Thursday, December 20, 2012
Lanzarote...The Spot for Riding Camels Around Volcanoes in the Canary Islands
Timanfaya National Park is one of those places that a lot of people don't think about, or don't know about. It's an unusual place for a number of reasons, one of which is that it's in the Canary Islands. The Canary Islands are just off the coast of Africa in the Atlantic. The closest port on the mainland would be in Morocco. It's known as a luxury playground for the Brits, but to the rest of us it's kind of a mystery. It is a combination of tropics, volcanic activity, and desert tradition. Odd combination, I know.
What would you come to these islands to do?
That's right. You would come here to go to Timanfaya National Park and see the volcanoes and the magnificent lava sand land around them on camels. The island is Lanzarote, and the camels are known as Dromedary Camels. This is a tour and it only takes a day. The land where the volcanoes are most amazing and beautiful can get very hot, so camels are the best way to travel on the area. The camels don't leave an ecofootprint either, which makes the tourists happy. A lot of people that come to the Canary Islands are strong on saving the planet, and the local companies are right there with them. So, in some locations around the world, you would take an ATV or four wheel vehicle on this trip, but not on Lanzarote.
The area in Timanfaya is still very active in a passive kind of way. There are no erupting volcanoes and there haven't been since the 1800's, but there are hot spots and geysers to remind you that Mother Nature could change her mind about it all any minute.
The surreal landscape is something that you won't soon forget.
You can drive through it, or more commonly done, take a tour bus. The lava sand and the calderas will amaze you either way, but I think that the camel ride is more of an adventure. Lanzarote is desolate, but beautiful. It's unique in a lot of ways. The volcanoes are fascinating. The geysers are great.
Lazarote and Timanfaya also have some seaside lava tubes that are fun to explore. There are boats and kayaks for an up close look at them. They are all inactive, so they are safe and really cool. It's that one more thing that puts the whole experience of Lanzarote over the top.
Now, Lanzarote is not the only island in the Canaries, but it is the desert and the place to see volcanoes. This will not take up an entire vacation. The Canary Islands are also known for their beautiful resorts, surfing, boating, diving, and many of the typical island activities that you hear of around the world.
In many places, it would resemble a trip to any island in the Caribbean. So, it's not just for the hardy traveler who would like to ride camels around on desolate old volcanoes. There's windsurfing and beach bumming to be done here. There are plenty of bars serving Mojitos. There are plenty of beautiful people relaxing and soaking up the sun.
But if you want something a little different, you'll love Timanfaya National Park.
And you'll love getting to know this guy.
Come and get away from it all on camelback. Enjoy!