A hike through inland Lanzarote will make you realise how difficult it must have been for the island’s inhabitants to tame its harsh and rugged environment in order to develop agricultural activities that are unique in the world.
The way grapevines have been cultivated here, planted in conical pits on lapilli and surrounded by protective walls, is a perfect example of humans triumphing over nature at its wildest.
Here we describe three routes of varying difficulty: the Ruta del Jable, one of the most iconic routes on the island, where you will experience a unique landscape that is distinct from the rest of Lanzarote; the Barranco de Tenegüime ravine between Los Valles and Guatiza; and Tinguatón, which takes you through a landscape of volcanic lava.
La Ruta del Jable (Tiagua – Caleta de Famara)
The route begins next to the church in Tiagua and surprises us right from the start with one of Lanzarote’s most unique environments. The Ruta del Jable is named after “jable”, the white sand that originates from crushed sea shells, which gives an almost desert-like appearance to the landscape as you head towards the village of Soo. Although it seems like a paradox, this route actually passes through many agricultural areas, where people grow pumpkins, melons, watermelons and sweet potatoes, among other crops.
The path runs along a fairly wide route with a gentle slope, heading northeast and then turning northwest to reach the village of Soo. Once there, after having completed the first six kilometres of the route, the trail will turn back to the northeast. After about 500 metres you will reach the path that runs through the very heart of the Ruta del Jable, bordering the mountains of Caldera Trasera and Montaña Juan Hierro.
As you approach the end of the route, you will come across the majestic Risco de Famara cliffs and, after a little over three and a half hours of walking, you will arrive at Caleta de Famara, a village whose very streets are covered in jable. After finishing your hike, you can enjoy some of the surrounding beaches or try the wide range of cuisine offered in the village.
Barranco Tenegüime (Guatiza)
The Barranco de Tenegüime ravine, which has been declared a protected landscape, is one of the most mysterious areas of Lanzarote. Despite the arid environment, it is home to a wide variety of plant species. The route begins about 100 metres from the Los Valles wind farm. The first part of the route, the descent into the ravine, is quite difficult, so you will have to pay close attention to every step you take.
After an hour’s walk, you will find an old building in the middle of the ravine, which you can take advantage of to rest, recover your strength and drink some water. Although it is possible to continue this route through the heart of the ravine, we recommend you climb up the slope on the right. This will lead you to a second stage in the hike in which you can admire the fields of tuneras (cacti) in Guatiza and Mala, the proximity of the coast, and the Chinijo Archipelago with Roque del Este in the background.
The final part of the trail is the easiest, although you will still have to watch your footing. Near Guatiza, the route ends by taking you away from the ravine. After the hike, you can enjoy the natural pools of Charco del Palo, or recover your strength by sampling some tapas in the area.
Ortiz – Tinguatón
This route follows a spectacular itinerary that takes you through the heart of the Los Volcanes Natural Park. The starting point is in Tinguatón, where a wooden sign indicates the route. The most unique features of the trail are its solidified lava, the deafening silence that envelopes the entire landscape, and the striking presence of verodes (a succulent plant endemic to the Canary Islands), figs and palm trees.
The mountains of Ortiz and Tinguatón shelter the first part of the route, and from there you can enjoy the view of the nearby mountains of Timanfaya. Once you get to Ortiz mountain, you will continue south-east and then east before reaching Tisalaya. On your way you will come across a picturesque cave that is used for celebrations.
Between Tisalaya and the village of La Vegueta there are endless cultivated areas between the lava and the surrounding mountains. Grapevines, potato and onion crops are the most characteristic of this area, where humans have been quick to take advantage of the few fertile places offered by the landscape.
Once you have passed La Vegueta and reached Mancha Blanca, at the Ermita de Los Dolores you will turn back to Tinguatón, getting there around four hours after starting your journey from the same place. After completing your hike, we recommend you visit the Monumento al Campesino, a monument built by César Manrique, which, along with its associated house and museum, combines architecture, agriculture, craftsmanship and the best traditional cuisine.