Arrecife is quite often overlooked by those taking a holiday in Lanzarote, with Puerto del Carmen, Costa Teguise and Playa Blanca remaining the island’s most popular tourist hotspots. Of course, there are many reasons why these resorts are so well loved by those visiting Lanzarote, with their beautiful sandy beaches and abundance of excellent bars, cafes, restaurants and shops, they are perfect places for a fun-filled holiday for couples, families or groups of friends.
Arrecife, the island’s charming capital city should not be missed though, because although some parts are certainly in need of a bit of care and attention, it has some amazing hidden gems to be discovered by those looking for a more authentic Lanzarote experience. One such example of this is the absolutely picture perfect El Charco de San Ginés, an absolutely wonderful setting for drinks, meals and memorable meetings with friends!
El Charco literally means “the puddle” and is a lagoon of sea water to be found right in the heart of Arrecife, just a couple of minutes' walk away from the picturesque main shopping street, Calle Leon y Castillo. If you stroll down one of the side streets next to the Hiperdino supermarket, you will arrive at this amazing expanse of water, surrounded by stunning white cottages. Previously, these were almost exclusively the homes of the local fishermen and their families, but now many other residents also live in this vibrant area, as it has continued to grow in popularity.
While the sight of the lagoon likely won’t quite leave you speechless, the countless small fishing boats gently bobbing up and down on the beautiful blue water, certainly make this one of the most picturesque and visually stunning scenes in Lanzarote. No wonder it has fittingly been referred to by some as the ‘Venice of the Atlantic’!
During the daytime, El Charco is fantastic for really appreciating the vibrant view which often includes people working on their fishing boats, kayakers, the stunning sunlight shimmering on the gentle waves of the water, brilliant white buildings, and tall palm trees along the promenade with their bright green leaves, all almost always illuminated by a beautiful blue sky.
With all of the different things to see and absolutely amazing contrast of light and colours, this is a perfect location for photography. If you decide to stay for a while, or visit at the right time you will also be able to capture some stunning sunsets there!
This area of Arrecife can be equally as interesting at night time too, especially on Friday and Saturdays, as a number of the bars stay open until well past midnight, and are very popular with the trendy local 20-30 somethings enjoying a weekend night out.
Unlike in many other European capitals, cities and towns though, it is extremely refreshing to see that people are just happy to be there having a fun time meeting, chatting and laughing with their friends, instead of becoming drunk and rowdy.
Because of this, it means you will also see many families with their children enjoying dinner late into the evening at 10 or even 11pm, as is common in the Canary Islands and Spain where there is a wonderfully family friendly atmosphere. Of course, the fantastic climate to be found in Lanzarote helps with this a lot, as it is much more appealing to stay out late into the evenings with the warmer temperatures and few rainy days.
The outdoor dining experience that is so evident across southern European countries is equally as popular in the Canary Islands, and you will clearly see this in this lovely area of Arrecife. To see different generations of families out and about together, whether in the morning, daytime or during the evening experiencing quality time together, really exemplifies the wonderful standard of life that residents and visitors can enjoy here.
If you visit Arrecife while you are in Lanzarote (which I highly recommend), then El Charco de San Ginés is a must see! To fully appreciate the picturesque view that it offers then you should definitely sit and enjoy a drink or a meal. You can happily while away the hours here in complete relaxation, while fully immersing yourself in this unique location which was once remodelled by the internationally renowned artist and architect César Manrique, who was born in Arrecifealmost 100 years ago.
Today, El Charco is once again realising its true potential as one of Lanzarote’s most iconic and beautiful areas with many excellent new bars, cafes and restaurants opening up offering wonderful views, perfect for enjoying time with your friends, family, partner or simply solo.
The tranquillity and beauty also presents the perfect opportunity to disconnect from any stress you might be feeling, and reset your thoughts with such calm and attractive surroundings. This is a different side to Lanzarote that fully deserves your attention. Just don’t tell everyone though, as it’s one of the island’s true hidden gems.