Ok, so you've arrived in Las Palmas and you have a few hours to see the city and a bit of Gran Canaria island. Where do you start?
Head for the beachfront
Las Palmas city's main feature is just ten minutes walk from the cruise dock. Head to Santa Catalina Square and then walk down the newly-pedestrianised Luis Morote street at it's north edge. Once you get to the promenade turn left to get to the surfy end of the beach and Las Arenas shopping centre, or right to see the prettiest part of Las Canteras beach. There's restaurants all along the front.
The old town
Vegueta old town is five minutes from the cruise dock by taxi. It's a classic Spanish colonial town with a twist. Columbus stopped here (he had to, his crew sabotaged his ships) and the city was attacked by the islands original stone age inhabitants. Vegueta is small enough to see in a couple of hours with a museum or two thrown in leaving yopu plenty of time to head over the road to the shopping district of Triana.
The two main museums in Vegueta reflect its history: The Casa de Colón museum is all about Columbus and his journeys across the Atlantic, while the Museo Canario has the world's best collection of prehistoric Canarian mummies and artefacts.
Another highlight of Vegueta is the Santa Ana Cathedral and square. By the front door there's a booth selling tickets up to the roof (stairs and lift access) but we think the best thing to do is to go into the silver museum (door on the south wall). From here you get into the cathedral and see its gorgeous modernist ceiling. The last chapel on the right by the altar holds a surprise: The bishop who founded the cathedral is kept in a glass box. He's mummified in his original robes.
Most tours available in Las Palmas are advetised on the cruise ships. There's little point booking a Las Palmas tour unless you want a detailed guided visit but they are the best way to see the rest of Gran Canaria.
Lots of peoplke whizz down the motorway to Mogán resort with a stop at the Maspalomas dunes.
A closer option is the trip to Bandama caldera and the Jardín Botanico gardens.
A Few Notes
Las Palmas is safe and you are not going to get mugged for walking down the wrong street. It's best not to leave your camera lying on the beach when you go for a swim though.
The food is perfectly safe to eat in all the bars and restaurants. The best lunch deals are in restaurants displaying a "Menu Del Día" sign in Spanish. You get three courses and a drink for less than 10 euros.
The cigarettes and booze get cheaper the further away you get from Santa Catalina Square. Head to Big Ben on Calle Sagasta street for the best prices and range of tobacco and spirits.