The Laguna de Janubio and Salinas de Janubio are located in the southwest of the island of Lanzarote, in the territory of the municipality of Yaiza. The salt is about 8 km north of Playa Blanca, the new LZ-2 road or the old road LZ-701; salt marshes can be seen from quite a distance from the road.
The restaurant “Mirador de Las Salinas” has a covered terrace that offers a wide view of the lagoon and the salt.
The lagoon Janubio was created by volcanic eruptions of Montañas de Timanfaya between 1730 and 1736. Lava flows have formed a barrier which closed the bay that was in that location. The lagoon now has a diameter of about 600 meters and an average depth of 3 meters.
The salt marshes of Janubio (Las Salinas de Janubio)
The Salinas Janubio were built on the banks of the lagoon Janubio, where natural salt deposits were formed. The creation of salt began in 1895 at the initiative of don Vicente Lleó Benlliure; they are still operated by descendants of the creator, the family Padrón Lleó.
The Salinas de Janubio are salt marshes in terraces cover an area of 45 hectares, roughly the same size as that of the lagoon. The salt is further extracted by the traditional method of evaporation: sea water is pumped to the upper basins; Originally the water was pumped by windmills; today the pumps are electric. The water basins, or carnations (tajos) initially has a salt content of 3.5% (35 g per liter). Under the action of sun and wind, the water evaporates and the salt concentrates. This brine is discharged to the lower basins by a dense network of channels. The salt crystallizes and it is harvested by salt workers; coarse impurities, such as stones, are removed, then the salt is washed with water saturated with salt; Finally, the salt is dried in White features mounds. Salt, highly pure, can then be finely ground or directly packed, depending on the intended use.
Most of the salt production is used in the fishing industry for conservation of fish on board fishing vessels in the archipelago and even fishing fleets of the peninsula, such as the tuna fleet of Country Basque. However with the introduction of fishing quotas, with the use of ice, and the invention of the refrigerator for the conservation of fish, the use of coarse salt has much declined.
At their peak, and until the 1970s, the Salines of Janubio produced about 10,000 tons of sea salt per year; today production reached about 2000 tons per year. A small part of this production, the highest quality, is sold as table salt on the local market. Only a fifth of the salt marshes of Janubio is still used for production; saline, who used up to a hundred salt workers, employ only a dozen. Note the many abandoned pools, the ruins of ancient windmills and dilapidated buildings. However Salines of Janubio obtained EU grants for partial rehabilitation of ponds under the heritage conservation.
Every June, during celebrations of Corpus Christi, or feast of Corpus Christi, tons of dyed salt are traditionally used in creating beautiful decorations in the streets and squares of ’Arrecife, the capital of Lanzarote.
The Salinas del Janubio are one of the main attractions of Lanzarote and offer a fascinating spectacle - especially at sunset - with geometric grid basins whose colors vary depending on the content of salt and light. These reddish colors are due to various halophilic microorganisms tolerate high salinity: archaea bacteria such as Halobacterium salinarum and Halobacterium halobium, an alga, the Dunaliella salina, which has a high content of carotenoids and a small crustacean, the brine shrimp (Artemia salina).
The salt marshes of Janubio is a protected natural area and are classified as Special Protection Area for birds (Zona de Especial Protección para las Aves, ZEPA). Saline is a breeding place for the hoopoe (Upupa epops) and githagine finch (Bucanetes githagineus) and a crossing in the spring and fall for migrating such as Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus), the Little egret (Egretta garzetta) and the black-winged stilt (Himantopus himantopus).
The beaches of Janubio (Playas de Janubio)
Before the cordon of lava and volcanic slag that close the lagoon Janubio is a small black sand beach, the Playa del Janubio. To the west of the salt is a magnificent long beach of black sand, where you can find some good specimens of olivine in the rocks. On both beaches swimming is discouraged due to strong currents.
Access to the beach from the LZ-703 road after passing the lagoon Janubio.