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We ourselves owned a villa in Playa Blanca for 10 years, which we used to let, so we are very mindful of what to look for in a villa.Firstly a big thank you to all at Optima. The description of the villa on the website was perfect, nothing was overstated or understated. It enabled us to decide that this should be the perfect villa for our family requirements.There were 6 adults, 4 year old and 18 month old grandchildren. There was so much space for everyone at all times of the day. We loved the al fresco dining area with barbecue. The children's secure play area and the lawn area was a huge hit with the youngsters. The pool was very warm which meant the children could stay in for a couple of hours at a time. Our four year old grand daughter became so confident and learnt to swim underwater, discarded her arm bands and swam her first length! The pool area is walled off with locked gates, making it extremely safe for young children. The whole villa, pool and garden area, and including the stair gate and cot facilities made this villa as safe for young children as it could possibly be.The old adage that when the kids are happy, then the adults can relax could not have been more true.The extensive TV channels and multiple TV's were great for the children to have a quiet battery recharge, and the lads could catch up on the football at night.Finally apart from the happy holiday memories to take home, we have all brought home the wonderful views from the villa, from Montana Roja on the left, looking out to sea to Los Lobos and Fuerteventura and the lighthouse ( which was all that was in this area when we first came to Playa Blanca in 1985.Thank you Optima for great service, and to the owners for making their lovely villa available for us to rent.[read more]
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Essential Holiday InformationArrecife AirportLanzarote has only one airport, which is called Arrecife (ACE) by all the flight operators. Locally the area it is located in is called Guacimeta.It is situated roughly ten minutes drive from the capital of Arrecife and only five minutes from the start of the resort of Puerto del Carmen. The airport does not have a bus service operating between it and the three main holiday resorts.Transport to and from the airport therefore falls into three main categories: tour operator transfers by coach and minibus, private taxi hire or holiday car rental.All three of these transport options are operated from the arrivals section of the airport. To get a rough idea of taxi prices, see the details listed under Taxis below. The main car hire firms all have concessions in the arrivals hall and you should book ahead of your arrival via the internet to secure the best price and availability.Local BanksEach of the three main holiday resorts on the island has several banks operating, usually in the main shopping areas of the town. Normal bank opening hours are from 8.30am to 2.00pm, Monday to Friday.Nearly all have cashpoints that are open beyond counter opening hours. Most employees will speak sufficient English, if you wish to use their counter service to change money. They will usually ask to see your passport when you present the money you wish to change. The exchange rate that local banks can offer you may well be better than those offered by hotel receptions or banks in the UK.BeachesThe beaches in each of the main resorts are inspected on an annual basis for cleanliness and the facilities they offer. There are several blue flag beaches around the island, including one in Puerto del Carmen and Playa Blanca.The standard EU safety system is used on Lanzarote, with red flags indicating that it is unsafe to swim, yellow that conditions are only suitable for strong swimmers and green that it is safe for all. The north and north-west coasts of the island are where the most dangerous currents can be found, so visitors are advised to proceed with caution at Famara, La Santa and at some of the beaches in La Graciosa.Read more about beaches in Playa Blanca hereBusesThe public transport network has improved in recent years, so holidaymakers will find that there is a regular bus service between Puerto del Carmen, Playa Blanca, Costa Teguise and Arrecife, making it possible to visit one of the other resorts for the day without having to hire a car.However, the service to more rural areas is much less frequent and should not be relied upon for getting around to take in some of the many attractions Lanzarote has. The best way to explore the island is to either take an organized coach tour or hire a car.View full information about Playa Blanca bus services hereCar HireHiring a car is the best way to see the island and is essential if you are staying in a holiday rental home, as this will give you the greatest degree of freedom during your stay (unless your accommodation is in the heart of a resort and you have a supermarket right on the doorstep too).Thankfully, car rental rates are very reasonable, with a wide range of vehicles available and several island-based companies offering an excellent service, as well as the main European wide car rental companies. The normal stipulations are that drivers are over 23 years old and have a full current British or European license.Vehicle hire usually includes insurance and unlimited mileage and should cover more than one person driving the vehicle. The vast majority of the roads on the island are very quiet and petrol is still reasonably cheap, so it is often a pleasure to drive on Lanzarote.We can arrange car hire for guests, just visit our car hire pageCrimeOn the whole, Lanzarote is a very safe place to take a holiday, with relatively little crime. However, break-ins do occur every now and then, so you are advised to use the safety deposit box in your accommodation for valuables and also not to leave them unattended in your vehicle. It is advisable to use the same caution as you would do when at home.CurrencyThe Euro is the currency used on Lanzarote, as the island is a Spanish territory. Exchange rates fluctuate according to the currency market so you may find it cheaper to change money here than in the UK before your holiday.Dimensions and DistancesLanzarote is a small island and covers only 846 square kilometres, with the distance between Playa Blanca in the south and Orzola in the North measuring only 70 kilometres, a little over an hour’s drive. This compact size makes it easy to take in many of the main attractions and sights, regardless of where you are staying.DrivingThe most obvious difference when driving in Lanzarote is that you drive on the right hand side of the road. But apart from the main roads along the eastern coast which take in the route to the capital and main industrial and shopping areas, the roads are reasonably quiet, in good condition and often take you through very scenic landscapes.As a tourist, you will be expected to have your passport with you, if you should be stopped by the Guardia Civil. Strict penalties are now in place for those caught under the influence of alcohol, drugs or using a mobile phone whilst driving.If you experience any difficulties with your hire car during your stay or while out driving, you will find there is an emergency number you can call for assistance from the car hire company. You should pull over, use the hazard lights and if necessary, also put out the road signs you will find in the boot of the car approximately 30 metres behind and in front of the vehicle, to warn other motorists of a breakdown.Duty FreeThe Canary Islands have a special Duty Free tax status, making alcohol, cigarettes, perfumes and make-up much cheaper here than in the UK. The supermarket chains that operate in all the main tourist resorts are usually the best places to find the cheapest cigarettes and alcohol on sale.The best priced perfumes and make-up from leading brands can be found in any of the shops which specialize in these products – there are several in each resort on the main shopping streets.If you do intend to purchase either alcohol or perfume to take home, you should ensure you pack this in the luggage that is being placed in the hold as the 100ml limit on liquids will restrict you carrying such items into the cabin. The limits for cigarettes are still 200 per person, while only 2 litres of wine and 1 litre of spirits are allowed.ElectricityElectrical goods operate on the same voltage as in the UK and Ireland but you will find you need a two pin adaptor plug to use the mains electricity in your holiday accommodation. These can usually be found for sale in the supermarket.Electrical GoodsConsumers are advised to use caution when buying electronic or electrical goods on Lanzarote. In recent years, there has been a catalogue of complaints made against this type of retailer, where unwary tourists have bought digital or video cameras only to find that the item they walk away with is not the bargain they imagined. Should you experience any problems ask for and submit a customer complaint form.Health CareFor more details of the health care services available during your holiday, please visit the Health Care in Playa Blanca pageInsectsLanzarote is a relatively pest free environment, although during the hotter months you can expect there to be flies and mosquitoes. The best way to deal with the latter is to invest in a plug-in mosquito repellent, which should rid you of any night-time visitors. As in other hot countries, there are also occasional cockroach sightings, most frequently by the municipal dust bins. Regular pest control is carried out by villa companies and the local authorities.Internet AccessOver the last few years, internet access has become much more wide spread across the island. So not only is it probable that your accommodation has internet access, but you will also find that bars, cafes and some of the main tourist attractions have free WiFi on offer.Opening HoursGone are the days of lunch time closures, at least in the main tourist resorts. Most supermarkets are open from 09.00 until 20.00 in the evening, with some open later than this. It is only in the more rural areas and Arrecife that shops shut at 13.00 or 13.30 until 16.00 in the afternoon.PharmaciesPharmacies or chemists can be found in all the main resorts and are usually indicated by a green cross light outside on the street. At least one pharmacy will be open on Sundays in Puerto del Carmen, Playa Blanca and Costa Teguise – this information is normally posted on the door or in the window.Post OfficesThere is a post office in each resort. The post office in Playa Blanca is in Calle El Correillo, just behind the pedestrian shopping street Calle Limones. In Puerto del Carmen it is next to the Biosfera Shopping Centre and in Costa Teguise it is in Centro Comercial Las Maretas on the main Avenida Islas Canarias. Post boxes are yellow in colour and are dotted around the resorts, often at the supermarket checkout.StampsYou can buy stamps for postcards and letters from the supermarket check-out. They are called Sellos in Spanish (pronounced Say-os).Sun ProtectionMany visitors to Lanzarote get sunburn – the sun is much stronger in the Canaries than in mainland Europe, although the breezy weather often masks how hot it actually is. It is therefore a good idea to use a high factor sun cream (at least factor 30 or higher), especially if you have fair skin or have not had any exposure to the sun for several months.It is even possible to burn on cloudy days and in the shade. If you do get burnt, the best remedy is to purchase some aloe vera products – skin cream or moisturizer – as the healing properties of this plant will immediately cool the skin down and reduce the discomfort of sunburn.TaxMeals in restaurants will have the local VAT tax added to the bill. This is at 7% and is called IGIC.TaxisOnly licensed taxis are permitted on Lanzarote. These are white vehicles with green taxi lights on top (except in Yaiza, where some of the fleet are red). You can flag down a taxi in the street if the green light is on.All taxis are metered and will have their rates displayed in the car. There are taxi ranks in all the main resorts, as well as at the airport outside the arrivals hall. You can expect to pay approximately €20 for a transfer to Puerto del Carmen, €25 to Costa Teguise and €45 to Playa Blanca from the airport. The transfer time is roughly 10 minutes to Puerto del Carmen, 15 minutes to Costa Teguise and 30 to 40 minutes to Playa Blanca, depending on traffic.Telephone : 0034 928 524 222Website : www.lanzarotetaxi.comTelephone Dialing CodesThe international dialing code for Lanzarote is 0034. To call the UK from the island, you will need to put 0044 in front of the number and drop the first 0. For calls to Ireland, it is 00353.TimeLanzarote is on standard Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) so you do not need to adjust your watch if you are travelling from the UK. The clocks also go back and forwards on the same day on the island as in the UK for the start and end of British Summertime.TippingService is not included in the bill at restaurants. The addition of IGIC is not a service charge but the local VAT tax, so if you have had a good meal, it will be much appreciated by the restaurant staff if you leave a tip in addition to the bill.Zebra CrossingsUnlike the UK or Ireland, there is no obligation for drivers to stop at zebra crossings, so do wait until you see a car slowing down before proceeding to cross the road. Many drivers will use their indicators to show that they are slowing down by a zebra.