Our Camel Travel guide to Puerto del Carmen includes all the information any first time visitors may find useful for holidays in Lanzarote.
Puerto del Carmen was the original holiday resort in Lanzarote, it started with two hotels at either end. Los Fariones and San Antonio hotels were both built in the sixties. This resort has benefited from some modernisation projects over recent years. Some may argue the traditional character has been lost from along the Avenida de Las Playas, which now features a selection of modern, glass fronted shops and restaurants. This resort has a mixture of aparthotel complexes and *4 hotels. The first 5* hotel is due to open in December 2018.
Camel Travel Guide to Puerto del Carmen
Guide to Puerto del Carmen beaches
There are 6km of beaches to choose from in Puerto del Carmen, the main one is Playa Grande in the centre of the resort, and the second largest is Playa Los Pocillos. Playa Matagorda is by the airport, and Playa Chica by the old town harbour area. Puerto del Carmen is regularly awarded 3 blue flags for their beaches, that’s at least 2 more than the other resorts in Lanzarote. Lifeguards patrol all four beaches during the daytime.
Playa Grande is the most popular beach, stretching 1km from C.C. Atlantico to the Fariones hotels. At the Atlantico end by the Tourist Information centre, there are palms on the beach, giving a natural shade, and stone zocos inviting you to lay out your towels. Just around the corner a large stretch of golden sand starts, here you can find the inflatable waterpark during the summer months. In this narrower section of Playa Grande there are public toilets and sun beds for hire.
In fact the beach is almost cut in half by a viewing terrace. After this point the beach becomes much deeper, with a few sections set aside for sun beds and umbrellas. A second set of public toilets can be found along the middle of the beach. If you want to get out on the water, there are pedaloes for hire.
Whilst there are ramps down to the beach, the most accessible section is in front of the Los Cocoteros hotel, here wheelchair users can find a boardwalk section out on to the sand, with a pergola for shade, and amphibian chair to access the water. Showers can be found on many of the exit points to wash the sand off, before hitting the many shops, bars and restaurants along the strip.
Playa Los Pocillos
Playa Los Pocillos is a very deep beach, stretching between the San Antonio hotel and Jameos Playa hotel in Puerto del Carmen. There’s an open air gym facility on the promenade in front of Las Costas hotel. The Plaza de Las Naciones has a children’s playground and toilet facilities. Furthermore this is the best section of the beach for wheelchair users, there is a boardwalk with a small area for sunbathing, as well as an amphibian chair to access the water. There are three sections of sun beds for hire with umbrellas, the largest of which is in front of the Jameos Playa hotel. Public toilets can also be found by the roundabout at the Jameos Playa end of the beach. There aren’t any water sports for hire, you may find some locals windsurfing between this beach and Matagorda.
Playa Chica is the cutest beach, it’s small in comparison with others in this resort, but it has a lot going for it. Situated between Los Fariones hotel and the old town harbour, this beach marks the entrance to some of the best diving in Lanzarote. There’s a natural shelter of rocks protecting Playa Chica, it’s a great place for snorkelling, we dare you to take some bread into the water, you’ll be surrounded with fish! There are a limited number of sun beds available to hire on the promenade above the beach. Again there are public toilets and a shower for convenience. A great spot for water sports, there’s a dive school right on the beach, a bar / restaurant on the small harbour, as well as motorised sports including jet ski, parascending, inflatable rides etc.
Playa Matagorda is a long narrow strip of beach that links Playa Los Pocillos to Playa Guacimeta by the airport. There is a section of sun beds and umbrellas for hire in front of the Sol Lanzarote hotel. The lifeguard station is in front of the C.C. Matagorda shopping centre, which is the obvious place for refreshments, and public toilets can be found at the rear of this building. It’s proximity to the airport makes this beach an ideal place for plane spotters to watch the incoming flights, as they usually land from the sea.
Puerto del Carmen has a fabulous promenade that starts by the Fariones and stretches 6km through the resort. It doesn’t stop there though, you can walk, run, skate or cycle around the runway, into Playa Honda and on into Lanzarote’s capital of Arrecife. There are plenty of rental shops with quad bikes for the family, children’s pedal bikes / go karts / scooters as well as traditional cycles to enjoy this space. In the morning it’s a great place to get out for a jog, or stretch your legs in the evening for a paseo after dinner. Make sure you don’t walk in the designated cycle lane!
The promenade runs alongside the Avenida de Las Playas, fondly known as The Strip. This road has two way traffic by Playa Los Pocillos, but from Avenida Italia it is one way in the direction of the old town. There is no end of shops, bars and restaurants along the front of Puerto del Carmen, parking can by tricky, although there are plenty of spaces, it can be difficult to find a free spot.
Guide to Puerto del Carmen zones
Puerto del Carmen has distinct areas, starting from the end of the resort closest to the airport, Matagorda is first stretching from the Beatriz Playa to Sol Lanzarote. The second area is Los Pocillos centred around the beach, starting with the Jameos Playa and ending with the San Antonio hotels. Besides is Playa Grande / new town, which links the San Antonio and Los Fariones hotels. Finally there is La Tiñosa, the old town which is concentrated around the harbour area. Los Mojones is an upmarket villa area at the top of the old town.
The old town area is hilly and quite steep in places, this means that there are some fabulous sea views to be enjoyed from the accommodation in this area. The centre of the resort has some short steep climbs up from the strip, Calle Guanapay is known as “Cardiac Hill”! Irish visitors tend to love the old town, or Matagorda. The flatter areas of Los Pocillos and Matagorda are popular with less abled visitors.
Guide to Puerto del Carmen events
Although Puerto del Carmen is a holiday resort, it began as a small fishing village and has retained it’s importance for celebrating cultural events. The council have embraced their tourists by including some international events in the annual calendar.
Cabalgata de los Reyes Magos de Oriente
Children wait for the three kings to bring their presents at Christmas. The excitement is palpable when the procession of kings riding their camels makes it’s way through Puerto del Carmen on the 5th January.
Puerto del Carmen is the second biggest carnival in Lanzarote, after Arrecife. The Strip is packed with crowds who enjoy the lively procession of floats, dancers and drummers. The date varies but normally takes place in February.
St. Patrick’s Day
There are very strong Irish routes in Puerto del Carmen, this resort has won an accolade of awards from the Irish Travel Industry (ITI) for more than a decade. For several years there has been a St. Patrick’s Day parade held in Puerto del Carmen.
The third Saturday in May sees Puerto del Carmen packed with lycra clad athletes competing to finish the “World’s toughest Ironman” in Lanzarote. This sports event is a crowd pleaser, starting at 7am and finishing by midnight.
Celebrate midsummer in Puerto del Carmen with a sardine BBQ and bonfire.
Fiesta del Carmen
Plaza del Varadero in the old town comes to life for the annual Fiesta del Carmen, a homage to Señora del Carmen the patron saint of fishermen. The event tends to start on the last Monday in July and lasts for 2 weeks. There’s a funfair, lots of live entertainment, sports events, a boat procession, land procession and finished with a firework finale on the Sunday.
Puerto del Carmen gets festive during December with events, previous years have included a Christmas market, Santa Parade and a New Year’s Eve party with fireworks.
Guide to Puerto del Carmen shopping
There’s an abundance of shops selling souvenirs, beach wear, beach toys and duty free alcohol & tobacco along the Avenida de Las Playas. The Biosfera Plaza is the main shopping centre, here you can find branded clothing shops and an entertainment centre on the top floor.
Puerto del Carmen market
If you like markets, visit the old town harbour area on Friday mornings. You will find a a selection of crafts, souvenirs and foods stalls in Plaza del Varadero from 09:00 – 14:00. Be aware that this market is cancelled during major events in the square.
Food shopping in Puerto del Carmen
The Lidl supermarket on Avenida Juan Carlos is a popular place for food shopping this this resort. There’s a larger Eurospar supermarket on the outskirts at the Macher roundabout if you have transport. You won’t be far from smaller stores such as Spar, HiperDino and SuperDino scattered throughout the resort. There are 3 fresh fish shops – La Lonja and Chano near the harbour and Puerto Del Carmen Pescadéria near Lidl.
Guide to Puerto del Carmen boat trips
The harbour in Puerto del Carmen has a selection of boat trips available. Pick your vessel, from a glass bottom boat to a thrilling speedboat there’s something for everyone. If you haven’t pre booked, there are ticket offices at the entrance to the jetty by the car park.
Catch the Lineas Romero water taxi from the harbour in Puerto del Carmen to the marina of Puerto Calero. The trip takes 20 minutes and operates 5 times a day from 10:30 – 16:30. Additionally, there is a later trip at 17:45 from the 1st July to 31st October.
Guide to Puerto del Carmen restaurants
Another reason which makes Puerto del Carmen popular is the number of restaurants available. From tapas bars, to pub grub and fine dining, the resort has something for everyone. Here is a selection of some of our favourite places to eat.
Asian – Asia Delicious
Fine dining – Kentia
Indian – Himalaya Restaurant
Italian – Antica Trattoria di Verona
Paella – Mardeleva Restaurant
Roast dinner – Carvery Bodega Jose
Steak – La Cascada Restaurant
Tapas – Taberna de Nino
Vegetarian & Vegan – Bistro Árbol
Guide to Puerto del Carmen bars
As you can imagine, there are no shortage of bars lining the length of the strip. C.C. Atlantico is a late night venue for those that want more of a club atmosphere. The harbour area is where you will find a collection of Irish bars and the livelier Heineken bar. For live entertainment venues try the American Indian or Big Easy on the strip. For cocktails go to La Delicatezza whereas La Ola is the place for a chill out by the ocean.
Guide to Puerto del Carmen buses
There isn’t a circular line in Puerto del Carmen. However, there is a regular bus service to get around the resort. Buses from Arrecife and Costa Teguise pass along the front from Matagorda to the old town. The buses use the Rambla Islas Canarias at the back of the resort, when driving towards Arrecife.
To visit Arrecife from Puerto del Carmen look out for the 2, 3, 6, 24 & 25 buses, which cost €1.70.
Connect to Costa Teguise from Puerto del Carmen by catching the number 3 or 25 bus, the cost is €2.95.
For Playa Blanca take the 6, 61 or 161 buses from Puerto del Carmen, which cost €2.75.
To connect with the airport with Puerto del Carmen, the 161 and 61 buses cost €1.40. The service operates from 08:00-22:00 and earlier at 06:00 on weekdays.
To conclude, we hope that you found our guide to Puerto del Carmen helpful. We’re here to help you have the best time possible in Lanzarote, so do contact us if you have any questions or need help planning your next holiday.