Montañas del Fuego is the name of the Art, Culture and Tourism Centre located in Timanfaya National Park, and Islote de Hilario is the name given to the exact location where it was built. An islote, or islet, is an area of higher ground that was not engulfed by the volcanic lava flows. It’s impossible to find more stunning surroundings, so their beauty is celebrated in the form of a restaurant with panoramic views, a barbecue that cooks over volcanic heat and dramatic geysers that demonstrate the heat of the ground underfoot.
Conservation measures mean that a number of restrictions are in place when visiting the Park meaning that some areas can’t be accessed on regular visits. One of them is the new El Fuego volcano (El Chinero), the only one in the park that dates back to the last eruption in Lanzarote, in 1824. The other is Montaña Rasgada. The rest can be seen whilst on the guided bus tour included in the entrance fee. In addition to this tour, the Park offers guided walks in Spanish and English in areas that are not accessible to the Park’s buses on their regular route.
Also included in the entrance fee are geothermal demonstrations, which show the residual heat in the subsoil, close to the surface. Visitors are given a handful of rofe or lapilli which they’ll soon spill because it’s hot enough to burn. You can see how dry gorse goes up in flames virtually as soon as it’s put into a shallow hole in the ground. It’s also thrilling to see how a bucket of water turns into a powerful jet of steam, just seconds after being poured into an underground pipe. The Montañas del Fuego Art, Culture and Tourism Centre also has a restaurant with a volcanic barbecue and a souvenir and gift shop.
The perfect way to round off a visit to the Fire Mountains is to visit the camels found near the entrance to Timanfaya. Here, the camel drivers of Yaiza offer the chance to explore the volcanic terrain from the unique perspective of the back of a camel.