This is a trip made on 14 March 2012 from Puerto del Carmen to Playa Blanca and then on to Timanfaya National Park in Lanzarote. Car rental was purchased on the leisurecars.com web site for 3 days hire from Puerto del Carmen for only £42. The Hertz rental location was in the Casa Mar area of Puerto del Carmen and the Economy vehicle was a Peugeot 207 with only 16,000 km on the clock. A deposit of 550 euros was taken off the credit card in lieu of taking excess cover and the car was checked for damage which showed no significant problems and only a few superficial scratches. The statement of vehicle condition was signed which showed a quarter tank of fuel. Always check the fuel gauge before leaving the rental location as in this instance the gauge only showed an eighth of a tank left. This was brought to the attention of Hertz and amended.
Given the popularity of Timanfaya National Park, it is better to arrive in the afternoon if you are driving as most of the organised coach tours arrive in the morning, making Timanfaya very busy during this period. The morning can be spent in Playa Blanca which will complete a great day trip in Lanzarote.
Leaving Puerto del Carmen on the LZ-504, the route to Playa Blanca is straightforward and takes about 30 minutes. Turn left from the LZ-504 onto the main LZ-2 Arrecife to Playa Blanca road via Yaiza. Alternatively a shorter drive is to turn off just before Yaiza onto the LZ-702 down to Playa Blanca, a total of 24 km.
Playa Blanca is the main ferry port for crossings to Corralejo on the northern tip of Fuerteventura. There are a couple of ferry companies, Fred Olsen which operates a faster service taking 20 minutes or the Naviera Armas taking 35 minutes and slightly cheaper. Playa Blanca is a fairly small resort with a small sandy beach and a pleasant promenade of mainly restaurants with tables outside overlooking the beach and sea, a definite must for fish and seafood lovers with tapas from 3 to 4 euros per dish. Lunch can be taken in Playa Blanca or at Timanfaya National Park. The main reason for taking lunch in Timanfaya is to try the BBQ meat which is cooked over the volcano using geothermal heat and is absolutely delicious. Otherwise eat in Playa Blanca which will offer a wider choice and be much cheaper.
From Playa Blanca to Timanfaya National Park, take the LZ-2 north to Yaiza and then take the LZ-67 through Timanfaya to the entrance at Islote de Hilario, a total of 23 km. A few kilometres before the entrance are Echadero de Camellos (The Camels’ Resting Place) where camel rides on the volcano can be taken and offer a unique Lanzarote experience.
Opened in 1970, The Montanas del Fuego (Fire Mountains) or Timanfaya form an area in southwest Lanzarote where volcanic eruptions between 1730 and 1736 have created a unique, almost lunar landscape. Entrance fee is 8 euros and includes the “Route of the Volcanoes” tour, a 14 km coach tour with pre-recorded commentary in various languages. The route takes in the main centre of the eruptions in Timanfaya highlighting the unique geological and geomorphic points on interest. A good tip is to sit on the right hand side of the coach as this offers the more dramatic scenery and stops are made along the route to take photographs from inside the coach. The last tour leaves at 1700 except between 15 July – 15 September which is 1800.
El Diablo restaurant in Timanfaya National Park is open from 1200 – 1530 except between 15 July – 15 September when it is open 1200 – 1645. The restaurant is circular with glass walls providing fantastic views across Timanfaya while eating. Look out for the BBQ section on the menu where the meat is cooked on a large cast iron grill over a hole in the ground. The English section just refers to “Barbecued Meat” with no mention of being cooked by volcanic heat compared to the French “Viandes au grill du Volcan” or the Spanish “Carnes a la barbacoa del volcan”. Prices for steak range from Entrecote at 13 euros to Sirloin at 15.20 euros and T-Bone at 19.70 euros. Half a chicken (which comes thoroughly recommended!) was 8.10 euros and there is also sausages, veal, pork and mixed kebab available.
The drive from Timanfaya National Park back to Puerto del Carmen is the reverse of some of the route already travelled. Take the LZ-67 back to Yaiza and join the LZ-2 towards Arrecife, turning off onto the LZ-504 to Puerto del Carmen.