The growing trend towards environmentally friendly and Carbon neutral travel is a good thing for the planet but a problem for Gran Canaria and the Canary Islands. 

Without tourism, it is hard to see how the Canary Islands will survive because the local economy is 40% dependent on the industry.

So, given that travel guilt and the move to low-carbon living is an existential threat, what are Gran Canaria and the Canary Islands doing to reduce or eliminate the carbon footprint of travel and holidays? And what more can they do in the future? 

The big Gran Canaria water battery

 Presa de Chira reservoirEast Gran Canaria is a windy place and its windmills often generate more power than the island can use. When this happens they have to be switched off, thus wasting a huge amount of potential green energy. 

The solution is to use two of the island's big mountain reservoirs as a giant battery to store excess wind energy. 

Soria reservoir in Gran CanariaThe way it works is very simple: Excess power generated from windmills pumps recycled water up to the Presa de Chira reservoir. When extra energy is needed this water runs down through a rock tunnel and drives turbines to make electricity. The water is stored in the lower Presa de Soria. From here it can either be used to water farmland, or pumped back up the hill when there is an excess of wind energy.

It's a clever and green way to reduce the island's dependence on burning oil to make electricity.

The landscape around Chira in Gran CanariaHowever, the project is not popular with  some of the islands ecologists who say it will damage pristine areas of the island (there will be some pylons) disturb the locals (the tunnel and turbines need some blasting work) and will be a for-profit operation (a Spanish power company has the concession). 

Another complaint is that alternatives to the water battery could be better. However, these rely on experimental new tech such as hydrogen generation that just isn't ready to go. 

Offshore wind turbine Gran CanariaIn balance we at Gran Canaria Info believe that the Chirea Soria water battery is a good idea. 

It means that at least half the island's electricity will be wind-generated (and that's with the island's current turbines). With offshore wind and solar power added, it could allow the island to go completely green. 

Green energy research in Gran Canaria

Windmills Agaete 012As you drive north from the airport to Las Palmas you see a huge grey square floating in the sea. This is the PLOCAN marine research station dedicated to investigating new ways to generate wind and wave power in the ocean. The Canary Islands also have experimental offshore wind farms,solar energy plants and a whole range of other green energy projects. With the ocean, wind and sunshine of the Canary Islands, it is a matter of time before we become energy independent and no longer need to generate carbon to keep the lights on. 

A green levy or eco tax on tourists

Tourism in south Gran CanariaTourism is an energy and resource-intensive business. Visitors want to reduce their carbon footprint but they also want fresh towels, green golf courses and air-conditioning. To compensate for the extra burden on the island's resources, politicians have suggested a small levy or tourist tax paid by every visitor. The funds would be invested, in things like reforestation, offshore reefs, low carbon transport and rewilding of abandoned farmland, to reduce the island's carbon footprint and counter the effects of tourism on the environment.

The benefit of this idea is that it would generate a large sum of money right away. The downsides are that it would be hard to collect, and some people would choose to go to other destinations that don't have a green levy. Another issue is how to decide who spends the money and on which projects. Politicians love coming up with ways to get more money but aren't always very good at spending it effectively. 

Indirect taxes on visitor spend

Las terrazas 2Instead of taxing every visitor, some think it would be better to add a green tax to certain things that damage the local environment or are cheap in the Canary Islands ton start with. For example, a surcharge on the price of petrol, or on luxury goods like perfume, premium alcohol and / or tobacco. 

Reef life Gran CanariaOr, what if every hotel and large tourism business in the Canary Islands chose a carbon offset project and agreed to use a percentage of their profits to funding it. They could then show their guests and customers exactly what they were doing to reduce the environmental income of their holidays. For example sponsoring a specific rewilding or reforestation project, or contributing to an artificial offshore reef to increase marine biomass. Visitors would be able to watch a live fed of life on the reef that their hotel sponsors. Maybe on those silly giant iPads that every hotel reception has but nobody uses. 

Carbon Offset Schemes like reforestation and rewilding

CumbresHowever it is paid for, rewilding and reforestation are going to be a major way that Gran Canaria offsets the carbon generated by visitors. The island now has 20,000 hectares of forest but once had over 150,000 hectares of pine, laurel, tree heath, wax myrtle and olive forests. Some of this is now occupied by towns, roads and farmland but there is a lot of space for replanting the forests.

Other rewilding projects could include returning the abandoned farmland of the east and south coast to their natural state with native palm trees and vegetation.

See our detailed guide to the reforesting of Gran Canaria.

Azuaje Gran Canaria 0004Another important idea is to return Gran Canaria's natural water to the island's valleys. Gran Canaria is not a dry island but most of its water is currently piped from source to banana and tomato farms. It would be far more valuable flowing free to created natural firebreaks and new areas of natural beauty such as streams and waterfalls. 

Low carbon transport and travel

 transport 0004For visitors to Gran Canaria, using public transport, taking care with water and electricity use and eating only sustainable meat (such as grass-fed Spanish or Uruguayan beef) are small but significant ways to reduce their carbon footprint. Here's a good list of ways to reduce the impact of your next holiday.

Consuming local produce such as wine, cheese, fruits and vegetables also contributes to reducing emissions on imports and supporting rural life in Gran Canaria. 

If you want to do more, then there is a local charity that does a superb job...

Foresta: The Gran Canaria reforestation charity

foresta 2The Foresta Foundation is dedicated to replanting all of Gran Canaria's primeval forests in a sustainable and fire-safe way. It plants mixed forests of native species making sure that the right trees go in the right places. This makes the forests grow faster and also makes them more resistant to forest fires and droughts. 

various 0011To offset the carbon footprint of your flight to and from Gran Canaria you can sponsor a tree via Foresta. It plants one native tree sapling per donation in an appropriate location and cares for it (rabbit-proof fencing, watering, etc) until  it gets established. A mature tree can absorb 1000 kg of carbon dioxide during its lifetime, more than enough to offset the 650kg of carbon that each return flight to Gran Canaria generates per person. 

Published in Transport

 

There are three main types of Gran Canaria airport transfer services, each with its own benefits, risks and price point. Here's our guide to them all, and a shameless plug for the in-house transfer service that helps keep the lights on at Gran Canaria Info's headquarters. 

Man from pub with car

The cheapest airport transfer service is the 'man (or woman) with car' service operated by a Gran Canaria resident who picks people up in their own car from the airport. They often advertise in pubs or run pubs in resort area, and get customers by word of mouth. They don't advertise online or in public because this type of service is 'under the radar'.

With the man with car model you are basically paying cash in hand for someone pretending to be your friend to pick you up from the airport (or drop you back). They won't be standing waiting for you with a sign because they are not allowed to (all transfers have to be registered in advance to be legal). 

This airport transfer service is often the cheapest option because the bloke with car does not have to pay for advertising and often doesn't pay business rates, taxes or professional insurance from their takings.

We don't really support this model of airport transfer service for two reasons. The first is that we don't know if a particular man with car is insured and / or a safe driver. The second is that we have no idea whether he pays anything back into the local Gran Canaria economy. We do know that informal transfers undermine the local drivers who do pay their taxes and business fees. Imagine the scandal in Puerto Rico if taxi drivers started selling beer to tourists!

The big branded airport transfer services

These are the services like Hoppa, Viva, Sun, etc.

These airport transfer services have large advertising budgets and websites that offer transfers from any airport. You book, pay upfront and when you walk through into arrivals, there is a driver with a sign waiting for you. The booking service takes a big chunk in commission and pays the rest to the company that owns the car and pays the driver.

Services like Hoppa and Viva never actually own the car or employ the driver that you meet. Instead they are based offshore and because they spend so much on advertising, these big services ask for huge commissions. None of the money they take in commission stays in Gran Canaria or any of the other destinations they offer.

There is very little difference between these services because they all use the same local companies to do the actual driving. A licensed local driver will reach the airport and pick up the next passenger on their list without even knowing which website they booked with. The driver is paid and the car insured by the local transport company that owns the cars, not by the booking service.

That said, all big branded services tend to be reasonably priced and are quite reliable. However, if something does go wrong there is nobody on the ground to sort it out. If a big transfer service drops the ball, then you are likely to be on your own, or at least face a long delay until someone at the call centre works out what happened. 

Local Gran Canaria airport transfer services

WhatsApp Image 2021 10 16 at 23.00.38The transport companies that operate the cars and pay the drivers that do Gran Canaria airport transfers do take direct bookings. However they also work with local transfer services to handle international bookings. It is easier and just as economical for them to pay commission as it is to take bookings themselves. 

This is what we do at Gran Canaria Info. We work with exactly the same drivers and cars as all the branded transfer services. However, the commission we keep is much smaller than the wedge that big services pocket. The commission we earn for handling the booking helps us to keep improving Gran Canaria Info. 

Gran Canaria Info's airport transfer service is reliable, fairly priced and is all operated from Gran Canaria. This means that if something does go wrong (delays, traffic, breakdowns) we are here to sort things out as quickly as possible. 

What about buses and taxis at Gran Canaria airport?

The local Gran Canaria bus network is decent and you rarely have to wait more than half an hour before hopping on a bus to the main resorts or to Las Palmas. Just follow the bus stop signs at arrivals, then check Google maps for the next bus to your destination. Then take a taxi from the bus stop or station closest to your accommodation. For one person, or a couple, using the buses saves money but once there are three of you or more, a taxi or transfer often works out cheaper. 

Taxis queue right outside the arrivals lounge at Gran Canaria airport. They are reasonably priced and you can normally just walk over and get one right away. However, there can be queues at peak times and prices rise late at night, on fiesta days and on Sundays. There is a limited supply of large taxis so if your group is bigger than four (three if the Covid Levels go up), then it is better to book a large vehicle with a local Gran Canaria transfer service. A transfer is always cheaper than using two taxis and transfers are cheaper than the standard taxi meter rate for resorts like Mogán and Puerto Rico that are further from the airport. 

So, there you have it. The facts about Gran Canaria airport transfers. Obviously we'd love you to use our own reliable service, or to book an excursion or boat trip with us but the decision, like the holiday, is all yours. Thank you for visiting Gran Canaria Info and we hope to see you in our Gran Canaria Info Facebook Group soon. 

If you want to book the Gran Canaria Info airport transfer service, or a transfer back to the airport, you can do it here. Our service is reliable and well-priced and using it helps us keep the lights on at GCI headquarters. 

Published in Transport

Teide volcano was belching ash when Columbus sailed past on his way to accidentally discovering America in 1492, and a large chunk of Lanzarote got covered in lava during the 1730s. More recently, El Hierro experienced an undersea eruption off its southern tip  in 2011 and La Palma island is currently experiencing an eruption on its southwestern flank. 

Volcanic activity can be violent and destructive with houses and farms swallowed by lava and ash. However, volcanoes are also the reason the Canary Islands exist and without fresh lava, the archipelago will one day disappear back under the sea. 

And since eruptions have been an inevitable part of live on the Canary Islands since people arrived here, the locals know how to take advantage of the lava once it cools. Here are some of the ways Canarians have made amazing things out of lava flows.

Natural swimming pools made from lava

Las Salinas Agaete 0002When molten rock hits the sea it forms a rock delta or fajana that sticks out into the sea. In many cases they form natural pools because the lava shrinks as it cools, or blocks off an area of the old coastline. The nartual pools at Agaete in Gran Canaria, called Las Salinas, are a great example of this. Pozo de las Calcosas pool in El Hierro is another. And La Fajana in La Palma is yet another.

Lava Cemeteries In Gran Canaria

Maipes Agaete 0009Gran Canaria's aboriginal people, called the Canarii, buried their dead in side lava flows at burial sites like Maipez in the Agaete Valley. Nobody knows whether they did it as an offerring to the mountains that they considered sacred or whether it was just a convenient place to put their dead. Either way, they chosse the solid lava rivers of Gran Canaria as the place for their cemeteries.

Lava banana plantations in La Palma

Faro Punta Cumplida La Palma 0001When La Palma erupted in 1949, the lave destroyed banana plantations as it flowed towards the sea. It then formed a large delta just to the south of the current volcanic activity. As soon as it was cool, La Palma locals started to bring soil from up in the highlands and put it on top of the lava. The area is now one of the most productive banana plantations in the Canary Islands. In Fuencaliente, at the far southern tip of La Palma, there is now a large, multicoloured saltpan on top of the lava from from the 1971 eruption. 

Auditoriums made out of lava tubes in Lanzarote

Jameos del AguaAs lava flows the surface cools and solidifies. The molten lava keeps flowing thjough within a rock tunnel. When the volcano stops it leaves behind long tunnels that were once underground rivers of lava. In  Lanzarote, local artist Cesar Manrique took these lava tubes and made one into an Auditorium and garden at Los Jameos de Agua , another into a tourist attraction called the Cueva de los Verdes. He even built his house on top of a lava tube, put a swimming pool inside it, and had a lava flow inside his living room! 

Lava flows as walks and tourist attractions

Caños de Fuego La PalmaIn La Palma, the Caños de Fuego visitor centre lets you walk over the lava flow from the 1949 eruption of the San Juan volcano, then drop down from the boardwalk into caves and tunnels left by the flowing lava as the volcano stopped. 

Barbeques using volcanic heat 

Timanfaya Lanzarote volcanoAt Timanfaya in Lanzarote the ground is still so hot after the 1730 eruption that the restaurant cooks its food over an open pit. Around the back (ask the geyser man where it is) there are even a couple of barbeques that visitors to the Timanfaya National Park can use to grill their lunch. 

Vineyards on on the lava rock

Canary Islands vineyardA thick layer of lava covered large areas of Lanzarote during the last eruptions on the island. Volcanic gravel, called lapili or picon, covered an ever bigger part of the island. This bubbly rock, formed from lava foam, traps moisture from the cool night air and keeps the soil buried metres underneath moist all-year-round. Lanzarote locals worked out almost as soon as the ground had cooled that they could dig down to the soil and grow crops and grape vines. Some of the vines they planted are still in their original holes almost 300 years later. 

Monday, 27 September 2021 10:47

Thank you for booking an Airport Transfer with us!

Written by

Everything worked as expected, and if your airport transfer is more than 24 hours away, then your airport transfer is now booked and confirmed! 

When you get to the arrival gate the driver will be waiting for you holding this sign:

WhatsApp Image 2021 10 16 at 23.00.38

He or she will take you to your accommodation and you can pay that person the rest of the fee.

While you're waiting to get to the island you (will) love so much, why not book an excursion right here on this website? You won't find the same excursions cheaper somewhere else, and by doing so you are supporting this website and everything we do on social media too.

Thank you very, very much for your business and see you soon on Gran Canaria!

Alex & Lex
Gran Canaria Info

Our Facebook page:
www.facebook.com/AboutGranCanaria

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www.facebook.com/groups/GranCanariaInfo

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Published in Other

Learning Spanish for a couple of hours is a fun holiday option that lets you experience what it really feels like to be Canarian, and have some real-life interactions with locals during your stay in paradise. 

It is also essential if you plan to stay on the island(s) or travel to Spain for more than a getaway.

In this article you will:

- learn about “La Casita de Laura - Learn Spanish”, a successful language business based in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (teaching Spanish to foreigners for over 8 years!),
- pick up some useful Spanish tips for when you are in the Canaries and...
- get to meet the young entrepreneur behind it all.

La Casita de Laura Learn Spanish 1

HOLA, Laura León! Could you share a bit about why did you decide to dedicate your life to teaching Spanish and helping newcomers integrate in the local language and Canarian culture?

I love traveling and learning languages myself (I speak English, Italian, French and understand a few other European languages), so it soon became very natural to also share my language and my culture with other travelers. That is why almost 9 years ago I decided to create “La Casita de Laura – Learn Spanish”, to help newcomers integrate in the community and learn more about the locals, our way of living life and enjoying its simple things.

La Casita de Laura Learn Spanish 2

 

How easy is learning Spanish at La Casita? What can people expect when learning Spanish with you?

Imagine if you could learn Spanish with your best friend. Well, what we offer is exactly that! We are three freelance teachers working under the same brand name. What we do is we become our students friends and we guide them through the process of learning Spanish with a very conversational method and lots of practice. We keep it very simple and more importantly FUN, so our students don’t frustrated with all the boring grammar. Anyone joining our community can expect very little weekly commitment and a great progress. You just need to read our reviews and see how many students tend to extend their programs, to keep on learning and having fun with us.

So, you are teaching anyone who would like to learn Spanish? Do you only teach adults or also children?

We have had students from 5 up to 70 something years old. We do specialize in expat families and remote workers or digital nomads who need Spanish to live in the Canaries, but we also have many students who decide to come here on holidays and take Spanish to get to speak to locals and enjoy their experience to the max. I teach mainly adults but my colleague Niti is also really good with children. More recently, due to the COVID crisis we have focused more on the online teaching which has allowed us to get even students from abroad, people who would like to improve their Spanish and get ready for their next visit to a Spanish speaking city. For in-person lessons (whenever possible due to the restrictions), me and my colleague Niti we teach in Las Palmas and our other colleague, Dina, teaches in Maspalomas.
La Casita de Laura Learn Spanish 4

What would you say it is the common struggle of those who start learning Spanish?

They struggle with basic conversations in interactions with locals. They feel alone and lost in translation! Especially those who come to Gran Canaria to live with their Canarian partner - when they meet their new extended family they often feel like they can’t find the words to be able to interact in basic everyday life conversations. We focus on making that integration process faster and less painful. They find in our lessons a safe space for them to make mistakes (and not be judged), get proper corrections and grammar explanations when needed. It helps them regain some control in their lives. We connect with them because we understand what they are going through. It’s very rewarding seeing them grow confidence and become the most updated Spanish version of themselves. And they know they are not alone. We have created an amazing community and we do organize free Spanish meetups online and in-person ones whenever we can.

Could you share some Spanish tips for our readers to make it easier to understand Canarians?

Here you go, the top 5 Canarian Tips that will help you a lot:

1. Letter “-S” is kind of randomly exhaled mostly at the end of words, and it sounds almost like an English “h”, but for some reason tends to sound like an omission to foreign ears. One good example would be “gracias” which really sounds like “graseeah”, or ‘hasta luego’ which sounds like “ahta looegho”.

2. Canarians use “ustedes” instead of “vosotros” when addressing more than one person at the same time (“you all”). For example, we would say “¿Ustedes son de Reino Unido?” for ‘Are you all from the UK?’, instead of “¿Vosotros sois de Reino Unido?”. This actually happens also in most countries across Latin America, so we could say that “vosotros” is only used in the mainland, and even they may understand you if you use “ustedes” and not “vosotros”. Canarians can travel to the mainland and they never have any misunderstandings, they may just sound more formal – which is not a bad thing, right?

3. When Canarians use “mi niño/a” (my child), “mi cielo” (my sky), “mi amor” (my love) they are doing it from a good place as a term of endearment, don’t take it literally. They are not calling you “my child” or “my love”, they are just trying to be friendly and more approachable. Once you get used to it, you will miss it when you go back.

4. Canarians don’t use “Pasado Compuesto (Pretérito Perfecto Compuesto)”, they use “Indefinido (Pasado Simple)” instead. But I always encourage my students to use it because it’s easier to conjugate and we understand it anyway. For example, “Hoy fui a la playa” rather than “Hoy he ido a la playa”, to say that you went to the beach earlier that day.

5. We have a beautiful and very rich dialect and very funny words for some everyday things, for example “la guagua” for bus, “papa” for potato, “mojo” for our very own Canarian red or green spicy sauce, “millo” for corn, “leche y leche” for a delicious and extremely sweet coffee with condensed milk, “fleje” for when we want to say “a lot”, “calufa” for extreme heat and “chacho/a” for buddy/girl.

Thanks so much for sharing these useful tips and for your dedication to help newcomers in Gran Canaria. How can people connect with you?

They can find “La Casita de Laura – Learn Spanish” on Google, Facebook and Instagram, and also feel free to reach out via email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. We are also working on our YouTube channel where we will be sharing tips and hacks to learn Spanish faster and easier.

So, if you would like to learn Spanish or improve it, head to “La Casita de Laura – Learn Spanish”; hands down the most fun and useful Spanish learning experience in Gran Canaria. 

Published in Sports & Activities

Go to any market or even local supermarkets and you find piles of cheese made in the Canary Islands but not all of it is the real deal. Here's how you recognise the good stuff...

The best Gran Canaria  and Canary Islands cheese is made from goat and sheep cheese although most of the cheese on sale in supermarkets is a blend of cow and goat or sheep cheese.

If a cheese has a picture of a cow on the label, you know it is a mixture. Or if it says 'mezcla de leche de cabra, oveja y VACA'. This doesn't mean that it won't be nice but it will be blander tasting and with a smoother texture than the proper stuff.

Types of Canary Islands cheese

There are well over 100 cheeseries on Gran Canaria, 500 across the islands, and Canarians love their cheese so much that they eat over 11kg per person every year.

Queso tierno is fresh cheese that hasn't had a chance to ripen. It is pure white and roughly equivalent to Mozarella. It's often served as a starter along with sweet quince or guava jelly, or in salads. Go for a brand like Pajonales (black tub) that is pure goat cheese and has some flavour because queso tierno can be bland. 

Queso semi tierno is cheese that has had some maturing time in a cellar or cave. It's still creamy and soft but has developed some flavour and sharpness. Many Canarian cheeses have gofio or pimentón rubbed into the rind during then curing process. 

Queso duro or maduro is mature cheese that has plenty of acidity and flavour. It can still be fairly soft but some go rock hard (great for grating over pasta or using to make pesto). 

Queso flor is a sheep milk cheese made using thistle sap rather than rennet. It is soft and tastes of grass and socks; a real cheese-lovers cheese. The real stuff is just called flor but you often see semi-flor which uses some rennet and is harder and milder in flavour. Proper flor comes in small wheel only a few centimetres high because it doesn't hold its shape well enough to be bigger or taller. Flor de Guia cheese has its own EU designation of origin and has to be made mostly from local sheep milk fro sheep that roam free to graze. It was first mentioned in 1526!

Queso Majorero is cheese made from goat milk in Fuerteventura. It tends to be drier, spicier and more acidic with a stronger flavour than Gran Canaria cheeeses. Try the maduro or semi curado with the pimentón rind by the Maxorata brand. This is sold in local supermarkets and has won lots of medals at the World Cheese Awards. 

Queso ahumado is smoked cheese and is traditionally made on El Hierro island. 

Find the best cheese in Gran Canaria

Gran Canaria cheeses tend to be slightly sweet with bitter, herbal notes and small irregular holes. Many are made from raw goat and sheep milk which is quite safe because the Canary Islands are brucelosis-free.

A lot of the tastiest cheeses come from mountain areas like Valsequillo and Tejeda where the goats and sheep get to graze, or at least are fed with fodder harvested on the island. 

Local markets are an excellent place to try and buy local cheeses as you always get a nibble before you have to choose. Don't be afraid to say what you like.

"Mas fuerte" means stronger while "mas suave" means milder. 

Local shops and delis also allow tasting,as do some supermarket deli counters (although Covid has made this rarer). 

No matter where you buy your cheese, try to keep it out of the fridge or at least let it warm up before you eat it. Refrigeration can change the texture of cheese, especially flor de Guía. 

 

 

Canary Islands cheese for vegetarians

All Canary Islands cheese sold in shops and markets is made with vegetarian-friendly rennet and pure queso flor is made using thistle sap rather than rennet to curdle the milk.

 

 

This is a personal message from Lex and Alex at Gran Canaria Info.

It has been a loooong year since the first lockdown and the collapse of tourism here in the Canary Islands. During this period we have done our best to provide accurate and useful information about a wide range of subjects; travel restrictions, Covid rules, mask use, migrants, more migrants, etc. We feel like we have done a good job overall and we hope the majority of you do too. 

However, we also know that we have, at different times, annoyed a lot of people. Many of them haven't been shy about telling exactly why and most of the time we appreciated the communication and honesty. We did remove a small number of people from the group and from the page for consistently being rude to us and/ or other members, and for sharing fringe beliefs such as "Covid doesn't exist", "you are all sheeple", "the chemtrails did it", "migrants should be thrown in the sea", etc. Life is just too short!

2020: Fun, fun, fun in the sun

Back during the first lockdown we warned that Covid was going to take at least a year to sort out (based on official government estimates and the scienfitic consensus on vaccine development) and were heavily criticised for being negative. Unfortunately, we were right and even now in April of 2021, tourism is still at very low levels and even the optimists don't expect summer numbers to be above 50% of pre-Covid figures. 

We also covered the ever-changing mask, distancing and travel rules imposed by the Canary Islands, Spain and other countries in as much detail as we could. We were shouted at for encouraging people to follow "the stupid rules" and shouted at for not being strident enough about getting people to follow them. We have been frustrated at times by the many rule changes and by the need to wear masks at all times outdoors. However, we have also seen that there has been very little conflict here between the people and the police because of the simple mask rules. 

We also got the standard Brexit outrage from people at both ends of the argument. We were either too pro-Europe or too anti-Britain, or too pro-Britain and anti-Europe. For the record, as foreign residents living in Spain, we believe that  the EU is a good idea despite its flaws.

As for vaccines, we are in favour. We plan to be in the queue for ours with a bag of ice and a bottle of rum as soon as possible (even Lex, who very likely had Covid back in February 2020). Not everyone agrees with us about this either.

We have allowed plenty of debate in the Gran Canaria Info group but it really isn't the place for endless arguments so we have also deleted a lot of posts.

It is our deeply-held belief that there is no grown-up or friendly way of calling us or anyone else in the group "sheeple". 

Then the migrants hit the headlines and all hell broke loose...

As we said, fun, fun, fun in the sun!

Gran Canaria and the 'migrant crisis' of 2020

Migrants have arrived on Gran Canaria's shores in small boats for 25 years but they only became a story in 2020 due to Covid and messy Spanish politics.

Our position was and still is that the people arriving in Gran Canaria should be treated with dignity and allowed to continue on their journey as soon as possible. Almost all of them come with the dream of working to provide for their families back at home. None of the migrants arriving in the Canary Islands want to stay here. They all have a destination in mind somewhere in mainland Europe.  Many have borrowed money from family and friends to get to the islands and feel huge pressure to move on and start earning. 

To give a bit of context to this, here is a single statistic; those lucky enough to work in one of Senegal's fish processing factories make the equivalent of one dollar per day. 

Whatever your politics and beliefs about migration, the migrant's interests and the interests of the Canary Islands are pretty much the same. It is in all of our best interests for them to be allowed to continue to migrate from the Islands to mainland Spain and Europe. Why? Because as we saw this autumn, the Canary Islands do not have, and shouldn't need to have, the facilities to house thousands of people. Spain and Europe both have agreements in place to process and house migrants. and while Covid did make things harder, the only reason these agreements didn't work was due to politics. As one Spanish minister said, the Canary Islands were used "like a cork in the bottle" to stop migrants reaching Spain.

To us, this idea that treating people badly stops them dreaming is absurd. 

Almost all migrants have now been moved out of Gran Canaria's resorts and there isn't any reason why the islands will need to house migrants in resort areas again. Even at the peak of the wave almost all the migrants housed in resort areas behaved well despite the lurid press reports in Europe's tabloid press.

That said, we do aknowledge that many people living in areas like Puerto Rico experienced serious disruption from migrants housed in empty complexes. There were serious crimes, including a rape, committed by migrants and the noise and disturbance in some areas was considerable and constant. 

But the theory that the migrants have caused Gran Canaria's resorts to be empty, or will cause them to be empty in the future is pretty thin. Gran Canaria's resorts are empty due to Covid, not the migrants. And once Covid travel restrictions end, tourists coming back will find Gran Canaria is the same as always (better in the case of Puerto Rico thanks to the new malls and the refurbished main shopping centre). 

We make no apology for our position about the migrants. The fact that the islands have handled the migrants with dignity and respect is to our credit. We believe that the vast majority of people who want to come back to Gran Canaria will understand that the islands dealt with a difficult situation pretty well. 

We hope to see you all on the beach again very soon.

Lex and Alex

 

 

 

 

We have 

Published in News

Bululu 3Bululú, quite appropriately on the corner of Calle Venezuela and Olof Palme in Las Palmas, is a South American restaurant that looks towards the Caribbean and beyond for its inspiration. 

Its food is a fascinating fusion of South American and Latin Caribbean ingredients and dishes with a healthy hint of Lebanese influence mixed in. 

If that sounds like too much geography for one restaurant, don't worry: Bululú pulls it off. This is a restaurant that really understands food and specifically what makes Latin American food so delicious.

Bululu 2It plates up an elevated mix of sweet, hot, rich and crispy in every dish. Pabellon criollo with crispy arepas and bananas fried to the point of caramelisation. A fatoush salad that is generous and moreish, hummus with marrow and curry, served with excellent falafels. For dessert, a  rich quesillo with just the right amount of dulce de leche. 

The quality food comes with service to match. Friendly, efficient, always smiling, happy to advise. In fact, Bululú pretty much has this whole restaurant game nailed down. 

Bululu 1Great value and just the perfect spot for lunch in Guanarteme if you are bored of the tyranny of always having to sit on the beachfront. 

Book for a weekend table or arrive early for weekday lunchtime as Bululú has a loyal local crowd.

Bululú on Facebook

On Tripadvisor

Tel: 828 66 10 79

 

PSX 20210322 124740

 Bululu bill

 

Published in Restaurants

You have to up early and very lucky to find the Bandama Caldera full of mist like in Lex's photo. It only happens a few days every year and clears as soon as the sun starts to warm up.

However, there is a lot of stuff to see and do in and around the caldera other than drive to the top of the cinder cone and look at it. You can walk around it, down to the crater floor, visit the aboriginal caves, and the secret bunker (when the visitor centre reopens). 

The Lady Of Bandama

A few days ago we walked down to the caldera floor to find something truly unique.

Parolinia glabriuscula, know as the Dama de Bandama or Bandama Lady, only grows inside the walls of the caldera. In fact, it only grows on the cliffs at the southwestern end of the caldera and on the scree at its base. 

To be honest, the Dama isn't the most exciting plant in the world to look at. It's similar to other Parolinias growing in other places around the island (Guayadeque, the southern slopes of the island, etc).

What makes it special is that it is critically endangered and only grows in a tiny area: Definitely unique enough to walk across the Caldera floor to find; especially in January to March when it produces its little white flowers. 

It seems to be thriving now that goats no longer graze inside the Caldera (and now the aggressive donkey has gone). There are far more plants than I remember when I was a kid and they have spread down the scree slope and almost onto the floor. Good news that is being repeated all over the island now that most goats are kepet bpenned in rather than roaming free. 

ALEX SAYS: I was with my mother, a botanist, when she discovered the Dama de Bandama back in the 1980s. We were walking around the crater rim and spotted the only one growing outside the caldera. 

 Everything you need to know to walk down to the caldera floor is in our Gran Canaria map. We haven't marked the caves because we want to go back and make sure they are still safe to reach. 

Note that the Hoyos de Bandama winery tends to have fairly erratic opening houtrs so if you see it open, head in for a glass of wine. The Caldera dry white is one of Gran Canaria's best. 

 

 

Published in Walking

Parallel to Mesa y Lopez, the pedestrian Ruiz de Alda has become a firm favourite as a lunch spot for Las Palmas locals.

It's always busy but most places have a free table even at peak times. As always, if you want a guaranteed spot, turn up early at 13.00 on the dot before the locals finish the morning shift and head out to lunch. 

We've tried many of the restaurants and so far the general quality and value is good. Here are my top recomendations at the moment...

Mr Kale at the west end is always a good bet for poke bowls and wok dishes, especially if you get the 2-for-1 main course offer from its Facebook page.

Pinxe Tacos at the far west end of the street does a small but well-curated selection of tacos, sopes and nachos. Excellent for a light lunch at its outdoor tables but there isn't enough on the menu for a substantial meal.

For a big menu del dia with three courses, drink and coffee (12 euros) head to La Tasca de Lua about half way along the street. Modern Spanish food with sold Asian-inspired dishes depending on the day. The Thai beef rice I had last time I was here didn't look like much but was delicious. 

If you just fancy a burger, the 200 Gramos half way down the street is always a solid option but remember to ask for yours "bien hecho" as the default way to serve burgers in Gran Canaria is pink inside. 

 Llevame al Huerto is the spot for vegetarian although the restaurant is actually more flexitarian with some seafood and dairy options.Everything is fresh, well-presented and tasty. 

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