Timanfaya National Park

Lanzarote’s Timanfaya National Park appears a desolate end of the earth at first glance. This area of land stretches 51 square kilometers over the southwest section of the island. One look at the remote landscape and you will be glad that you have the opportunity to take bus tours and camel rides around the park. Lanzarote gained protection for Timanfaya National Park through the Decree of August 9, 1974. Seven years later this was confirmed into law, permanently protecting its status and making sure that the area has been virtually untouched since.

The camel tours that crisscross Timanfaya National Park are unlike what you may be used to though if you have ever been on a camel tour previously. The tours in the park actually use a special harness with what could be the nicest seat you have ever had while riding camelback! Tours can take the appearance of a camel caravan, although there is a big difference here in Timanfaya versus what you might find 350 kilometers away in the Sahara. While the sun can get quite hot, the real heat comes from within.

To demonstrate, tour guides like to drop a little brush into one of the large holes in the earth to show you how quickly it catches on fire. The volcanic nature of this area is undeniable, as it is claimed some of the shallower holes still reach 260 degrees Celsius. It is not uncommon for the tour guides to dump water down one of the deeper holes to create an instant geyser. This has a dramatic effect for those who are fortunate enough to witness this extreme heat. Tour guides seem to get a kick out of it too!

Temperatures just 10 meters below ground have been measured at almost 600 degrees Celsius. According to the US Geological Survey, rocks can appear “dark-to-bright cherry red” when it is 630 degrees Celsius, which gives you some indication of how hot it really is under your feet. As you are standing on top of this underground volcanic activity, keep in mind that although there have been eruptions on this island, the last occurred in 1736.

The culmination of this tour is best handled by having lunch at El Diablo (The Devil). There the chef (not the Devil) uses only the heat of the earth to cook your food. Definitely the right way to end this journey!

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