Lanzarote: where Ecotourism is not just a fancy word

Whenever I visit an offbeat place I am always fraught with an anxiety whether I should tell people about that place or not. In the garb of tourism we are destroying the ecological balance. You’ll hear lot of people use ‘Ecotourism’ in their sales pitch. But very few understand it. One such place where it is a reality and not just a fancy word is Lanzarote

Lanzarote is an island that offers varied vistas to its visitors. The avenues on offer are so much that even quite a few locals might have not seen the place in its full glory. Lovely beaches and tranquil coastal regions stand side by side with stark black lava mountains and deep green forests. This special island is the world has recognised its unique topography by declaring it a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, so as to preserve the flora and fauna of this region. The residents of Lanzarote take pride in its unique environment and today, ecotourism is not just a buzzword, but is something that is practised by the residents and the visitors alike.

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Image by MarcVeraart, used under Creative Commons licence 2.0

Spain’s lovely beaches and delicious food are just one of the many reasons why Lanzarote is such a popular destination. Spain’s holiday deals that include Lanzarote emphasise the differential aspects of this hauntingly beautiful island. Tourism is confined to only three regions in the island, and this ensures that the special ecology of the island is not harmed by swarming tourists. Travel here on a mountain bike, or just walk through the mountain trails, taking in the special malpais- the black lava fields which came up in the 18th century. Also, travel through the Fire Mountains in the National Park in Timanfaya, where the ground still retains higher temperature. You can also walk through the Monumento Natural de los Ajaches, a 3000-hectare park with landscape varying from secluded beaches to volcanoes.

Image by MarcVeraart, used under Creative Commons licence 2.0

Image by MarcVeraart, used under Creative Commons licence 2.0

Eco-tourism here is defined by the fact that the hotel industry in this place has formed the Biosphere Group of hotels, where the visitor’s impact on the environment is minimised by the use of solar and wind energy, waste recycling and water resource management. Even the local accommodation is built around sustainable, eco-friendly resources with every effort being made to preserve the natural beauty around them. Ranging from self-catering rooms to the fascinating Mongolian yurts, from luxury resorts to fancy villas, all the staying places boast of excellent eco-preservation measures.

A walk through one of the centres of art Jameos del Agua, culture and tourism, established by Cesar Manrique, will take you through open lakes or clear water pathways that house the rare species of crabs, and the special plants of this region. The southeast coast of Lanzarote is the most popular tourist area in the island, but the hiking paths, quaint villages, volcanoes and lava regions are never too far away. Spain’s lovely beaches and delicious food can be found everywhere, and the visitors come away with new respect for the environment and with a new belief in mankind’s ability to preserve its precious ecology.

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