Finca de Arrieta in Lanzarote is one of the most environmentally-conscious and unusual places we have stayed as a family. An eco village with Mongolian yurts and stone cottages surrounded by dramatic mountains and sea views, Finca de Arrieta’s quirky self-catering Lanzarote accommodation, green ethos and blustery March weather made for a memorable stay.
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Self-catering Lanzarote – The story behind our stay at Finca de Arrieta
We’d found Finca de Arrieta after our original holiday to Lanzarote (scheduled for a couple of weeks before) disastrously fell through at the last minute – because we lost out two year old’s passport. And didn’t discover this gut-wrenching fact until the night before. Cue much panic, a drawn out visit to our closest passport office in Newport (kids passports take a week to renew – had it been one of ours we could have just jumped on the next flight) and a very expensive oversight. We’ve still never discovered the doomed passport’s whereabouts. The idea had been for an easy sun-filled, all-inclusive holiday where we could swim lots and chill (I was 7 months pregnant at the time), but as a result of making such a rookie error, we lost it all.
However, we were desperate to go away before baby number two arrived and had our hearts set on the sun-promised land of Lanzarote. Amazingly, we had received some inheritance money a few months earlier, so despite feeling sick to my stomach at the money we had lost, we were in a position to search for a replacement holiday. Forsaking any travel companies offering package deals this time – we’d used Love Holidays originally and I don’t recommend them at all, their customer service was useless and they were extremely unhelpful – we returned to sorting out our trip ourselves. And that is how we ended up with an entirely different holiday – in boutique-style accommodation, far from the tourist crowds and Brit-enticing bars of the south, at a self-catering Lanzarote eco-village, Finca de Arrieta.
Luxury glamping & self-catering Lanzarote: Finca de Arrieta
The northern end of Lanzarote doesn’t just feel a million miles away from the UK’s green and pleasant lands, its steep, desolate volcanic mountains that jut out of the sea, give it unearthly vibes, like holidaying on a habitable Mars. And yet you’re only 20km (around 35 minutes drive) from Lanzarote’s main airport, Arrecife.
Finca de Arrieta, which you’ll find just off highway LZ-1, is an eco village with a variety of quirky Mongolian yurts, volcanic stone cottages and villas that blend into a mountainous landscape, 300 metres from a sandy bay and the small fishing village of Arrieta. Set over three hectares, the grounds of the Finca are neatly kept, with stepped gardens of aloe, landscaped stone pathways, little beach shop, a solar-heated pool surrounded by daybeds, communal chill out area, donkeys, chickens, children’s playground with giant chess set and a trampoline with breathtaking panoramic views.
Thanks to its environmentally-friendly owners, one of the most impressive things about Finca de Arrieta is that the retreat is completely off-grid, getting its power from solar and wind energy – you’ll see the panels and turbines.
I do love it when owners go above and beyond to welcome their guests – I worked at Sawday’s for several years and it was one of the ways we selected ‘special’ places to stay. There are lots of nice touches at Finca de Arrieta and my favourites included an honesty shop (which has fresh bread delivered daily) as well as a ‘help yourself to fresh eggs from the chickens’ policy.
Finca de Arrieta: the communal areas
There is very much a community vibe at Finca de Arrieta. In addition to being able to help yourself to fresh eggs from the hen-house and buying from the honesty shop, there is a fully-equipped kitchen where guests staying can cook up a storm and eat it on a long wooden table alongside their fellow travellers. Right next to this is the chill out lounge, which feels very much like a laid-back Thai island backpacker hang out – in a good way! Here you’ll find free WiFi, children’s’ toys and books.
Finca de Arrieta: The swimming pool
There’s no doubt about it, the photos of the swimming pool are partly what drew me to booking Finca de Arrieta. The solar heated pool is particularly photogenic and contrasts beautifully with its volcanic stone surroundings. On the smaller side as far as pools go, it was unfortunately a little too much on the fresh side for us to enjoy it, but the shaded, wicker daybeds next to it were nice for a chilled out ice cream or two. And it is pretty.
Luxury self-catering accommodation at Finca de Arrieta
Due to availability restrictions, we actually ended up staying in both the Eco Tower (for a couple of nights) and the Eco Garden Cottage for the rest of the week.
A converted windmill, the Eco Tower is something of a honeymoon nest, with 360 degree views of the mountains and sea from its first floor windows. There’s also a walk-in shower room, kitchenette area with fridge and a hob, plus shared use of a fully-equipped communal kitchen next to the pool and chill out lounge. With a large king-size bed and marble floors, the room is really aimed at couples, but as we just had a small cot-dwelling toddler with us, it was suitable for a night or two while we waited for the Garden cottage to become available. There’s a small, but sweet little balcony which overlooks the Finca, mountains and sea beyond, but as the balcony is fairly close to the steep stone steps up, it’s a bit of a hazard if you’ve got a toddler in tow, which our hosts were fully aware of, but like I say, this was merely an interim room.
Eco Garden Cottage
Our main room for the week, was the Eco Garden Cottage with walled and gated garden. The Cottage has a lovely rustic stone facade familiar to the island, while on the inside, you’ll find a stylish open-plan living area, white-washed with the odd exposed rock here and there. The doors from your private walled terrace garden open into the bedroom, dining room sofa bed and kitchen, leading on to the walk-in wet room style stone shower.
The owners have cleverly given the walled garden little windows so you can see out to the sea and mountains and don’t feel hemmed in. There are a couple of sun loungers, BBQ and a dining table, although we barely got to use these as the weather was more chilly, rainy and blustery than sunshiney for most of our stay.
While it was a nice room, we did have a couple of niggles. Firstly, I am allll about the eco vibes and I would love it if all holiday accommodation made even a fraction of the effort that Finca de Arrieta made towards sustainable living, and maybe it had nothing to do with its eco credentials, but the shower was not particularly warm and came out little more than a trickle, and there was a bit of a whiff of drain about the bathroom. Also, being open plan, with a young kid in the room, when she went to bed (at around 8pm), as it was too cold and blustery to go outside, we’d have to spend the rest of the evening talking in hushed voices with the lights off.
What’s there to do near Finca de Arrieta?
From Finca de Arrieta, you’re just a short walk away from the sweeping sandy La Garrita beach, which includes crossing over the road (not really suitable for buggies). If it’s blustery – which can be common in this part of Lanzarote – there is a good sea wall which you can hunker down next to and use as a kind of windbreak! Right next to the beach there are a few restaurants, plus a little play park for kids, where you can have a cheeky holiday tipple and some tapas while watching them whizz down the slide. Venture further into the quiet fishing village of Arrieta (a 10-minute stroll away from the Finca) and you’ll find more seafood restaurants with sea views, locals spilling out of the odd cafe, a great family-run pizza take away Pizzeria La Artesana Arrieta and a small supermarket (and another opposite the Finca in the petrol station) but not much more. This is quiet island living, away from the tourist hoardes and it’s lovely.
As Lanzarote is a fairly small island, it’s easy enough to get around and see the local attractions. During our stay, we visited a live volcano at Timanfaya National Park, a family-friendly wildlife park, the Cesar Manrique-designed (his name crops up a lot on Lanzarote), James Bond-style El Mirador del Río, the Cesar Manrique cactus garden, his grotto at Los Jameos del Agua, or his stunning house, built on a lava flow, at Tahiche (see what I mean?) and Playa Blanca (about an hour away). While driving around we also noticed several vineyards on the island, if I went back I’d definitely be keen to go bodega hopping in La Geria region and participate in a little wine tour. The owners can also help you out with stand up paddle board, surf lessons, discounted submarine safaris and a Catamaran trip. So you won’t be stuck for things to do!
Getting around on Lanzarote
The owners can arrange airport transfers for you and if you haven’t hired a car, most luxury Eco rooms also get exclusive use of a Hybrid car. We booked our hire car through AutosPlusCar.
Self-catering Lanzarote – Finca de Arrieta’s extras
As guests of Finca de Arrieta, there are lots of lovely (payable) extras on offer to give your holiday a little va va voom. As well as a laundry service, you can book babysitting, walking tours, onsite curry night, discounted tickets, order a Farmers Grocery Box, hire beach towel, join a yoga class, book a massage, arrange a picnic box, deli meal or luxury breakfast to be delivered to your door. Being an island, they rely on desalinated sea water, which is not drinkable, but fine for boiling. Drinking water is available from the honesty shop. Before departing, guests and their children are offered the chance to plant their own cactus in the cactus garden.
Getting to and from Finca de Arrieta
The owners can arrange airport transfers for you and most Eco rooms also get exclusive use of a Hybrid car. If you are hiring a car, the owners may be able to help with discounts.
Final thoughts on self-catering at Finca de Arrieta
Finca de Arrieta’s strong eco-credentials and non-run-of-the-mill extras make it feel like so much care has been taken by the owners in order to put together this eco village. Ideal for families seeking a laid-back, slightly quirky, child-friendly holiday, it’s a far cry from blocky tourist hotels for the masses that Lanzarote is often associated with. During our stay our daughter was poorly and the weather was very changeable, breezy and rainy with just a few hours of warm sunshine here and there (obviously totally out of anybody’s control!), and while I really enjoyed our stay here, this unfortunately did taint it a bit and made it slightly harder work than we were after. However, I would definitely give it a second chance, as there is tons for families to do in the area, stunning landscapes, quiet pretty villages and beautiful coastline.
- Things to do in Lanzarote when it’s raining.
- Jenny and her son, from Travelynn Family, stayed here recently (which partly inspired me to FINALLY get round to writing my review). Read what they thought of Finca de Arrieta here.
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