There’s so much beauty to witness in Lanzarote. The island’s quaint fishing villages of white houses, pristine beaches, other worldly vineyards, and the relaxed vibe of Arrecife are just some of the few that immediately come to mind. Another visual spectacle vacationers must add to their list of must-visits when in this glorious paradise is Charco de los Clicos, a volcanic depression that is unlike anything you’ll find in the entire archipelago. The natural marvel is hidden on the coast of Yaiza, located next to the hamlet of El Golfo. Peculiar yet astonishing,this unique caldera and its contrasting setting create a dramatic panorama that is worth the drive.
Why Visit Charco de los Clicos
Tucked away in the the west coast of Lanzarote, in the municipality of Yaiza, is Charco de los Clicos. It’s an extinct volcano partially submerged into the Atlantic ocean, forming a beautiful lagoon that appears separated from the sea by a modest stretch of sand but is connected beneath through underground cracks. Its name directly translates to “puddle of clicos,” which refers to a type of shellfish once abundant in this body of water until someone released two tortoises in their dwelling and wiped them out clean.
Also called Lago Verde, the lagoon has high concentrations of phytoplankton, a type of marine algae, which gives its intense green color. The emerald pond contrasts the black sand beach and blue waters surrounding it, giving visitors an incredible visual experience. A trip to Charco de los Clicos can also include a day out on a beach, a relaxing stroll in El Golfo village, and a visit to other nearby attractions. Here’s everything we’ve gathered that will pump up this spot on your list of must-sees in Lanzarote.
It’s Incredibly Rare
Charco de los Clicos is part of Lanzarote’s Natural Park of Volcanoes. In the 1700s, its crater eroded into the sea during a volcanic eruption. The landform turned into a rare example of hydrovolcanism, an activity where magma and water interact. Subsequently, seawater entered the depression already half-eaten by the Atlantic, creating a beautiful, eight feet deep lagoon with a rich emerald hue and a setting befitting an extraterrestrial landscape.
A Stunning Place With Great Beach
Just thinking how this natural spectacle came about and continues to exist enthrall sightseers. At the same time, its raw, unmanufactured beauty takes their breath away in a single glance. Where else would you find a red cliff-like volcanic crater encircling a unique body of water on one side and a black, rocky beach pounded by waves on the other? It isespeciallyastonishing when sunlight hits the pond, making you think maybe Mother Nature spent a little bit longer creating this marvel.
The beauty of Charco de los Clicos can be seen in the 1966 film One Million Years B.C. starring Raquel Welch and Pedro Almodóvar’s “Broken Embraces” starring Penelope Cruz. It isperfect for enjoying a relaxing day on the beach and staying a bit longer to watch the sunset put more pigments in the sky.
The best place to admire the almost hidden lagoon and its glorious surroundings is fromMirador El Golfo. It is open 24 hours a day, but we recommend visiting the viewpoint during daylight to appreciate the area’s amazing colors and interesting terrain fully. Of course, this also allows getting instagrammable photographs of an extraordinary volcanic landscape with a green pond, black sand, red crags, and the blue sky and sea. To get the most out of your day trip, we recommendgoing down to the beach as well. This affords closer observation of the geographical features’ various textures.
Ramblers will be happy to know that there are a few walking trackswith great views of the lagoon from high up.There’s also a path from the car park leading down to the beach, butit’s sandy, so wear comfortable shoes. Once you reach the bay, keep in mind that swimming is prohibited in Charco de los Clicos as it is a protected nature reserve. It is also fenced, but you can go near enough for a closer look as long as you don’t mind the smell of sulfur. If you’d like to take a dip, it is allowed and free on the beach adjacent to it.
Near Other Tourist Attractions
Apart from the fantastic views, one great thing about taking a day trip to Charco de los Clicos is that you can visit other great tourist attractions nearby. Only a few meters from thelagoonis the small fishing village of El Golfo. The charming settlement of whitewashed, flat-roofed houses has a laidback atmosphere and is postcard-perfect at every angle. Plus, it offers a couple of dining options with incredible panoramas of lava rock formations and boats moored on the beach.
Also not far from Charco de los Clicos are the imposing landscapes of Timanfaya National Park and the rugged cliffs of Los Hervideros. A day of admiring the work of nature and going from one unique volcanic spectacle to another is something all Lanzarote vacationers should try.
As mentioned, Charco de los Clicos is very close to El Golfo. The seaside village houses several rustic restaurants that are definitely worth visiting if you’re around the area and fancying some fresh seafood. The dining selection here is popular with both locals and tourists, so patience may be needed, especially at weekends.
Casa Rafa Restaurante de Mar
Casa Rafa is all about providing a great dining experience and bringing authentic Spanish-Canarian culture to every plate that comes out of their kitchen. The owners, Rafa and his lovely wife Maria, and the rest of the waiting staff run a pleasant yet efficient service despite the restaurant being busy. Plus, while not seafront, the views from the terrace are just stunning!
The Casa Rafa menu made choosing a bit difficult, so we decided to stick with the classics. We ordered a few plates of tapas, and it was almost impossible to decide which was better. Determined to add more seafood to our lives while in Lanzarote, we went for the catch of the day, which was a grilled squid, and seafood paella to share. Both were delicious, but the paella was clearly the star of this restaurant and was as superb as reviews say it is. We had the homemade cheesecake for dessert, and while not the best, it was a good ending to a great, great meal in El Golfo.
Although we are no finsiders, we have days dedicated to being fishmongers when in the Canary Islands, and Mar Azul is perfect for those days, especially for a hearty octopus dish. It’s also an excellent choice for sunset dinners on the water’s edge.
The grilled octopus in this restaurant deserves the recognition it receives. It is fresh, plump, soft, and saturated with mouthwatering flavors though only lightly dressed. The dish is served with two sauces, salted Canarian potatoes, tomatoes, and cucumber, but truthfully it didn’t need anything. I ate it as it is, with a sip of Malvasia white wine in between bites, and it was a treat for the palate.
The friendly waiter also recommended their catch of the day, a flatfish called Gallo. We’ve already had in Playa Blanca and liked it then even though it was slightly overcooked, so we thought, ‘why not?’ Fortunately, we were not disappointed. It was filleted well and cooked just right. Adding a spritz of lemon made it more flavorful, and the boost in acid levels gave the simple dish complexity.
Mar Azul has been around for over 20 years, and we hope they’d stay for decades more because their seafood and service are worth coming back to again and again.
Restaurante Costa Azul
Nothing screams vacation in the Canary Islands like a seafood feast, and Costa Azul is one the best places to go to in Lanzarote if you want such a celebration.
We went here as recommended by a friend though we were staying many kilometers away in Playa Blanca and we’re so glad we did. The views and the sound of crashing waves were a welcoming greeting, and the smell of the food from other tables guaranteed an enjoyable lunch even before we ordered.
As suggested by the waiter, we went for gilled fillet cherne as starter and large red prawns and octopus casserole for mains. Everything was cooked perfectly and tasted superb, especially with dry white wine. We followed with a blueberry cheesecake to finish. Simply sublime, half of the table thought the dessert was the star dish, pitting against the equally scrumptiouscasserole.
I have traveled and devoured my way through the Canary Islands, and I swore to come back for the sheer freshness of the food in Costa Azul and, of course, to try more of their cakes.
How to Reach Charco de los Clicos
Because Charco de los Clicos is often part of a day trip to several locations, vacationers coming straight from the airport are uncommon, except for those intending to stay in the accommodations in El Golfo. Visitors also typically drive here by taxi or car for hire, as it is only accessible via LZ-703 and LZ-704, which are not serviced by public transportation yet. Some also get here by joining coach tours.
Holidaymakers from major tourist towns can still go by bus part of the way, but the switch from bus to a taxi can be inconvenient and the commute takes longer. If this is the preferred means of travel, people coming from Arrecife and Playa Blanca can take bus lines 60 and 13, while those in Costa Teguise must ride bus line 3 then 60. The bus numbers mentioned stop at the roundabouts for the LZ-703 and LZ-704 exits.
Stunning and Unforgettable
For an unforgettable Lanzarote experience, include Charco de los Clicos, a lagoon with stunning scenery, in your vacation plans. Combine a visitto this unique volcanic crater to Los Hervideros and Timanfaya National Park, then enjoy a laid back stroll and lovely meal in El Golfo to make the most out of your day trip. Tourists might have trouble believing this tranquil spot with its otherworldly features is real, making it even more worth the visit.