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Relaxing day trip to the Isla de Lobos

Set sail on the best option for you

“If you’re looking for a change to normal island excursions, a day trip to the Isla de Lobos is a great alternative,” so says Tracy Ballesteros, client liaison at Club Las Calas, in Puerto del Carmen, Lanzarote.

“Swim in crystal clear waters, walk along white sandy beaches and enjoy getting away from it all, even it’s just for the day or a few hours”.

The Isla de Lobos is a small, volcanic island just two kilometres north of Fuerteventura, separated by the La Bocaina strait.

Designated as a protected nature reserve in 1982, it is accessible from the port of Carralejo by a short and regular 20-minute ferry service. With limited day facilities and weekend homes for local fisherman, it is about as remote as you can get in the Canaries. And it’s perfect for relaxing, chilling out and enjoying peace and quiet.

Lobos Island (or Wolves Island) was named after the large number of sea wolves, or monk seals, that used to live there. Due to excessive hunting in the fifteenth century by Spanish conquerors, the species is sadly now extinct.

Only 4.58 square kilometres in size, Isla de Lobos today boasts a volcanic caldera, small lake and a sheltered sea lagoon, Playa de la Concha, with a sandy beach for sunbathing and swimming.

The aim is to protect the natural landscape from human impact. As such, access is limited to restricted areas and to a series of walking trails, marked by directional signs to protect the conservation areas. The paths take visitors from the boat jetty through a varied landscape, including to the lighthouse at Punto Martino and to the top of the caldera. It is home to 130 plant species and several bird species including the herring gull, the bustard and the Cory’s shearwater.

In the eastern part of the island, there are numerous hornitos or little mounds known as ovens. These formed when volcanic lava thousands of years ago came into contact with water.

New visitor rules

From January 15, 2019, travellers wanting to visit Isla de Lobos now have to request a permit through an online system – or risk a hefty fine. In a bid to protect the natural wonder from being loved to death, the local council has decided to limit visitors to no more than 400 people a day, divided into two lots of 200. Now each visitor can request permission for up to three people per day and there are two time slots of four hours each. Those who try to reach the white sand shores by boat will be fined and officials will be on hand to check everyone’s tickets.

“The aim is to guarantee the preservation of this unique space and natural park,” a spokesman for the island told The Sun. Please speak with the Club Las Calas team to make sure you have the correct permissions. Alternatively, you can book your permits up to three days in advance here: https://entrees.es/evento/Permiso-de-visita-a-la-Isla-de-Lobos-entradas/1855. You will need to provide your personal information (name, surname, ID, passport), choose the date and time slot and you will be able to download the authorisations which will be sent by email.

Take the ferry

Tracy has made three recommendations on how best to visit the island.

The first option is using the Canaries’ popular ferry services which link all the islands. There are several to choose from – just check with reception for the best sailing times.

As there is no overnight accommodation on the island, it’s best to get there as soon as possible to enjoy a full day. The ferries to Lobos only sail during daylight hours, so bear that in mind in your planning. You can travel from Playa Blanca to Fuerteventura by ferry and then on to Isla de Lobos from the same port.

When you arrive, you’ll find the visitor centre where you can pick up general information about the island and get directions to the sheltered La Concha Beach and the clear waters of el Puertito.

If you haven’t bought a packed lunch, there is one small restaurant on the island. Our recommendation is to book your table when you first arrive as lunch is only available if you have reservations. There is also a rest area, ideal for enjoying any snacks and drinks that you’ve bought with you, where you can enjoy the views before walking around the rest of the island.

Super-fast boat trip

Another option recommended by Tracy is the trip to Isla de Lobos from the old port in Puerto del Carmen. If you like your day trips fast and furious, this is the option for you.

Known as the Dolphin Route, you board the super-fast Biosfera Jet and head out to sea. On the way keep a look out for dolphins, whales and other sea life swimming in the Atlantic Ocean waters. The crew is on-hand to give you all the information you need about the wildlife you’ll see.

As you arrive on to the island, you’ll have great panoramic views of the coastline. Then you have 90 minutes to explore the island. As you disembark, you’ll be given a small picnic and then the time is yours to do whatever you’d like. Climb the 123m-caldera mountain, swim in the turquoise sea and lie on the sandy beach enjoying the peace the island has to offer.

Catamaran cruise

Finally, if you’d prefer a more luxurious option then why not book a catamaran trip directly from Playa Blanca to Lobos Beach, sailing along the Bocaina strait?

You’ll be collected from Club Las Calas, or your hotel, and taken by bus to the Rubicon Marina in Playa Blanca. At 10am, you’ll set sail aboard the Princess Cat catamaran, enjoying a welcome mojito, or your choice from the free bar with its selection of beer, sangria, soft drinks and water.

The sailing to the Islote de Lobos Coast takes about 45 minutes. From here, you’ll disembark onto smaller launches that take you directly to island. Your guides will tell you about the history of the island, the monk seals and its status as a national park.

You will then have three hours to swim in the clear waters, snorkel, kayak or explore the island’s network of pathways. Around 2pm, there is a paella lunch back onboard the catamaran followed by a tranquil tour of the Lobos coast and the journey home.

If you’d like to make your own way to the Isla de Lobos, then pop into reception on The Hub for details on ferry sailing times and advice. If the boat trip from Puerto del Carmen harbour or the luxurious catamaran trip is more your thing, then Tracy can arrange that for you too. You can contact her in advance on: customerliason@cmslanzarote.com

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