Jardín de Cactus

Gardens in Northern Lanzarote

Built into an old quarry, just north of tiny Guatiza, the Jardín de Cactus is said to have been Manrique’s favourite personal creation. Opened in 1991, it was also his final great project. It feels more like a giant work of art than a botanical garden, with gorgeous terraced slopes home to nearly 1500 different labelled varieties of cactus from all over the world (Mexico to Madagascar!). The stylish on-site bar-restaurant serves Lanzarote wines and tapas (€4 to €6).

The gardens' location between Guatiza and Mala is no coincidence, for while cacti are spotted across the island, here they were once the backbone of the economy. The cochineal insect is particularly attracted to the prickly pear cactus and, up until the late 19th century, the insects were harvested and dried, then used to produce a vivid red dye. Although cochineal fell out of favour with the advent of synthetic dyes, some hardy local farmers still make a living from the bugs and you'll notice an abundance of cacti all over this region.