Bizarre Lanzarote ? Jardin De Cactus -hotel jardin de iguazu

Lanzarote is famous for its volcanic landscape and fabulous beaches, but no trip to Lanzarote would be complete without a visit to Lanzarote’s bizarre and wonderful Cactus Gardens. The gardens were spearheaded by the island’s prodigal son César Manrique (who is also responsible for the gigantic, weird and wacky steel cactus that greets you on your entrance to the gardens) and are truly a sight to behold. Manrique was responsible for much of the island’s development during the 1970s and 1980s and the garden was his last work before his sudden death. There is not a spot of the gardens that is not wrought with his influence – the metal cacti motif is spread throughout and the architecture is very much in his style.

The towering metal sculpture at its entrance sets the tone for the rest of the Cactus Garden, reeling you in to experience a truly unique attraction. The Cactus Garden holds over 1,400 species of cacti from all over the world which range in size from the tiny to the colossal and come in all manner of shapes. The garden is set into the ground within the boundaries of an old quarry and takes the appearance of an amphitheatre, blending seamlessly into the backdrop of its surroundings.

The gardens are a place of quiet contemplation, designed as they are around water features and sculptures, and draw heavily on Japanese influence creating the feel of a Zen garden in the middle of a vast field of prickly pear cacti that used to be the centre of the island’s cochineal industry. The cochineal is an insect whose female lives on and subsists on the Tunera cactus – the female produces larva which when ground down with calcium salts make carmine dye. This dye is still used today as a food colouring and for cosmetics, although the industry has died down in Lanzarote.

A timeworn preserved windmill overlooks the gardens and offers visitors the opportunity to see the grinding of toasted maize into the local favourite corn flour – gofio. Gofio can be mixed with various products to create different meals and has historically been a staple food of the Lanzarote islanders.

Lanzarote is truly incredible place with some out of this world of attractions, of which the Cactus Garden is only a small sample. Year upon year tourists flock to this exotic island and the others in the island chain – holidays in the Balearic Islands have been consistently popular for many years and with such fascinating attractions as the Cactus Gardens it’s not hard to see why tourists keep coming back to the islands.

 

Chris Miles is an accomplished travel blogger. He enjoys all types of holidays, especially those which take him to the beach.

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