postcards from gran canaria: island excursions

It’s been three weeks since Knut and I were at the sunny island of Gran Canaria and it all seems like a distant memory now. Luckily, we have these photos to look at to remind us how we pulled off an early summer in the middle of winter.

As I mentioned earlier, we stayed at the quiet seaside resort of Playa del Cura and from there, the man-made beach of Playa de Amadores could be easily reached on foot. While the beach itself is quite postcard pretty from a bird’s-eye view- it has two outstretched arms creating a glorious bay of turquoise waters and light colored sand – we felt it was too commercialized and just swarming with people. Nonetheless, it’s one of the most sought-after beaches in Gran Canaria.

From here, Puerto Rico, the sunniest place on the island can be reached by a 20-minute walk (longer if you decide to enjoy the stunning views of the ocean) via a cliffside path that winds along the Atlantic Ocean. Puerto Rico has a lot of hotels, and I mean a darn lot! There’s just a high saturation of hotel blocks and white walls everywhere. I didn’t even bother taking pictures. The beach is also busy and there is a marina for small boats. One can take a glass-bottom boat from here to the other parts of the island. But we did not do that, no thanks.

Not feeling too beachy one day, we headed to the capital Las Palmas and joined in the buzz of the city life. We didn’t see that much as we only had a few hours to spend. Apart from a customary visit to some shops at the commercial zone of Triana, we visited the twin-towered Santa Ana Cathedral, the first church in the Canaries dating back from 1500. It was quite peaceful when we got there. The square fronting the Cathedral is dotted with palm trees that line Spanish-looking buildings. We took the lift to the Cathedral’s roof to enjoy views of the city and the Atlantic Ocean.

We’ve read about the picturesque Puerto de Mogan and a trip was indeed necessary. And boy it did not disappoint. This lovely place has left a very good impression as it was so pretty. It has gained the nickname “Little Venice” as channels between the marina and the fishing harbor pass under arches. Rentable two-storey apartments are painted in white with colored borders. Everywhere you look, there’s a bursting of colorful bougainvillea, which reminded me of the Philippines. There’s also a good array of quayside bars and restaurants, and the marina is magnificent. It was amazing to see schools of fish just swimming around at such close range. If you ever find yourself in Gran Canaria one day, be sure to visit Puerto de Mogan. You’ll love it here!

Probably the most visited places in Gran Canaria, Playa del Ingles and Maspalomas (with its spectacular sand dunes) were on itinerary, too.

Playa del Ingles (The English Beach) is a looooong stretch of beach that’s famous throughout Europe. It offers plenty of sun and fun by the sea during daytime, but changes into a kaleidoscope of lively bars and restaurants at night. There’s a huge commercial center nearby called Yumbo Centrum, where at night the gay crowd is in full swing. There’s plenty of clubs, discos and lounge bars for every taste and lifestyle.

The sand dunes of Maspalomas – all 400 hectares of it – was high on my list. They say the golden sand has blown over the sea from the Sahara desert creating this natural attraction. After all, Gran Canaria is outside the western coast of Africa. You can cross from Playa del Ingles to Playa del Maspalomas by camel if you’re feeling like Lawrence of Arabia or by foot and stop and pose for the camera as you please. Make sure to bring a bottle of water lest you start seeing phantoms caused by the blinding sun/sand. Try not to squint though when you see nudists relaxing and walking around, an area is designated for them after all.

So long!


13 Responses to “postcards from gran canaria: island excursions”

  1. 1 Bagaholicboy February 13, 2010 at 2:21 am

    Lovely lovely snaps! Besides you and Knut I also spotted Edward and Karl! Cool!

  2. 4 Eric February 13, 2010 at 2:26 am

    Now i want to go to Gran Canaria. :)

  3. 6 kseverny February 13, 2010 at 9:09 am

    wow. such a stuning place

  4. 8 Charles Ravndal February 13, 2010 at 5:01 pm

    Nice photos! You look cute and Knut is looking great as well!

  5. 10 deluxeduck February 14, 2010 at 5:35 am

    haaay… how i wish i have a globe-trotting lifestyle like yours. kaka-inggit naman. where to next?

  6. 12 Cheryl Marie Cordeiro February 21, 2010 at 9:33 pm

    LOVELY!!!!! I wish I were at some sunny place RIGHT NOW! Temperatures in Sweden are nasty freezing!

    Beautiful pictures! Made my day!

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