Lanzarote's bilingual magazine

El Charco de San Ginés in Lanzarote

In the 15th century, this inlet, formed by a submerged volcanic crater, cradled a humble fishing village. Today, it is a thriving hub of activity with immense potential, and several projects are underway to revitalize the area

Today, El Charco de San Ginés is the beating heart of Arrecife, not just for its lively atmosphere but also for its charm and beauty. However, it has experienced numerous periods of success and decline. Archaeological evidence reveals that the indigenous Mahos people once fished and gathered shellfish on its shores.

Archaeologist and doctor in Prehistory, María Antonia Perera Betancor, suggests that the 16th century marked the beginning of ‘La Puntilla’, as a small seafaring community. Its importance continued during the island’s Portuguese rule when it served as a winter shelter for ships sailing to America. The riverside carpentry workshop, which later relocated to Puerto Nao, also emerged on its shores. In 1630, the Parish of San Ginés was built, giving the area its current name.

As Arrecife grew, it turned its back on La Puntilla. Throughout the 20th century, El Charco was threatened with becoming a stagnant tidal pool or being filled in to create a park or even a car park. Sewers and foul-smelling waste from the canning factories polluted the area until César Manrique recognized El Charco’s hidden potential. He transformed it, separating it from Puerto Nao, adding bridges, gardens, and the waterfall feature.

The closure of the recently demolished Rincón del Maho nightclub in the early 2000s sounded the death knell for EL Charco’s nightlife scene. But by the end of the first decade of the millennium, it had started to revive. Today, it is indisputably the golden mile of Lanzarote’s capital. Bustling bars, restaurants, and shops line one side, and the tide is turning as El Charco attracts increased investment from local, national, and international private entities.

The convergence of several projects, part of a larger initiative to revitalize the entire waterfront, heralds a transformative era for El Charco. The first of these, set to commence soon, will restore César Manrique’s waterfall at Morro de Elvira. This includes installing a saltwater pumping system and a mechanism to synchronize lights and water jets to create captivating displays. Another project aims to channel rainwater to prevent recurring floods.

A third scheme, starting at the ‘Cuatro Esquinas’ junction will integrate surrounding neighbourhoods with eco-boulevards. A fourth project aims to improve the overall appearance while preserving its character. Additionally, an environmental study is underway to assess the water quality and habitat, with plans for
cleaning initiatives.

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