I recently spent a holiday in Lanzarote, in Spain’s Canary Islands. I hadn’t found much availability with flights and accommodation, as this was the schools half term week in Britain, and the week of the Queen’s diamond jubilee celebration. It was last minute and I wasn’t expecting much from this holiday. I booked a week at the ex-sol owned, Morromar apartments in Puerto del Carmen. Really these apartments are in Matagorda and some distance from the heart of Puerto del Carmen.
This holiday was for four adults, I was making a slow recovery from dislocating my knee, and wasn’t expecting to be able to travel far from the complex. However, on arrival at our resort, I was pleased to discover that I would be able to get out and about as the Apartamentos Morromar are situated in an excellent position, close to the small but well equipped tourist area of Playa de los Pocillos.
WHERE IS IT?
Playa de los Pocillos is on the south side of the island in an area that has been purposely built as a tourist resort. It’s in a good location, only five miles from the airport of Arrecife. It leads, if travelling away from the airport, to the larger and busier resort of Puerto del Carmen.
I thought it especially ideal for families and older couples as it’s modern, well thought out, well maintained and walking around here pushing prams or wheelchairs would be easier than in many places owing to mostly level ground, ramps and car free zones.
The resort can be reached by car, taxi or bus and also, cycling here from nearby areas seemed easy.
Although we’d gone for a relaxing holiday we enjoy a stroll to bars and shops and, as the food wasn’t up to standard in our complex (we went on an A/I basis) it was good that we could visit this small resort easily.
Throughout the holiday we walked to Playa de los Pocillos, if visiting during the day, but got a taxi, if going in the evening, from the taxi rank outside our complex. It was easy to get a taxi for our return journey; there seems to be ranks in most places around the island. Taxi drivers work on a queuing system and fares are on a meter and are cheap. Taxis from our hotel to the centre of Playa de los Pocillos, cost about €3.50 which, for four people, I think is good value.
To walk here is easy. On leaving The Morromar one has to cross the quiet road and walk down some steps and pathways, towards the coast. After about a ten minute stroll this easy route brings one to the sea-front. Turning right soon leads to Playa de los Pocillos.
Along this pedestrianized avenue there are benches every few meters or so. I found the facility of public benches made the walk pleasant and easier, although for anyone without mobility problems the walk is easy.
Even in early June the temperature was between 27 to 30 degrees but always with a breeze, and especially so this near to the ocean. On one side of the avenue is the sea and the other faces inland.
A BICYCLE MADE FOR TWO…OR THREE, OR FOUR… OR EVEN FIVE!
A large area is a car free zone (taxis take a back road away from the beach and have a drop off point near to the restaurants) and the central part is a cycle route. This is a well-kept area for bicycles. It’s popular and well used for cycles of various descriptions; two wheelers, tandems, family buggies, buggies for four, etc. My son and his fiancée paid €10 for an hour with a further €10 as a deposit. They went from the airport at Arrecife (close to our apartments) along Playa de los Pocillos to Puerto del Carmen. This was pleasant with the hired buggy having a sun canopy.
The coast stretches along this area and on the beaches the sand is dark and smooth. There are areas of black volcanic rock but plenty of places where it’s easy to get into the sea. I only paddled, as the Atlantic cold at this time of year.
As I’ve been many times now to Cyprus I tended to make comparisons. I thought for well-maintained areas Lanzarote is better but in respect of facilities on the beach Cyprus offers more (or at least in the areas of Lanzarote that we saw) in this respect, as there didn’t seem to be much in the way of toilets, changing rooms and public foot showers. Also there are vast areas of beach yet not many of them seemed to have sunbeds or parasols but this could well be due to it still being early in the season. But we did notice one area which had windshields around sun loungers. For refreshments, it looked as if one would have to leave the beach to go to the bars along the avenue.
There are a few hotels in this area which blend in well with the area.
We saw a uni-sex hairdresser’s, pharmacy, supermarkets, as well as a Spar supermarket (super Mercado I should say, as - ¡Hablo Española un poco!) and usual tourist shops selling goods ranging from alcoholic beverages, sweets, postcards, souvenirs, clothes and as much as could be crammed into them. Some have a good selection of purses, wallets, bags.
I enjoy wandering around gift shops but my husband gets bored. I can see his point as we shop prior to a holiday. However, we both liked the handmade goods to be seen such as paintings, tiles and brightly knitted cardigans.
Shopkeepers vie for trade and can be pushy but times are hard and I really can’t blame them. Many shops reduce prices; some when asked and others offer discounts or reduced prices for multi-buys.
As one who has mainly holidayed on the island of Cyprus in the last few years I thought souvenirs, clothing and spirits were cheaper in this island’s shops than in those of Cyprus.
This area isn’t as big as Puerto del Carmen but it’s an ideal spot to visit. We appreciated that we could walk here, spend an hour or so in the shops, have a drink then return to our accommodation OR stay for longer and enjoy lunch. We came here in the evening to eat.
The bars were generally reasonably priced, although varying (from €1.40 to €2.50 for a large beer) with drinks and food prices. I noticed that vegetarian choices are few and far between.
At the start of the avenue is The Aussie Bar, offering cheap all-day breakfasts, fish and chips, and steak meals. I noticed a ramp was being built next to the steps. The toilets were tiny and anyone with mobility problems, even without needing a wheelchair would find these difficult.
Further along are more bars and restaurants such as The Anchor, which is English, owned.
The restaurant workers try to entice you into their establishments. This can be tiresome, although they’re polite.
We ate at El Molino which was a little on the expensive side but nice.
I would recommend El Sirocco.
Food in the restaurants along here offer mainly Spanish and English dishes.
I would say that Playa de los Pocillos is generally accessible for those with mobility difficulties and wheelchair users. The ground is well paved and much of it traffic free. And it’s well lit of an evening. Also where there are steps there are nearly always ramps, albeit steep ones.
But my concern is that most restaurants’ toilets were small and wouldn’t fit a wheelchair in or close by. Most restaurants seem to have a ladies toilet cubicle with the gents next to it and the doors separated by a shared washbasin in the middle. There are some exceptions with larger facilities but I could see problems arising if not forewarned.
I do think this island makes an effort to be accessible and people are generally helpful. Taxis also come in all shapes and sizes; some can easily take a wheelchair.
Playa de los Pocillos is equipped with several ATMs.
Most definitely child friendly. The Spanish adore children and have plenty of patience with them. Restaurants supply high chairs and most offer child sized and child suitable meals.
There were quite a few children on holiday here in June (half term) and we were told that in July and August the area is "hot and full of children!’’ For families with young children I would think this an ideal place to holiday.
I liked Playa de los Pocillos. Although I wouldn’t go back to the same apart hotel, I would like to visit Lanzarote again. Probably I’d go to another area of the island next time, just out of curiosity, but then again, I wouldn’t be at all averse to staying either in or close to the resort of Playa de los Pocillos.