There’s so much more to Gran Canaria than just its spectacular beaches, lively nightlife and wall to wall sunshine. Step out of your suntan zone and try something different:
Coffee break – in the beautiful municipality of Agaete is Los Berrazales, the most northerly coffee plantation in the world where you can visit by appointment to see how they produce their aromatic blend. A vineyard and tropical fruit farm too, it’s a veritable three course tasting with fruit, wine and coffee to follow.
Lunch in a cow shed – visit one of the island’s most elegant rural hotels, La Hacienda Del Buen Suceso in Arucas and enjoy lunch in the former cow shed where they even still have the troughs in place, though you’re not expected to eat out of them
Pick a pear – carefully! The blood red fruit of the red cactus pear when ripe tastes like watermelon and is extremely refreshing. Known locally as tuno Indio, you just have to handle the pears very carefully or you’ll end up trying to pick the thorns out of your fingers, lips and tongue for the rest of the day.
Have your cake – delicious almond cakes are the speciality of Dulceria Nublo in the picturesque little village of Tejeda where you can also try some of their home made bienmesabe, a honey-type pudding of ground almonds.
On your bike – this year the UK Youth cycling team boosted their training with a two week stint riding the mountain highs and lows of Gran Canaria. With routes ranging from easy to ‘you must be joking’ even those of us who don’t look good in cycling shorts can enjoy two wheels on this island.
Cave in – in the mountainous interior of the island you’ll see cliffs riddled with caves which were once the homes of Gran Canaria’s original inhabitants, the ancients. Detour to the quiet hamlets of Artenara, Guayadeque and Los Lugarejos to see their modern equivalent, cave homes with satellite TV.
Take a hike – Endless trails meander through pine forests, across mountains, beside lakes and through pretty hamlets. Clear your tubes with eucalyptus scented air and let your feet show you another side to the sunshine island.
Aloe aloe – Gran Canaria produces some of the world’s purest aloe vera which is used extensively in spa and beauty treatments across the island. Used in its original form with no additives or processing, it’s Nature’s own moisturiser and the perfect soother for sun-kissed skin.
Rum it up – one of the oldest in Europe, the Arehucas factory in Arucas has been making rum since 1885 and remains one of the most popular drinks in the Canary Islands. Take a tour of the factory and feign interest in the bottling to get to the all-important tasting. Yo Ho Ho.
Go city-side – You don’t even have to leave the beach to explore Gran Canaria’s capital city of Las Palmas as the Las Canteras beach fringes a whole mile of the city in the gold stuff. But drag yourself away to stroll the cobbled streets of Vegueta and Triana; check out the shopping in El Corte Inglés and taste some tapas in one of its pavement cafés.
Photo credits & copyright: Cristian Bortes & Andy Montgomery
Posted : Wednesday, July 25th, 2012 at 10:00
Andy Montgomery is a travel writer and blogger currently living amongst banana plantations in the north of Tenerife. If she’s not sipping mojitos in a Cuban bar or clinging to some vertigo-inducing outcrop by her fingernails, she’s working on her Buzztrips travel website.