Most of us spend our entire year dreaming about our holidays. We deserve it, after all. But what we really need is to relax and disconnect and just thinking about planning it all can give us a headache.
And then there’s the ecological footprint issue. How can we make environmentally friendly choices, while still getting far enough away to guarantee some warm sunshine?
Environmentally friendly holiday in Lanzarote
I live on Lanzarote, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t feel frazzled on a Friday afternoon after an intense working week. I doubted whether staying half an hour’s drive from my house would make too much difference, but I couldn’t be more wrong.
We headed to Arrieta, a fishing village on Lanzarote’s east coast for a weekend break at Eco Village Finca Arrieta.
It’s one of several properties run by Lanzarote Retreats and is the front line to the beach. Josh, the manager, greeted us and showed us to our Eco Cabin: a two-bedroom stone cottage which also comes with a hybrid car to use throughout your stay.
Exotic simplicity and comfort
With Balinese furniture and decoration throughout, the cabin had a rustic feel but with an exotic luxury touch. The bed was amazing, and the solar-powered shower, wonderful.
Peace and privacy
We had our own private terrace, a garden with sunbeds and hammocks. There was also a long shady porch, a great spot for just…being. A place to savour the moment and appreciate these beautiful surroundings.
We learned that there was no Wi-Fi in the cabin. This turned out to be a blessing, as it meant we enjoyed each other’s company, read books and laughed…a lot! It’s available around the information centre, communal library and games room if you need it – about twenty steps away.
The Finca has a variety of accommodation types including a farmhouse, cottages, a tower studio with 360° view sand different-sized luxury yurts. Its clever design guarantees privacy for everyone and it’s almost as if you’re the only guests there.
There’s something very satisfying in knowing that you are doing your bit to protect the environment while on holiday. The Finca is run on 100% renewable energy, the water is desalinated and purified, and you can help yourself to free-range eggs from the resident chickens.
Kids staying at the Finca were delighted watching the animals, enjoying the playground, playing outdoor chess or in splashing in the pools.
They can even plant a cactus named after them and check its progress on future visits. This is more than just a family holiday. It’s an educational experience away from the distractions of the modern world. A chance to disconnect from the noise and reconnect with nature.
Don’t worry…about a thing
You can do as much or as little as you like at this peaceful little oasis and there are plenty of activities and services on hand if you need them. There’s an Honesty Shop which stocks the basics for rustling up a simple meal. You just jot it all down and pay when you check out.
I also though the water machine was a great idea: just refill the glass bottle provided and help reduce plastic waste.
The location is perfect as you’re a stone’s throw from Arrieta beach. This is a family beach in a fishing village with golden sand and user-friendly waves for surfing. It has a couple of funky beach bars and a selection of restaurants around the village.
We enjoyed some delicious fresh fish on our first night at El Amanecer. Luckily, we arrived before 8pm when the kitchen closes. Many restaurants in the area close early, although a handful stay open later. Better to check before you go.
Haria market and hiking
Haría is the municipality’s main town and is set in the “Valley of a Thousand Palms.” There is a handicrafts market in the town square every Saturday, with ecological local produce, hand-made gifts, music and a lovely atmosphere.
We decided to hike the 7 km back from Haría market (we’d had a lift there, but you can also catch a bus or taxi). I had checked the trail on Wikiloc beforehand. It would be an easy walk of under two hours through Tabayesco valley.
Apart from a slight initial climb it was mostly downhill, passing beautiful terraced valley slopes, rural houses and farms. You also have panoramic views all the way down until you reach the Finca. It was such a good feeling, breathing in the fresh air, enjoying nature and getting some well-needed exercise.
Drive five minutes north of Arrieta and you come to Punta Mujeres. This is another authentic fishing village but with natural crystalline pools among the black lava rocks. Some are accessed by stairs and ladders. Others are sheltered with tiny beaches and perfect for kids.
We took a dip in one of the deep pools off the rocks and enjoyed a cool beer bought across the road from Bar la Piscina while we dried off: another moment of bliss.
You’ll also be spoilt for choice of sea-view tapas and fresh fish in one of the village bars or restaurants.
White sandy beaches
Another five minutes further north and you’re immediately distracted by the pristine white sands and shallow turquoise pools of Caletón Blanco. A paradise for sun-seekers and a gorgeous natural paddling pool for the little ones.
Mysterious caves and magnificent views
When staying in this part of the island you are perfectly positioned to explore three of Lanzarote’s most enigmatic visitor centres that were transformed by César Manrique.
Cueva de los Verdes is a 1.5 km-long cave once used as a hideout by locals and pirates alike, during times of enemy invasion. It’s stunningly beautiful and surrounded by mysteries and secrets. If you’re in Lanzarote during the winter, you may be lucky enough to see one of the musical concerts that take place in the caves.
Jameos del Agua, part of the same cave system through nearer the sea, is an example of art and nature in perfect harmony. Its home to a unique species of blind white crabs that live in its underground saltwater lake.
Jameos del Agua has a restaurant, bars, a dance floor, an open-air pool and a natural auditorium that hosts regular concerts. See this events calendar for more details.
Mirador del Rio
This site was once used for a military observation point at 400 m altitude on Famara cliffs. César Manrique transformed it into a magnificent viewpoint that’s blended so well with the environment that it’s barely visible from afar.
You can admire the views from any point along the road. It’s a shame to miss out on the ingenious architecture and design of the visitor centre, not to mention the spectacular view from its panoramic café.
Northern Lanzarote is the ideal place to slow down, recharge and enjoy nature. I know I felt totally chilled after just two nights. I can only imagine how relaxed I’d feel after week or longer.