REVIEW: Gran Canaria - a Spanish island full of contrasts

The marina at Puerto Rico
The marina at Puerto Rico

Ahead of me lies the glittering Atlantic Ocean, the sun sparkling off its surface, behind me is a busy centre full of bars, restaurants and boutiques.

This is Puerto Rico, a bustling resort on this beautiful island just off the coast of Africa.

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I have visited Gran Canaria on four separate occasions now, it is an island full of Spanish influence, and for me stands out from the largest of its neighbouring sisters - Tenerife, Fuerteventura, and Lanzarote.

Gran Canaria, although a small island with a population about the size of Leeds at around 800,000, is a place of contrasts. In the north it is cooler and that is where its large city, Las Palmas, can be found.

In the centre of the island it is mountainous but in the south there are desert conditions, and no rain.

Which is why holidaymakers, who mainly come from Britain, Germany and Scandinavian countries, love it so.

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The landscape is rocky and dramatic, a place of pure, clear light and sometimes fierce heat.

Cacti thrive and their strange outlines add drama to the bare, arid scenery of this part of the island.

Occasionally you will see a sudden, unexpected oasis of green, carefully irrigated, since Gran Canaria is also a golfing destination.

I stayed in the Carlota Apartments, sat in the side of the rock face overlooking the centre of the resort, a near enough walk for food, drink and shopping, but further enough from the noise to have a restful day by the pool, and a good night’s sleep. During this break I decided to treat myself and spent a day at the Amadores Beach Club, just a couple of minutes around the coastline. For just 15 Euros you can relax on a comfortable lounger, dip in the refreshing salt water pool and with your own call buzzer you can benefit from waiter service providing food and drink at speed. There is also a spa and chill out garden with stunning sea views and relaxing music.

There are too many wonderful restaurants to choose from in Puerto Rico, but on this occasion, two of my favourites were the family run Mephisto offering authentic Spanish cuisine, and Taste of India, serving up some of the best Indian cooking I have ever tasted. If you haven’t visited GC, give it a go, you won’t be disappointed.