Arising from nature’s fury, the Canary Islands landscape is dotted with numerous lava caves, once regarded merely as rugged natural formations without aesthetic or functional value. That perception shifted dramatically with the visionary efforts of César Manrique, an artist who seamlessly fused the raw beauty of nature with artistic ingenuity to craft unparalleled masterpieces. Among these creations is Jameos del Agua, located in Haría, a testament to Manrique’s genius. This architectural phenomenon defies expectations, showcasing that even catastrophic events like volcanic eruptions can create something truly remarkable.

Jameos del Agua Lanzarote
Only the King of Spain can take a dip in the Jameos del Agua pool – @dziewul

The Tale of a Lava Tunnel

Act 1: Nature’s Fury and Artistry

Our story begins around 3,000 to 4,500 years ago, when the Corona Volcano, also known as Montaña La Corona, decided to put on a show, erupting with might and creating a massive lava flow. This lava streamed across the northern part of Lanzarote towards the sea. As the surface lava cooled and solidified, the molten lava underneath kept flowing, creating long, hollow tubes. One of these tubes formed the basis of what we now know as Jameos del Agua.

Act 2: A Hidden World is Revealed

A “jameo” is an aboriginal term used in the Canary Islands to describe a large, natural opening in the ground that occurs when a part of a volcanic cave collapses, revealing the hidden world beneath. In the case of Jameos del Agua, several such openings expose parts of the lava tube, creating unique spaces of stunning beauty.

Act 3: The Human Touch

Enter César Manrique, a visionary artist, architect, and Lanzarote native, in the 1960s. Manrique saw the potential to blend art with nature’s raw beauty. He transformed Jameos del Agua into a cultural and tourist attraction, ensuring the preservation of its natural elements while adding artistic touches that complemented the volcanic landscape. He added a restaurant, a swimming pool (which only the King of Spain is rumored to have permission to use), an auditorium, and a museum dedicated to volcanology.

Epilogue: A Legacy Preserved

Today, Jameos del Agua is where visitors can marvel at the power of volcanic activity, appreciate innovative architecture that respects its environment, and ponder the delicate balance of an ecosystem that includes a species found nowhere else on Earth.

What to See in Jameos del Agua

Jameo Chico and Its Jameitos

Descending a stone staircase, visitors are ushered into the lava tube known as Jameo Chico, where an initial surprise awaits—a mezzanine restaurant and bar-cafe perched with a view over a quaint lake. Venturing deeper, the journey takes guests past a sleek marble dance floor, leading them to meet the cavern’s tiny residents.

Jameos del Agua Cave Entrance
Inside the volcanic cave of Jameos del Agua – ©dziewul

Within this natural seawater lake, blind albino crabs known as ‘Jameitos’ thrive, unique to Lanzarote and now symbolic of the island itself. These peculiar yet fascinating creatures are so integral to the identity of Jameos del Agua that a crab sculpture greets visitors at the entrance, setting the theme for the experience ahead. Throughout the site, art pieces inspired by crabs and lobsters, varying in size, embellish the surroundings, from ferns housed in suspended lobster trap to lobster-shaped door handles adding quirky touches to an already unique destination.

Given its nature as a lava cave, one might wonder whether darkness shrouds the beauty and intricate details within. However, the design ingeniously incorporates openings that allow sunlight to seep through, casting a natural illumination over the tunnel. This thoughtful integration of natural light not only reveals the pristine clarity of the lake’s waters but also guides visitors across the narrow walkway, ensuring they can fully appreciate the journey to the end of the section.

Jameo Grande

The serpentine staircase ascends from the depths to ‘Jameo Grande,’ a verdant oasis that more closely resembles a lagoon than a cave. This expansive open-air space, stretching 100 meters in length and 30 meters in width, is bathed in sunlight and teeming with lush flora. Central to its allure is a breathtaking swimming pool, which has become the emblematic face of Jameos del Agua. However, there’s a playful twist to this visual feast: legend has it that only the King of Spain is granted the privilege to swim in these inviting waters. For everyone else, the experience is limited to admiring its beauty and capturing the moment in photographs.

Auditorium

At the distant edge of the Jameo Grande lies the grand auditorium, with its 800 seats. Similar to Jameo Chico, this space features an opening that delicately filters in natural light, casting a subtle glow over the dome cave. The illumination enhances its almost ethereal quality, creating a captivating atmosphere within.

For a period, this unique auditorium underwent significant reconstruction, temporarily closing its doors to the public. However, in 2009, it emerged from its transformative phase, welcoming visitors once again. Since then, this extraordinary venue has become a cultural hub, hosting a myriad of events, including classical concerts, theatrical performances, and film screenings.

Jameo de la Cazuela

Often overlooked amidst the more renowned Jameos is Jameo de la Cazuela, the newest attraction to this extraordinary destination. Tucked away and accessible only by crossing the auditorium stage, this lesser-known enclave is made lovely by the waterfalls that frame it.

Note that, unlike the other areas, access to Jameo de la Cazuela is exclusive to those who join a guided tour designed for small groups. This exclusive exploration provides an intimate encounter with the beauty concealed within, concluding with a delightful snack at La Galeria bar.

La Casa de Los Volcanes

From Jameo Grande, a striking white stairway leads visitors to La Casa de Los Volcanes. True to expectations, this educational hub is rich with panels detailing fascinating facts about Lanzarote’s geological wonders and, naturally, its volcanoes. The sophisticated instruments and computers that monitor and display the Earth’s temperature and seismic movements in real time are what sets this interpretation center apart. It’s a glimpse into the dynamic nature of our planet, presented in a way that’s both accessible and engaging. Visitors should note that access to this museum requires a separate ticket, a small prerequisite for those eager to delve deeper into the volcanic heartbeat of Lanzarote.

Entrance Fee and Opening Hours

Jameos del Agua welcomes visitors every day of the year, operating 365 days without exception. You can explore this unique attraction from 10:00 a.m. until 5:15 p.m., with the site closing promptly at 6:00 p.m. This schedule offers ample opportunity for guests to experience Jameos del Agua’s combination of natural beauty and architectural wonders at their leisure.

Their rates are as follows:

Adult: 15.00 EUR

Child (7 to 12 years): 7.50 EUR

Child (0 to 6 years): Free

Canarian Resident Adult: 8.00 EUR

Canarian Resident Child (7 to 12 years): 4.00 EUR

Adult (Jameos del Agua + Casa de los Volcanes Combo Ticket): 20.00 EUR

Child (7 to 12 years) Jameos del Agua + Casa de los Volcanes Combo Ticket: 10.00 EUR

Canarian Resident Adult (Jameos del Agua + Casa de los Volcanes Combo Ticket): 11.00 EUR

Canarian Resident Child (7 to 12 years) Jameos del Agua + Casa de los Volcanes Combo Ticket: 5.50 EUR

Additionally, persons with disabilities are eligible for a 30% discount on individual entry tickets.

Traveler Tips

To make the most of your visit, consider these tips:

Plan Your Visit: Aim to arrive early in the day to avoid the throng of crowds and fully enjoy the serene atmosphere. The site opens at 10:00 a.m., which gives you a good start before it gets busier.

Pets Policy: Please note that furry friends or any pets are not allowed within Jameos del Agua, with the exception of guide dogs. This policy helps to preserve the delicate natural environment and ensures the safety and comfort of all visitors.

Accessibility: Jameos del Agua might not be suitable for vacationers with reduced mobility due to its natural and architectural features, including steps and uneven surfaces. If mobility is a concern, you should contact the site directly for more detailed information and to inquire about any possible accommodations.

Footwear: Wear comfortable walking shoes. The terrain inside the volcanic tube and around the site includes natural paths that can be uneven or slippery.

Photography: Don’t forget your camera. Jameos del Agua offers breathtaking views that you’ll definitely want to capture. However, always be respectful of the site’s guidelines on photography.

Stay Hydrated: Bring water, especially during warmer months. While there is a restaurant on-site, staying hydrated as you explore is essential.

Learn About the Site: Consider using a guide or an audio guide if available. Learning about César Manrique’s vision and the natural history of the place will enrich your visit.

Respect the Environment: The unique ecosystem, including the blind albino crabs, is delicate. Follow all guidelines to ensure the preservation of this natural wonder for future visitors.

Check for Events: Occasionally, Jameos del Agua hosts concerts and cultural events in its auditorium. Check the schedule in advance to align your visit with one of these special occasions.

Ticket Options: Evaluate ticket options in advance. If you plan to visit other attractions, combo tickets offer savings. Remember, there are discounts available for Canarian residents and persons with disabilities.

Dining Options

You might need a refreshment or a hearty meal after wandering through volcanic tunnels and marveling at unique ecosystems. Lucky for you, Jameos del Agua isn’t just a feast for the eyes; it offers actual feasts, too, with not one but two bars and a restaurant right within this magical setting.

Jameos del Agua Bar-Cafe
Unique dining experience in a volcanic cave – ©dziewul

Bar Vista Lago offers a casual spot where you can sip a drink while enjoying stunning views of the emerald-green lagoon, home to the tiny, unique albino crabs. It’s the perfect place to relax, unwind, and soak in the otherworldly atmosphere surrounding you.

Bar Galeria, on the other hand, provides a cozy ambiance that complements the cave-like environment. It’s an ideal spot for those looking to enjoy a drink in a more intimate setting, surrounded by the mind-blowing natural beauty of the volcanic rock formations.

And when hunger strikes, Restaurant Los Jameos del Agua awaits to satisfy your appetite. Here, you can indulge in delicious dishes that blend local flavors with international cuisine, all while seated in an architecturally stunning space that feels like part of the landscape itself.

How to Get to Jameos del Agua

Jameos del Agua is accessible from the island’s major towns. Whether you’re coming from Arrecife, the island’s capital, the popular tourist spot of Puerto del Carmen, or the serene town of Playa Blanca, here’s how you can reach this natural wonder.

From Arrecife

Driving: Take LZ-1 heading north, driving through the towns of Tahiche and Guatiza. Keep an eye out for signs for Jameos del Agua as you approach, and you’ll find the entrance on your right.

Public Transportation: Take bus line 09 from Arrecife to Órzola. Get off at the Jameos del Agua stop. Note that bus schedules and routes may change, so checking the latest information before your trip is advisable.

From Costa Teguise

Driving: Head north on LZ-14, then LZ-1 towards Órzola. Follow the signs for Jameos del Agua after passing through Arrieta. The entrance will be on your right.

Public Transportation: While direct bus routes from Costa Teguise to Jameos del Agua may not be available, you can take a bus to Arrecife (such as line 03) and then transfer to bus line 9 towards Órzola, getting off at the Jameos del Agua stop. It’s important to check the latest bus schedules and connections to plan your trip efficiently.

From Puerto del Carmen

Driving: Start on LZ-40 towards Arrecife, then switch to LZ-2, followed by LZ-3 northbound. Merge onto LZ-1 through Tahiche towards Órzola. Continue on LZ-1; signs will guide you directly to Jameos del Agua, located on your right side.

Public Transportation: Bus lines 02 and 03 connect Puerto del Carmen to Arrecife. From Arrecife, transfer to bus line 09 towards Órzola and alight at Jameos del Agua. Remember to verify the current bus schedule for the most accurate information.

From Playa Blanca

Driving: Take LZ-2 north to LZ-3, merging towards Órzola on LZ-1. Drive past Arrecife, Tahiche, and Guatiza, following signs to Jameos del Agua. The destination will be on your right.

Public Transportation: First, take the bus line 60 from Playa Blanca to Arrecife. Then, switch to bus line 9 to Órzola, exiting at Jameos del Agua. Check the bus times and routes in advance to ensure a smooth journey.

A Lava-ffair with Art and Nature

Jameos del Agua harmoniously blends nature’s raw beauty and human creativity, embodying César Manrique’s vision of integrating art with the environment. This unique attraction, set within a volcanic tunnel on Lanzarote, offers visitors a glimpse into the geological wonders of the Canary Islands and an immersive experience into a world where architecture and nature coalesce seamlessly. From its tranquil lagoon, home to the rare albino crabs, to the captivating concerts held in its natural auditorium, Jameos del Agua invites everyone to fall in love with its serene beauty and artistic innovation—a true lava-ffair with art and nature.