01 May Discovering Lanzarote: What to do while staying at our villas – Cactus Garden
This week we continue sharing Lanzarote’s treasures with you. This is the ninth in our series on the sights, sounds and tastes that await when you come to stay at one of our luxury villas. Today we will visit our prickliest residents in our fantastic Jardín de Cactus, or Cactus Garden.
As with so many beautiful spots on Lanzarote, César Manrique had his hand in the creation of the Cactus Garden—in fact, it was his last work on the island, completed in 1991, a year before his death. He had, however, actually started the project in 1973, with the grander idea of sculpting some of the large volcanic rocks within its boundaries. These volcanic rocks had been exposed over time because the area was, for centuries, a quarry for rofe or picón, the volcanic ash used to cover crops for protection and capturing the night’s humidity for watering plants (which is how, you may recall, we are able to grow grapes on Lanzarote for those fantastic wines that have been prized for centuries across Europe). The quarry now serves as a shelter for the cacti from Lanzarote’s winds.
The Cactus Garden today is a botanic paradise, sheltering around 10,000 cacti from America and Madagascar as well as our native Canary Islands. One prized local cactus is the tunera, which is the food source for the cochineal insect whose larvae were the precious source of the dye color carmine, which was extensively used in the textile and cosmetic industries before the creation of synthetic dyes.
Manrique created the Garden to be a place of beauty, and we think you will agree that he was successful. The stark black picón provide a stunning backdrop for the colorful cacti, and the series of water features add movement and moisture to the atmosphere. In addition to the cacti, Jardín de Cactus is home to a small restaurant with an inviting terrace, situated underneath a lovely old windmill (which is open for exploration), and a gift shop filled with local handicrafts.
So when you come to Lanzarote, make sure to visit our amazing Jardín de Cactus. Next time we’ll conclude our series by taking you to a particularly lovely island. Meanwhile, if you have questions, please contact us now to learn more about Lanzarote and our luxury villas!