A string of golden sand beaches and small coves with clear turquoise waters make up the beautiful Playas de Papagayo. Situated within the Los Ajaches Natural Park, with the stunning backdrop of the Ajaches mountains, it’s not hard to see why this is one of the most photographed areas of Lanzarote. The sheltered bays usually have calm waters and little current, making it great for families with small children. The clear waters of Papagayo beaches also make it a fun place to snorkel.
There are two restaurant-bars in Papagayo, situated overlooking the iconic Playa de Papagayo cove. These are the only places in the natural park with any services, and if you are not a customer, you will be charged to use their toilets. Food on offer is honest local fare, however given the location, prices are a little higher than elsewhere. This is a great place to come for sunset, with stunning views looking down to Papagayo beach.
At the far eastern-end of the beaches, is a small camping area set back from Playa de Puerto Muelas. Facilities at the campsite include a toilet/shower block and electricity plug-ins, however, other than that, it is sparsely equipped, so bring all essentials with you, including food and water. The campsite is seasonal and prior authorisation from the local council must be obtained to stay there.
The beaches of Papagayo, listed nearest to farthest from Playa Blanca: Playa Mujeres, Playa de Los Pozos, Playa de las Ahogaderas, Playa de la Cera, Playa Papagayo, Playa Caleta del Congrio and Playa de Puerto Muelas (camping).
Recent upgrades to the area by Yaiza council, include steps and handrail down to Playa Papagayo and a long walkway with handrail down to Playa de la Cera (both are very helpful additions). There are also rubbish bins located at the car parks and campsite area.
With little shelter, don’t forget to bring sun cream, a hat and plenty of water. Please also bear in mind that nudism is embraced at Papagayo beaches, most nudists favour the easterly beaches less frequented or far ends of the beaches, affording some privacy.
A little History
Though it may seem hard to believe in this seemingly unspoilt natural space, this area was home to the first European settlement in the Canary Islands, where the Norman expedition led by Jean de Bethencourt set up base in 1402. There is little remaining of that settlement today except for the large wells that can be found behind the beach at Playa de Los Pozos.
Access to Papagayo
It is important to realise that there are no paved roads inside the park, so access to the Papagayo beaches is via walking trails or unsealed dirt track. Non-residents are charged a small fee to access the beaches by car, though there is no fee for visitors who go on foot. This is a natural space, so there are no shops or sun-loungers inside the park and you will need to take everything that you need with you.
There are a number of trails, taking you to the various beaches and coves within the Papagayo area. There is no entrance fee if you visit the park on foot. Start your walk from behind the Sandos Papagayo Hotel in Las Coloradas. There is a local bus (number 30) that can take you to Las Coloradas from the centre of Playa Blanca, from here it’s only a short walk of around 15 minutes to reach the first and largest of the beaches, Playa Mujeres. If you are going on foot, bear in mind that the iconic Papagayo cove is a 2km walk from Las Coloradas.
A fun and fast way to access the beaches of Papagayo is by water taxi from either the Marina Rubicon or Playa Blanca harbour. This service is usually available during the summer months.
If you are driving to Papagayo, please be aware that many hire car companies don’t insure you to drive off-road. Follow the signs on LZ-705 from Playa Blanca towards Femes, until you see the signs for Papagayo. Upon entering the park there are a number of dirt roads leading to the various beaches, there are plenty of car parking spaces at a number of the beaches, but not all.
by Mountain Bike
There are a number of trails within the natural park making it a good area for both hiking and mountain biking. Bikes can be hired at a number of locations in Playa Blanca and even closer to Papagayo, in Las Coloradas.