22nd Sep 2023 @ 8:42 am

Sometimes you’ll hear stories about Lanzarote that don’t quite ring true. Here are a few of the more common myths about the island.

SAHARAN SAND

There’s a persistent rumour that the sand on Lanzarote’s beaches has been shipped in from the Sahara Desert, just over 100 miles away to the east.

It’s not true, however. The source of most of the sand on the island is the massive sandbanks north of Famara, from which sand is washed ashore and gradually carried over the island by the wind.

Occasionally, the sand on some beaches is replenished, but this usually comes from ancient dunes in the north of the island.

FRESH LOCAL SEAFOOD

There’s plenty of fresh fish on Lanzarote, but seafood’s another matter. Fishing for crab, lobster or mussels is strictly forbidden and if you order them, they will be imported, usually frozen. In fairness, restaurants never claim that these dishes are fresh but many still believe it.

The only fresh local seafood you may find here are lapas, the edible limpets that are harvested at low tide, or the tasty prawns fished at La Santa, which are a lot more expensive than the frozen imports.

PLANET OF THE APES WAS FILMED HERE

The famous final scene of the 1968 film Planet of the Apes is often claimed to have been filmed at Papagayo, and it’s true that the golden beach and caves do bear a close resemblance.

However, Planet of the Apes was filmed entirely in California, and that beach is Pirate’s Cove in Malibu. If you want real Lanzarote landscapes on film, watch 1,000,000 Years BC.

THE DEVIL OF TIMANFAYA

You may read that the “Devil of Timanfaya” is based on a local legend about bridegroom whose bride was killed by a falling rock during the volcanic eruptions of 1730. After trying to free her with a fork, he went mad with grief and disappeared into the volcanoes. Occasionally, villagers would see him waving his fork and say, “Poor devil”.

It’s entertaining, but it’s complete fiction. The devil symbol was invented by César Manrique in the late 60s.

OMAR SHARIF’S CARD GAME

The owners of LagOmar, the amazing building in Nazaret, have always admitted that the story that actor Omar Sharif won the house in a card game was a legend. In fact, there are no records that Sharif ever owned the property, although he did visit the island to film a TV series in 1972 and gave permission that his name be used for the property as a venue for bridge tournaments.

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