Teguise is a beautiful small town in the heart of a truly volcanic landscape just 40 minutes on the bus from Arrecife. Costa Teguise is a sprawling coastal resort about half an hour on the bus along the coast to the east of the capital. Both are worth visiting but for very different reasons! Travelling between the two meant changing bus in Arrecife as the infrequent direct line just didn’t work out for us timewise.
Unitl 1852, Teguise was the capital of the island of Lanzarote. According to the museum guides in Arrecife castle, there was a short battle that year to decide which city should hold that title. During this battle, the Arrecife cannon was fired twice and one person died. The current capital won! I can’t find any evidence of this anywhere online though!! Nowadays it seems to be a place that has sold its soul to tourism. It is indeed a beautiful place and very worthy of a few hours of your time, but be prepared for large groups of tourists from the cruise ships getting in your way. The whitewashed streets are stunning and, if you can avoid the groups, they are mostly peaceful.
There are a handful of museums about local customs and the production of aloe vera. We found a wonderful display about a local poet and journalist in the church opposite the first bus stop in town, alongside the town hall. Ángel Guerrera (born José Betancort Cabrera) is so famous in Teguise that a street has been named after him and a plaque placed outside his old house.
Just outside the town is an impressive hill topped by a castle. Castillo Santa Barbara is currently covered in scaffolding and the Pirate Museum it housed as been “temporarily” closed since February 2020. There doesn’t seem to be much progress. It’s a shame as the scenery is quite spectacular and the image of a woman holding a baby being decapitated by pirates was gruesome enough to pique my interest!!
Whilst wandering around town keep an eye out for some really interesting sculptures. The one of the devil costume seen at fiesta time was particularly good.
Costa Teguise was completely different! It is a purpose-built tourist resort developed in the 1980s and we saw a much more typical sun, sea and sand visitor when we were there. That’s not to say we didn’t like it. The seafront is lovely and the beaches really are spectacular. The footpath that runs all the way along the front affords some lovely views. Sadly there are some signs of the bust as well as the boom but it was generally much nicer than we had expected. If package tourism is more your thing, it would be a great place to base yourself for a holiday on Lanzarote.
There is an amazing sculpture near the end of the harbour pier. Juguetes de Erjos (The Games of Erjos) is an abstract piece gradually rusting away but is full of intrigue. Who or what was Erjos? I can’t find any reference other than it being a place on the island of Tenerife. The scupltor José Abad who created it in 1987 was from Tenerife, so it’s quite possible.
Keep your eyes peeled on the coastal side of the bus as you travel to or from the capital. Just outside the city limits of Arrecife you’ll catch a glimpse of a shipwreck gradually corroding in the shallow waters. The Telamon sank on 31st October, 1981. It was carrying tropical tree trunks from the Ivory Coast to Thessaloniki when it began to sink off the Canary Islands. Unable to refloat it, the harbourmaster decided to have it towed to its resting place rather than blocking the harbour at Arrecife. It is possible to walk to the cove where the ship lies today, but you’ll be peering through a fence to see it.