Jameos del Agua is the masterful adaptation of a stretch of volcanic tube that demonstrates how human intervention can truly work in harmony with natural surroundings. In 1968, César Manrique began work in this volcanic cavern in the first of his series of artistic adaptations of Lanzarote’s natural environment. Not only was it his first Centre, but also one of the most admired and most visited. This Lanzarote genius was able to see beyond what nature had to offer and transform it into a place of beauty, luxury and exclusivity, complete with restaurants, terraces, a dance floor that caused an international sensation, a swimming pool and a spectacular auditorium.
Jameos del Agua laid the foundations of César Manrique’s artistic style characterised by a type of ‘friendly intervention’ that worked with nature, not against it. He made the most of the strata and unevenness of the cave floor by creating stunning spaces that allow visitors to truly appreciate and enjoy their surroundings. He carved out a restaurant, an auditorium, layered terraces, a dance floor, a walkway around the lagoon and a beautiful open-air swimming pool. He introduced staircases, balconies and smooth white curved surfaces that contrast with the stone slabs and jagged lava walls. Ahead of his time, he used wrought iron light fittings and wastepaper baskets, recycled glass decorative features and luscious green native plants everywhere.
Apart from being gorgeous to look at, Jameos del Agua has absolutely fascinating geological and volcanic origins. The cavern formed when the roof collapsed in a section of the volcanic tube. According to scientific data, the tube itself was formed by the eruption of nearby Mount Corona volcano between eighteen and twenty-one thousand years ago. Also known as the Tunnel of Atlantis, it measures up to twenty-five metres in diameter and stretches seven thousand six hundred metres down to the coast and its last sixteen hundred metres are undersea, dipping to a depth of more than eighty metres.The tube now houses the Cueva de los Verdes as well as the Jameos del Agua. Thanks to Manrique’s artistic vision, it is one of the most spectacular and most popular attractions in the Canary Islands.
Another unique feature is the lagoon at the heart of the Jameos del Agua. Its extraordinary stillness and transparency make it difficult to calculate its depth, but what is known is that it’s home to a unique species of blind albino crab (Munidopsis polymorpha) that has evolved to survive in this remarkable environment. This tiny creature has become the symbol of this Tourist Centre, as you can see in the giant sculpture that greets visitors. The Centre not only receives thousands of visitors each year but also hosts cultural events such as concerts and musical performances, film and theatre premieres, fashion shows, DJ nights and regular dinners with shows for tourists called ‘Las Noches de Jameos’ (Jameos Nights).