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The Canary Islands 2014

The Canary islands consists of some 8 islands of which the Gran Canaria, Tenerife and Lanzarote are the best known and largest. Flying time from Iceland is about 6 hours.

Gran Canary
is the second biggest. Inhabitants are around 950.000 of which around half of the population lives in the capital of the islands, Las Palmas. This was our second trip to the Canary Islands (Tenerife before). The climate was nice or around 20-25 Celsius most of the time. One thing noticeable is the number of foreigners working in the tourism there despite high level of unemployment in Spain and the Canary islands. When asked, numerous people including some Spaniards from the mainland, said that the islanders are lacy or even very lacy. The better shops are very often owned by the Indians living in the Islands. The lack of English skills is also striking as tourism is the number one source of currencies revenues in the island!
We took a good offer from the travel agency Heimsferdir in Iceland where a trip for three costed around two thousand Euros including a flight and apartment with one bedroom. We stayed like almost all tourist at the very touristic English beach (playa di Ingles). Which is the main tourist spot and very popular mainly by elderly people, some of which are staying even for a month or more. The organisation and caretaking by the agency was fine.

Our apartment hotel was the rather conveniently located apartment hotel Rogue Nublo next to the shopping centre Jumbo Centre. However it was very basic rated as two stars plus, but to our view should only be a two star, their flagship maybe rather big TVs. Some minor things could have been done to improve it. Due to some bars and restaurants on the ground floor it was also quite noisy there in the evening.
We also took a look at the 10 minutes away, Eugenia Victoria hotel, where our friends were staying. Rated as three stars we would rather rate it as almost a four star only lacking air condition. It had many qualities like a very nice pool area, large swimming pool, hot pots, spa, good sport facilities and gym, nice rooms and more. We as travel writers were invited there by the manager for a complimentary dinner which shows certain professionalism.

The restaurants we tried were nothing to boast of and all fair priced, they are aimed at the mass (elderly tourists) and therefore maybe lacking some exotic spices and more. Gladly there were one or two exceptions described further down.
Skansen located at Jumbo Centre the food was not very exciting but the service was good and it had a live sport channel TV and live music every night.
Sahara beach bar, close to the beach offered happy hour all day, nice staff. Can be recommended.
Zayka Authentic Indian cuisine locates at Av. de Gran Canary tasted not very Indian but was ok. Staff from Bangladesh
La Tagliatella pizzeria and gelateria at Av.Tirajana, very good pizza but the Mexican food was not very exciting
Centrum at Jumbo Centre, pizzeria with a good service and a nice tiny man catching people to come for a dine. Rather fair prices.
Taberna El Piconteo was the best dining experience, where we had some few tapas plates, a very good lasagne and more. This restaurant is very close to the big supermarket Mercadona at San Fernando the motorway around the English beach in an area where there are mostly locals living who are working in the beach area. The prices were a little lower as well.
As usual the Visitor’s when abroad had a haircut, and finding it as good or better as the ones in the Scandinavian countries and of course the price much lower, this time 10 Euros. The saloon, Bagus next door to the restaurant was very good and the lady highly professional.

There are various entertainments available like the typical sea and water sports, diving, some shows (mainly at the all inclusive hotels), mini golf, go kart and more. Not to forget the zoo Palmitovs Park and Acualand. The Visitor went with his 10 year old to the zoo (15 minutes bus ride) which was a nice experience the entrance fee is rather high or around 30 Euros for and adult and 22 for a child. The one-line prices are lower and in some places like at the airport one could get an 8 Euros discount coupon. The entrance fee is also lower for buying a ticket to both parks at the same time. They had some good shows going on like a great dolphin show. We recommend going there with children (some of the family members may stay home for sun bathing), but expect rather high entrance fee and as usual low English speaking skills.
There is also a quite good Tivoli some two kilometres away from the English beach in Mas Palomas with various equipment and the prices were fair.

Car rentals
They are all over and the prices are good, starting from around 20 Euros for a small car for a day, without a full insurance which although good credit cards will cover.
We drove to the capital city for a day tour it is completely different from the tourist place and one gets a little feeling of being in Spain. The city has some nice areas in the centre although some parts of it looked quite dull. The so called old town and surroundings probable the nicest. There are some two medium good shopping malls there one of them has the popular HM store which is also to be found in the city centre. Some 8 kilometres away from the city there is the biggest botanical garden in Europe.
Getting away to the sunny easy going Canary Islands at a good price is time and money well spent and a good break. Expect it though to be quite touristic and lacking some culture.

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