Top 7 Water Sports To Experience In Gran Canaria
Playa Las Canteras Vacaciones Semana Santa 2015 Las Palmas de Gran Canaria©El Coleccionista de Instantes Fotografía & Video/Flickr
Gran Canaria is part of the Canary Islands, which are the farthest overseas territories of Spain. Its privileged location off the coast of Morocco in the Atlantic Ocean allows locals and visitors to enjoy outdoor activities throughout the year. The island is a top destination for water sports due to its various coastal locations that suit all levels. It also has a specialized network of services, and high-quality conditions to welcome even the most demanding practices. Here are the top 7 water sports to do while in Gran Canaria.
Discovering the coast of Gran Canaria from the perspective of a kayak can be unforgettable. The rocky landscape is populated by cliffs, which hide peaceful coves that tourist usually miss. The south of the island is the most popular area for kayaking, with a geography where coves and grottoes, like the Grutas de Tauro, provides unique spots to have a break. The coast of Mogán, Maspalomas, or Arguineguín all provide the possibility of taking part in guided tours. However, the urban bays of the capital city, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, offer an experience for all levels.
The practice of bodyboard requires training, and it becomes serious on this island that provides both recognized worldwide spots for professionals and accessible sites for beginners. The west end of Las Canteras, which is the main sandy beach of the capital city, is a popular place to practice on your own and where surf schools offer their services for those who want a lesson. For more expert riders, the east end of the same beach, El Confital, has the best right handed wave of Europe, and has hosted the World Championship more than once. In addition, on the coast of Gáldar you can meet the fifth best wave in the world and enjoy the show of the international competition, Frontón King.
Campeonato del Mundo de Bodyboard El Confital 2010 | ©El Coleccionista de Instantes Fotografía & Video/Flickr
Although this modality of sailing is native to the Mediterranean, it is highly beloved and followed in the islands. The trade winds provide a suitable environment to practice, especially from April to October, where you can enjoy Sunday regattas off the shore in Las Palmas of Gran Canaria with local fans. There are courses suitable for all levels offered by sailing schools based in the city, and in Puerto Rico, which is located in the south coast.
In Gran Canaria, the seabed descends dramatically a short distance from the shore and offers underwater landscapes of volcanic origin. Favorite spots of scuba divers are rocky terrains and sites to explore sunken wrecks. Las Canteras and the adjacent waterfront of La Isleta both offer plenty of coves and natural passageways, mostly notably with a rock mass called The Cathedral. Kinder Island has a sunken ship (the tanker known as Angela Pando) more than 20 meters deep. In sites like Reserva Marina El Cabrón in the northwest and east coasts, the recreational scuba diving is remarkable for experiencing the marine biodiversity.
Bon plongée | ©POLICEDIVER2/Flickr
Gran Canaria, as the other Canary Islands, has a consistent regime of trade winds throughout the year, which is great news for windsurf lovers. The best spots for this sport are concentrated in the southeast of the island, but there are options in the north as well. The most popular site is Pozo Izquierdo, in Vecindario, which is included in the PWA World Cup and offers services like windsurf schools and specialized shops. Salinas de Pozo could be more suitable for expert windsurfers, whilst Playa de Vargas is more accessible for all levels and has a camping site close to the coast.
Snorkeling allows you to observe the marine biodiversity of the island with basic equipment and no previous experience, if you know where to go. Under the surface, in the Reserva Marina del Cabrón of Arinaga, native fish, octopus, and mollusks are easy to spot. Low tide forms pools in the rocky coast, providing safe places for children to snorkel. A little further south, Punta del Negro also has big natural pools, and features several restaurants. However, along the urban beach of Las Canteras, a surprising rocky reef can be discovered – its inner side hides a wealth of marine life, right in the heart of the capital city.
The experience of riding the waves is a must in Gran Canaria, as its coast hosts excellent, natural conditions for this sport. The best sites are located in the north of the island, where the wave frequency is higher. Among these places, the small towns of Arucas and Gáldar can be proud of Quintanilla and El Frontón respectively, which attract expert surfers to train. For surfers of all levels, Las Canteras, provides more accessible spots along the waterfront. There, visitors and locals can find resources like surf schools offering lessons and equipment to rent.
By Elisa Garcia Nieto