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Lanzarote / Mala

An idyllic village in the north of the island

Want to experience the traditional rural life on Lanzarote that remains untouched by mass tourism? Then take a stroll around Mala! Life is still peaceful and relaxed in this farming village.

Mala is surrounded by fields of opuntias, a type of cactus on which cochineal beetles (from which the red natural dye, carmine, is obtained) breed. In former times, this was a profitable source of income for Lanzarote's farmers.

Many fields have since been abandoned, however there has been something of a revival since the beginning of the century, as carmine is increasingly in demand. Thus some of the old fields around Mala are being cultivated again.

Today a great many cactus fields can already be found around Mala in which a wealth of well-tended, lush green opuntias grow. Depending on the time of year, they radiate with blossoms or with succulent fruits. The latter can be harvested, but take care: the fleshy fruit is protected by a prickly skin. Gloves should therefore be worn, or a plastic bag wrapped around the hand.