Here at James Villas, we’re really proud of our team of Travel Advisers. They’re the pros who advise our customers on all manner of things when booking their holiday, from destinations and villas to all the finer details. We know just how important it is to keep on furthering their experience of our properties and all the lovely places you can visit. Our favourite way of doing this? Why, to send them out to visit in person, of course!
Amanda joined our most recent “educational” trip to Lanzarote. This is her experience of the James Villas Travel Advisers on tour…
“This wasn’t my first time to Lanzarote. Like many holidaymakers I’ve experienced the laid back week, staying in a main resort, hitting the beach daily and soaking up the sun… My trip with the Travel Advisers, however, has opened my eyes to a different side of Lanzarote – one I would definitely recommend to anyone visiting.
It was lovely to meet Sue, our Resort Manager, who had lined up visits to some of the 160+ villas we have on the island. It quickly became obvious that Sue knows everything about Lanzarote! No wonder customers are keen to pick her brains when they arrive.
Sue had arranged an excellent itinerary for us – a combination of visiting villas and tourist attractions. All designed to increase our knowledge of the destination, of course, to share with you lovely people.
The Fire Mountains
On day one I learned that the island was home to over 300 volcanoes – most of which, thankfully, now lay dormant since their last eruption in 1824. We visited The Montañas del Fuego (Fire Mountains), as they’re known. The views are simply breathtaking. I was fascinated by the ‘El Diablo’ restaurant nestled high amongst the rocky volcanoes. On Cesar Manrique’s advice (the famed local architect and artist) they built a barbecue over a pit which runs down into the centre of the volcano. The geothermal heat is enough to grill the perfect kebab and bake a jacket potato to perfection!
Do taste the island’s mojo sauces with your grilled meat – one is green and the other is a spicier red. Delicious!
At some point on your Lanzarote experience, you’re bound to come across Cesar Manrique, a fascinating islander from Arrecife who studied architecture and was passionate about both art and his homeland. Ridiculed at the beginning of his career for his ‘absurd’ idea of constructing homes within the hollow volcanic bubbles, he ended up leading the development of the island.
His artistic and architectural influences are everywhere, from roundabout sculptures to the low rise, white-cubed buildings (not permitted to be built over two stories). Even their Canarian green painted shutters were chosen by Cesar.
My ‘Manrique highlight’ though had to be visiting his home; a building constructed within five large, interconnecting volcanic bubbles and today the centre of ‘The Cesar Manrique Foundation.’ This non-profit organisation seeks to raise awareness of the art of Lanzarote and promote artistic, environmental and cultural activities.
Casa Omar Sharif
This building, with its notorious history, is located in Nazaret in the centre of the island. It’s now known as LagOmar. The famous actor, Omar Sharif, visited the house while filming on the island. He fell in love with it and bought it (as you do). He was later challenged to a card game by the British developer, Sam Benady and allegedly lost the house which had only been his for 24 hours! Today you can visit the museum, bar and restaurant and enjoy some spectacular views!
El Golfo and Los Hervideros
Another fascinating trip was to the south of the island where we stopped off at Salinas de Janubio, where rock salt is still produced today.
Close by is another Lanzarote gem Los Hervideros. A coastal area full of underwater caves produced by the solidification of lava and erosion. Visitors can wander the pathways laid over the volcanic rock and peer into the caves. You can see the power of the Atlantic force its way into the labyrinth with a thunderous roar, and on days when the sea is rough, sprays of seawater are forced several metres into the air.
The village of El Golfo was our next stop, famous for its green lagoon – or Charco de Los Clicos – which glows emerald green under the sun. You can’t go right up to the lagoon for safety reasons, but I think the best view is up high anyway. A walk back down the hill and along the road takes you to a nice little beachside restaurant called Costa Azul – perfect for a pit stop with a great view of the surf rolling in.
When it comes to boat excursions we all want to catch a glimpse of marine life, don’t we? So when I stepped on board the catamaran from Puerto Calero, I was more than happy to sit at the front as I wanted the best view. We stopped for a swim and the crew threw scraps of food into the sea around us, shoals of fusilier fish appeared from nowhere and were swimming all around us. Using my snorkel, I could see the seabed was covered in urchins. It was an amazing experience, it felt like I was in a fish tank!
Getting out and about
Hiring a car was the best decision we made, allowing us to visit even more wonderful places further afield in our free time. I got to see lots of beaches; Papagayo, Playa Dorada, Playa Flamingo and Costa Teguise. Flamingo was my personal favourite…
The villa life
We stayed at Villa Marta, a four bedroom villa in Playa Blanca. As we were out all day it was nice to get back, have a swim and relax in our own space come the late afternoon. Marina Rubicon was just a 10 minute drive away, so when we had a free moment in our schedule we popped down for tapas and drinks. We also visited many of our other properties, and I really enjoyed the chance to see villas from lots of our different collections and understand the unique appeal and personality of each.
My top 3 villas