Puerto del Carmen On a BudgetLocated on the south-eastern coast of the Canary Island of Lanzarote, Puerto del Carmen is a popular resort area best known for its high concentration of bars, pubs, restaurants, and clubs. By day, visitors frequent the beaches for swimming, sunbathing, windsurfing, and other watersports - and by night, they flock to enjoy the live music and drinks of the area's thriving nightlife.
Puerto del Carmen features three sandy beaches. The most popular are the golden sand beaches of Playa Grande and Playa de los Pocillos. Playa Grande is especially attractive for families with children because the waters here are usually very calm. There are also plenty of facilities which include kiosks on the sand selling refreshments, sun loungers, sunshades, rental places for watersports equipment, and changing rooms. At the eastern end of the town there is also Playa de Matagorda-a smaller, cozy beach with fewer facilities than the other two, but still a nice place to soak up the sun.
Two other nearby attractions include Jameos del Agua and Cueva de los Verdes. Both locations are a part of an underground volcanic tunnel formed by a river of lava. Today, Jameos del Agua houses a bar, restaurant, swimming pool, and concert hall, while Cueva de los Verdes is open for touring the volcanic caverns and tunnels. The Jardin de Cactus, a cactus garden designed by artist Cesar Manrique is also popular with visitors.
NeighborhoodsThe Avenida de las Playas (Avenue of the beaches) is a long, pretty promenade lined with palm trees and other colorful plants. On one side visitors have a view of the resort's golden beaches, while the other side is lined with all of the amenities a vacationer could ask for. Plenty of restaurants, cafés, and bars can be found on this promenade which also features ice-cream parlors, amusement arcades, and a wide selection of shops. In addition, there are also a good number of outlets located in the Centro Comercial Atlántico, which is also home to many nightclubs and discos.
ActivitiesBeyond the sightseeing opportunities mentioned above, Puerto del Carmen is also a hub for beach activities and watersports like snorkeling, scuba diving, surfing, windsurfing, parasailing, and canoeing amongst others. There are plenty of prospects for renting equipment and signing up for lessons of any kind, as well as excursions both on land and sea (some of which include submarine ventures as well as yacht charter and sailing). Other opportunities near the resort of Puerto del Carmen comprise a water park (with bus service from Puerto del Carmen), a Zoo (Guinate Park), an aquarium-type park, and a wild-west themed animal park called Rancho Texas.
Food and DiningThe local cuisine of Lanzarote is a fare typical of the Canary Islands. Main dishes are simple, usually with some kind of meat or fish as a base, and are often accompanied by a sauce called mojo. The sauce made mainly of oil, garlic, vinegar, salt, red pepper, thyme, oregano, coriander, and several other spices. There are two varieties of mojo: rojo (or red, often served with meat) and verde (or green, often served with fish). Another kind of local dish is papas arrugadas (or "wrinkly potatoes"), which are cooked unpeeled in salt water then baked dry. Gofio is another common ingredient. Served as a side dish in a moist patty or as a base for pastries and pies, gorfio is a flour substitute milled from a variety of cereals like wheat, corn (maize), and barley, or a mixture of them. In addition to traditional fare, there are also a number of non-traditional restaurants especially in the resort areas like Puerto del Carmen. Visitors will be able to find a wide variety of dining selections including Greek, Chinese, Indian, and Mexican. Most bars and restaurants are concentrated along the entire waterfront strip of the resort.
TransportationThe island's only airport is located about 5 kilometers to the west of the town of Arrecife. Charter flights serve Lanzarote from Northern Europe. There are also scheduled flights to some of the other Canary Islands, to the Spanish mainland, and to a few international locations (notably London).
Some of the airlines serving Lanzarote (ACE) include Iberia, Air Europa, EasyJet, British Airways, Monarch, Thomsonfly, Thomas Cook, Hapag Lloid, Air Berlin, Jetair, Lauda Air, Aer Lingus, Ryanair, and Jet2. Two local companies, which mostly offer flights between the Canary Islands, are Islas Airways and Binter Canarias.
Visitors can take a taxi directly from the airport, or catch one of the buses from Arrecife which run every 20 minutes.