Last Updated on 13th March 2023 by Sophie Nadeau
One of the top activities for any plant lover in Lanzarote is undoubtedly the Jardín de Cactus (The cactus Garden), which was the last work created by the acclaimed late artist César Manrique. The magical space boasts over 4000 cacti and succulent species and is fun for all ages. Here’s how to visit the Jardín de Cactus, as well as things to know before you go!
What is the Jardín de Cactus?
Boasting a dazzling array of over 1400 varieties of Cacti and over 10,000 other tropical plants from all over the world, the Cactus Garden is one of the best botanical gardens in the Canary Islands.
Although the garden was only opened to the public in the 1990s, work on the garden began as early as 1976 when Manrique decided that the former quarry (el antiguo rofero), together with its used windmill (el molino) would be the perfect spot for a garden.
Set within its own former quarry, whose crater like landscape acts as a warming dish and protects the somewhat delicate plants from the winds which can be fierce across the Canaries, the garden was the last work carried out by famous artist César Manrique.
The quarry was originally used to extract volcanic sand lapilli (known in Spanish as “picón” or “rofe”). This mixture would have been spread onto cultivated areas of land so as to retain moisture for crops. After all, Lanzarote is quite a dry island and rain isn’t all too common.
Manrique himself is famed for his incredible artworks, which transform the landscape and are in keeping with the volcanic nature of Lanzarote.
Other works of note by César Manrique on Lanzarote include the refurbishment of Jameos del Agua and the many ‘wind toys’ which decorate roundabouts all around the island.
Where is the Cactus Garden?
The Cactus Garden is located in the cactus growing part in the north of Lanzarote in the municipality of Teguise. The closest village is Guatzia, where visitors can find a small selection of shops, eateries, and places to stay. The town of Teguise itself is around a fifteen minute drive away.
The are remains a popular place to grow Tunera cacti (commonly known as prickly pears). These cacti are used to cultivate Cochineal beetles, whose larvae are crushed to make natural food dyes and were also once used to colour paint.
Highlights of the Cactus Garden
The windmill sits at the top of the garden and stands in stark contrast to the volcanic black sand and rock of the surrounding landscape.
Climbing up to the windmill offers one of the best views to enjoy the garden in its entirety. The windmill was once used to make gofio (a kind of Canarian flour made from roasted grains).
The amphitheatre shape of the former quarry means that the sun-loving plants can bask in bright light all day. Visitors can walk on the various terraced levels, thus allowing them to enjoy many different vistas of the gardens.
How to visit the Cactus Garden of Lanzarote
We personally found that the easiest way to get around the Canary Islands was by renting a car (in my opinion, Cicar is the best car rental experience we’ve ever had). However, you can also book a guided tour like this one if you want to see a number of César Manrique’s works without the fuss of car hire.
There is ample car parking which is free and just outside the entrance to the cactus garden. Once admitted inside the garden (you’ll know you’re in the right place because there’s a huge metal cactus statue by César Manrique at the entry), you can meander the cobbled pathways and enjoy the garden at your own leisure.
It takes around an hour or two to enjoy the garden, especially if you want to stop, read some of the plaques, and enjoy a drink in the Bar/ Café. Indeed one of the best parts is that there is a café on site which serves up hot and cold drinks, as well as a number of savoury meal options, including veggie dishes.
We personally enjoyed sitting out under the parasols, ordering a coffee and watching the beautiful plants from the cafés high vantage point. When visiting the garden, be sure to bring lots of water and wear suncream and a hat because it is quite exposed to the hot sun!
Buying tickets to the Jardín de Cactus
The Cactus Garden currently costs €6.50 to enter, though you can save a bit of money if you opt to buy a combination ticket to visit several Lanzarote attractions at the same time. If you visit in August, then you may well have the chance to spy some cacti in bloom.
One of the most important things to note is that, even if you’ve purchased your ticket through a different vendor, you have to wait in line for your turn to enter, just like everyone else.
There is no skip-the-line option to visit the Cactus Garden, though we didn’t have to wait too long to get in as the gardens are quite large and can be seen as part of a self-guided visit.
We personally opted for one of the ‘bonos’ (vouchers) option which gives you a slightly reduced entrance rate if you opt to buy a ticket that includes several island attractions.
You have to know which attractions you want to visit at the time of purchasing the tickets as these monuments are printed on the ticket you receive.
We personally bought a combination ticket for the Cuevea de los Verdes, the nearby Jameos del Agua (which is another part of the same lava tube that has since been transformed into a tourist attraction), and the Jardín de Cactus as these were the attractions that appealed most to us.
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Sophie Nadeau loves dogs, books, travel, pizza, and history. A fan of all things France related, she runs solosophie.com when she’s not chasing after the next sunset shot or consuming something sweet. She currently splits her time between Paris and London. Subscribe to Sophie’s YouTube Channel.