|The village of Guatiza|
|The village of Guatiza has a dispersed settlement with dwellings separated by cactus fields surrounded by dry stone walls. A beautiful avenue lined with tall eucalyptus through the village. The village church, the church of Santo Cristo de Las Aguas, has a single nave and a double bell tower that dominates the front; angles and openings are decorated with black volcanic stones; a large lantern surmounts the building.|
|The production of red cochineal|
|The region stretching between Guatiza and Mala was one of the main production areas of red cochineal, a natural dye extracted from the cochineal insect (Dactylopius coccus), an insect whose larvae feed on the sap of opuntias or snowshoes cactus (Opuntia species), including the prickly pear (Opuntia ficus-indica), named tunera the Canary Islands.|
Cochineal cactus and its host plant are from Mexico and South America; the prickly pear was introduced in the Canary Islands since the sixteenth century, but it was not until 1830 that the cochineal cactus was high; in 1832 King Ferdinand VII approved by decree the production of cochineal dye Lanzarote to offset the decline in exports of wine from the island.
Raising mealybugs begins by placing the “racket” of opuntias a bag of fertilized females. Mothers (madres) lay eggs on the fleshy plant. After the eggs hatch, the larvae bite the flesh of the plant and suck the sap. The larvae have short antennae and a fluffy shell that leaves a whitish powder on green cactus rackets.
When adults - between September and November - mealybugs are harvested by hand scraping cactus rackets and collected in a bucket, killed in boiling water, dried in the sun for ten days and then ground to obtain a fine powder of an intense red color which will extract the dye. We must collect 150,000 larvae for a kilogram of powder. It is the body of the female cochineal containing carminic acid that gives this carmine red. The word “carmine” comes from elsewhere in the Arab and Persian name of cochineal “qîrmiz”.
The natural dye carmine (E120) from the cochineal has long been popular in the textile industry for dyeing fabrics; production Lanzarote was mainly exported to England and to France. The production of red cochineal Lanzarote was prosperous until the late nineteenth century when this natural dye was replaced by synthetic dyes from aniline. These synthetic dyes are toxic to humans, cochineal red is still used in the cosmetic industry (lipstick), food (ice cream, candy) and pharmaceutical (drug dye); is said that the famous Italian aperitif Campari has its red dye cochineal. However fig tree cultivation and breeding of cochineal are declining on Lanzarote.
|The cactus garden (Jardín de Cactus)|
|Le Jardin de Cactus, north of the village, between Guatiza and Mala, has an impressive collection of cacti, but also of euphorbia, of agaves, aloes, and so on.|
Go to Jardín de Cactus.
|Coconut Saline (Salina de Los Cocoteros)|
|From Arrecife by the LZ-1 road can turn right before entering the village of Guatiza, towards Saline Coconut which are one of the last salt marshes in operation on the island of Lanzarote.|
Pumping the water to the basins is carried out again using windpumps.