Lanzarote, the green Caves
La Cueva de los Verdes, is situated close to the northern tip of the island of Lanzarote, to the south-east of the volcano Monte de la Corona or the “Mountain of the Crown”. It is this volcano that formed the caves when it had its last eruption some 3000 years ago. The caves are not just one of the most spectacular volcanic formations of Lanzarote, it is also one of the longest volcanic tubes or galleries in the world. The name Cueva de los Verde has two possible explanations: One; the green color of the inside of the caves (verde meaning green i spanish) or two; they’re named after the former proprietors, the Verde family. Of the two, the second is the most plausible and the one favoured by most people.
The caves formed as the lava-flow from the volcano ran down to the sea and while the surface of the lava cooled and hardened quite rapidly, the lava beneath continued to flow, forming a 6 km long cave or tube.
As the lava reached the sea and cooled even more rapidly it also accumulated a huge amount of gas which subsequently exploded and formed the lower part of the formation, the Jameo del Agua, another spectacular part of the formation.
The caves were used by the natives as a refuge from pirates in the 16th and 17th century and also for storage of food as the environment inside them are almost sterile.
In 1964 some 2 km of them were opened to the public and a rather sophisticated lighting-system was installed, making it one of the major tourist-attractions of the entire island.
Getting there takes around 35 minutes from the capital, Arricife and another 15 if you live in Puerto del Carmen.(Nothing is far on Lanzarote, it’s a small island, only 68 km long). It’s definitely a trip worth taking. Both the Cueva and the Jameo is something special.
On Your way to the “Cueva” you will pass the “Jardin de Cactus” close to the small village of Guatiza. This is another “must see” on the island.
Read more about the Lanzarote Cactus Garden here!