Life in Lanzarote

Lanzarote, winds and calima

Photo courtesy of PIxabay

Lanzarote winters

Yes, the Canary Islands are famous for their sub-tropical climate, with mild winters and pleasant, not boiling, summers. They are an all-year-round holiday destination for tourists looking to enjoy the sun. So we were looking forward to mild temperatures and some warmth on our arrival.

But 2023 has brought us winter in February. Unprecedented hailstones with rainy days and lower temperatures than the norm. And winds. Lanzarote is windy at the best of times, although a breeze in summer can be a welcome addition that creates a comfortable temperature of around 25 degrees centigrade. But recently the wind in Lanzarote has made its presence known in no small measure. You would probably guess this right now by the windswept look of both locals and tourists.

The surfing scene

The winds are part of life on the island. The North East Trade winds blow consistently throughout the year and create the types of waves much loved by surfers. I’m told that Lanzarote is also known as the Hawaii of Europe in surfing circles, with plenty of opportunities for surfers of all levels.

Surfer in action, courtesy of Openverse.


Another facet of these strong winds is the calima effect. Calima translates as haze, produced when particles of dust and/or smoke are suspended in the air, obscuring the sky and turning it a deathly shade of white. If it rains during the hazy period, then those layers of red dust appear everywhere, and this does mean in every nook and cranny far and wide…

Damp cloths and elbow grease must be out in force to clean it away. As the Canary Islands are so near to Africa, dust clouds from the Sahara are a common phenomenon, but it has been known for the calima to travel as far as the Caribbean.

The neighbouring island of Gran Canaria, during a period of calima. Photo courtesy of El Independiente.

Yet despite the lower-than-usual temperatures, the wind and the calima, we still cannot complain too much. Much of Europe is still in the grip of a cold weather front and it is still winter.

Yet today, 27th February, the sun is back and spring seems to be in the air. Will it last, I wonder?

By paulinell

I am an EFL teacher, examiner, Spanish to English translator and English-stuff is my blog on English history, culture and language.

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