Lanzarote is one of the four most visited Canary Islands – the others being Tenerife, Fuerteventura and Gran Canaria. The big appeal to these islands is the year round sunshine and warmer temperatures – perfect for an escape in our traditionally colder months to jet away from the winter blues! The three main resorts (most popular) are Playa Blanca, Costa Teguise and Puerto Del Carmen, which is where the NInja took up base on this particular visit, in Los Pocillos, which was about a 20 min walk from the main strip area and all the true hustle and bustle of Puerto Del Carmen
Lanzarote is more easily accessible than ever these days for Northern Ireland Holiday Makers. As well as the likes of Thomas Cook, TUI and Jet2 offering package holiday offers, the lowcost airlines such as Ryanair and Easyjet fly a couple of times per week from Belfast International Airport – and at off peak times can be VERY good value. Puerto Del Carmen is very close to the airport and only a 10-15 min taxi (at a cost of approx. 10Euro) or private transfer away.
Arguably the biggest selling point for Lanzarote (and any of the Canary Islands as a matter of fact) is the year-round sunshine on offer. Even in winter months, temperatures can reach 20 degrees meaning that it is the perfect destination to jet away from the cold, rain and wind of a NI winter. Lanzarote can be windy, not as much as its Fuerteventura neighbour, so bear that in mind – for example, on this particular visit in early February, the sun was shining with clear blue skies, but the wind was so strong that it could cut you in two! However it is still warm enough to get a bit of colour around you if thats your thing.
On this occasion the NInja stayed at the Seaside Los Jameos Playa, a very popular hotel resort for visitors in Los Pocillos, again on the edge of Puerto Del Carmen. The hotel is one of the largest on the island with over 530 rooms split over 5 or 6 main blocks that can cater for a whopping 1300 guests.
SLJP is a four-star hotel resort that is warm and very inviting, and caters for all types of visitors – whether it be couples, young or old families, or more mature visitors. There is a LOT on offer throughout the resort with two huge pool areas (one that is heated in the winter months) as well as smaller kid only pools. There are many activities on offer through the day – including tennis, table tennis, mini golf, archery, pool, arcade room etc.
In the evenings there are two main entertainment hotspots – the Piano Bar where you can enjoy a refreshment listening to a different piano singer / performer each night, or the main Belingo Bar where there are different performers each night whether it be singers, acrobats or magicians! On one of the nights the NInja called in, the four-piece band “Il Divo” were the main act!
One of the main attractions of the SLJP is the food and dining options on offer. From about 4pm onwards the whole resort is covered with the intoxicating smells of fish, chicken and other items being prepared and cooked – if you weren’t hungry before then, you will be salivating at the lips by the time you choose to visit the large dining area where you are treated to a wealth of choice and freshly cooked food.
Whether it be breakfast, lunch or especially dinner you will not be disappointed with the range of product – something for everyone! In the evenings there is a general theme to the food – whilst the NInja was there the themes were Italian. Mexican, Canarian and the Grand Gala (which happens every 15 days) and is the highlight of the choice with a bit of everything and THE most incredible dessert/cake offering you will ever see! At dinner time there is a slightly more formal dress code – however if you can take my advice, I’d suggest wearing loose fitting trousers with the amount you will have to eat!
The rooms in the hotel are very spacious with a range on offer – on this visit the NInja stayed in a Junior Suite overlooking the pool areas in the block named “Tenerife”. The rooms are VERY clean (like the whole hotel) and have the usual mod-cons which you would hope for including safe, fridge (which you can get filled with products upon request) and TV with a load of familiar channels. The balconies are all of a good size as well able to fit a couple of loungers, chairs and small tables. The real highlight though for this NInja were the beds with very soft mattresses that ensure a good night’s sleep.
The SLJP is such a great location, with the back gate (easily accessible with room key) located straight into an area of shops, bars and restaurants which are perfect if you dont want to head into the main Puerto Del Carman town. It is also right beside an outstanding beach – Playa Grande which gives superb sunrise / sunset views and perfect for an early morning walk or stroll while dipping your toes into the Atlantic.
The SLJP (mostly) operates on a half board or all inclusive board basis which means that you dont need to carry cash on you – everything is linked back to your room key so at the end of your stay you can easily settle up on any outstanding amounts without worrying about having money on you all the time – a very handy option!!
Things to Do
If you want a bit of retail therapy to break up the sunshine worshipping then why not head out to one of the super shopping centres. At the southern end of the main Puerto Del Carmen strip is the Biosfera shopping complex – an outdoor mall with a lot of high end and high street shops.
Whilst a short bus trip or taxi journey away is the Deiland Shopping Centre – an indoor mall in Playa Honda (not far from the airport) with some familiar high street names as well as Spanish versions of your favourites – like for example Lefties which bares a striking resemblance to our beloved Primark!
The Volcanoes and National Park are a huge tourism driver to the island and there are a plethora of day trips and half day options on offer to you ranging from 25-50Euro per person – make sure you pick the right one for you!
Hiring a bike (two, three or even four seaters!), scooter or even a car to is very accessible in Lanzarote, great value and a super way to explore the island. If you want to get away from the beach and do your own thing you won’t be short of options available.
Want to combine your holiday into a Two Centre break? You can get a ferry across to Fuerteventura from Playa Blanca (approx. 30 mins from Puerto Del Carmen). This day trip to Corralejo takes around 30 mins each way and costs about 30EURO and gives you the chance to tick off another Canary Island on your NInja holiday hit list!
Food & Drink
From traditional cuisine to the most innovative gastronomic creations, in Lanzarote you can enjoy excellent cuisine. Specialising in outstanding fish and shellfish, vegetables, goat meat, black canary pork, and excellent wines with “Denomination of Origin Lanzarote”, produced in the magical vineyard landscapes of La Geria.
Puerto Del Carmen has such a MASSIVE choice in restaurants and places to eat that you will have absolutely no bother in finding something. However if you are after a couple of NInja suggestions, then why not have a go at one of these top spots:
The Black Buffalo
From previous NInja Verdict reviews you will know that the NInja is fond of a BBQ joint or two – and this restaurant located on the main strip in Puerto Del Carmen is another top contender! Recently re-opened after a successful renovation the new decor is very fresh and modern and the menu gives you all the necessary grilled bbq choice – steaks, ribs, pork and chicken – as well as non BBQ fare like pizza, pasta, fish. Also, given the quality of the food, the prices are quite reasonable. And if you have enough room after your mains, you must try the sticky toffee pudding (or any of the incredible desserts!)
Just off Playa Grande at the back of the Seaside hotel is the wonderfully charming Devon. At first glance you would think its the usual British / Irish owned cafe / bar but when you take a closer look you will see that it is miles away from the dime-a-dozen traditional style that tries to draw on the “lads / girls on tour” crowd. Despite its smaller size, the decor and friendliness of its staff is on a different level to most other cafes of similar ilk. The menu reflects the more personal nature with all the dishes having that little bit of TLC in both presentation and class. The opportunity to have things like “scones and tea” is not a new concept of course but the attention to detail and quality in their offering greatly outweighed anything else this NInja encountered on this trip. A recommendation? The filled banquettes at lunch were outstanding and the traditional roasts on offer looked incredible … but the fish and chips really were absolutely incredible! Oh, and its a great location overlooking the beach and perfect for any plane spotters wanting to see aircraft take off and arrive at the nearby airport. Great little find and just wish i was able to go back for another visit and feed!
NInja Tips & Tricks
Its very easy to get around Puerto Del Carmen/Playa Grande. If you cant walk, or don’t want to, taxis are easy to come by and reasonably enough priced. However the best option is the bus service which can take you up and down the road for a Euro or so each. The buses are modern, air conditioned and fairly regular.
Heading to Lanzarote in the winter months can be a tricky one to pack for. Whilst the temperature may reach 22-23 degrees the wind is a BIG factor and can cool things down so whilst it may not feel warm enough to get the sun/heat you may well still need the suncream on any exposed skin areas! My advice? Take the odd jumper/hoody/bodywarmer for those cooler moments.