“Get to know three charming spots of the island in just one day”
Canariens say that their seven islands are all different because of landscapes and people. Personally I think they are right, every island is unique. But there is one thing in common: You can find, at least, one monument from César Manrique on each island.
You really have to meet his art: César Manrique, born on Lanzarote, was an artist and architect. He changed the esthetic's of Canarian architecture in relation to nature: His vision was the integration of humans in nature. That is how his buildings don´t destroy landscapes. Instead, they are adapted to the most impossible places, like the Restaurant La Peña (built in the eighties and declared Property of Cutural Interest) in the north of El Hierro, between the villages Guarazoca and Los Jarales. It is placed on the cliffs over El Golfo. From there you can enjoy the most beautiful views of El Golfo, also called Frontera, the Atlantic ocean and the Salmor rocks, protected natural area and icon of the island because of the particular form. The giant lizard, which you will meet later, lived on these rocks for many years when it was already declared extinguished on the island. Some fishers found the lizard and that is now in the “lagartario”, built at the Ecomuseum Guinea in order to recover this unique species.
Beside the incredible landscape, you might also observe some paragliding trying to imitate birds in the sky with their acrobatics.
Inside the restaurant La Peña, while enjoying a typical drink or meal (ask for a white vine from Frontera and a “quesadilla”, for example), you can admire the harmonic coexistence of exotic plants. Sitting there and looking down at El Golfo is like sitting in the sky seeing those little houses far away and feeling so strong... I ask myself if God would feel like that... And then, if you look back you might think that you are in a tropical forest.
From La Peña you continue to Frontera passing the longest tunnel of the island, finished in 2003. It improved the islands economy (exportation of bananas, pineapples, vine and cheese, mainly) because now the communication between the northern region and Frontera just takes ten minutes, instead of one hour. In the north the vegetation is green, thanks to the “alisios” winds, typical on the Canaries. (The “alisios” are fresh winds coming from the ocean).
For me, this area with many forgotten gardens and bushes, delimited by stone walls, is a melancholic memory of how the island used to be before the capitalism took over.
Once you pass the tunnel the vegetation is dry but the region, at the same time, it has the perfect climate for exotic plantations (bananas, pineapples, papayas, mangos, grapes, avocado, etc.). It is a paradise for fruit lovers like me: When I return to the island after traveling around or spending many month in cities, I really need the taste of “real fruits”, those that ripe on tje tree until they get picked up, being stroked by the salty wind and the beams of the sun.
The first village you find on your right hand side is Punta Grande. It is an old fisher village. On a mini peninsula is the Hotelito, the former smallest hotel of the world, built in 1830 and reconstructed in the 1970s. It has just four double rooms and it has been an adventure for many guests that where woken up when the ocean got brave and made them escape with helicopter from the roof.
If the sea is calm, I imitate the boys jumping down the cliff to have a refreshing experience, accompanied by adrenalin.
Once you leave Punta Grande, you continue in direction Tigaday until you arrive at “Ecomuseo Guinea”. Here you can walk around this old village, getting again the feeling of how people used to live on the island fifty years ago. It was common that each family had two houses: In winter they lived in the north, living from agriculture and ranching and in summer they moved with their animals to Frontera to live from fishing.
Here you can also visit the “Lagartario” of the giant lizard Gallotia simonyi (60 cm long), declared extinguished and recovered in the nineties. It is impressive having such a big animal in front of you, touching that rough skin while looking into those wise eyes, as if that animal was coming directly from the dinosaur area.
Nowadays, after been grown up, they are set free in La Dehesa and El Risco, a wild area of El Hierro where they can find all they need to survive.
After this visit, you can continue to the beach La Maceta, with three artificial pools and barbecue areas.
Or you can have dinner in Tigaday. I recommend Don Din.