If you’re anything like me, when you close your eyes and think of Lanzarote you see deep blue skies, neat white houses and golden beaches lined with sun loungers and backed by palm trees wafting in the breeze. Now open your eyes and the reality matches perfectly, except there appear to be a great number of people populating these scenes dressed in either lycra or rubber.
Lanzarote has long been a tropical winter getaway for families and sun seekers but in recent years the island has been building a reputation as a top class winter sports destination too. And when you look at what the island has to offer to sports enthusiasts, it’s easy to see why.
Fanned by a near constant breeze, Lanzarote attracts wind catchers from across the globe to its warm waters and perfect conditions for surfing, windsurfing and kite boarding. At the lovely family resort of Costa Teguise, the long, golden beach of Las Cucharas is a favourite haunt of people who carry boards and wear flowery shorts most of their days. For those of us who find it difficult to balance on our flip flops, let alone a board on waves, the beach is a great place to chill out in the sun and watch the bronzed ones perform.
On the lagoon at the northern edge of the resort you can try your hand, and feet, at the up and coming sport of Stand Up Paddle (SUP) which is like Hawaiian paddling without the flower garlands.
Just along the coastline at Playa Jabillo, it’s life beneath the waves that attracts the rubber wearing set, the sheltered cove being perfect for try-dives and first time divers. Lanzarote’s warm, clear waters present some of Europe’s best diving opportunities and there are excellent dive sites to be explored like those off the north coast of Las Salinas and in the Rabat Wreck off the Arrecife coast. You’ll find Angel Sharks, rays, morays, great barracuda and grouper to name but a fishy few.
If your idea of riding the waves runs more to standing on deck with a cocktail in hand, head to the upmarket resort of El Rubicon alongside Playa Blanca where you’ll find the white and blue of shiny marinas and the RC44 yacht class who hold their annual World Cup here. You’ll also find the obligatory yachting accoutrements of fine seafood restaurants and designer label shops to while away the shore hours.
For landlubbers, Lanzarote’s unique landscape attracts cyclists and runners who can either go off road along the volcanic trails or stay on-road where they easily outnumber the cars on Lanzarote’s quiet, and largely straight, roads. Hikers can explore volcanic craters or scale cliffs to views that would take your breath away, were you to have any left to steal.
Blessed with such a perfect sporting terrain, Lanzarote is ideal for combining sports disciplines in the ultimate tests of tri and duathlon competitions and is home to the Ironman Triathlon which certainly separates the men from the boys.
So next time you’re thinking of setting the alarm for 5am to go jogging in the cold and dark of a winter’s morning, try jogging to the pc and book a trip to Lanzarote instead. Why run under grey skies when you can run under blue? I think that should be their slogan 🙂
Photo copyright: Andy & Jack Montgomery
Posted : Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012 at 10:00
Andy Montgomery is a travel writer and blogger currently living amongst banana plantations in the north of Tenerife. If she’s not sipping mojitos in a Cuban bar or clinging to some vertigo-inducing outcrop by her fingernails, she’s working on her Buzztrips travel website.