Jameos del Agua – A Magical Grotto

If you are exploring the North of Lanzarote, this is definitely worth a visit.

A huge lobster sculpture welcomes you to the amazing Jameos del Agua. A short walk from the coast, the Jameos del Agua is a magical place, probably best described as a fantasy grotto. It is located inside part of the world’s longest lava tube, at the end nearest to the sea.

The 7km long lava tube (Túnel de la Atlántida) was the result of the eruptions of the Corona Volcano about 21,000 years ago. The eruptions happened during the last Ice Age when the sea level was much lower and the shoreline was further away. As a result, the final 1.5km-long section of the lave tube is below sea level today.

Inside the Jameo you’ll find the world’s only blind albino crabs, a water-filled cave, a sculpted pool, a concert hall, and a restaurant. The interior lake was created by seawater infiltrating the cave, giving rise to a unique geological formation.

The Jameo del Agua can get very busy especially if you’re there at the same time as the tour buses from the cruise ships. Definitely come early or late if you can. Be careful as you walk around its easy to stumble, especially in the cave and volcanic rocks are sharp!

What is a Jameo

A jameo (“ha-may-oh”) is a volcanic cave that’s open to the sky. During an eruption molten lava flows and the surface hardens, creating tubes that the lava runs along. Sometimes the roof is blown off due to pressure building up inside the tube. These large openings are called a jameo.

Cesar Manrique

The Jameos del Agua was conceived by the local artist and architect Cesar Manrique during the 1960s. Many people regard this as his most spectacular creation. It was also his first tourist creation on the Island.

His design took a volcanic tunnel that had fallen in here and there and transformed it into a fantasy grotto. While a lot of other Spanish tourist centres were building golf courses and water parks to attract visitors, Manrique took a different approach.

He planned to fuse art with nature and create a unique cultural attraction. Some people thought he was crazy, after all, what could possibly be forged with lava? After completion of the site, these people soon changed their minds. Rita Hayworth visited in 1966 and she said she thought it was “The eighth wonder of the world”.

Like all the sites Manrique helped create, the Jameos del Agua has its own special symbol. This one uses a lobster. A big lobster statue welcomes visitors to the car park. Inside giant lobster pots make planters for the giant ferns and lobster shaped door handles adorn the main concert auditorium. I’m sure you’ll notice others as you walk around.

Visiting the Jameos del Agua

The entrance fee is €9.50 and the site is open all year round. You can get here by car or public bus (Linea 9 from the Arrecife Bus Station). Many of the island’s coach trips also visit here. There is a bar/restaurant in the Jameo Chico and a cafe next to the Casa de Los Volcanes with views over the pool and across to the Atlantic Ocean. The food is excellent, although slightly expensive.

Bonos Vouchers

If you are planning to visit a few attractions in Lanzarote, it might be worth buying a Bonos Voucher. These will save you money on entrance fees.

Save up to 5 euros if you want to visit 3 locations

Save up to 9.5 Euros if you want to visit 4 locations.

Choose 4 from Cueva de los Verdes, Jameos del Agua, Mirador del Rio, Montanas del Fuego or Cactus Garden.

Save up to 12.5 Euros if you want to visit 6 locations.

Choose 6 from Cueva de los Verdes, Jameos del Agua, Mirador del Rio, Montanas del Fuego, Cactus Garden, Museo Internacional de Arte Contenporaneo or Castillo San Jose.

Simply buy the relevant ticket you want at the first attraction you visit and your ticket is valid for 14 days.

Jameo Chico

When you enter you initially descend some stairs into the first Jameo. Here there is a cool cafe bar area with tropical plants. Huge lobster pots serve as hanging baskets for giant ferns. Birdsong and new age music or sometimes classical complete the mood. The cafe area overlooks a small underground lake.

The little niches and alcoves come into their own on an evening when this becomes a nightspot. The Jameos is doubly atmospheric on Tuesday and Saturday evenings when you can enjoy a meal, traditional folk music and dancing.

Underground Lake

The salt lake is completely natural and the water very clear and regulated by the Atlantic Ocean. Hundreds of tiny, blind, albino, almost fluorescent crabs (Munidopsis Polymorpha) populate the lake. These are only found on Lanzarote. Today they are very rare and almost extinct. The crabs once lived deep in the ocean but were stranded here a long time ago.

Jameo Grande

At the end of the cave, cross the lake by the footbridge and climb the steps from the cave back into the daylight where there is a surprise waiting. The Jameo Grande is a south-seas style swimming pool. The pool is a beautiful bright blue with a blinding white beach, black and grey volcanic rocks, and a tall palm tree set at an angle over the pool. Sadly swimming is not permitted. Allegedly though an exception is made for the King of Spain.

No doubt you’ll have seen a picture of this. It appears on a myriad of postcards, but it’s only when you are actually here there that you realise what a totally amazing place it is.

Concert Auditorium

From the far end of the Jameo Grande, you can visit the auditorium. This has been built in part of the volcanic tube. It has seating for 600 people. The auditorium hosts shows and concerts and has near-perfect acoustics.

La Casa de los Volcanes

Some more steps lead from the pool up to the top, where there is a terrace with a café and also the Casa de los Volcanes. This is a small scientific museum with an interesting exhibition on volcanism. This is an excellent introduction to the world of volcanoes.

Behind glass screens, you can have a look at various working seismographs and other sensory equipment used by the monitoring station.

The Casa de los Volcanes hosts an annual meeting of international volcanologists and from time to time, it provides talks about volcanoes to the general public.

Jameos del Agua – Picture Gallery

Coastline

When I arrived here I fancied stretching my legs for a bit. As the coast is not very far away, I went there for a walk. It’s very windy here, the coastline is quite rugged and the sea very rough. The only people in evidence were a group of windsurfers who looked to be having the time of their life. Anyway if you want a bit of solitude and some time watching the waves this is a great place to go for a walk.

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