Cesar Manrique’s Lanzarote

Manrique’s Creations

Cesar Manrique was a pioneer of preserving the beautiful landscape of Lanzarote. By creating houses out of lava bubbles and restaurants within caves, he showed how it was possible to retain the islands beauty. The Cesar Manrique foundation was set up in 1992 after his death as a non-profit organisation which allows tourists access to his unique home.

Mirador del Rio
Built into the cliffs in the north of the island, this stunning view point has floor to ceiling glass windows that curve around the cliff face and provide panoramic views over the volcanic landscape below and the neighbouring islet of La Graciosa. You can look over the salt plains of Las Salinas del Rio, which have been mined since Roman times, whilst enjoying a cool refreshing drink from the bar and restaurant within the Mirador.

Jameos del Agua
An intricate cave system in the north of Lanzarote was formed around four thousand years ago and has since been transformed by Manrique into an auditorium, swimming pool, gardens and restaurant. The aim of Manrique’s work was to blend his creations into the natural surroundings, and this cave system is no different, blending in perfectly with the lava flows. The larger network includes the Cueva de los Verdes, which is over 6km long and the largest cave is sometimes used as a concert hall.

There is an underground lake here which is home to a unique type of albino crab that is not found anywhere else.

Jardin de Cactus
The last work of Manrique and home to over 10,000 cacti, this garden was created in a transformed abandoned quarry. Here you can wander through the winding paths, designed to be an attractive and relaxing area rather than an educational garden, before visiting the quaint café and gift shop on site. There is also a restored windmill that was used to produce corn flour, needed to make the popular Canarian ingredient of ‘gofio’. 

It boasts a population of the Cochineal beetle, which provides the natural red colouring that used to be used in food and clothing.

Taro de Tahiche
This is the intriguing home that Cesar created by adapting five hollow volcanic bubbles within the ground. The lower levels are the living quarters and seem to merge effortlessly with the surrounding landscape, with trees growing up through the roof of the upper level leaving you wondering if you are inside or out in some places. The turquoise pool and leafy palms of the garden feel more like a room in the house than a garden, and at one point the lava flows that form the surrounding land actually continue through a ‘window’ and into the house!

Wherever you go in Lanzarote it is hard to avoid the works of Manrique as he designed what seems to be the majority of the island. Whether it is surreptitious sculptures on roundabouts, or landmark look-out points, his influence is everywhere and his works are well worth a visit for everyone. Children will love to explore the strange rocky pools and even if design or gardening does not interest you, all of his works were built with enjoyment in mind.

Where to stay: Costa Teguise is a great base for exploring Manrique’s Lanzarote. Stay at the Hotel Grand Teguise Playa that looks over the sandy beach of El Jablilo.

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