Like a lot of British families, we have always been partial to a bit of all inclusive holiday action. This year however I decided to take a different approach and shop around to get the best deal I possibly could.
I found a cracking deal, a self catering holiday for myself, wife and 2 year old son, to Lanzarote via Thomas Cook Flexible Trips that came in a whopping £500 cheaper, with all the extras added, than the cheapest All Inclusive holiday on offer.
When it comes to Lanzarote there are generally 3 areas that make up the vast majority of tourist hotels and villas; Playa Blanca, Costa Teguise and Puerto Del Carmen. This guide is mainly a focus on Costa Teguise, affectionately known also as Breezy Teguise and it certainly lived up to that name.
Our holiday was in February 2016, so to be fair, for the time of year the weather was amazing. We had a very steady 23-24C the whole duration of our holiday but we did experience the ‘Teguise breeze’ most days. It was still however really pleasant for the time of year and I never had to wear more than a shirt and shorts during the day.
Our hotel of choice was the Galleon Playa apartments. We were led by price but also by the stream of good reviews.
The friendliness of the staff and willingness to help is a real delight and makes up for how tired the hotel is beginning to look. We had one problem with the Hob in the apartment not working, which the maintenance somehow managed to make it back to my room literally seconds after I got there. Unfortunately the kitchen was that old and used that all the marking had rubbed off and I had it on the wrong setting!
But, whilst the rooms were showing their age, I couldn't fault how clean they kept it, with cleaning taking place every 2 days. All the essentials you needed for a self catering holiday were there.
You could tell this hotel was once a real gem and it seems that they are attempting to restore it to its former glory with work being carried out daily during sunshine hours. Something to bare in mind, although it never felt intrusive or a nuisance to us.
Overall I'd give the Galleon Playa 4/5
Bars and Restaurants
We ate out at a number of bars and restaurants during our stay, these were our favourite 3.
- Antiu Xixona – For midday sweat snacks and ice cream
- The Fuel Stop – For lunch or an amazing burger!
- El Meastro – For the perfect all rounder and evening dining
I have no idea how to pronounce it but their Ice creams are out of this world. Imagine the best, highest quality ice cream you've ever had, you know the ones with the real bits of fruit, chocolate or candy? Well that's the type of ice cream these guys serve. None of that plain stuff, and at € 2.90 for a large tub, and I mean large, its not breaking the bank either.
The Fuel Stop
This was a place I wanted to visit even before arriving after reading reviews about their legendary Jack Daniels burgers. This place certainly did not disappoint. We had our first evening dinner there and our very last lunch, which was at 11am, as we were getting picked up at 12:45, somehow though I managed to lick the plate clean it was that good! The prices here are around average for a decent eatery in Costa Teguise, with the Jack Daniels burger and chips coming in at €8.99 and a Koppenberg setting you back €5.50. The staff are all very friendly and all have a familiar accent to ours.
I've saved the best until last as this place really does shine. El Meastro is possibly my favourite restaurant I've ever stepped food in. The service is simply second to none. From being met at the door by a man I can only assume is maybe the manager or owner, as he was there every night, to the final bill.
Upon arrival you are escorted to your table, where a free complimentary glass of sparkling moscato is soon to follow, shortly followed by free Tapas. When you pick up the menu you will hardly believe your eyes when you see that the prices here are by far cheaper than anywhere in the same quality bracket. Grilled chicken breast for example is only €8.99, served with boiled potatoes or chips. When I say grilled chicken, its the best chicken I've had in a long time and the chips were home made and tasted utterly amazing, so much so that we returned a further 2 nights. Those 3 visits would have turned into 4 if we only had one more day as we only discovered this gem half way through our holiday. One disappointment I did have however, was that their ice cream just couldn't come close to Antiu Xixona, which was a real shame as this place really could have it all. The free frozen cocktail shot with our bill was a nice touch though.
For this service and food, I would expect it to be £50pp back in England if not more. Our meal for 3 with 2 drinks, came to around €30-€35 each night. The staff were all amazing and remembered us each night, all of them made a huge effort to make our son feel at home too which is great as these sort of place sometimes feel scary to go into with a young child.
All 3 of these places are real gems in their own right but El Meastro has to take the 5/5, with the other 2 coming a close 4/5. They are all on essentially the same, seafront street which makes them all easy to find if you head out their.
Remember that in Lanzarote their tax of 7% is added on to the bill at the end.
Walks and Excursions
If you have a young child like myself then you will almost certainly head for the nearest beach or park. Well fortunately for us there are 3 beaches that I would say are proper beaches.
We found that the best beach in a morning was on the promenade walk to Arrecife, behind the Grand Teguise Playa (You cant miss that place!). Its a beautiful beach in a cove, but for this reason, at around midday it starts becoming very busy. At this time onward you are probably better off on the main beach which is huge in comparison.
Whilst walking from place to place you will be confronted by African men selling sunglasses, bags and watches like a lot of the tourist resorts. Please be aware that these are fake items, but also remember these are human beings trying to make a living. I actually got really friendly with one of the men and had a laugh with him every time we met, because I actually gave him the time of day when he approached me.
On the Playground side of things, Galleon Playa does have their own but it is past its best by now. On the shop front side of the Galleon Playa however is a pleasant playground that will suit most needs, there is a lack of swings though.
The best we found was on our walk down the promenade towards Arrecife. It is probably 300-400m away from the small beach I mentioned. This playground never seems to get busy but is amazing for small children. It also has the added bonus of being with in wifi range of the Villa Toledo restaurant. So if you just nip to have a drink on their sea view terrace you can bag a wifi code for the rest of the week and use it whilst your kids play!
Our only proper excursion came in the form of the Rancho Texas Park. We booked through our hotel as they gave us the best deal. We got 2 adults tickets for €25 each and children are €20 each with return bus fare included.
We visited this place 5 year ago so knew what to expect. It hasn't changed a great deal in them 5 year except the addition of a water park, however you don't really have time to take advantage of the water park in full if you arrived on bus as the return transfer leaves at 3pm, which after all the fantastic animal shows, doesn't leave much change.
The zoo is really small by anyone’s standards, but I still believe it warrants the entry fee for the shows alone, not to mention how beautiful and clean it is once your inside. The Birds of prey show is my favourite with bald eagles and vultures swooping so close you can feel their feathers brush your face. The other 3 shows are Sea lions, Parrots and Cowboys, all of which are very good and well worth a watch.
My son gave the beaches, parks and Rancho Texas all a whopping 6/5!
Overall I fully recommend going to Costa Teguise and will be booking again for next year shortly.
I often write about how to grab a bargain holiday or how to save money on my website cashsavvytips.com, along with other great money saving tips.