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Although much of the economy of Lanzarote is now heavily dependent upon tourism, the area around Mala has so far remained almost completely "undiscovered" by many of the major tour operators, and as far as we are aware doesn't as yet feature as a recognised destination in any of their summer or winter sun brochures. As a result most visitors to the town will be independent travellers who either own holiday homes around Charco del Palo, or are renting such properties from the owners.
As this point we should say that Charco del Palo is a naturist resort that was created around 25 years ago when a German visitor to the island recognised the potential of the barren land and decided to build a villa here.
Twenty five years later Charco del Palo is still a growing resort, and there are still new properties being built here, adding to the existing 350 or so, apartments, bungalows and villas in the town.
Making the journey north from the Arrecife International Airport can be quite difficult, and realistically there are only two options available.
The first, and possibly the most convenient option, would certainly be the door to door service offered by any of the numerous taxis waiting outside of the arrivals hall, who would typically charge around 20€ for the journey.
Taxis on Lanzarote do represent very good value for money by European standards, and can instantly be recognised as being the eggshell/white cars with a large red stripe on each front door.
However, a standard taxi on the island is only licenced to carry a maximum of 4 passengers plus a "reasonable" amount of luggage, so for larger groups of travellers, or those with special needs, it is our recommendation to make provision for a pre-booked taxi to be waiting for you at the airport, and clearly specify at the time of booking that a larger, or specially adapted, vehicle is needed for the journey.
As you approach Arrecife take the LZ3, Carretera de la Circunulacion, which is the Arrecife northern ring road, where you will need to keep a sharp lookout for the LZ1, Avda del Campoamor, which takes you inland through the villages of Tahiche and Guatiza leading you all the way north to Mala.
If needed, a more detailed version of this route, complete with links to maps where appropriate, is available from the Route Map link on the left hand frame of this page.
Whatever method of transport you ultimately decide upon for this journey, it would be very difficult to miss the fact that Mala is surrounded by a landscape made up almost entirely of prickly pear cactus, or indeed the 8 metre high sculpture of a cactus that marks the entrance to the Jardín de Cactus, which is situated a few miles south of Mala on the outskirts of the village of Guatiza.
As you have just discovered Mala is situated in the heart of the island’s cochineal cultivation. Cochineal is an insect whose female lives on the cactus, and which produces the natural dye carmine. Carmine is widely used as a colouring for a range of products including lipstick, sweets and toothpaste along with the drink Campari.
Unlike so many other towns and villages on the island, Mala is certainly not a purpose built tourist resort, but more of a traditional Canarian town that makes few, if any, concessions to the small numbers of tourists who visit here each year, and somewhere where you will have the sense of being an invited, but welcome guest, to another way of life.
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