On first appearance the Chinijo* Archipelago Natural Park, which encompasses the northwest coast of Lanzarote and the islands located to the north, may seem lacking in wildlife, but it is actually home to one of Spain’s, and indeed Europe’s, most biodiverse regions.

In addition to the surprising amount of endemic plants and variety of marine life, this paradise is a refuge for numerous birds that have all but disappeared from other places. There are birds of prey such as osprey, locally known as guincho (with 14 pairs, this is one of the largest populations in Spain), and the Barbary falcon.

The Chinijo Archipelago is also home to endangered seabirds such as the white-faced storm petrel, providing the only breeding ground in Spain for some 50 pairs of birds. The 10,000 pairs of Cory’s shearwater that nest on the nearby islet of Alegranza make it the world’s second largest breeding colony of these endangered birds. Many of them return to nest here every year, all the way from South America.

* Chinijo is a Lanzarote word that means ‘child’ or ‘small’.