Aqualand (Carretera Palmitos Park, Km 3, Maspalomas, Las Palmas) — the Canary Islands’ biggest water park offers vibrant, white knuckle rides such as Aquamania, the Crazy Race, the Anaconda or gentler attractions like the Congo River and the VIP Zone. The Tornado is our main attraction and the most incredible out of over 33 slides and chutes the park has to offer. The Kamikaze is the highest attraction of its kind in Europe and is only for the brave hearted. Over 3000m² of swimming pools will keep the little ones entertained while you relax in the sun. The Children’s Paradise is the best choice for kids with its fun size water park and park in the pool itself. See its website for updates rates & times: www.aqualand.es
Café Marlene (Av. de Francia 1, Maspalomas) – this is a bar that caters to mature (50 and above) German and other European tourists. An institution among re-visiting tourists as well as long-time tourist who stay the whole winter in Gran Canaria. Café Marlene offers every evening in the main season an all-evening show with several resident entertainers who interpret some of the most known German Schlager melodies to the enjoyment of their guests.
Britannia (Av. de Gran Canaria, Centro Comercial Gran Chaparral, Playa del Inglés) – this restaurant is favored among British tourists, since it reputedly serves the best-rated English-style breakfast on the island. Its fish & chips dish is also highly recommended, since the potatoes are hand-cut (hard to find at Gran Canaria). The roast lamb and steak pie are other worthy meals served here.
Centro Comercial Atlantico Vecindario (Calle Adargoma, Santa Lucía de Tirajana) — this is a shopping center located just 15 minutes (via car) from Maspalomas and Playa del Inglés. There are over 100 retailers (from Lacoste to Zara), a Carrefour supermarket, eateries like McDonald’s, a multiplex theater, and amenities like banks.
Casa Museo de Colon (Calle Colón 1, Las Palmas) — the Casa de Colón (Christopher Columbus’ Museum) is a delight for the visitor. Its colonial-style architecture, its wooden colonnades and paneling, its stonework patios and façades are the perfect background for recreating the personality of this city.
Its facilities make reference to the connection between the Canary Islands and the Americas. The annexation of the Canaries to the Crown of Castile, Christopher Columbus’ landfall on Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, pre-Columbian Latin America, and the history of naval cartography are some examples of the contents shown throughout 13 permanent exhibition halls, a library and a specialized study center. Admission: €4 (adult), €4 (seniors, students ages 18-23), free for those under 18 years. Free entry for all on Sundays. Hours: 10:00 am – 6:00 pm (Monday-Saturday), 10:00 am – 3:00 pm (Sundays & holidays). See its website for more info: www.casadecolon.com
The volcanic island of Gran Canaria, is the third largest of the Canary Islands (off the northwest coast of Africa), but currently commands about half their population. Those visiting Gran Canaria are immediately impressed by its varied landscape – white sand beaches along its southern coast, a rural mountainous interior (especially the island’s center – where the 1,949 meter-high Pozo de Las Nieves peak is located). A few high peaks and many gorges radiating out towards the sea can also be found there. Cliffs dominate the south western and western coasts, whereas the coastline of the north and northeast offers more diverse pleasures, including a wide variety of beaches and coves.
With Gran Canaria and adjacent islands being discovered by European sailors in the 14th century, it was conquered by the Spanish in 1483. Christopher Columbus spent time at Gran Canaria (including the Port of Las Palmas) before proceeding onto his first voyage to the Americas in 1492. Due to its geographic position, Gran Canaria’s Port of Las Palmas became a vital port of call for Spanish conquistadors, traders, and missionaries who were traveling to the Spanish colonies in the Americas. The trade that resulted during the colonial period explains some of the medieval structures found on the island. The Church of El Salvador survives as one of the island’s finest examples of the architecture from the 16th century.
Because of Gran Canaria’s importance in Spain’s maritime trade at the time, it was subject to attacks from both Ottoman pirates, as well as hostile European forces. Gran Canaria was attacked by the Dutch during that country’s war of independence in 1599 (laying siege to Port of Las Palmas and other parts of the island). In 1618, Gran Canaria was reminded of the perils of piracy within its waters when Algerian pirates attacked the nearby islands of Lanzarote and La Gomera (rounding up 1,000 captives to be sold into slavery).
In 1812, Gran Canaria and the rest of the Canary Islands officially became a province of Spain. By that time, a number of local residents sought better economic opportunities by migrating to Havana (Cuba), Veracruz (Mexico) and Santo Domingo (which became Dominican Republic in 1844). More economic difficulties in the Canary Islands during the rest of the 19th and the early 20th centuries resulted in further waves of locals migrating to Venezuela, Puerto Rico and Cuba. During the Spanish Civil War of the 1930s, Francisco Franco (who was already appointed General Commandant of the Canaries at the time) controlled the Canary Islands. After Franco’s death in 1975, and the establishment of a democratic constitutional monarchy, the Canary Islands were granted autonomy in 1982.
Due to the Canary Island’s tropical weather, tourism would eventually become their main economic engine of growth (making up as much as 32% of the islands’ GDP). As many as 12 million tourists a year visit the Canary Islands. Gran Canaria, Tenerife and Lanzarote are the most visited of the Canary Islands.