31 May 2012

A Classier Canary

I was pretty snobbish about Lanzarote before I went. I kind of imagined a scene from Benidorm with Brits throwing up on street corners, party games by the pool side, promoters dragging you into bars to drink from fish bowls and restaurants with pictures of full English fry ups outside. Yes I have been to Magaluf!

However, Costa Teguise in Lanzarote was nothing like that. In fact, I was pretty impressed.


Overall the resort, compared to some of the huge Spanish mega builds, is pretty attractive. There are a few ugly 70s and 80s style block hotels, but in the main there are lots of pretty, white buildings interspersed with the black, lava gardens for which the island is renowned. We stayed at the HPB Santa Rosa hotel, which is on the South West of the resort, very near to the Playa Bastian Beach. It's a great hotel. No animation teams organising club 18-30 type games, no loud music and nice and peaceful at night (yes, I am pretty middle aged!)

Playa Cucharas, Costa Teguise
The view from Hennessey's Bar, by Playa Cucharas


The Santa Rosa hotel has lots of bars and clubs nearby. But for me, the nicest bars and restaurants are over to the South East of the resort, just up from Playa Cucharas. 

If you like Tapas, I would really recommend El Bocadito which has an amazing selection, although you might want to bring your Spanish dictionary otherwise ordering can be guesswork! We had a delicious bottle of wine at this restaurant too, Emilio Moro 2008, which I would heartily recommend. The 2007 version is available from Majestic in the UK. Portabello is great for Italian food and if you like nutty, Italian waitresses! If you want to eat by the sea front, El Maestro and La Pesquera share the same owner, and have a lovely chilled out vibe, with cool Spanish music. I had paella and sangria for just 7 Euro. 
Enjoying a cocktail at the Captain Hook Bar, yes, they do come with sparklers!


This isn't the sort of place you'd go for a stag weekend or to dance the night away. Overall, its pretty quiet, principally populated by families and couples. There are lots of bars with fairly naff pub style singers, crooning along to a Casio or a laid down track, and the odd karaoke night. 

For me, by far the nicest cluster of bars is around the Pueblo Marinero area. Built by Cesar Manrique (people are pretty obsessed with him in Lanzarote), the area is a cluster of typical canary style buildings, all white, simple and archy, and designed to look like a Canarian Fishing village (even though it is nowhere near the sea!). We had a drink at the Captain Hook bar, where you can get lots of nice cocktails and they give you a blanket if you get too cold! They have music playing most nights, and the first time we went, we enjoyed lovely live Spanish Guitar music.  

There are also some nice bars down by the Playa Cucharas. We had a very OTT cocktail at Robinson's Bar, and also Hennessey's is nice for a more traditional pint. Both have spectacular views out to sea, but can be a bit windy!


El Jablillio beach
Costa Teguise has five beaches. Probably the nicest one is the Playa Jablillo beach which is a small, horse shoe shaped beach with beautiful turquoise water that's perfect for swimming in. It's a bit more sheltered from the wind too, which seems to constantly blow in Lanzarote. Playa Cucharas is a larger strip of white sand that has more bars and restaurants nearby, it also has a public toilet (but no loo roll!). You'll also be able to watch lots of hot windsurfers charging through the waves! 

It's free to lie on the sand, but to hire two sunbeds and an umbrella costs 10 Euro.

Getting there

The main Lanzarote airport is about a 20 minutes drive away and is called Arrecife airport. By far the highlight of the airport is that you can sit outside at the Carling pub, enjoy the sunshine with a glass of wine and watch the planes land. All airports should have an outside terrace, the perfect way to end a holiday!


Most of the hotels organise day trips, you can also hire a car or book something through the many Last Minute Travel stores in Costa Teguise. There's lots to do and the costs can vary from a few Euro to around 100 Euro depending on the scale of the trip.
Timanfaya National Park, Costa Teguise, Lanzarote
Timanfaya National Park, it's beautiful
I'd recommend a visit to the Timanfaya National Park, where you can see the bizarre looking lava fields and volcanoes. If you love a glass of wine, it's worth going to look at one of the wineries purely because of the unique way they grow their vines. 

Finally, the Sunday market in Teguise is pretty good for a visit. Alongside the usual fake Fendi Bags and belts are artisan foods and wines, and local arts and crafts. Teguise is also a really attractive little town, and quite different to the beach side holiday resorts. If you do stop for lunch in Teguise, I'd recommend Bodega de Santa Barbara as they have a sheltered sunny terrace, where we enjoyed a platter of salami and goats cheese, accompanied by a super cold glass of El Grifo Malvasia Colleccion white wine.

A vineyard in Lanzarote!


Nowhere is perfect, and there are some downsides to Costa Teguise. The main one is the fact that you can't lie on the beach without getting hassled. Whether from the man selling the sunglasses (and other illegal substances!), the people offering massages or those wanting to braid you hair, it is really irritating and incessant. You get it the most in La Cucharas beach from my experience. 

It's also impossible to get a decent breakfast there, unless you buy it from a supermarket. I love a Spanish style breakfast with meats, cheeses and fresh fruit, or a lovely piece of crusty bread topped with ripe tomatoes. When I went to Ibiza, I found somewhere that did fruit kebabs and champagne for breakfast, which was amazing. However, this is impossible to find. You have a choice of Full English Breakfast, Vegetarian English Breakfast or Superior English Breakfast!

I'd love to hear if you've visited the resort, and what your favourite parts were. Thanks for taking the time to read my blog.

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