Playa de Papagayo


Quick Facts

Fun meter: Can we do this again!?!
Location: near San Marcial del Rubicon, Lanzarote
Adventure: Beach
Type: National Park
Time: 2+ hours
Level of difficulty: Medium
Good for what ages: All ages
Cost: 3€ to enter the national park for the car
Access: 4km of dirt road and steep steps
Hint: Bring your goggles to see all the pretty critters.


Playa Papagayo is a famous cove with soft sand within the national park. It’s protected from the big wind and has amazing swimming. My little brother Sojourn’s favorite part was watching daddy swim through the underwater cave and seeing the shrimp. The water was pretty cold but as clear as glass. Dad and I climbed over some big rocks to explore a cave, but it was too hard for my little brother. There are lots of tiny beaches within the park, so if this one is packed, just go to the next cove. There is a cute looking restaurant over the cove but we brought a picnic, so we didn’t check it out.

How to Get to Playa Papagayo

We drove from our finca through the volcanos. I’ll tell you about that in another post. The other main route went through the graperies. The highways are really great here compared to the islands of La Gomera and La Palma. It is fast to get anywhere and NO CURVY ROADS! I could watch movies without getting sick.

Just follow google until the dirt road. Mom was nervous but dad kept giggling and trying to drift the corners in our rental car. I just ignored them and listened to my music while Sojourn napped. We had to pay 3€ at the entrance to the national park for the whole car. The dirt road is only a little bumpy. Don’t let comments on other reviews make you nervous. It was fine. We’ve been on much worse. Parking was easy to find even though it was a national holiday. I bet in normal times though the beach would have been packed. Just follow the signs to Playa Papagayo. Once you are parked, walk to the top of the parking lot to find the restaurant and the stairs. The cove is on the left.

Lots of Fish and Crystal Waters

This beach cove rocks! Sojourn found a school of shrimp in a tide pool and was happy forever. Dad found glowing crabs hiding in giant sea urchins in deep water that clicked at him when he got too close. I swam through a cloud of a thousand see-through tiny fish. I could see their skeletons and we called them Halloween fish. Sojourn says he saw an octopus, but no one else saw it. Personally, I’m skeptical. We also saw the usual cast of stars: parrotfish, ornamental wrasse and the blue finned damselfish. I’ve been learning the names of the fish I see on las Canteras where we live and it’s fun to see them elsewhere.

In the middle of the cove in a rock that sticks out of the water at low tide. But it’s a lot more than a fun spot to jump from. Under the rock is a cave that a strong swimmer (daddy) can dive down and swim through. I didn’t go, but dad had a blast. This was really great snorkeling. Even mom got in to share in the fun and see the fish. I still wish she didn’t get cold so quickly. But even I got cold after a while.

Rocks to Climb and Caves to Explore

On both sides of the cove are caves. Someone was camping in the upper one so we couldn’t play in there. At the other side was a large rock tower lots of kids and adults climbed all over. At low tide, some great tide pools surfaced with all kinds of little shrimpies and fishies. The bigger cave could fit a small bus and would have made an awesome photo. Except we don’t own an underwater camera. Maybe someday if I get enough sponsors.