Lanzarote is synonymous with the life and work of the artist César Manrique and the Jardín de Cactus is his crowning glory. Set in a volcanic crater, this terraced garden has more cacti than you can shake a stick at and is one of the island’s most popular sights.
Get the lowdown on visiting the Cactus Garden, Lanzarote, including how to get there and what to expect.
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What is the Cactus Garden, Lanzarote?
As much a giant work of art as a botanical garden, the Cactus Garden was César Manrique’s final gift to his beloved Canary Island.
In collaboration with the eminent botanist Estanislao González Ferrer, Manrique transformed the site of a volcanic crater, from where picon (volcanic gravel) was quarried, into a spiralling, terraced cactus wonderland. It is quintessential Manrique, integrating decorative and sculptural elements into the natural landscape.
Work began on the Jardín de Cactus in 1976 but wasn’t inaugurated until 1990, two years before the artist’s tragic death in a car accident.
Cactus plants are ideally suited to Lanzarote’s arid landscape. Cactus plants need little water and they can store what they require in their fleshy body or leaves.
The location chosen for the Cactus Garden was no accident.
The area around the Jardín de Cactus is rich with fields of cultivated cactus, from which cochineal is still produced. Cochineal, a red dye produced by crushing the beetle (Dactylopius coccus costa) was once an important money-spinner for Lanzarote.
What to Expect from a Visit to the Cactus Garden, Lanzarote
The view on entering the Jardín de Cactus has that wow factor. Its spiralling volcanic terraces form an amphitheatre that shows off the garden’s 500 species of cactus from five continents to stunning effect.
There are tall and phallic ones, round and squat ones and others that resemble small, furry animals. On a sunny, clear day, the contrast of the shades and textures of the cacti and their flowers against the volcanic stone and blue sky is almost poetic.
It’s a photographer’s dream.
Pachypodium lamerei is a stunner. Long spines emanating from its sturdy base are topped with fragrant white flowers.
I also loved the little dumpy cacti known as Mother in Law’s Cushion (Echinocactus grusonii). They occupy a prime piece of garden real estate beneath the windmill (el molino) that crowns the Jardín de Cactus.
This windmill was once used to grind corn and is one of the best-preserved in Lanzarote. Climb its steps for a high-level view of the garden and to learn more about how grain was milled during the 19th century.
Fancy a cactus burger? This unusual culinary offering, made from tunera cactus, potato and maize, is available from the Cactus Garden’s café.
After strolling around the garden’s terraces, descend to ground level and take a look at its pond with its lively fish and striking stone sculpture.
Finally, don’t leave the Jardín de Cactus without checking out the artwork on the external walls of the toilets. These Manrique designs are as much of a crowd-puller as the prickly plants themselves.
Guide to Visiting Jardín de Cactus in Lanzarote: Practical Information
To help you make it easy for you to visit the Jardín de Cactus, here is all the practical information you need to know to have the best day ever.
Where is the Cactus Garden in Lanzarote?
The Cactus Garden is located in the northeast of the island, near the village of Guatiza.
Its address is Carretera General del Norte, s/n, 35530 Guatiza, Lanzarote.
Jardín de Cactus opening hours
Jardín de Cactus is open daily from 10 am until 4.30 pm. The café and shop shut at 4.45 pm.
Cactus Garden Lanzarote tickets
In 2023, it costs €6.50 to visit Jardín de Cactus.
If you plan to visit other César Manrique sites, consider buying a pass, known as a BONOS voucher. This voucher is valid for six months from the date of purchase and 14 days from access to the first site.
It comes in three different flavours:
|3 Centres||Choose two from Montañas del Fuego (Timanfaya), Jameos del Agua and Cueva de los Verdes plus either Mirador del Río or Jardín de Cactus.||€23.50|
|4 Centres||Includes Montañas del Fuego (Timanfaya), Jameos del Agua and Cueva de los Verdes plus either Mirador del Río or Jardín de Cactus.||€29|
|6 Centres||Includes Montañas del Fuego (Timanfaya), Jameos del Agua, Cueva de los Verdes, Mirador del Río, Jardín de Cactus and MIAC Castillo de San José.||€35|
How to get to the Cactus Garden, Lanzarote
If you are hiring a car in Lanzarote, it is easy to drive to the Cactus Garden and you can leave your vehicle in the car park at the entrance.
From Costa Teguise, it will take you no more than 15 minutes along LZ-1. If you are staying in Arrecife, you are looking at a journey time of around 30 minutes.
Jardín de Cactus is around a 30-minute drive from Puerto del Carmen or 50 minutes from Playa Blanca.
Bus to the Cactus Garden, Lanzarote
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Organised tours to Jardín de Cactus
But if you want to sit back and let someone else take care of the arrangements for you, consider an excursion from one of Lanzarote’s resort towns. This is an excellent option if you want to see more of César Manrique’s creations, allowing you to pack more into your stay on the island.
Here are a few options that other travellers have rated highly. They all include entrance to the included attractions.
César Manrique Full-Day Tour
This comprehensive tour exploring the legacy of Lanzarote’s favourite son includes Mirador del Rio, Jardin de Cactus, Jameos del Agua and the wonderful Fundación César Manrique.
>>> CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION
Lanzarote Coast to Coast Tour
This 6-hour tour combines a visit to the Cactus Garden and the LagOmar museum with a ferry to La Graciosa.
>>> CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION
What is the best time to visit Jardín de Cactus?
Jardín de Cactus is one of Lanzarote’s most popular attractions and it can get very busy, especially in the middle of the day. To avoid the worst of the crowds and the midday heat, try to visit the Cactus Garden first thing in the morning or later in the afternoon.
How much time do you need at Cactus Garden, Lanzarote?
You need at least an hour to do the Cactus Garden any justice. If you are a cactus fangirl or fanboy or want to take in the view from the café, spend upwards of two hours there.
Is the Cactus Garden, Lanzarote Worth Visiting?
As home to one of the best collections of cacti in the world, it is well worth adding the Cactus Garden to your Lanzarote itinerary. Its beauty is striking and whether you are a solo traveller to Lanzarote or have little ones in tow, there is something for everyone.
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