Costa Teguise and Sands Beach Resort which was to be our home for the next three days, Lanzarote got a second chance to make a good first impression on us…and she rose to the occasion with style.
The first thing we were struck by was the marked contrast in the landscape between Tenerife and this eastern isle. As Jack put it: “I keep wondering where the rest of the horizon is.”
We are so used to seeing a backdrop of mountainous terrain towering above us that Lanzarote’s arid flatness was almost unnerving. On the other hand, from what we could see there were no high rise hotels; no industrial estates sprawling into the distance; no motorway or vast commercial centres and no traffic queues or gridlocked junctions.
The stark contrast of low rise white buildings against the black volcanic earth studded with cacti and irrigated rows of palm trees create a beauty that is unique to Lanzarote.
We arrived at Costa Teguise and drove through the resort to the far side of Las Cucharas Beach where the resort of Sands Beach lies in its own unique, lagoon side location.
We had a lovely, beach front apartment on the edge of the saltwater lagoon with its little golden beach beyond which a promenade led along the coast to the centre of Costa Teguise and to beautiful sandy coves and tranquil bays.
On our second day we visited the former capital of La Villa de Teguise and were thoroughly charmed by its narrow cobbled streets, picturesque plaza, pavement cafes and historic buildings. 20 years ago we hired a car and spent three days touring the island but neither of us could remember going to Teguise, or Costa Teguise for that matter.
This was a very different Lanzarote from the one we visited 20 years ago. Could it be that things have changed so much in that time? They certainly have in Tenerife so it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that Lanzarote too has shaken off some of the tacky image of the 1990s. Of course, only a return visit to Puerto Del Carmen will determine if that’s the case.
Or was it just that we were literally and figuratively seeing a different side to the island? Or were we simply looking through different eyes?
Whichever it is, I don’t think it will be another 20 years before we next return to Lanzarote.