The natural park of the Chinijo archipelago in Lanzarote
|The Natural Park of the archipelago Chinijo is located in the north of the island of Lanzarote, on the municipalities of Teguise and Haría.
The park covers the archipelago Chinijo, from the island La Graciosa, in the south to the island of Alegranza, north and the northwest coast of Lanzarote, from the village of La Santa to Mirador del Río and the Cape of Punta Fariones, in the north of the island. The archipelago Chinijo is separated from the north of Lanzarote by the Straits El Río, about 2 kilometers wide.
The area of the Natural Park is approximately 460 km², 91 km² of land area about 40 km² for the islands of the archipelago Chinijo and 50 km² to the north-west coast of Lanzarote.
The only localities included in the Natural Park is the village of Caleta de Famara, located northwest of Lanzarote, and the village of Caleta del Sebo, located south of the island La Graciosa.
|The archipelago Chinijo (Archipiélago Chinijo)
|The archipelago Chinijo is a small secondary archipelago comprising five islands or islets, from north to south: the island of Alegranza, the island of Roque del Oeste, the island of Montaña Clara, the island Roque del Este and island of La Graciosa. The archipelago is on a high platform diving located within a hundred meters deep, although in some places you can reach two hundred meters.
For historical reasons, the archipelago Chinijo is part of the municipality of Teguise, the old capital of Lanzarote, although it is closer to the town of Haría.
|The island of Alegranza
|The island of Alegranza (Isla de Alegranza) is the northernmost island of the archipelago Chinijo, but also to the Canary Islands; it is located 16 km north of the northern tip of the island of Lanzarote, the Punta Fariones.
This is the first island that met Jean de Béthencourt during his expedition of conquest of the Canaries, in June 1402; Béthencourt named the island “Joyeuse ," which was translated into Spanish by “allegranza."
The Isla de Alegranza has an area of about 12 km²; its highest point is the Caldera de Alegranza, which reaches 289 meters, and whose crater has a diameter of 1.1 km and a depth of 200 m.
The island was once inhabited but is no more; it is still private property, but the owners families can not do anything because Alegranza is part of the Natural Park and Marine Reserve. Access to the island is prohibited except to researchers, as many rare species of birds nest on the island. However companies organize maritime day trips from which to observe the island from the sea and even snorkel with the required permissions.
|The island Roque del Oeste
|The Roque del Oeste (Western Roc), also known as Roque del Infierno (Hell Roc) because of its black color, is about 3 km northwest of La Graciosa; it is visible from the beautiful beach Playa de las Conchas, located northwest of La Graciosa. The island is part of the Natural Reserve and cannot be visited by; it is besides a steep rock, 6 hectares, where there is no landing point.
|The island of Montaña Clara
|The island of Montaña Clara (Isla de Montaña Clara) is located 1.5 km northwest of the island of La Graciosa. This is the second island met by Jean de Béthencourt on arrival in the Canary Islands; Béthencourt named this island “Montclair”, a name that became “Monteclara” and Montaña Clara. As Roque del Oeste, the island of Montaña Clara is visible from the island Graciosa.
Montaña Clara has an area of about 1 km²; the island rises to the Caldera de Montaña Clara, égueulé a volcano of 256 meters above sea level at the top with a crater 1 km in diameter, which opens to the north by a small cove, Caletón Oscuro.
Montaña Clara is part of the Natural Reserve of the Islets of Northern Lanzarote; the island is privately owned; it was once inhabited, and it is there the vestiges of dwellings (Las Casas del Verí), but it is off limits.
|The island Roque del Este
|As the name suggests, Roque del Este is located in the east of the archipelago Chinijo, 13 km east of the island of La Graciosa; it would be the easternmost point of the Canary Islands. The Roc East is an inaccessible island of 7 hectares, and is part of Natural Reserve.
| The island of La Graciosa
|La Isla Graciosa is the only inhabited island of the archipelago Chinijo with a population of around 700 inhabitants.
Go to the island La Graciosa.
|The Archipelago Nature Reserve Chinijo (Parque natural del Archipiélago Chinijo)
|Due to its geological and biological importance - with several species of endangered or protected - the archipelago Chinijo is the subject of a protection at multiple levels:
- globally, Lanzarote as a whole has been declared a Biosphere Reserve (Reserva de la Biosfera) in October 1993.
- in May 1986, the Archipelago Natural Park Chinijo (Parque Natural del Archipiélago Chinijo) was established, covering 462 km² and includes the archipelago Chinijo and the north-west coast of Lanzarote. The park was inaugurated in 1986 by the King of Spain Juan Carlos.
- in 1994 created the Reserva Marina de La Graciosa y los Islotes del Norte de Lanzarote, which protects marine flora and fauna of the waters of the archipelago and the northern tip of Lanzarote, and severely regulates fishing. It is the largest marine reserve in the European Union, with 700 km². Marine Reserve covers part of the Natural Park.
- in February 1996, the archipelago Chinijo is a Natura 2000 area of the European Union.
- in 1994, an area of 17 km² gets the Special Protection Area for Birds status (Zona Especial de Protección para las Aves, ZEPA).
- in December 1994 created the Reserva Natural Integral de los Islotes, giving special protection to islands of Montaña Clara, Roque del Oeste and Roque del Este. Access to these three islands is strictly prohibited.
|The flora and fauna of the Natural Park of the archipelago Chinijo
|The regional park of the archipelago Chinijo is characterized by birds, with about 150 species of birds present; it is the most important nesting area of the Canary Islands for certain species.
On the island of Alegranza encountered the osprey (Pandion haliaetus) and the Shearwater Scopoli (Calonectris diomedea); on the island of Montaña Clara, Shearwater Scopoli, Eleonora’s falcon (Falco eleonorae) and the storm petrel or storm petrel (Hydrobates pelagicus).
We also meet the Barbary falcon (Falco pelegrinoides), kestrel (Falco tinnunculus), the Egyptian vulture and Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus), the storm petrels (Oceanodroma castro), the frigate petrel (Pelagodroma marina), Cory’s shearwater (Calonectris borealis) and a few pairs of Houbara bustard (Chlamydotis undulata), highly endangered species in the Canary Islands.
The only endemic land mammal of the archipelago is the Canary shrew (Crocidura canariensis). We also find three endemic reptiles: the gecko Lanzarote (Tarentola angustimentalis) (perenquén majorero), Atlantic lizard (Gallotia atlantica) (lagarto atlántico or lagarto de Haría) and the skink Lanzarote (Chalcides simonyi) (lisneja majorera).
The waters of the archipelago are also rich in fish species: one in lists 228 species, such as black corb (Sciaena umbra) (corvina negra), fish Mediterranean uncommon in the Canaries. There are also some cetaceans, particularly during the months of migration, such as the minke whale or minke whales (Balaenoptera acutorostrata), Risso’s dolphin (Grampus griseus) and short-beaked common dolphin (Delphinus delphis).
Protected wildlife also includes snails family limpets or barnacles (Patellidae), commonly called Chinese hats.
The archipelago also has a large number of endemic plants including: Bupleurum handiense, Caralluma burchardii, Euphorbia balsamifera, Atractylis arbuscula, Helichrysum gossypinum, Convolvulus lopez-socasi, Androcymbium psammophilum, Helichrysum monogynum. The marine flora over 300 seaweed species including a rare case, the Codium carolinianum.
The island of La Graciosa shelters endemic plant species as broomrape of La Graciosa (Orobanche gratiosa) (jopo de La Graciosa) that are found nowhere else.
|Access to the uninhabited islands of the archipelago Chinijo is prohibited, but there are opportunities for boat trips with two companies.
During the summer months the ferry company Lineas Marítimas Romero organizes trips since Órzola or from Caleta de Sebo to the island of Alegranza, including lunch and drinks.
To visit the uninhabited islets, it is necessary to have an authorization from the Delegación del Medio Ambiente Insular in Arrecife; phone: 00 34928814616.
Address: Avenida Virgen del Mar, 119A, Caleta del Sebo.
Phone: 00 34 928 842 055 / 00 34 928 596 107
Site on the Web: www.lineasromero.com
Lanzarote Active Club
Address: Calle El Crucero, 7 - 35508 Costa Teguise
Phone: 00 34 650 819 069
Site on the Web: www.lanzaroteactiveclub.com
|The prohibition of intensive fishing in the waters of the Marine Reserve because of the archipelago Chinijo outstanding diving area by the abundance of fish. 30 m deep channel that separates the island of Alegranza island Graciosa is particularly rich in fish species. There is also a dive site near the Montaña Amarilla in La Graciosa where we can see dogfish, mullet and lobster.
The ferry company Lineas Marítimas Romero organizes trips to scuba diving to both sites since Diving Centre (Centro de Buceo) in Caleta del Sebo.
Site on the Web: buceolagraciosa.es
|While fishing is strictly controlled in the Marine Reserve, it is possible to make fishing trips organized by an official office in Caleta del Sebo in La Graciosa.