The Cactus Garden was César Manrique’s last great project in Lanzarote before his untimely death in 1992. He converted a former lava quarry into an amphitheatre garden displaying around 4,500 cacti, representing 450 species of cactus from all over the world. It is located in the village of Guatiza, famous for its cactus fields, in the north of the island. It’s impossible to miss as a giant cactus sculpture outside heralds your arrival!
Work began on the Cactus Garden in 1973, starting with the renovation of the windmill that stands watch over the whole garden from above the restaurant, at the highest point of the amphitheatre. After a series of delays, work didn’t get fully underway until the end of the 1980s, and it was finally opened to the public in 1990.
The garden brings together features common to all his artistic adaptations of landscapes in a fusion of artistic languages and techniques that Manrique called ‘total art’ that combines spatial intervention, public art, gardening, design, painting and sculpture. This total art experience can now be enjoyed more vividly with the ‘Unusual Experiences’ visitor’s option, a premium product only available in Timanfaya, Jameos and Jardín de Cactus. In the Cactus Garden, a premium visitor is given a guided tour as if through the eyes of the artist, receiving insight into the meaning of each element, the details of each space, the layout, and the decoration.
Manrique used the layout of the cacti as another form of artistic expression, curating a diverse and beautiful museum of living works of art. It is particularly enjoyable in spring when there more species are in bloom. This natural piece of art is enhanced by the organic shapes of its buildings and by the use of colour, dimensions and textures which are complemented by volcanic stone, wrought iron and other decorative and sculptural elements, all of which are perfectly integrated into this orchestrated landscape.
In keeping with its natural and unusual surroundings, the restaurant is seamlessly ensconced in the rock. It serves modern cuisine, offers daily brunches and has vegetarian, vegan and other dishes made with tunera cactus.