Arrecife, Canary | Cruise port of call | CruiseBe
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Arrecife, Canary

Arrecife is a city and municipality in the Canary Islands (Spain) situated in the center-east of the island of Lanzarote, of which it has been the capital since 1852. The city owes its name to the rock reef ('Arrecife' is Spanish for 'reef') which covers the beach located in the city.

The area of the municipality is 22.72 km². It is south of Haría, east of Tinajo and northeast of Yaiza. Arrecife is a port town on the east coast, served by ferries to the other islands and also Europe and mainland Africa. The LZ1 road connects Arrecife with to the north, the LZ2 road with the southwest, and the LZ3 road serves as the beltway of the city. The tallest building in Lanzarote is the Arrecife Gran Hotel, which is located on the front alongside the harbor.

The... Read more

Arrecife, Canary

Arrecife is a city and municipality in the Canary Islands (Spain) situated in the center-east of the island of Lanzarote, of which it has been the capital since 1852. The city owes its name to the rock reef ('Arrecife' is Spanish for 'reef') which covers the beach located in the city.

The area of the municipality is 22.72 km². It is south of Haría, east of Tinajo and northeast of Yaiza. Arrecife is a port town on the east coast, served by ferries to the other islands and also Europe and mainland Africa. The LZ1 road connects Arrecife with to the north, the LZ2 road with the southwest, and the LZ3 road serves as the beltway of the city. The tallest building in Lanzarote is the Arrecife Gran Hotel, which is located on the front alongside the harbor.

The earliest records of Arrecife date from the fifteenth century when it was a small fishing settlement. The name, given then as Arrecifes, refers to the black volcanic reefs behind which boats could hide, protected from sudden pirate attacks.

Towards the end of the sixteenth century, the settlement began to grow in response to a need for accommodation and warehousing to support growing trade between the old and new worlds. The first church was constructed at this time, consecrated to the first bishop of Arrecife, San Ginés. Growing prosperity increased the attractiveness of the town as a pirate target: in 1571 a notorious pirate named Dogan plundered and almost completely destroyed the little port town.

In 1964 Arrecife became the site of Lanzarote's first sea-water desalination plant, which was still operational in 2010.

Not all that much is known about the Island's early history because most archeological evidence has either been buried under lava or carried off by raiders. The Phoenicians were there, followed by the Romans. The Arabs then settled the island, the French explored it, and the Spanish conquered it.
The island thrived for a while by producing cochineal, an expensive, crimson dye taken from the carapace of a scale insect that lives on cactus. Cochineal is used for dyeing fabric, decorating china, in cosmetics, and as a food coloring.
The eruptions in 1730-1736 covered a quarter of the island's surface, destroying its most fertile farmland and eleven villages. Still, visitors marvel at how stone walls and semi-surrounds are used to capture moisture to grow crops elsewhere on this decidedly desert island.
The coherence and beauty of the island's cultural and tourist centers are largely the legacy of the local artist César Manrique (1919-1992). He also played a key role in having the island declared a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1993.


Lanzarote has a desert climate according to the Köppen climatic classification. The little precipitation is concentrated in the winter months.

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Arrecife, Canary: Port Information

Cruise liners dock at Muelle de los Mármoles or La Boca de Puerto Naos.
  • Muelle de los Mármoles is 4 miles away from the city center. Usually, cruise companies provide shuttles to the center. Taxis are available. You can also rent a car; this service is not very expensive. Just next to the port is a car rental office.
  • La Boca de Puerto Naos is less than 1 mile away from the city. Usually, cruise companies provide shuttles to the center. Taxis are available. Besides, you can enjoy a nice walk.

Get around Arrecife, Canary

Bus and taxi are good value on the island. Car hire is also relatively cheap and is the best option for discovering the remote wilderness regions. It only takes about 40 minutes to cross the entire island from North to South by car, and about 25 minutes across.
​Lanzarote tends to be a bit windy, and often a bit more in July, making motor scooters or bicycles a little difficult and risky.

What to see in Arrecife, Canary

  • Timanfaya National Park

    is a volcanic landscape that has barely changed since its eruption in the 1730s and covers a quarter of the island's surface. For many, the highlight of their visit to Lanzarote.
    • Montañas del Fuego (Mountains of Fire) are located within the park, +34 928 84 00 57. Every day, 9 AM-5:45 PM (last tour at 5 PM). Restaurant +34 928 17 31 05, every day, 12 PM-3 PM. Entrance is by bus or car leading to the Islote de Hilario, where a sloped car park leads up to a shop, bar, and restaurant which were designed by César Manrique. The admission fee includes a bus tour around the interior of the park with a narrated history in Spanish, English, and German. The restaurant has a panoramic view of the park, and the meat is roasted over the underground heat of the islote, which reaches hundreds of degrees at a depth of only a few meters. 
    • Timanfaya National Park Visitors' Centre, located just outside the northern limit of the park, on the road to Mancha Blanca and Tinajo. The permanent display and audio-visual presentations explain the origins of the island, the recent volcanic activity that formed the park, and the flora and fauna of what appears at first glance to be a dead landscape. 
  • Jameos del Agua, located in the Malpais de La Corona in the north of the island. Every day, 10 AM-6:30 PM, and Tu, F, Sa 7 PM-2 AM. Restaurant Tu, F, Sa 7:30 PM-11:30 PM. Neat dress (no shorts or t-shirts) and no flash or lit photography after 7 PM. A jameo is a volcanic formation formed when the ceiling of an underground lava tunnel collapses, exposing a section of the tunnel to the sky. A bar, restaurant, swimming pool, and concert hall were all built within one such formation near the coast under the guidance of César Manrique and opened to the public in 1966. 
  • Cueva de los Verdes ("Green's Cave") is located a few hundred meters inland from the Jameos del Agua and is part of the same tunnel. +34 928 84 84 84. Every day, 10 AM-6 PM, last entry 5 PM. A guided tour takes you through a succession of caverns and tunnels formed by an underground river of lava. The melted rock and mineral formations are well lit, and the demonstration of their acoustical qualities is truly surprising.
  • Mirador del Rio

    is a lookout located at the northernmost tip of the island. It has a comfortable bar and lounge offering a magnificent panoramic view of the small islands to the north of Lanzarote.
  • Jardín de Cactus ("Cactus Garden"), Guatiza. +34 928 52 93 97. Every day, 10 AM-6 PM, last entry 5:45 PM. Entry fee includes a drink at the bar. 
  • Fundación César Manrique, Taro de Tahiche. +34 928 84 31 38 / 84 30 70. Every day, 10 AM-7 PM. Visit César Manrique's superb house, built inside 5 volcanic bubbles.
  • Casa Monumento al Campesino ("House of Monument to the Peasant"), San Bartolomé. +34 928 52 01 36. Every day, 10 AM-6 PM. Restaurant 12 PM-4:30 PM, 6 PM-1 AM.
  • Whales and Dolphins Museum, Puerto Calero. The Museo de Cataceos de Canarias is a very informative museum with friendly and knowledgeable staff. Ideal for family holiday trips in Lanzarote located in Puerto Calero's attractive marina space. It's certainly an appropriate museum for the Canary Islands, as dolphins and whales abound in the surrounding Atlantic waters. Outside the museum is a giant skeleton of a whale - giving you an idea of what to expect inside. The museum explores the evolution of whales and dolphins in detail through life-sized reproduction models, skeleton collections, sounds and interactive displays, photographs, and biological samples.
  • Agricola Museum, Echedey, 18 35558, Tiagua, Tel / Fax: +34 928.529.134. Open M-F 10 AM-5:30 PM and Sa 10 AM-2:30 PM. This is a great place to see what life used to be like on Lanzarote for the farmers and settlers. There are lots of exhibits covering everything from tools and implements to a typical household layout on this large and interesting site. Two flour mills, a winery, animals and a working farm are all on offer for visitors to see. Often missed by tourist buses this site is easy to find and well preserved.
  • Lanzarote's BeachesLanzarote has a number of beautiful beaches and a rugged, fabulous coastline to explore.


Drive from Yaiza along the LZ-704 to El Golfo on the west coast, where there are a couple of black sand beaches and a long row of restaurants along the shore. From there head south along the coast road LZ-703, stopping at the lookout, the Charco Los Clicos, and Los Hervideros. Continue past the salt pans at the Laguna De Jaunubio then return to Yaiza along the LZ-2.

What to do in Arrecife, Canary

The beaches. There are also water activities such as snorkeling, scuba diving, surfing, windsurfing, parasailing, and canoeing. There is also a water park (with bus service from Puerto del Carmen), a Zoo Park (Guinate Park), an aquarium-type park and a wild-west themed animal park (Rancho Texas). You can also take submarine trips from Ports in Puerto del Carmen and Puerto Calero. One of the island's most enjoyable things to do is relax, lie at the beautiful beaches during the day and enjoy a nice meal in the evening. There is an array of shops ranging from digital hardware shops to bazaars but be wary, you can get a good bargain if you can haggle a little with the shopkeepers. Don't worry, these guys are well used to people asking for a better deal than what they are offering.
Try Scuba Diving from Costa Teguise, Playa Blanca or Puerto del Carmen. Lanzarote offers some of the best diving in the EU. Sport Fishing is also a popular activity, with several boats departing from the different harbors on a daily basis.
International Charter Group - Yacht charter and sailing, one of the worlds largest yacht charter companies, can take care of all charter requirements, from bareboat to crewed in the Santander. Operating from nine offices worldwide (USA, Spain, UK, Germany, Italy, France, Spain, Switzerland, Caribbean, Honk Kong, and Dubai).


Caleta de Famara is a famous surfing destination. It is a small village located on the north-east of the island, right in a bay. There are three small grocery shops, a couple of bars and a good dozen of surf-shops, renting equipment surfers, kite-surfers as well as providing lessons for those keen to learn. Local bus L20 goes to Famara from Arrecife on weekdays and a bus from Costa Teguise on weekends.

What to eat and drink in Arrecife, Canary



The local cuisine is typical of the Canary Islands:

  • Mojo means sauce. The most common varieties are:
    • mojo picón (hot, spicy) made from red chillis,
    • mojo verde (green) made either from green pepper or coriander (cilantro),
    • mojo hervido (boiled) made from spices and lemon.
  • Papas arrugadas ("wrinkly potatoes") are cooked unpeeled in salt water then baked dry. Customarily served with a mojo sauce.
  • Gofio is a flour substitute milled from a variety of cereals like wheat, corn (maize), barley, etc. or a mixture of them. It is sometimes served by local restaurants in entreé dishes as a small patty of moist dough and also forms the basis for local pastries and pie bases.

Restaurants noted for local cuisine:

  • La Era, Yaiza.
  • Casa Monumento al Campesino, San Bartolomé.
  • Restaurante Museo Internacional de Arte Contemporaneo, Castillo de San José, Arrecife (on the coast just to the north of Arrecife, inside a Castle turned museum).

However, it is worth noting that in many of the resorts there are very few true Canarian restaurants. Most of those present tend to focus on English food (English fried breakfast, Roasts, etc). If you are going on a package holiday it would be a huge saving to pay the extra for all-inclusive, especially if you're not likely to travel far from the resort.


There are many non-traditional places to eat out in the main resort towns, serving a wide range of food such as Greek, Chinese, Indian, and Mexican.
The 'old town' area of Puerto Del Carmen is home to Blooming Cactus Vegetarian Restaurant, but those with vegan or vegetarian dietary requirements will find limited choice outside of this eatery.


The tap water is treated seawater, brackish, and not recommended for drinking. Try to drink bottled water, which is affordable.
There are many bars in the tourist areas, in particular, Irish bars in Puerto del Carmen.
Alcohol is very cheap in supermarkets. There is no duty on alcohol purchased in Lanzarote (other than VAT at 5%) so restaurants tend to make a lot of their money from the selling of alcohol at a significant - but to foreign visitors seemingly imperceptible - markup. Again, if a package exists which is all-inclusive, it might be a good idea to pay a little bit extra in the long run.
Supermarkets vary greatly in price the most expensive are Netto (about 25% more expensive), then Hiperdino supermarkets, these are the larger ones and tend to have good local produce at reasonable prices, lastly, there are SPAR stores.
Watch out for the cost of fresh fruit and veg as this has to be transported refrigerated by ship from afar and can be expensive.

Shopping in Arrecife, Canary

León y Castillo or Calle Real is the main shopping street. There are several shopping malls in the city. Visit lovely art galleries and souvenir shops.

Safety in Arrecife, Canary

While a generally safe country, as always beware of pickpockets and keep hold of any personal belongings. There are local police stations in all major cities and somewhat frequent police patrols around the streets. Emergency service phone number is the European standard "112".

Language spoken in Arrecife, Canary

Lanzarote islanders speak Spanish (Castilian) with a distinct Canary Island accent and some vocabulary not found on the Spanish mainland.

​Lanzarote's principal economic activity is tourism, and a large proportion of tourists are from Ireland and the U.K. so most people working with tourists can speak at least some basic English.
Most restaurants offer menus in Spanish, English, and German. Although, do remember that this is a Spanish speaking island and try not to get too flustered if the local people cannot understand you. Many residents speak some English or German as a second language, but it helps immensely to speak slowly and using simple words and/or grammar when not being able to speak Spanish.


3:15 pm
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Latest travel blogs about Arrecife, Canary

Park Of Volcanoes On The Island Of Lanzarote

The island of Lanzarote made me wonder. It's just a few hours on the water from the neighboring Canary Islands, but there's a feeling that you find yourself in another world. 300 years ago, everything was blooming and smelling, the harvest was several times a year. So far in 1730, in the result of...

We arrived to Caesar Manrique's House. It was here that he found 5 enormous pieces of solidified lava that had formed into caves. Manrique built his house here. Below is a museum, as well as a Caesar Manrique fund, that deals with protecting nature on the island.  Our guide gave us all...
Here, we were on the observation deck of the  Mirador del Rio . The exit to the ocean was fenced in.... ....just like this. Beyond the wall, there was an observation deck with views of the Chinijo Archipelago. Below are some close-up shots of the landscape. The population is 300,000...
From the  Park of cactuses, we arrived to the Cave of Jameos del Agua. Near the entrance to the cave is this sculpture:  We went down: Of course, you can take photos along the way but it was so dark that you can barely see anything. The one-of-a-kind blind albino crab lives in this...
Day 5, Friday. Today marked our second excursion; our bus left at 9.40 am.   A lot of things on the island were made by Caesar Manrique. He created the island's style, look, and symbol. His most famous work is the "Monument to the Peasant". There is no water on the island. After the...
Day 4, Thursday. We traveled to the town of Playa Blanca,  situated in the southern part of the island. When we left territory in the morning, the grass was being watered. We even managed to take a photo of a little rainbow. Below is the bus stop. We were waiting for bus umber 61 but there...
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