El Cerro de la Luna was one of the first restaurants we visited when we moved into our home in Chayofa and we became regular visitors getting to know the owner Samantha quite well. The food was always good, the views nice and I knew that Sam always provided the camels for the Kings Day parade each 5th January.
So the question begs to be asked … ¿Why when I have tried many tourist attractions on the island have I not tried the one that is closest to home, the Camel Park in La Camella? The answer is probably because the last time I mounted a camel I thought that the price to pay would be a set of false teeth as the ungainly animals get up by straightening their hind legs then jerking up on their front legs and go down in a similar manner. Hence, me being a bit dubious as the last thing I wanted before my holidays is a new set of knashers.
The park in La Camella is a large, while you are waiting for your camel ride, you can shelter from the sun under a canopied area and enjoy a glass of sangria.
Dani, the guide tells us he has over 15 years experience, as he leads everyone to the camel compound. I needn’t have worried about the teeth because to ride these camels you need to be far less energetic, than we were in India, as there are steps up and seats to sit in rather than uncomfortable camel saddles. Dani also delighted us with his stories as we went round.
He told us that camels were first used like shire horses and oxen for tilling the land but it is relatively recently they have been used as an attraction for tourists. The owners of the Camel Park were the first breeding centre on the island and started with 15 camels back in 1988 on a banana plantation. By 1993 they had 60 animals and took holiday makers on trips from Mount Guaze to Palm Mar. It was in 1995 they bought the finca in La Camella and since then it has become very popular, as there aren’t too many places you can ride a camel in Europe.
As well as the rides and a play area for children, there is a farm with goats, donkeys, ducks, hens, dogs and even a parrot. When in the UK I remember children from London coming to a school I worked at, some had never been on a farm before so it was a unique experience. Similarly in La Camella children learn about the different lifestyles of each animal.
I used to feel sorry seeing the camels sitting in the sun when they were at the side of the road but I didn´t realise how strict Sam and her staff are with their diet. Eating the wrong things can affect their health but the camels here are so well treated some have exceed their average lifespan of about 20 years, to be almost 40.
The opening hours of the park are from 10:00 to 17:00, 7 days a week and tickets cost €5,00 adults and €3,00 for children farm only,
Farm plus 30-minute camel ride: €15,00 and €8,00.
Farm 50-minute camel ride and appetizer: €20,00 and €10,00
Step Through the Looking Glass and read the Red Queen Musings