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Welcome To Lanzarote Home Page

Welcome To Our Guide To San Bartolome

The residential town and municipal district of San Bartolome, covers an area of some 41km2, neatly sandwiched along the east coast of Lanzarote between the districts of Arrecife and Tias.

Geographically the town of San Bartolome is approximately 10km or 6 miles, west of Arrecife and with a resident population of around 5,000 people, is considered to be one of the most densely populated areas of the island.

San Bartolome was originally a small farming community known locally as Ajei, which literally translates into English as "small township", which began to grow in size during the 15th Century as more people moved inland looking for a place of safety from the frequent pirate attacks on the island.

However, it wasn't until 1787 when Cayetano Guerra Clavijo y Perdomo, who also built the town’s church, formally applied to establish the parish of San Bartolome here.

In recognition of the historical heritage of the town, and to avoid confusion with the town of San Bartolome on the nearby island of Gran Canaria, it has recently been proposed that the town be renamed as San Bartolome de Ajei.

However, the bureaucratic processes necessary to approve this type of initiative are notoriously slow throughout all of Spain, and it may be many years before signs welcoming visitors to San Bartolome de Ajei are needed.

Although much of the economy of Lanzarote is now heavily dependent upon tourism, the district of San Bartolome is still nevertheless an important agricultural region on the island, and is considered by many to be Lanzarote’s agricultural heartland.

The main crops that grow in the region are sweet potatoes and watermelons, and it is here just to the north of the town in the district of La Cena, where the islands major vineyards are to be found. The highly acclaimed Malvasia wines are produced here from grapes grown from individual vines that are surrounded by semi-circular walls of volcanic stone.

Being primarily a residential town, San Bartolome has so far remained almost completely "undiscovered" by many of the major tour operators, and as far as we are aware doesn't as yet feature as a recognised destination in any of their summer or winter sun brochures. As a result most visitors here will be independent travellers who either own holiday homes in the area, or those who prefer to make their own travel and accommodation arrangements.

Making the journey west to San Bartolome from the Arrecife International Airport can be quite difficult, and realistically there are only two options available.

The first, and possibly the most convenient option, would certainly be the door to door service offered by any of the numerous taxis waiting outside of the arrivals hall, who would typically charge around 15€ - 20€ for the journey. Taxis on Lanzarote do represent very good value for money by European standards, and can instantly be recognised as being the eggshell/white cars with a large red stripe on each front door.

However, a standard taxi on the island is only licenced to carry a maximum of 4 passengers plus a "reasonable" amount of luggage, so for larger groups of travellers, or those with special needs, it is our recommendation to make provision for a pre-booked taxi to be waiting for you at the airport, and clearly specify at the time of booking that a larger, or specially adapted, vehicle is needed for the journey.

The second option would be to pre-arrange for the collection of a hire car from one of the numerous agencies based at the airport. Driving over to San Bartolome should be fairly stressless for most drivers, once you have remembered which side of the road to drive on, as you leave the airport facility you will automatically join the LZ2, the Carretera de Arrecife de Yaiza, at which point you need to head north east towards Arrecife.

As you approach Arrecife take the LZ3, Carretera de la Circunulacion, which is the Arrecife northern ring road, where you will need to keep a sharp lookout for the LZ20, Carretera de San Bartolome, which then takes you inland to the town.

If needed, a more detailed version of this route, complete with links to maps where appropriate, is available from the Route Map link on the left hand frame of this page.

Unlike so many other coastal developments on the island, San Bartolome is not a purpose built tourist resort, but remains a traditional Canarian town where few, if any, concessions are made to the small numbers of visitors who pass through the town each day.

The narrow streets and white washed houses all seem to lead to the 18th Century Parish Church of San Bartolome, which contains carvings of San Andres along with a very impressive altarpiece.

As with so many other towns on the island, San Bartolome could never really be ever described as being lively, and is therefore perhaps more suited towards older couples or families looking to escape the all night neon lit bars and nightclubs favoured by the younger 18 - 30's crowd.

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This website was launched on 1 May 2002

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