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Jardín de Cactus Lanzarote: More Than Just A Prickly Pear

Jardín de Cactus Lanzarote: More Than Just A Prickly Pear

If you are having trouble deciding whether Jardín de Cactus in Lanzarote is worth visiting, the answer is yes. In fact, it’s the third time I have visited this unique botanical garden over the last 30 years, which must prove how good it is!

The cactus garden is one of the unique places to visit in Lanzarote and is planted with variants that are a far cry from the cacti you would expect to see growing in a pot on your windowsill or at the local garden centre.

In fact, Jardín de Cactus is home to over 4500 cactus plants from five continents. The cacti are planted in black and red volcanic soil, interspersed with stunning structures, including a traditional windmill, water features, and the delightful Jardin de Cactus restaurant, making this interesting landmark one of the must-see tourist attractions in Lanzarote.

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Cacti planted in red and black volcanic soil in Jardin de Cactus in Lanzarote with a windmill on a higher tier.

Information about Jardín de Cactus

Address: Carretera General del Norte, s/n, 35530 Guatiza, Lanzarote, Spain. Highway LZ1.

Arriving by bus: Numbers 7, 9 and 21 buses stop at the Cactus Gardens.

Arriving by car: Plenty of free parking is available.

Guided Tour: You may prefer to book a Lanzarote Cesar Manrique Tour of the North, which includes the Jardín de Cactus.

Opening hours: 10.00 to 16.30 daily (the gardens shut promptly at 17.00, so give yourself enough time to look around). During the summer (15th July – 15th September), the garden opens at 09.00.

How long will it take to look around Jardin de Cactus? Forty-five minutes to one hour will be enough time to wander around the cactus garden and take some photographs. Give yourself more time if you want to eat at the restaurant.

Jardín de Cactus tickets cost: 6.50 euros per adult / 3.25 euros per child 7 – 12 years old. Younger children are free.

Jardín de Cactus origins

The cactus garden was once a volcanic ash quarry surrounded by cacti cultivated by farmers for cochineal beetles to live on. The beetles produced cochineal dye to colour things like lipstick and food. In time, synthetic products replaced the need for natural cochineal dye, and cacti farming around the quarry decreased. The quarry eventually became a rubbish tip.

Hope for this unloved piece of land came from César Manrique, the mastermind behind Lanzarote’s artistic interior. Along with the local council, he devised an idea to create a botanical cacti garden in keeping with the previous landscape, juxtaposed against futuristic forms created from natural elements like volcanic lava stones and basalt.

Work started in the 1980s, and this tourist attraction opened in 1990, just two years before his passing. Since then, Jardín de Cactus has become a legacy of Manrique’s artistic flair and vision, seeing thousands of visitors yearly.

bronze plaque say Jardin de Cactus creation de Manrique.
copper cactus motif in a stone wall.

Be amazed at the botanical beauty of Jardín de Cactus

Unique views will take your breath away as you step inside Jardín de Cactus. Steps lead down to the garden nestled in the bowl-shaped amphitheatre. You can wander along the pathways which lead through the main cacti planting areas and climb the various terrace levels for a different perspective of the garden.

Look out for the different variants of cacti, from round and tall prickly ones to smooth-leaved ground-level flowering types.

tall cactus with sharp thorns down each side.
cactus plant with delicate pink flowers.

As you approach the gift shop, stop by the small fish pond and admire the water feature with a face made from lava stone. It is a cute addition to the garden, designed in keeping with other CACT locations in Lanzarote (centres of art, culture and tourism).

Notice the wind spinner on top of the red roof of the gift shop, a nod to César Manrique’s decorative wind spinners that grace many of the roundabouts in Lanzarote.

To the shop’s right is the African Euphorbia Candelabrum, a cactus planted in the garden by César Manrique and his colleagues in 1989. It is now at a height of 7 meters.

These large, round, prickly cacti called Cojines de Suegra (mother-in-law cushions) are close to the small fish pond and are endemic to east-central Mexico. I will leave you to make up your mind about the connotations of that name!

large round prickly cacti planted on black volcanic sand.

Try a cactus burger at the Jardín de Cactus restaurant

Walk up the stairs to the traditional 19th-century mill for extra special views across the cactus garden and of the surrounding volcanic mountains.

Close to the windmill is the botanical garden restaurant, which serves refreshments and light bites focusing on vegetarian dishes. The Jardin de Cactus menu includes dishes such as a vegetarian hamburger of cactus, millet, potato, and honeyed cactus croquettes. Local Lanzarote wines from the vineyards in Geria are also served here.

views across the Jardin de Cactus and out to Lanzarote's volcano fields.

Even the public conveniences in the cactus garden have taken on an artistic side, with volcanic stones forming the shapes of machos (males) and hembras (females) in the unquestionable style of César Manrique.

Final Thoughts on Lanzarote’s Cactus Garden

No trip to Lanzarote would be complete without visiting the cactus garden. It’s such a unique place, harmoniously merging art and nature into a stunning space for all to appreciate. Jardín de Cactus is also a fantastic place to take photographs; the green cacti pop against the white buildings, black and red earth and blue skies.

On this visit, the weather was very changeable, going from sun and clear blue skies to moody grey clouds and dull lighting, which meant we couldn’t get continuity in our photos. Nevertheless, we captured some images we are happy to share in this blog post, which we hope will inspire you to visit Jardín de Cactus in the future.

CACT attractions near to Jardín de Cactus

Several tourist attractions make up CACT (centres of art, culture and tourism) in Lanzarote. The three below are tourist attractions in the north of Lanzarote and are perfect to visit on the same day as the cactus garden.

Jameos del Agua

Jameos del Agua is a series of stunning underground caves formed by volcanic activity. The site was created from these caves, which feature a subterranean lake with tiny albino crabs, tropical gardens, and a concert hall. A superb on-site interactive information centre is worth visiting to learn about volcanoes.

white washed pool area with blue water and palm tree in Jameos del Agua, Lanzarote.

Cueva de los Verdes

Cueva de los Verdes is a remarkable natural cave system formed by volcanic activity over 3,000 years ago. The cave system stretches for about 6 kilometres, making it one of the longest volcanic tunnels in the world. Cueva de los Verdes is particularly fascinating because of its intricate formations, including stalactites, stalagmites, and other volcanic features.

interior of a cave with a lake bathed in colour.

Mirador del Rio

Mirador del Río is a breathtaking viewpoint located on the northern cliffs of Lanzarote. From Mirador del Río, visitors are treated to panoramic views of the neighbouring island of La Graciosa and the surrounding Atlantic Ocean.

view of the island of Graciosa in Lanzarote.

If you haven’t hired a car in Lanzarote, you can book a guided day trip such as the Lanzarote Cesar Manrique Tour of the North, which includes Jardin de Cactus, Jameos del Agua and Mirador del Rio.

Do you need to arrange travel insurance, car hire or accommodation? Please check out my resources page to help you plan your trip.

Please PIN for Future Travel to Lanzarote

If you love visiting gardens, you may like to read my posts: 13 Most Beautiful Botanical Gardens in Europe for Nature Lovers or What to See in the Majorelle Garden in Marrakech.

If you are looking for more Lanzarote attractions to visit, you may like the following posts:

Epic 4-Day Lanzarote Winter Sun Itinerary: How To See The Best Of The Island

11 Unique Places To See César Manrique In Lanzarote

How To Do The Caldera De Los Cuervos Volcano Walk in Lanzarote

Is Femes Viewpoint Worth Visiting in Lanzarote?

LagOmar Museum Revisited: the Beautiful Volcanic Cave House in Lanzarote