After years of neglect and several restoration attempts, Arrecife has, at last, regained its Manrique-inspired leisure and recreational area
The Islote de Fermina, located in the heart of the city facing the Bay of Arrecife, has been restored to its former glory after years of neglect. In the early twentieth century, it was a shipyard owned by Fermina García Santana, an enterprising Lanzarote shipowner. Back then, the area was known as Islote del Quebrado or Punta del Callao. It wasn’t until recently that people began to call it La Fermina.
In the 1970s, after years of disuse, Lanzarote’s very own acclaimed artist, César Manrique, was commissioned by Protucasa to turn the area into a facility that would complement their project to build the Arrecife Gran Hotel and adjacent park area, Parque Islas Canarias. Fresh from his successes with Jameos del Agua in Lanzarote and Lago Martiánez in Tenerife, Manrique used his passion for creating harmony between art, nature and landscape to transform the 14,000 m2 space into a recreational oasis. It was connected to the mainland via a long wooden bridge behind the Gran Hotel.
However, the project faltered as it was never fully completed, and once more, the island fell into disrepair. The island earned the unofficial nickname “Islote de Amor” (Isle of Love) because it became the rendezvous of choice for couples seeking privacy for their romantic trysts. After several failed attempts when plans were revived and abandoned again, it was not until 2017 that a new project was finally approved to restore Manrique’s unique vision for the space.
Today, the renovated Islote de Fermina boasts a 3,600 square meter saltwater pool, a sunbathing area, sea access for swimming, toilets and showers, a café with floor-to-ceiling glazing overlooking the sea, a terrace spanning over 100 square meters, and multiple events spaces. Visitors can also enjoy panoramic views of the city’s seafront. On January 30th of last year, it opened its doors to all locals, residents, and visitors to Lanzarote.
Management of this leisure space falls to the expertise of the Centres for Art, Culture and Tourism (CACTs), who have made entrance free of charge for all members of the public, and even allow dogs provided they are on a lead. Exciting plans for the future include a water sports centre, a venue for exhibitions and cultural events, as well as the UN Climate Change Observatory.