César Manrique Tourist Centers
César Manrique is largely credited for providing the vision for what Lanzarote is today. An artist by trade, this Lanzarote local is largely credited for preserving the island in its pristine state, even though tourism had threatened to destroy much of its natural beauty.
Restrictions on building height, home colors and even deliberate attempts to reduce traffic all serve to enhance the beauty of this idyllic isle. Ironically, Manrique himself was killed in an unfortunate car accident on the island. Still, his influence remains over two decades later. The tourist centers that bear his name are a tribute to Manrique’s dedication to preserving the natural landscape for present and future generations. They highlight his life’s works as arguably Lanzarote’s greatest son.
His Mirador del Rio provides a vantage point for neighboring La Graciosa, which is the island barely two kilometers to the north. Here a café is carved out right into the lava rock that is so abundant on the island. From a platform you can lean out and see across the Strait of Rio.
Built in the 18th century, the Castle of San Jose has been since renovated into a showplace of artwork from Manrique and several other famous Spanish artists. It is now the home of the International Museum of Contemporary Art, and is one of the best places to see some of Manrique’s original works. From these masterpieces, you begin to get a sense of who he was and what he was passionate about. It can give you something to think about as you conclude your visit with a meal right inside the castle.
There are other treasures on this island as well. Imagine a huge lava bubble some 100 meters long and 30 meters wide. The remnants of precisely this phenomenon have been turned into a must see feature of the island. It forms the unique setting for a nightclub flanked by two bars, a garden and a swimming pool. All of this is accessible by descending a winding stairway that drops down right into the earth. Named the Jameos del Agua, this dramatic feature is indeed a stop that you must make before your visit is over.
Take a camera and enjoy your visit to all of the César Manrique tourist centers on Lanzarote. It will certainly make an impression on you and your companions.