With a focus on ecological tourism and improved biodiversity for the area, the park has been designed to act as a natural and informative destination for hikers, bikers and cacti lovers. The complex consists of various greenhouses and an artist’s villages, all surrounded by a “green belt” of cacti vegetation that connects the buildings and leads out to hiking and biking paths along the coastline.
Despite the ability of cacti to thrive in dry climates, the complex includes a rainwater conservation basin that sustains the plants irrigation system. The island originally fell into disrepair after the second world war and an abundance of wild succulents grew erratically in the area. Locals capitalised on this by creating the park to preserve the vegetation and by using the rainwater catchment system the park can ensure sustainable irrigation to keep the cacti population thriving.
In addition, the built complex acts to protect the plants from the island’s strong salt infused winds, with architectural structures that include a cactus inspired geometric glass greenhouse. The greenhouse was designed to integrate teak supporting beams and basaltic masonry retaining walls with large prism windows that allow ventilation. Visitors are able to explore the greenhouse which houses a series of cactus plants in a controlled environment.
Visitors to the park are encouraged to visit and wander through several artist spaces, greenhouses and the surrounding landscape, all of which incorporates a range of wild vegetation and educational exhibitions. The area is also famed for cactus-centric cuisine, especially the local favourite, cactus ice cream.