A Brief History of Tinajo
One of the last places to be conquered and colonised by Spanish explorers at the end of the 15th century, Tinajo is an area with a rich history well worth visiting. Due to its infamous ruler - Ana the Vicious, the area remained sparsely populated, having a population of only a few hundred people in the 17th century. She was the wife of Don Juan de Leon Moquia, who was then the island governor.
The volcanic eruptions which lasted for 6 years from 1730 to 1736, as well as the later eruptions of Tinguaton (the now extinct volcano) left half of the municipality buried under lava. It is said that the patron saint of the island, Dolores, helped stop the lava flow just outside the village of Mancha Blanca.
The 19th century brought change to Tinajo, as with the introduction of sandy jable soil, carried by farm animals from the neighbouring San Bartolomé, the municipality began to flourish agriculturally, making it an important trade centre on Lanzarote. As a result of this growth stand the grand, picturesque villas that can be found in La Vegueta.
Where is Tinajo
The municipality of Tinajo is centrally situated, with an area covering around 135 square kilometres of Lanzarote. It comprises of small yet prosperous agricultural villages, including Mancha Blanca, La Santa, La Vegueta, El Cuchillo and the town of Tinajo, with a combined population of approximately 6000. Arrecife Airport lies about 23 km to the south-east, while Timanfaya National Park is only 9 kilometres to the west.
What can you do in Tinajo
Unlike its touristy neighbours Teguise, Puerto del Carmen or Arrecife, Tinajo is a quiet rural area. With narrow streets and old restaurated buildings, it has a colonial feel to it. There are plenty of shops and cosy restaurants, and even a Sunday crafts market, held between 9AM to 2PM every week.
However, the Festival of Our Lady Los Dolores is certainly something you wouldn’t want to miss. It is celebrated here every year in September, in honour of their patron saint’s miracle. As many as 50000 locals attend the colourful festival, which also serves as a pilgrimage for christians, who carry the portrait of Dolores all the way to Mancha Blanca, giving away food and beverages on their way.
Places to visit
With that being said, if you are in the area then you should definitely pay a visit to the church built in her memory - the Chapel of Our Lady of the Volcanoes, located in Mancha Blanca.
Another beautiful parish church can be found in the town of Tinajo - the Parroquia San Roque - displaying a two-centuries old sundial on its roof and a statue of Jesus Christ inside, build by the artist Luján Pérez.
The Farm Museum or Museo Agricola El Patio is another important tourist attraction, which houses agricultural artefacts such as tools and photographs from past centuries. The farm still operates to this day, and you can even visit the Old Flour Mill, get up close with camels and other farm animals and sample traditional cuisine and wines at their bodega. It’s open 9AM - 5PM Monday to Friday and 9AM- 2PM on Saturdays, and the admission is 5 euros per adult.
If you are interested in wrestling, then you will be glad to know that Tinajo has one of the best wrestling teams on Lanzarote. The Terrero is its wrestling arena, located in the south of the village on the road coming from Mancha Blanca.
The Beaches of Tinajo
La Santa Beach is found on Isleta, in a natural lagoon on the perimeters of a small peninsula. It houses the biggest and most significant sports centre on the Canary Islands, La Santa Club. The beach is very popular with windsurfers and divers, due to the descending African winds, which turns it into a watersports haven.
A more isolated, rural beach is Teneza, preferred by surfers due to its strong waves and winds. The beach is covered in black volcanic sand and is only 90 metres long.
Timanfaya National Park is only a 10 minutes drive away. Being declared a natural biosphere reserve by UNESCO in 1993, it boasts unique sights of solidified lava covering around 51 kilometres of the island, as well as a multitude of volcanic cones which serve a reminiscence of the island’s tumultuous past.
On your way to the National Park, you can stop and visit the extinct volcano of Tinguaton or even climb up to the crater of Caldera Blanca, both located in the Natural Volcano Park just outside Timanfaya.