Welcome to the second post about Gran Canaria (here first).Because the Canaries are islands of the tricky etymology I’ll add that they form part of the Macaronesia. Macaronesia should be a place built of macaroni, right? Or at least full of Italian grannies cooking it constantly in great pots just next to even bigger pots with tomato sauce? Nope, it’s language trap again. Makárōn nêsoi means “islands of the fortunate” in Greek (all the best to our favourite Greek girl – Evi!). I would like to eat macaroni that would make my happy every day : ) meanwhile we were really feeling fortunate people on Gran Canaria.
After staying for one night in La Vegueta we moved to Las Canteras area, just next to the nice long beach. Thanks to our amigo Imanol whom we met in Scotland we found a hospitable house with Rafa from Salamanca, Maria from Valencia and Juan Pablo from Uruguay. They were all so nice to us. Rafa gave us some tips on human psychology, Maria gave us her snorkeling equipment and Juan Pablo reassured us that we have problems with understanding Rioplatanense Spanish.
We dedicated some time to delight ourselves with sand and water. We were enjoying snorkeling – it’s hard for us to compare because we have just tried it once before, but we had great fun chasing colorful fishes, it felt so unreal. And it takes just a simple mask and tube! Rafa warned us, that we need to be careful with Atlantic waves. It’s actually a very good advice – always be careful when you swim in the Ocean. We know a Croatian girl who swims like a mermaid but being used to Adriatic waves she almost drowned in the ocean once. So take it seriously! While being cautious, we couldn’t deny ourselves the pleasure to immerse a little bit in a great waves. It’s just so much fun when a wall of water hits your back and plays with you like a puppet.
While we were enjoying ourselves in such a childish play, there were guys and girls making arguably better use of the waves. There was a real swarm of surfers in las Canteras! Many of them were taking surfing classes but some were professionals and it was a great spectacle to watch them! Rafa and friends recommended us to go to Tejeda, and for sure it was a great idea – in the Islands’ interior there are many wonderful landscapes, it’s quite mountainous… Under the time pressure we decided however that we will divide the rest of our stay between two attractions – Jardín Botánico (the botanic garden) and the famous dunes of Maspalomas.
Getting to the garden was not super-easy. If you’ve read the previous post you already know that buses in Gran Canaria are called GUAGUA. Now it’s time for advanced info: there are yellow and green GUAGUAS. Yellow are municipal buses of Las Palmas while green can take you further. Garden is just next to the city. Obviously we didn’t want to pay more for the green GUAGUA while yellow GUAGUA can take as “almost” as far… We told the driver what was our destination and he let us go on some path full of cactuses and lizards.
It was actually pretty nice but if it hadn’t be for help of local couple we would have probably never made it from there to the garden. Now the practical advice – we took bus nr 25 heading to Tafira Campus, there are more buses going there, always check on guaguas website which has quite logical name – www.guaguas.com, driver let us go behind the last stop on a small roundabout and from there we had to go up the path until we reached other part of the campus. We had to cross it and then follow the big road (it’s actually 20-30 minute walk). If you cannot take any map with you ask local people, everybody are nice (or just take the green bus and safe yourself the trouble). The entrance to the garden is free of charge and the views are stunning. The walk is even better – for couple of moments we felt like visiting a jungle. We got back to the city by asking some students on the campus’ parking if that’s where they were going. So we did our little Canarian hitchhiking 😉
It was somehow easier to get to Maspalomas dunes, even though the trip takes more time because they are on the southern edge of the Island. You already know that you cannot trust Canarian etymology but even Canarian placenames themselves are trying to make your live harder. Come on: Las Palmas, Maspalomas, Mas Palmas, Las malomas. Repeat it fast and you can end up confused a lot. Or maybe it’s just our impression. You can take bus from San Telmo bus station and the last stop is Faro the Maspalomas or the Lighthouse of Maspalomas. You can buy return ticket in the vending machine, it cos 8 euro. Once you get there it’s impossible to miss the dunes. The area is actually crowded with tourists (we haven’t been there during the peak of tourist season so I imagine it must be worst during holiday periods). At first we thought that it’s just a lot of sand in one place, but after couple of minutes walking in the sun we felt like carefree kids in a great sandbox.
There were a lot of nudists around but we didn’t mind them enjoying our Canarian vacations. And just as we were jumping and galloping on the dunes we noticed that in the near bushes one guy playing vaulting horse with another guy. Just there was no horse and the man couldn’t jump too high. Until that moment we felt like kids and then our imaginary childhood ended. We run away across that little desert faster than camels on camel racing in Arab Emirates. Later our friends explained to us, that this type of things happen in Maspalomas. Well… We were still happy that the sand was so warm and if you stand on the top of the dune little grains moved by wind will give you a funny massage. We were surprised by that situation though, because even not having any experience whatsoever with nudism we would assume that nudist areas are somehow free from all the sexual tension – otherwise how could people enjoy peacefully their nakedness? No clue.
To sum everything up, Gran Canaria is a great place for a couple of days trip. It’s blessed with a good weather. It is rich in natural life and mountain landscapes too so I would be surprised if you would be bored after spending some weeks just walking around and enjoying its beaches. We spent most of our time in Las Palmas – at first we weren’t very impressed with the Islands’ capital but it didn’t take as long to fall under its charm. And of course now looking at the ice-blue sky above the Madrid we miss it more every day : )