The Green caves Lanzarote are one of the most fascinating attractions on the island: exploring the work of Nature by walking 2 km in a lava tube that formed 3 to 4000 years ago! This is one of the 2 Lanzarote caves opened to visitors. Below is my guide to help you plan your visit to Cueva de Los Verdes with many photos!
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What are the Green Caves Lanzarote ?
Introduction to Cueva de Los Verdes
The Green Caves in Lanzarote are one of the top attractions on the island. Their local name is Cueva de los Verdes.
It consists in an accessible section of the famous long lava tube in the North of the Island . It is already cool to be able to explore a lava tube but on top of that, artist Jesus Soto has set up lights along the path to intensify the experience.
Creation of the Lava Tube
The lava tube formed following the eruption of the volcano La Corona 3 to 4000 years ago.
The top of the lava stream cooled down and solidified into a crust and the inside was still flowing. Later the stream drained leaving only the crust.
The tube is 6km long inland and continues below the sea for 1.5km. It is one fo the longest tubes going under the sea so it is often referred to as the Atlantis tunnel.
In 20 locations the roof has collapsed allowing access to the lava tube. Those caverns are called Jameo.
2 portions of the the tube can be visited. They are often referred to as the "Lanzarote caves": Jameos del Agua where César Manrique has imagined architectural elements to complement nature (see my article) and the more natural and less accessible Green caves we are visiting in this article.
Set up of the Green Caves
Contrary to Jameos del Agua, the Green caves only have one Jameo. This is where we enter and and come back. The whole tour is underground.
It allows you to explore 2km of the lava tube.
In the 1960s, Jesus Soto was commissioned to set up simple lighting in the tube so that archeologists and scientists could work safely. But he took the liberty to play a bit more with it. Apparently it as originally also a music show where the light turned off, but it was deemed unsafe.
So today we just enjoy the lights and the capacity to navigate in this fascinating environment.
(this is according to Spanish sources, because many English sources are saying he was commissioned to improve it for visitors...)
About the name
According to the guide, it was named after the Green family who used the caves to shelter their animals.
How to get to Cueva de los Verdes Lanzarote
Before I take you a on a photo tour of Cueva de Los Verdes, I am sharing information to help you plan your visit to Lanzarote's green caves.
Lanzarote Caves location & Map
- The Lanzarote caves are located in the North of the island, on the East coast.
- They are on each side of the main road LZ-1. Jameos del Agua towards to sea and Cueva de los Verdes a bit more inland
- There is good road signs. No way to miss them.
- Both have a large carparks
- On the carpark you can find toilets
- If you have hired a car in Lanzarote, it will take you:
- 25min from Costa Teguise
- 40min from Puerto del Carmen
- 1h from Playa Blanca
- (Check out my guide to help you find where to stay in Lanzarote)
You can find practical maps with all the places to see in Lanzarote in my eBook:
Plan your trip to Lanzarote with:
- 7 easy-to-plan Maps
- 44 Scenic locations in Lanzarote
- 19 Scenic locations in Fuerteventura
- Best times to visit and photograph
- GPS coordinates and planning information to make the most of your time
Cueva de los Verdes excursions
But if you don't want to drive, no worries. There are guided excursions leaving from the 3 major resort towns. The Green caves are combined with other attractions in Lanzarote. For example:
- Cueva de los Verdes only - your first option it to pick a tour that only goes to the green caves. You will get bus transfer, the entrance ticket and the return - Check out the program and book
- Cesar Manrique - or you can make it a full day trip during which you discover many of César Manrique's work as well: Jameos del agua, cactus garden, Fondation... Check out the program and book
- Volcano day - another full day experience can lead you to discover all about volcanoes on Lanzarote - including Timanfaya National park and the 2 sections of the lava tube - Check out the program and book
Cueva de los Verdes Tickets & Hours
And if you visit by yourself:
- Opening hours - Winter: 10am to 6pm (last departure 5pm) - Summer last departure is 6pm
- Price: 9.50€ (less if you come after 3pm)
- It is included in the CACT (tourism centres) so you can use the 3, 4 or 6 centres combined tickets.
Tips to walk in the Lava Tube
And to make sure you appreciate the experience, below are some useful tips:
- The tour takes 1 hour
- Wear proper shoes with rubber soles
- The cave is not cold
- I don't recommend visiting if you are very very claustrophobic. However the walk does not feel too oppressive compared to other caves
- There are quite a lot of steps to go down and back up.
- Don't bring a big backpack. A few area are narrow and low (not for long) and you will be annoyed by a big backpack
- As you will see below many of photos are blurry. Light is low and I did not have my tripod. I did not see any signs that tripods are not allowed (comparent to other caves in other country) but you have to follow the group so you can't slow down too much
- For something different, check out if there is a concert playing in the cave during your stay - here is the general calendar of events related to the CACT (tourism centers)
- No facilities inside the tube. Toilets on the carpark
Is Cueva de los Verdes worth a visit?
Well, if you have never been inside a lava tube, it is definitively worth a visit.
The experience is completely different from Jameos del Agua as there are no human set up except of the light and you are fully underground, so no external light come in.
This is more about the nature and the power of the Earth creating the tunnel.
Entering the Lanzarote Caves
Contrary to Jameos del Agua, tours of the green caves are only guided. So you first have to wait by the entrance hole until you tour starts.
But it is already fascinating to see the solidified lava and how it is shaped around the holes.
And then you enter the bowel of Earth 🙂
Sadly the group is quite large and it slows down right away because the access to the lower level is through a very narrow staircase:
Visiting the Green Caves in Lanzarote
And then you discover the inside of the lava tubes. It is not like typical caves with salagmites and stalagtites.
Remember that you are in a lava tubes
Take the time to admire the different layers of rocks and their different colours.
You will walk through different chambers of different sizes. Some sections can be 50m tall and 15m wide while others are narrow and low.
Jesus Soto has placed the light in interesting spots to highlight the shapes created by the cooling lava.
The different section of the tube have interesting names such as The Crypt or the Monster's head. I must admit that I was so fascinated that I missed most of the guide's explanation because I was lagging behind. But I got to enjoy the space with only a few people around who were like me, taking in the power of Nature.
Those tunnels were used in the 16th and 17th as a sanctuary. Local islanders used to hide in those tunnel so that pirates could not find them.
Concerts in the Caves of Lanzarote
Then you enter another smaller tunnel before discovering the theatre area, the natural auditorium where concerts are held where you can test the notable acoustics.
SPOILER - Lanzarote Cave secret
After the auditorium, you clib up some stairs to reach another area of the tube. The most beautiful part to my opinion.
BUT STOP READING IF YOU DON'T WANT TO SPOIL THE SECRET you will discover during your tour of Cueva de los verdes!
At the end of the tour, they make you stop and stand still and you approach what seems to be a huge drop with a lower tunnel under you.
You start wondering why there are no fences since it looks so deep and people are pushing around to see.
And then the tour guide drops a rock and you feel completely stupid.
This is a lake! It is so still that it reflects perfectly the cave. The optical illusion is really phenomenal. I got tricked! It was awesome 🙂 (although I was a bit scared because people were pushing behind)
Getting out of Cueva de los Verdes
And then you climb out of the tunnel back to the light, on the other side of the jameo...
Other caves at Jameos del Agua
If you are looking for the other cave to visit in Lanzarote, it is called Jameos del Agua. It is another section of the tube between several collapses of the roof. The space has been transformed by César Manrique. This is where you will find the underground lake with the white crabs.
Learn more on my article about Jameos del Agua.
Want to see more of the CANARY ISLANDS?
Would you visit a lava tube?
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