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Gran Canaria (Spain)

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      04.12.2009 00:50
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      an amazing holiday that is well worth the money

      I first went to Gran Canaria when I was 8 with my Nain and Taid (Welsh for nan and grandad) and have been there 8 times since!

      Please note that my review is about Puerto Rico in Gran Canaria as this is the main tourist town.

      Gran Canaria is one of the Canary Islands, located not far off the African Coast to the West, however, it is classed as Spanish. I can honestly say it is the most beautiful place I have ever been to and caters more for families than young groups wanting to go clubbing.

      The main tourist town in Gran Canaria is Puerto Rico. It has two shopping centres, an aqua park, a natural and a man-made beach, and plenty of hotels and apartments. The town is built on a volcanic rock (like the rest of the Canary Islands) and if you look at the town from the natural beach, it is the shape of a V, with the main shopping centre being at the bottom, and hotels and apartments built up the mountain sides.

      The main shopping centre consists of little gift shops, clothing shops, restaurants, cafes, with bars and clubs being on the second floor. At the beginning of the shopping centre there is also a McDonalds! Further on from the main shopping centre (away from the beach) there is an Aquapark. This has about 20 water slides, and different pools throughout. It also has a gift shop and cafes.

      The second shopping centre is located at the top of the hill, and is called Europa. This mainly consists of bars and clubs, so is more for the clubbing type! It does, however, have a few restaurants and one supermarket.

      ~Activities in Puerto Rico~
      - Aquasur - the water park
      - 2 shopping centres
      - 2 mini golf courses, one at the bottom of puerto rico, and one by the Europa centre.
      - Trampolice enclosures that have 10 trampolines in each, and there are 2, again one at the bottom and one at the top of Puerto Rico
      - man-made beach
      - natural beach
      - all your typical watersports like the banana boat, pedalo's, jet skis, etc.
      - bars and clubs
      - plus entertainment in many of the hotels and apartments

      Thats all I can think of at the moment but if I remember anymore, then I will update my review.

      ~Insects~
      Ok, so everywhere abroad has some 'local' insect and Gran Canaria is no different. Over there, its cockroaches. The first time I ever saw one I nearly peed myself in fear, but they really are harmless. The size of them is what scared me most. They are about the size of your little finger in length and can run like no-one's business, one minute its there, the next its gone! Just remember not to stamp on the cockroaches, as their eggs can get into little wedges in your shoes, and hatch. You don't want to open your suitcase when you get home and you've got baby cockroaches running all over the place!

      ~Weather~
      The Canary Islands are well-known for their gorgeous hot weather. The only slight downside is that unless you are at the top of puerto rico, you don't get a breeze! But I really like the hot weather so this wasn't a problem for me. However, if you prefer breezy places, then Gran Canaria may not be the best place for you.

      Out of all the times I have been there, it only rained once. The rain came down very, very heavy for about 10 minutes and drenched everything, but 30 minutes after the rain had stopped, everything was dry as if it had never happened due to the humidity!

      We went to Gran Canaria in October once, and the heat was around 40 degrees for the whole two weeks. Only problem then, is that you get used to the heat, come home to the freezng cold and rain, and catch a cold! I always seem to get a cold after coming home from abroad!

      ~Prices~
      Prices obviously vary depending on when you are going on your holiday, how many of you there are, and how long you go for, but holidays there can be quite pricey due to their guaranteed hot weather.

      ~Overall~
      I really doubt that anyone could go to Gran Canaria and hate it. Its such a beautiful island, with friendly locals and is the perfect family holiday. However, please take note of how hot it is over there if you have really young children. Now that I have a little family of my own, it will be lovely to go back over there again and remember the old memories (sadly my nain has passed away) and also to create some new ones.

      I could go on and on and on and on about Gran Canaria, but I really don't want to bore you, I hardly ever write a review this long! But, on a serious note, the next time you want to go somewhere new abroad, please look seriously at Gran Canaria - its amazing, and I bet you won't be disappointed.

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        17.11.2009 19:11
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        Not my cup of tea!

        Feeling the winter blues a friend and I decided that a much needed break was needed. 'Somewhere warm and with a beach are my only requirements' said my friend. I groaned inwardly as I find the idea of a beach holiday quite boring, as I'm not a strong swimmer so watersports were out. However, I'd never really been on one so thought I should give it a go. After doing some research we narrowed it down to the canary islands and finally settled on Gran Canaria as it appeared to have a good range of activities for us to take part in, such as watersports (my friend is a keen swimmer) and land based activities such as cycling, quad-biking and hiking. I had some concerns about the island not appearing to have much culture and was worried that it would be a bit 'chavvy'.

        Getting There
        We flew with Easyjet from Gatwick to Las Palmas airport. The flight was around 3 and a half hours and cost us around £110 each.

        Where we stayed
        We stayed in the IFA Dunamar hotel in Playa de Ingles. We had originally booked at the IFA Buenventura hotel, a 3* hotel also in the same area, however the agent we book through had overbooked, and so we were allocated the Dunamar. This is actually a 4* hotel and we got it for the same price as the original hotel so it worked out well for us. The hotel was right on the beach front which was ideal. It was easy to get to from the airport (on the coach to the city which cost 3.75 euros). The location was ideal, with plenty of restaurants, with a variety of cuisines, and the beach close by. For some reason the entire hotel was full of Germans and we appeared to be the only non-Germans around. The rooms were well maintained and fairly standard.

        Things to do
        1. The beaches around Gran Canaria are beautiful. They are very clean and the water very clear. There are plenty of watersports around, such as jet skiing, paragliding, boat trips and windsurfing, particularly at Puerto Rico, a half an hour bus ride away. The beach at Las Palmas was most memorable with crystal clear water and fish swimming around your feet when you're paddling which surprised me as we were not that deep. There are also some nice rock pools to explore.
        2. Visit the Maspalomas dunes. This was the highlight for me. There is a small, entirely natural, desert that is located just off the beach at Maspalomas. The dunes are fairly large and visitors can freely wander around these. I found the view spectacular as you could see the beach and sea over the dunes - something quite rare!
        3. Sun bathing. The sun shines all year round so this is the place to come to top off your tan! It is quite strong at times so use suncream and don't stay out too long!
        4. Theme Parks. There are a couple of waterparks around such as Aqualand and Sioux City. We didn't really fancy these, but those with families might.
        5. Visiting some small towns such as Puerto Morgan which is described as little Venice, due to its network of canals and bridges. The houses here are beautifully decorated with flowers and there are nice independent stores and restaurants to browse around in. All in all quite charming.
        6. Catch a show. A lot of restaurants on the beach front have entertainment such as dance acts or singers who perform while you eat. Some of these were actually quite good but others were quite bad. It doesn't cost much as the restaurants only add around a 10% charge on your bill. There is also a show called Garbos - Rockin' all over the world' which is more expensive at around 45 euros each. The show is quite novel though in that the waiters in the restaurants actually perform hits from all over the world on stage in between serving you dinner. The food was great and the entertainment was excellent too. Well worth it.
        7. Cycling, Quad biking and Hiking. If you're all beached out then these may be for you. However they are expensive (around 80-100 euros each) and are all day events. We booked the Quad biking twice and when we were picked up from the hotel we were told that this was no longer being offered and we could do buggy carting instead and would have to pay 30 euros extra to do so. We decided not to do this and were quite disappointed as this was top on our list of things to do.


        General
        The weather was great. We visited mid November and temperatures were around 25 - 30 degrees. Getting around the island is fairly easy too with a network of bus services. The buses however are quite expensive (a single fare can cost around 4-8 euros depending on how far you want to go). There was a travel card system which we only found out about on our last day as it is not advertised well. I did find parts of the island quite chavvy, and there was not a lot of culture around. It would also have been nice to visit some of the central parts of the island but transport links there were not great. I was ok for the first couple of days but by the 3rd day both of us were ready to go home. I've learnt that beach holidays are just not for me, but if you do like beach holidays then you'll love this!

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          08.09.2009 00:27

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          great party island

          Gran Canaria is located just off Spain and is part of the Canary Islands. It is the third largest island in the collection and is southeast of Tenerife and northwest from Africa.

          Warm all year round, it is the summer months when this island really gets buzzy. Truly a place to go if you want a sleep all day, party all night holiday! The beaches are nice, although watch out for those topless tourists and there is some good shopping in the tourist centres and the capital, Las Palmas.

          The best nightlife is to be had round Playa Del Ingles, mostly in the Kasbah and Yumbo centre, and I thoroughly recommend the 'F*** me I'm Famous' bar crawl! Very good fun. Also, there are some good drinks deals to be had if you shop around. The Hippodrome in the Kasbah is the best club as well, plays really good music! Try and get a nice hotel though, there are some gross one's around. We had a bungalow, which proved very cost effective.

          There are some good activities to do as well: riding camels in the dunes in Maspalomas and 'dolphin spotting', although be warned: these 'adventures' are not always fruitful!

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          03.06.2009 17:09

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          Great family holiday

          We went on a family holiday to Playa Del Ingles about 5 years ago. We went in October and boy was it hot between 35 and 38deg. Its some of the hottest weather i have ever encountered.

          We were a short taxi ride from the beach and it was so cheap that there was no problem just jumping in a taxi to go any where.

          The locals were very freindly the only problem we had was people touting for business trying to get you into restaurants and shops, this was the only thing i disliked about the island.

          We were in self catering appartments and ate out every night, local restaurants were good and there was a big variation in prices so you could eat cheaply if you wanted to.

          The beaches were lovely and clean with plenty of water sports to get invollved with if you wanted to.

          Its the first holiday ive been on where we went on organised trips eg boat trip to see dolphins and a camel trip over the sand dunes. Both were excellent and quite reasnable in price.

          Its a very dry island and we had a great time I would defenately go back.

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          11.01.2009 22:04
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          Great Sunny Island To Visit

          I went to Gran Canaria in August 2006.
          We stayed in a little place between Puerto Rico & Puerto Morgan called Playa De Los Amadores.

          It has a man made beach with over 800 meters of sand and sea.
          And in the sea (when i was there) was a big bouncy sea activity center, with rock climbing, trampolines and a few other bits it looked quite good and when we went to look at it, didn't cost to go on which i though was good!
          The beach is very nice and most importantly clean!
          There are many sunbeds & umbrellas which do cost & you do have to get there early to get some together.
          The beach was in a cove shape and had mini piers either side, one pier was still being done while the other had sun beds and, was where you could hire out pedalos.
          Near the end of the piers was a rope with boys on, which is so swimmers had there own swimming space with no pedalos coming in.
          As you came off the beach they had showers and foot showers so you could clean your feet off! Along the sea front were many shops & resturants we ate at about 3 of the resturants while we were there and all were very good!

          If you wanted to go into Puerto Rico you could get there by Taxi or walk, we walked everytime as there was a special sea front walk way. It took about 15 - 25 minutes depending how fast you walk or how hot it was!

          Puerto Rico didn't impress us too much, the beach seemed packed compared to our one and the resturants were alot more expensive. We did go shopping in a local shopping area in Puerto Rico which was really good and also they have a mirina where you can catch boats to go Dolphin & Whale watching. We did the Dolphin trip and it was very good (Although i did feel a little sea sick) but it made it all worth while when we saw the dolphins & whales!!

          Puerto Mogan; This is a lovely village near by, we got here by boat/ little ferry. They have a few shops & resturants but it's mainly to see the houses and what not, personally this didn't float by boat but it did my parents.
          We saw a yellow submerine! And i did come out which a song when i saw it... haha. I'm sure you can guess the song =)

          Other Things In Gran Canaria- Where we stayed in Playa De Los Amadores it was on a cliff i suppose. At the bottom is the beach, road & little things. Then as you go up the cliff it has some hotels and right at the top is a shopping plaza. We found this really useful as it gave us more places to eat near by and was alot more lively.
          There was shops and resturants which were open till late, information centers, enclosed trampolines for younger ones, and basketball court.
          We ate up here a few times and found it cheap & the portions were huge in one resturant! I ordered a small chiken & something (expecting it to be a few bits of cut up chicken, boy was i wrong! It was a whole small chiken!!
          In the information shop were many brochers about what Gran Canaria had to offer.

          Maspalomas sand dunes.
          Water Parks- Aquasur which is the biggest water park on the island. With 33 slides and 13 attractions. This is by Maspalomas.
          Or Puerto Rico Water Park - This has the longest & fastest slide out of the water parks.

          Camel Rides - You can ride these on the Maspalomas sand dunes or in a little village Fatage.

          Palmitos Parque- I went here and had a really good time! It's a park which is pretty much in the desert and to get to it you go though some really dry and baron land. It has over 100 plam trees, 15,000 plants lots of birds and animals Such as: Monkeys, Crocs, reptiles, butterfly house, emu's, wallabees and many many more!
          They have shows with eagles and falcons, a parrot show & a show where you can touch snakes and some other animals.

          Gran Canaria is just 130 miles from Africa and near by islands are Tenerife & Fuerteventura.
          The weather is from 18 degrees in the winter & 22 degrees in the summer although it does get alot warmer!
          The capital is Las Palmas and flying time from the UK - Gran Canaria is about 4 & a half hours.

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            18.08.2005 16:54
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            Best Spent Week

            I went Gran Canaria April 05. Just for a quiet break with a mate. Didnt really know what to expect. And it ended up being a funfilled week. We took full advantage of all the excurisions, such as dolphin and wale hunting, the pub crawl in playa del ingles, and a tour or Gran Canaria to see the cave people. We resided in Puerto Rico (cos we're rich ones......not) and it was amazing. In the centre there are many bars, and the best has to be cosmopolitan bar, belting out good tunes one after the other and Oh My Lordy how many sexy guys/workers can you get in one room (it have been jsut our luck, but they were steamy). We finished the film in my camera on them. Its ideal for all, there are parks everywhere which cater heavily to kids which is thoughtful. The beach has to be one of the best I've experienced. So beautiful. The scenery is amazing encaved by moutains, and yes its hot all year round, so one can go whenever.

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              03.06.2005 20:05
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              This was to be our last holiday for 2004 and we wanted some sunshine and a relaxing time, to be fair we had not long returned from Sardinia which was fabulous but we did a lot of sightseeing. Last year we visited Malta in December and although the weather was horrendous (floods) we had a fantastic time, all because of the hotel and the Spa facilities.

              Gran Canaria had some apartments available through our timeshare Getaway breaks at very reasonable prices, so we decided to check it out as we had never been to the Canary Islands. The apart/hotel was called the Airtours Beach Club Hotel at San Agustin, which was in the south of the island east of Maspalomas.

              Gran Canaria lies about 186 miles west of the coast of Morocco. There are 7 islands in the archipelago, it is the third largest island in the Canaries and has the largest population. The islands belong to Spain, and although in most hotels English is spoken, we used Spanish whilst shopping and often when ordering drinks. “Hola!” is sure to get a response and a smile from the friendly staff, and I always think we should try and make an effort to speak the local language. The island is almost circular in shape and is about 28 miles in diameter. The locals refer to it as a continent in miniature, as it has such a wide variety of scenery. The central mountains were volcanic in origin and give an austere look to the scenery, but fertile valleys produce wonderful banana plantations and pine trees grow well, with huge cones, reminding me of home. Cactus’s flourish and I was amazed to see the fresh dates which had fallen off the trees in the hotel gardens.

              We flew from Glasgow and it took about 4 hours, we arrived late (about 6pm) as the inbound flight had been delayed and found the sun has almost set and the wind was cool, not what I had imagined! The airport was like many other airports and eventually our cases arrived on the carousel, by the time we got through we were nearly 2 hours late and there was no sign of the taxi we had ordered! Plenty of drivers trying to get business approached us, but as we had a taxi booked we tried to contact them. Things were not going well! My mobile wouldn’t work, and by this time the airport seemed to have cleared. Eventually someone contacted the firm for us and a stretch limo took us to our destination! Things were looking up at last.

              We saw the hotel perched high on a cliff, strange we thought this was a Beach club hotel! It’s amazing how you can be tricked by photos, showing a couple on their balcony with the sea behind them, they were obviously on a higher floor with a huge distance between them and the sea! . A strange building as the entrance was on the 5th floor, which was road level and lifts whizzed you up or down or for exercise you took the stairs! Every apartment faced out to sea, but those on a lower level only had garden views, we were lucky and had a magnificent view so could watch the wind surfers from just around the bay and the boats of all sizes going by. The hotel had covered tiled walkways facing onto the wooded area which had been dug out beside the road, making a cool area as you walked to your apartment. We got glimpses of sand dunes in the distances.

              The Atlantic Ocean surrounds Gran Canaria and over the years the powerful waves have eroded the volcanic rocks and we looked forward to walking along the beach. But we were disappointed as access was limited. There was a locked gate from the pool gardens and we escaped and went down some very steep steps onto the beach, but to the east it was virtually impassable as there were high cliffs and I wasn’t dressed for rock climbing, and although we walked to the west it was hard going over a very pebbly beach which resulted in some people with sprained ankles as the pebbles slid about on the slope. We discovered if we went through a block of apartments further down the hill we could reach a small bay, but it was very crowded and popular with windsurfers. Everyone seemed to be Swedish so they were all very tanned and healthy looking!

              It didn’t take us long to discover that we were not in San Agustin, or I should re phrase that after walking for nearly an hour we realised we were not in San Agustin! We were much further along the coast right beside the Aeroclub de Gran Canaria! What a surprise, so much for a quiet relaxing holiday, but we did enjoy watching them taking off and landing, and occasionally aborting landing and hastily circling around to come in at a better speed. To be fair the winds were really strong some days, and it must have been difficult with the small planes. When we walked to the west we ended up right beside the runway, fortunately no one landed or we would have been covered in sand! One day we were entertained by a helicopter lifting a plane off the runway!

              San Agustin is a largish town in the south of the island, which has been split by the C812 road. There is a bridge to cross over but people staying north of the road have a long walk to the beach. We stopped at the one hotel to pick up people when we went into Playa del Ingles and the roads were steep and narrow north of the main road, but the views were great, so you have to weigh things up if you stay there. There is about 2 km of sandy beaches and a lovely promenade to walk along. The beaches had been raked and were free from litter, with large bins available. Lots of hotels and cafes to choose from and there was a shopping centre and lots of market type stalls, selling shoes, clothes, table linen and general holiday souvenirs etc. We stocked up at the larger supermarket and then got a taxi back.

              Playa del Ingles, the place to go to I was told by people at work. Oh you’ll love it etc. As the coach drove through the packed streets I thought No I do not love it, it’s absolutely heaving and this is November! Later when I read the guide book I discovered this is the liveliest and most popular resort, a fact I would agree with! We were dropped off near an entrance to the promenade and we headed for the beach. My first impression was hundreds and hundreds of umbrellas and beds in organised lines and a moving crocodile of people at the waters edge. We joined the walkers and paddled along the waves breaking over our legs and cooling us down. We had quickly discovered that due to the strong wind it was impossible to walk along the fine sand as it stung your legs and got in your eyes, so that was why everyone was in the water. This was more like it sun, sea and sand, I just had to ignore the million other people. We had enjoyed the beach at Costa de la Luz a few years ago and didn’t see another person for miles! We could see the dunes and were impressed to see First Aid places and the occasional cafe, never seemed to be toilets though!

              We walked and walked and found ourselves passing through an area with nicely bronzed naked people! So this was the naturist beach! We could have saved getting our clothes wet with the waves and joined them, but as I’m so white I didn’t want to get my bits sunburned! No one seemed embarrassed as they frolicked in the sea, walked along or lay on the beach, mostly older people who didn’t seem to mind that their muscles had passed the sell by date and forgotten how to work, but also families with pre teenage children. OK so I did look as I walked along, who wouldn’t? My mother always told me there was no harm looking, but don’t touch! Didn’t see anything I fancied anyway!

              After nearly an hour walking along the beach we realised we weren’t going to get to the more up-market resort of Maspolamas, so didn’t see the camels or the nature reserve where migratory birds can be seen. After queuing to rinse the sand off our feet we left the beach with the cooling winds and explored some of the shopping areas before leaving the crowds and hot streets behind and returning to the peace of our apartment with air conditioning.

              We were actually on the outskirts of Bahia Feliz, it was disappointing that there wasn’t a promenade all the way along, it seemed as if hotels and apartments were responsible for their section and it meant a detour through a building area or over rough ground to the next section. We did enjoy our walks along to the shops though and watched a local fisherman bring in his catch, and with the help of friends and pieces of wood move his boat up the beach, the old ways are often the best. The local ladies must have heard he had landed and came along with a carrier bag or a bucket to buy their fish. Certainly nice and fresh.

              Eating out – there was a large choice of restaurants of every type in Balia Feliz but as it was dark we choose to eat at the hotel. We ate very well and sampled some of the Canarian specialities. We forgot the low salt diet and sampled “Papas arrugadas” small new potatoes boiled in very salty water so they float! The skin goes all wrinkly and they are served with a garlicky sauce. Delicious, but salty which then encourages you to drink more! Soup is popular and we sampled lots of fish, including sword fish and sea bass. Rabbits are popular, but I loved the lamb. I confess I love sweets and wasn’t disappointed, a favourite is crème caramel or flan as they call it. But usually you can find a delicious almond dessert, and twice we had Crepes Suzette cooked at the table with local liqueurs added the one night and served with lovely ice cream! There are a few local wines but I can’t remember the names now! Hic! Sangria is available and the local beer called Tropical is quite refreshing. A must is the rum liqueurs, “Ron Miel” has added honey and is lovely savoured with a cup of coffee in the warm dark evenings sitting outside and listening to the entertainment! The other popular one is a Banana liqueur, but do remember spirit levels are larger than at home! The meals were similar priced to at home for a good class of restaurant. One evening was a local Canarian buffet and they had a group of local singers.

              The airport had a very well stocked area with local produce and samples were available, so wines, liqueur, cheese and ham could all be purchased. But a word of warning though, Gran Canaria is not in the EU and there are limits in what you take back unless you pay duty!
              We found eating out was all part of the evening’s entertainment, as you were never rushed and often things were cooked in the dining room and I always love watching food being flambéed. As we enjoy people watching it was fun! One rather posh looking couple (German) ordered and when their pre dinner drinks had arrived lit up cigarettes. The waiter acted quickly and asked them not to smoke as it was a no smoking restaurant; he said “Even we have to go outside to smoke!” They downed their drinks, settled the bill and left without their meal!

              Some people never seemed to leave the hotel, there was everything you needed including a well stocked supermarket, drinks and snacks were available all day, a club for young children, tournaments for older children and adults and entertainment every evening. A lovely pool, a gym, massage etc.

              Due to the lovely warm climate flowers seem to grow in abundance and we admired the lovely bougainvillea, hibiscus and strelitzias. Eucalyptus flourishes and cork oak is common. The Dragon tree is seen growing here believed to be from the Ice age and has a red sap believed to be a cure for leprosy and wards off evil spirits! Flowers can be bought to take home and seeds are available to grow your own plants at home, great for Christmas presents! In fact this delicate blossom had to go in for a siesta most lunch times as it proved too hot for me, but the outdoor pool was gorgeous to swim in because of the heat. We had a shower one day but it dried up instantly and out at sea must have had rain as there was a lovely rainbow, I’ll try to add the photo later. We often expected rain as a cloud came down which is brought by the trade winds, but it burned away and turned hot. Rainfall is light so this is a popular winter holiday destination.

              To go back to the title! I expect you wondered why you don’t need an alarm clock, well each morning we were woken by the loudest squawking I have ever heard. No gentle “cock a doodle doo” here! As dawn broke the Parrots in the huge trees outside our door started, as the bedroom overlooked the walkway we couldn’t get away from them. It is said that they escaped from the local Palmitos Parque and have bred successfully over the years. We believed they go into work each morning at the park as we never heard a peep out of them until sunset when they screeched and squawked for ten minutes and remained quiet all bar one night when something must have disturbed them.

              This was to be a relaxing holiday so we didn’t spend our days travelling all over the island, hence the review is only on a small part, but there were bus trips available and we could have hired a car, although parking in towns is always a stressful time, so we enjoyed our walks and relaxed in the sunshine.

              Would we return? Probably not, unless we found somewhere more suited to what we want from a holiday. We loved the climate, the people and the food, but the resort was not best suited for the beach holiday we had planned, and Playa del Ingles was definitely not our scene! Not Gran Canaria’s fault more the careful missing out of details by the Time share people! But as holidays go we returned with a suntan, relaxed and well fed, so certainly benefited from our holiday in this busy island.

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                27.06.2002 22:04
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                Gran Canaria We like to try different types of accommodation for our holidays. This year we decided on an apart hotel in Gran Canaria. We chose an apartment from the Riu chain attached to a four star hotel. The apartment was well equipped with basic kitchen needs, lounge, bathroom, bedroom and balcony. We wanted to experience the comforts of a hotel, but with the convenience and independence of self-catering. We feel this was achieved quite well. We hired a car for the week previously arranged over the Internet, which we picked up at the airport. On arrival at the hotel, we were met with the utmost courtesy and a glass of champagne then guided to the apartment. Something else new to us was a larger, lively resort. Player del Inglės is unusual, totally unstructured with no obvious centre. There is a selection of Commercial Centres consisting of several levels of shops and restaurants which by day were rather tacky, but at night took on a life of their own. The coastal path stretched some 8kms which we walked in sections at a time. At one end at Maspolomas was endless sand and an assortment of large luxury hotels. Dunas de Maspolomas certainly is a popular place. I have never seen so many visitors parading up and down the sea?s edge like a band of ants. Not being the fittest of couples, we found the walk up the dunes demanding but well worth the effort. Midway along the pathway the area became a lot more commercialised. There were a lot more fast food chains. McDonalds get everywhere. We found we had to scout about a bit to find more authentic eating places. The far end of the coastal walk encompassed Playa de San Agustin, again masses of hotels and beaches. I suppose it depends what you want from a holiday, but the idea of lazing in the sun all day on the beach does nothing for us. We were nicely placed for evening entertainment. The hotel entertainment was good and we were close enough to bars, restaur
                ants and music. Daytime at the hotel was quieter, relaxing round the pool, but close enough to join in with adjacent hotel activities. Keep fit, karaoke, bingo was on hand (if you wanted it). We enjoy shows, dancing and music. We joined in just one of the organised trips one evening to Sioux City, where they laid on a barbeque and excellent western theme night. We really will have to learn line dancing. The rest of the time we spent exploring the island. Up north it was cooler and overcast, but on the whole the weather was lovely. Blue skies and sunshine every day. We enjoyed a lovely day out at Parque Palmitos, when we found it! It is extremely well laid out and well worth a visit. We did the panoramic views and things. We stopped off at Fataga, a lovely little town of white houses and pink roofs. It was as if time had stood still. There wasn?t a sole to be seen, but we could hear the chatter of lunch time coming from the little houses with a wonderful aroma of local cuisine drifting through the air. We drove round the perimeter of the island. It was not intentional. We had driven to Roque Nublo when the weather suddenly and very cloudy and hazardous, so rather than continue across the mountains, we headed for the coast and drove round the edge. One day we drove to Puerto Rico and caught the ferry across to Puerto de Morgán to the island?s Friday market. That was nice. The port has been recently developed but has kept an authentic air about it. We went back another day when the market was not on and it felt like a different place. The flights there and back were on time. This year though there was a restriction with hand luggage to one piece each. I am never very impressed with cabin comfort. Although we had good leg room, at an extra cost, we felt squashed, especially trying to eat. Meals were adequate, but more for passing the time away. We have no problem doing without on shorter journeys and are quite happy with no f
                rills service. Futuristic, if all options like sitting together, meals, and legroom, even getting a seat becomes additional extras, heaven help the industry! We intend to visit Gran Canaria again as we did not get to explore Las Palmas. We shall base ourselves in the south though because the weather is more reliable.

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                  11.03.2002 04:23
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                  I have just come back off my holiday to the amazing resort Playa del Ingles. I walked along the Dunes at Maspalomas. I would differently go back there again. There is something for everyone at Gran Canaria for example mini-golf, swimming, go-karting for kids and for others windsurfing, sea fishing, scuba diving, jet skiing, golf, tennis and squash. They also have waterparks and camel safaris plus zoos. Three of the main zoos are Palmitos Park, Reptilandia Park and Parque De Crocodilos. First of all there is no time difference. You need no jabs. The buses are very cheap and come regularly. Car hire is available and petrol is 31p per litre. Tempratures on average are between 65-75F. The coolest months are from December to April, but even then the lowest it gets is 70F. Summer tempratures are from 75-80F. This Island gets the least rainfall. I found the yumbo shopping centre to be very good for souvenirs and electrical goods. It's four floors and one of the largest centres around. Also the Yumbo gives you all day to shop as it's open at 9am and closes at 9pm. When buying electrical goods and designer clothes be aware of counterfeit as this does happen so be very careful in what you are buying especially when it comes to electrical goods. Everything is duty-free in Gran Canaria. Theft is very common like pickpockets and handbag snatching so keep all valuables safe and close to you just a warning. I found the food to be a good variety from Pizza Hut, McDonald's, KFC to Canarian dishes so there again something for everyone. In the resaurants and bars they like a little tip so make sure you have some small change to leave if you are satisfied with the service. Here are a few costs for an example 36-exposure camera film £2.50, Restaurant meal £7.00 and a glass of beer 70p. Between December to February is most busiest time of the year and prices are higher. Your fl
                  ight should take no longer than 4 hours max. If you love to drink water then bottled is better. So if anyone is looking to book a holiday next year Gran Canaria is the place to go.

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                    26.01.2002 23:29
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                    Gran Canaria is described as a miniature continent because of its amazing variety of landscape. In the north there tends to be more rain and is it lush; the south is dry and barren by comparison, but does get more sunshine. The centre of the island is a cluster of jagged mountains. We stayed in the Sonemar Bungalows in the Sonnenland region of Gran Canaria which is on the south of the island. The complex where we stayed had more than 200 apartments with the choice to go all-inclusive or self catering. We went all-inclusive. The apartments were quite basic. There was an incorporated lounge-kitchen downstairs with a small terrace; upstairs there was a bedroom, bathroom and a balcony. The apartments were quite comfortable for two people but would have been a little cramped for 4 people with two sleeping on sofa beds downstairs. The complex had three pools and exotic planting around the grounds. Going all-inclusive we got buffet style breakfast, lunch and dinner. We had locally produced drinks including alcohol (of which there was a wide selection) included between 11am - 11pm and snacks from the bar midmorning and mid-afternoon. The food was good and there was a large variety, so it would suit everyone. There was an extensive entertainment program with a special kids club which held volleyball, tennis tournaments etc. In the evening there were shows and discos although even this was more geared towards the children, many of whom would be up after 11pm. However, from the rooms the noise was not intrusive. Just 5 minutes drive away from Sonnenland (30 minute walk) is Maspalomas - best known for its sand dunes, which can be explored on a camel trek. Maspalomas has its own shopping centre - C.C. Faro 2. Designer clothes can be found here and also a number of bars and restaurants which stay open till about 11pm. Walking along the beach (which includes a naturist section) you will come to Playa del Ingles which is a good
                    place for duty free shopping, with 13 shopping centres. These are some of the best: Plaza Maspalomas- upmarket designer clothes Gran Chapparal- British centre San Fernando- typical canarian centre If you want to stay up late Playa del Ingles is the place for you. Most of the evening entertainment- bars, discos, cocktails bars etc. are found in the shopping centres. Plaza Maspalomas is the place to go in the evenings- you will be offered a variety of deals with free shots or two cocktails for the price of one, and these places are open till 3am. There are two night-clubs around here and you can usually get in free if you go to another bar first and get a stamp on your hand. Clubs are open till 6am. Eating out on the island is relatively cheap and there is everything from typical canarian food to fish and chips. Car hire is available, but taxis are cheap and there is always one free. Bus services are also good if you want to travel further afield cheaply. One place is particular which I must recommend you visit if you stay in this region is Puerto de Mogan. It is a small fishing port full of yachts and has managed to stay less touristy. It has been referred to as mini Venice because of the maze of water ways through the little village. It is also full of little shops which are perfect for getting special souvenirs from. I must also recommend a jeep safari to anyone who is not able to hire a car, as a great way of seeing a bit of the island. We went on a day tour, off road to see some fascinating scenery and also had lunch at a very typical restaurant. We ate the fruits from a prickly pear, and most of all it was good fun.

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                      15.08.2001 19:47
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                      I have recently returned from a two week holiday in Gran Canaria, staying in the Hotel Neptuno (read my opinion on the hotel in the relevant section). I stayed in the resort of Playa del Ingles on the south coast on the island. This is the second largest resort in Europe (Benidorm is first) although it did not feel that big when we were there. This resort is about a 30 minute transfer from the airport which is one the east coast of the island. Gran Canaria is around a three to four hour flight from the UK, depending on where you fly from. Gran Canaria is very like the other Canary Island, especially the other tourist islands such as Tenerife. The climate in the summer is excellent with temperatures constantly around 30-35 degrees in the summer during the day and falling no lower than 20 degrees at night. As with all the Canary Islands, Gran Canaria is a volcanic island and this is reflected in the landscape and scenery. Do not expect to go to Gran Canaria to see lovely scenery as it is very rocky and baron with bare hill sides. Even some of the beaches are black, due to the volcanic rock on the island. Playa del Ingles has all of its shops and bars built in large shopping centers rather than along streets. This can be very helpful is you are on a bar crawl as you do not have to walk between bars!!! Each of the shopping centers has a different theme, one is the gay centre, another the English zone, there is an Irish zone, a German zone and so on. With Playa del Ingles being the main tourist area in the country (Puerto Rico is also popular, but a word of warning, it is VERY hilly) most locals go to the capital Las Palmas for shopping. This doesn’t have many hotels, but is well worth a day visit to see the large department stores and historic buildings. Despite me saying earlier that Gran Canaria is a baron island, we did manage to find on beautiful town which is very popular for day trips. Puerto de Mogan is where lots of th
                      e luxury yachts are moored and the narrow streets of the town are very pretty with hanging baskets and lots of flowers. Getting around Gran Canaria is very easy as there are lots of cheap buses and the taxis are much much cheaper than at home Overall, Gran Canaria is worth a visit if you want a holiday to sit by the pool by day and go out at night, but if you prefer walking, maybe Gran Canaria isn’t the island for you as there are not that many places to explore

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                      05.07.2001 01:31
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                      I went to Belito Beach (near Puerto Rico) in June 2001 along with my wife and two kids. First the good things - great weather (30+ every day), nice accomodation (clean, well maintained), good transport (cheap taxis and good bus service), cheap prices (booze and cigarettes are great value, food is quite cheap). The bad things include: the south of the island is really a big rock with houses on it - there really is nothing to see. The south has been developed during the last 20 years so everything is new (good) but virtually identical (bad). The island appears to have nothing of any cultural significance. I didn't like the people either - or, more precisely, they don't like Brits. Just about every Spaniard I met pretended not to understand English - so questions like "When does the bus come back?" (to a bus driver) and "How much does this drink cost?" (to a shopkeeper) met with shrugs. Funnily enough another question ("Does with [expensive] watch have an international guarantee that I can use back in the UK?") resulted in immediate comprehension and a detailed reply. :-) I didn't Puerto Rico. Lots of similar shops (selling the usual tourist junk) - and PR is meant to be an up-market resort. But all-in-all I would recommend Gran Canaria. Most people go for the weather which is virtually guaranteed (I saw one cloud during my two week holiday) and it's a great place to chill out - and tan!

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                        04.07.2001 20:22
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                        Gran Canaria is a brilliant place to go on holiday, especially in winter, if you are looking for some decent weather away from the UK. It has an all round summer type climate, which means the winter is usually between 70's and 80's and sunny most of the time. The main resorts are all in the south, where you have got Playa Del Ingles, Puerto Rico and Maspalomas (which includes Sonnenland). All cater for different holidays: Playa Del Ingles: The resort is a lvely Clubby type destination on the same level as most 18-30 resorts but dont let this put you off because its actually Europes largest resort and you can avoid the noise with ease if you choose to. The place is a shoppers paradise, with several large shopping centres such as the Yumbo and Faro 2 (a taxi ride away) and there are also 2 really good water parks in the area. The beach and sand dunes of masplaomas begin at Playa Del Ingles and go on for miles. +ve points: -Large choice of Hotels and Accomodation catering for all. -Brilliant Beaches -McDonalds is here for those who miss back home! -ve points: -plenty of queue jumping Germans -Timeshare touts (avoid at all costs!) -beach may be a distance from your hotel because the resort is so big. Maspolomas: More subdued than the more lively resorts of Playa Del Ingles and P.Rico. Not much to do except stroll down to the Sand Dunes and get a great tan. There are some classy hotels being built in the area, so expect this resort to get a lot busier over the next few seasons. +ve points: -Quiet (if you like that sort of thing) -great scenery -nice restaurants on sea front -ve points: -Absolutely packed with Germans (especially Sonnenland - hence the name!) -not good for kids - not much to do. -not good for nightlife. Puerto Rico: really nice resort built into the rock face on the south of the island. Has a marina and beach at the botto
                        m. Lively resort with bars, clubs and loads of shops and restaurants, although a lot smaller than Playa. +ve points -good for all ages -plenty to do -safe beach -watersports -boat trips -best weather on the island -ve points -very hilly - not recommended for people who dont like hiking! -beach can get crowded in high season as it is only small Rest of the Island: Take a tour up through the middle of the Island and visit Fataga for an authentic Canarian feel. Also, visit the Capital Las Palmas in the north (most cruise ships dock in here) Hire a car, and take a trip anti-clockwise around the island from the south, up towards LAs Palmas, and then work your way back through the mountains in the middle. Its well worth it just for the views alone! My personal recommendation would be to stay in Puerto Rico for your holiday at one of the low level apartment complexes (if you hate hill walking!)

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                          20.06.2001 22:57
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                          It was my first visit to the Canary Islands and Gran Canaria seemed as good a choice as any. The weather - The weather is stupendous! The island has about 10 days rain per year. The temperature according to the islanders does not fluctuate greatly and their lows are about 18C. While I was there the temperature through the day varied between the low to mid thirties but never really dipping below that. The heat between two and four can become somewhat overpowering, this is the time that the locals typically take their siesta. I would not argue this point, these two hours are usually the hottest of the day and its a good time to do as little as possible. There are numerous Cita's which are local shopping centres and these again are geared towards the tourist market. Lets face it, the southern part of the Island as a whole is geared towards tourism and nothing else. There are numerous resorts along the coast, the most popular being Playa Del Ingles, masapalomas and San Augustin. They are busy and the hotels have a constant stream of new white bodies to bake in the sun. The resorts are great if you want a home from home with everything on your doorstep. There is a mixture of nationalities but English, Irish and German are very specifically catered for. The beaches are long and golden, the sun can be relentless so make sure you have the sun block and that you apply it frequently. I saw a lot of people who were haphazardly pink and red and suffering from the sun. There is a huge range of watersports to indulge in, and the tourist market is catered to with a variety of day trips of one variety or another. Its very much a personal choice which you try and what you want from your holiday. if you want peace and tranquility Play Del Ingles or one of its neighbours is not the ideal choice. Go further north, be aware that the north and south of the Island have temperature differences with the South being hotter by in excess of 5 de
                          grees on any given day. Or venture further south to the port towns of Puerto rico or Puerto mogan both truly idyllic. Morgan being nicknamed little venice, a trip there will explain why. Two points worthy of mention - Shopping There are bargains to be had, you can try out your haggling skills in one of the many shopping centres called "Citas". Be aware that the asmicable shopkeeper can turn abrasive to say the least when it becomes apparent that you are not going to purchase. Also the haggling can be time consuming, especially for any of the more expensive items such as electrical goods. There are savings to be had but remember that Gran Canaria though a Spanish territory is not itself part of the EU. This means you are limited in both the amount of cigarettes, alcohol and gifts that you can come back into the country with. Tax duty would have to be paid on the more expensive purchases. Locals-Harassment I say locals, there is a contingent, predominantly of women who loiter near the beaches, especially in Playa Del Ingles. They are referred to generally as gypsies. They will approach with a hello and a smile and try to engage you in conversation, during this time they will tie braclets to your wrist or muuter in tongues with a claim to having blessed you. When this is done they then seek renumeration, they will take everything giving half a chance. Several thousand persetas is not unusual and they can become intimidiating in their groups quite quickly. They favour single or small groups of girls or couples. Do not enter into conversation with them, they will try and grab you to keep you so they can talk and con you. Keep walking. They will try this whenever they see you, do not be surprised. Car rental on the Island is cheap and its worth taking a few days out to explore further afield. the local bus services are good and they visit the majour tourist resort such as palkamitos park (zoo and gardens) and aquasur (
                          huge waterpark). Be aware that water is at a premium on the island, hotel pools look inviting but they are very chlorinated as the water is cleaned as opposed to changed due to the low amount that they have. Swimming is best done in the ocean. Enjoy!!

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                            13.05.2001 23:52
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                            Having been to Gran Canaria three times recently, I think I can say I have found it very enjoyable and would recommend it. Gran Canaria, along with its capital city Las Palmas, is the capital of the Canary islands. It is the second largest of the islands (although everyone seems to debate about this!) The climate is hot all year round and this means during the winter you can still sip from a drink whilst sunbathing on the beach! The water is very nice, almost tropical looking and very blue and clean, so very nice to go swimming or even diving as many do. The beaches are one thing that I dont like - most brits get here and think "wow a beach!" and hence they are always packed with fellow english people along with loads of Germans! But the main thing is that the beaches arent even that good - they are more like charcoal than sand, but then the islands are the result of a volcanic age. As I said, the capital is Las Palmas and my oh my why does this place not surprise me! It is like any other Spanish city (which all tend to look the same!) but Las Palmas seems to add factory, after factory, after factory to it and the city is about as interesting as downtown Brixton! Bars/restaurants wise, there are very few of and the 'retail experience' extends as far as the high street! I think the most visited attraction is the McDonalds. Anyway, most people stay away from Las Palmas and stay in the large resorts which are (thankfully) on the complete opposite of the island. I will add that the north is intensly windy and the south is not. The main resort is Peurto Rico, which is home to hundreds of hotels, apartments and god do I say it - timeshares, of which there are loads of reps on each street corner trying to get you on a tour so that you will fall in love with the "lovely timeshare" which of course we would never do! There is a nice harbour and selection of shops here too. Playa des Ingl
                            es is the competing resort which is nearly of the same scale and offering a similar experience. The airport is located on the west coast of the island and is classed 'Las Palmas' when your flying there. As with Tenerife, its pretty much in the middle of knowhere but flying into the airports quite interesting. If you approach the runways from the South on landing then you fly past the capital and then fly round this like mini-mountain whilst the aircraft is banking giving you great views of the island and the many 'wind generators' As with Tenerife, if you take a taxi, make sure your 'in for the ride' as they say. The Spanish driving will soon have you awake if you slept on the plane and many decide now to take the bus which is an equally scary experience that somtimes envolves cornering cliff-side roads at about 80mph! and then accelerating as fast as the bus will go so the hole things vibrating to the point where all your luggage is falling off the shelves! Like Tenerife, there are also many clubs, bars and places to hang out at night. There are loads of clubs for younger clubbers and quiet traditional pubs where you walk past and all the old ladies are singing to the 'Grand old Duke of York'! The main thing you also notice is that there are few if any street sellers or staff trying to get you in there clubs! Unlike Tenerife where you cant even cross the road without being jumped on, you never get this here, and I hear its because its against the law. If thats true then why cant all the canaries adopt this rule!

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                            Gran Canaria, rarely Grand Canary (archaic), is the third largest island of the Canary Islands, an archipelago located in the Atlantic Ocean 210 km from the northwest coast of Africa and belonging to Spain. It is located southeast of Tenerife and west of Fuerteventura. The island is of volcanic origin, which is mostly made of fissure vents. The island was populated by the Guanches, who may have arrived as early as 500 BC. The Guanches called the island Tamarán. It was claimed by Spain in the 15th century. Gran Canaria's surface is 1,560 km² and its maximum altitude is 1,949 meters (Pico de Las Nieves). It has a round shape, having a diameter of just about 50 km.