A trip to Lanzarote, the most northeastern of the Canary Islands, was at first of dubious appeal.

I was to spend a week of hard- earned vacation time with two non-English-speaking youngsters ages 8 and 10 at a time-share resort where all the action centers on sport and physical activity. Then again, the airfare would be paid for, we’d be staying in an efficiency apartment, which meant costs would be minimal, and my boyfriend would be there. So I took the bait.

Our destination was the Club La Santa; the time, the last week of July. The aforementioned children, Jonas and Simon, are two Danish brothers who had stayed there previously, and they knew exactly how they wanted to spend the week. It wasn’t going to be pretty for the lazily inclined among us.

Club La Santa is a resort on the rocky northern coast of Lanzarote. Open to both time-share owners and guests of the facility, it holds greatest appeal to those who want to keep busy at all times and get fit in the process. Boasting an Olympic-size swimming pool, tennis courts, a track and field, workout facilities, badminton courts, bicycle rental, windsurfing, about 20 courses from yoga and scuba diving to step aerobics, and daily organized excursions, there’s hardly time to get bored. Exhausted, perhaps.

Club La Santa has been around since 1983. Many sports teams flock there to train, which means you might be able to watch some pretty impressive athletes honing their skills.

Jonas and Simon, being familiar with the place, wasted no time in signing up for the use of the badminton and tennis facilities. This is a crucial step for anyone who has a favorite sport or activity. An early trip to the booking office is essential, and the only way to be sure you secure a spot on the most popular of activities. The surfing lessons and massage courses are among the first to be filled, and tennis courts can also be booked solid.

Perhaps the most appealing feature of the Club La Santa experience is the opportunity to try something new at no cost. Instruction in a variety of sports is available for free. Squash, kayaking and windsurfing are just a couple of the sports available. The latter is carried out at the club’s private saline lagoon. Expert instruction in select sports is available at an additional charge.

If you grow antsy when planted in one place for too long, there are plenty of opportunities to get off the compound. The simplest and cheapest is to get a mountain bike and ride to the village of La Santa, a vigorous but entirely doable mile ride uphill. Another small town nearby, Caleta de Caballo, makes a good vantage point for watching surfers.

Nearly every day, you can sign up for a bus trip to someplace on the island. Market Sundays in Teguise sell out quickly, and the trip to the National Park of Timanfaya’s volcano, Montaña de Fuego, is another popular one. A surfing safari combines both an outing and instruction, and the golf tour entails a visit to a neighboring island by ferry.

During our week at Club La Santa, our fellow guests were predominantly Scandinavian, British and German, and not once did I meet a fellow American. A good number of the staffers were in their early 20s and fluent in three or four languages; all were fit, friendly and accommodating.

There’s plenty for kids to love about Club La Santa. Restaurants serve up the likes of French fries and ice cream cones at costs that won’t break the budget. Parents will appreciate the presence of a mini-supermarket selling foods that make for quick-and-easy meals.

Evening activities center on an enclosed courtyard with organized entertainment including magicians, guitarists and flamenco dancers. During school vacation weeks, there’s a children’s talent show, and it is invariably the most popular event of the week. I’m hard-pressed to think of any event I’ve seen in recent years that brought so many nationalities together in such a genuine, feel-good fashion.

Visitors to Club La Santa must make reservations through an agency in their country of residence. Find a directory on the Web site

If you go ...Fitness tip: Are you trying to get better in a particular sport? If so, take advantage of the special theme weeks and sports events organized throughout the year. Triathlon training, cycling, aerobics, fitness and wellness are just some of the areas of focus. The annual Ironman Lanzarote Canarias takes place on May 20 this year.

German package deals: Not only time-share owners can take advantage of Club La Santa's facilities. For those in Germany, package deals are available inclusive of charter flights and transfers.

For prices, visit the German language Web site at or call (+49) (0) 40-555-3370. (English is spoken.)

— Karen Bradbury

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