Practical hints for your holidays in Gran Canaria:
Children's BeachesGran Canaria guarantees fun and welfare for all its visitors and their children. The coast provides a wide range of spectacular beaches where children will enjoy a wonderful day by the sea, with several of them equipped with children’s playgrounds. Changing rooms, public showers, small bars and long promenades and avenues will add to the family’s enjoyment of a splendid day at the beach anywhere on the Island.
Disabled FacilitiesThere are good facilities for the disabled at all the terminals of the international airports in the Canaries. Gran Canaria's major resorts of Playa del Ingles, Maspalomas, Meloneras, Puerto Rico and Mogan have a selection of hotels with disabled adapted rooms that are wheelchair friendly. There has been recent investment in extensive promenade development along the coast in the south, which is now complete and is easily accessible for wheelchair and mobility scooter users. Most of the commercial centres have good access ramps and entrance to restaurants, bars and shops and the pavements are now better suited for wheelchair and mobility scooter users than in the past.
However, many of the older small bars and restaurants are still lacking in ramps and disabled facilities and although changing, it is happening slowly!
For hire of mobility and disabled equipment including wheelchairs and mobility scooters, plus aids for the bathroom, bed or toilet the preferred company on Gran Canaria is Sol Mobility S.L suppliers to tour operators, hotels and clinics. Sol Mobility S.L include a free delivery & collection service to your hotel and can be contacted by telephone on (0034) 928 735 311 or via their comprehensive website at www.SolMobility.Com which lists all equipment and rates together with a list of hotels offering disabled adapted rooms. They can also make provision for the hire of 8-seater minibuses with electric wheelchair accessible lifts for airport transfers and day excursions. Adapted taxis with wheelchair lifts are available for airport transfers and short trips in Playa del Ingles, Maspalomas and Meloneras, contact either Sol Mobility (0034) 928 735 311 or Taxistas Cooperativa San Agustín, Tel: 928 154777.(Spanish Only). At the current time not all other island areas have adapted taxis but many do have estate cars and some seven-seated vehicles where a wheelchair can be carried in the boot. When planning a visit to the islands, disabled and mobility impaired visitors should check the travel conditions and latest hotel facilities with their travel agent.
The Spanish association for the disabled – Confederación Coordinatora Estatal de Minusválidos Físicos de España (COCEMFE) & Cruz Roja Espanola, Oficina Provinicial Las Palmas, Leon y Castillo, 231 – 35005 - Tel: 928 290 000 – can help with emergencies. However, they will often only speak Spanish and it is more normal to contact your tour operator directly for assistance.
Electricity InformationThe current used in Gran Canaria and throughout the Canary Islands is 220 Volts AC 50Hz and plugs have two round pins as found on the European continent.
Travellers from the USA will require a voltage converter, however the better hotels do have provision for 110 Volt appliances like shavers.
Travellers from the UK will require a plug adapter and this is best bought in the UK as they are hard to find in the Canaries. Main sockets require round-pin plugs.
Fun- and Theme ParksGran Canaria is a great theme park itself as it has a large variety of leisure activities to offer the visitors. It has also developed some natural and artificial areas where it attractions and shows are put together just to entertain and in many cases to educate their visitors.
Gay and Lesbian TravellersGran Canaria’s gay and lesbian scene is mainly located in the south of the island – in particular in Maspalomas and Playa del Inglés. At night you’ll find the main gay life revolving around the Yumbo Centre (Playa del Inglés), a massive multi-level complex of restaurants, bars, and clubs for all tastes - with over forty of them catering for the gay scene. By day it is just a big tourist shopping centre, by night possibly the largest collection of gay bars, clubs and restaurants anywhere in Europe. The liberal atmosphere and the life for one another and with one another between heteros and homos is the basis of the special charm of the YUMBO.
Maspalomas, in contrast to Playa del Inglés, is renowned for its daylight offer – the famous gay beach and the amazing dunes. Maspalomas offers seclusion in abundance. There's a gay section at the rather windy beachfront, but there's also a large gay zone in the vast dunes behind it. It's no coincidence that the gay area is adjacent to the naturist area – both groups crave privacy and many gay men like to sunbathe naked.
Opening hours:Many Governmental offices will open only in the mornings. Apart from the major tourist resorts, shops are closed on Sundays.
Museums have very varied opening times and churches are totally unpredictable.
There are no fixed shop opening times in the Canary Islands but most of the shops are generally open Monday to Saturday between 09.00 and 13.00 hrs. They open again after a long 'Siesta' (break) from 16.00 hrs or a little later for another 3 or 4 hours (although most stay closed in the afternoon/evening on Saturdays).
The big supermarkets and department stores will generally do a 10.00 to 21.00 hrs stretch 6 days a week. Apart from the major tourist resorts, shops are closed on Sundays.
Theme parks and gardens are generally open seven days a week, but even these close for public holidays.
Time:Gran Canaria and its neighbouring islands maintain Greenwich Mean Time (GMT/UTC) during the winter, which is identical with the UK but one hour behind most European countries and mainland Spain.
In March the clocks are put forward one hour for daylight saving time. Clocks are put back one hour on the last Sunday in October.
Transport:Gran Canaria is a tourism-oriented island. Therefore, there are good transport facilities around the island and the airport is not an exception. If you don't have a package holiday arrangement you need to know how you can get to your final destination. Here are some of the alternatives:
- Taxi: There are taxis available at the airport. Just look for eggshell-white cars with a red stripe on the sides (on each front door). Other signs that might help you recognize a taxi are the letters SP (meaning ‘Servicio Público’) and a green light on top or in the front windscreen (this green light indicates that the taxi is free). This is the quickest but most expensive option. Costs vary according your final destination.
- Bus: There are frequent bus services between the airport and most of the destinations on the island. The journey to Las Palmas (north of the island) takes around 30 minutes and to Playa del Inglés (south) around 50 minutes.
- Car hire: You will find most of the international car rental companies on the island and many Spanish companies. Generally you will always get a better price if you book in advance and Internet bookings are probably the most competitively priced, here you`ll find the offers of HERTZ-Rent a Car. Car rental prices on the Canary Islands are considerably lower than on mainland Spain. Check out our 'Travel Services' page for some great deals on car hire.
The driving laws for Gran Canaria are the same as in all Spanish territory. Theoretically you require an international driver’s licence to rent a car in the Canary Islands. However, in practice you can make a rental with a standard valid driving licence, passport/ID card and a valid credit card.
Travel Informations:The Canary Islands are an autonomous region belonging to Spain. Therefore, the same regulations apply when it comes to entering Gran Canaria. Travellers must have a valid passport or another document adhering to international conventions and containing all the necessary information for identification of the visitor.
For nationals of certain countries, and depending on the duration of the visit, a visa is required. In case of doubt, please contact your travel agent or the Embassy/Consulate of Spain based in your hometown.
Gran Canaria has scheduled flight connections with all the other islands of the archipelago and with mainland Spain. Most of the European cities also provide charter flights to Gando Airport.
There are regular ferries and hydrofoil services to/from Tenerife, Lanzarote and Fuerteventura. Passengers coming from these destinations and also from mainland Spain (Cadiz) will arrive at Puerto de la Luz in Las Palmas.
Vaccinations:You will not require any vaccinations to visit the Canary Islands, unless you are coming from an infected area. Check with your tour operator or local Spanish Embassy if in any doubt.
Water:Tap Water is safe to drink but not recommended for its taste as it tends to be desalinated seawater. The locals almost all invariably drink bottled water.
Water from public spouts and fountains should not be drunk unless there is a sign saying 'Aqua Potable'. You will often see signs saying 'Aqua Non Potable', 'Water Not Drinkable'. In bars, supermarkets or restaurants ask for ‘agua sin gas’ (still) or ‘agua con gas’ (sparkling).
Some hotels do ask for co-operation when it comes to water consumption (for example, just put the towels to wash every two days instead of doing it daily).