Playa del Ingles and Maspalomas in Gran Canaria

Activities Abound in Playa del Ingles and Maspalomas, Spain

Playa del Ingles and Maspalomas are the main tourist areas of Gran Canaria, Canary Islands. They are about a 40 minute drive west of the island’s international airport. The two centers are popular destinations all year round as the temperature rarely gets below 18C, 64F. In the summer, though, the temperature can reach well beyond 40C, 104F.

Beach at Maspalamos Gran Canaria
Beach at Playa del Ingles Spain

Playa del Ingles and Maspalomas are towns that sit side by side. It’s hard to know where one stops and the other begins. They are places for families, couples, singles, gays, straights, young or old. People from all spectrums can be seen holding hands walking down the beach, along the boardwalk or on the side walk without fear of people staring at them or feeling out of place. Maspalomas also hosts the Maspalomas Gay Pride Festival each May.

One of the big attractions here are the sand dunes. There is only one word to describe them and that is “WOW!” They are a spectacular site. One of the best views of the dunes is from the Hotel Riu Palace Oasis. You walk through the hotel down a corridor. When you get to the end, you’ll see dunes in their full glory. You can even wander through them to go to the beach instead of taking transport. It’s a view not to be missed.

Sand Dunes at Maspalomas

There are plenty of hotels, ranging from basic to luxury. Most are within walking distance or a short bus or taxi ride to the beach. I stayed at the Apartamentos Las Arenas. You can check out other hotels in the area on Trip Advisor, a MilesGeek affiliate.

The restaurants cater to a variety of pallets from Spanish tapas to a full English breakfast. At one restaurant in the Yumbo Centre, the menu was translated into 11 different languages. There’s fast food too; McDonalds on the beach in Playa del Ingles and a Burger King in the shopping center in town. As for bars, there’s plenty, more than plenty. Some cater to specific nationalities. There’s a German bar, an English bar, the token Irish pub. Just to name a few. If you want it, you will be able to find it in Playa del Ingles or Maspalomas.

The taxis are very reasonable priced. A cab from Playa del Ingles to the Palmitos Park, where you can see a dolphin show and a phenomenal flying bird of prey show, was 18 Euros for the 10 kilometre journey. I felt the price was reasonable and that the driver didn’t take us for a ride.

Vegetation at Palmitos Park
Dolphin show at Palmitos Park Playa del Ingles
Colourful bird at Palmitos

The backdrop to the birds of prey show was breath-taking. You could see a bald eagle as it flew a mile or so down the valley. It felt like you were on a movie set and that the scenery was painted on walls. Just for the record, the bald eagle came back too.

The admission price for Palmitos was 30 Euros and you could combine it with a trip to the Aqualand Maspalomas, a huge water park, which you pass along the way on the highway on the way to the park. We took a local bus back from the park to Maspalomas which was cheaper than a taxi. The buses run on a fairly frequent schedule. The ride was pretty quick, taking less than half an hour and you could just sit back and enjoy the scenery.

There is a day trip through the island that is also a must. The eight hour trip coach trip takes you to Tejeda, near the geographical centre of the island, Teror, a town known for its mineral water and Las Palmas, the capital. The best way to do this is on an organised tour but there are local buses you can take if you are not in a hurry.

Clliff on the highway GC-60 just outside Tejeda, Gran Canaria

In fact, local public transport will take you all over the island. The fares are cheap but depending on where you want to go, it could be a long wait. There is a local bus to the capital, Las Palmas, which runs to and from Playa del Ingles on a regular basis.

As for activities, the choice of things to do is endless. There’s fishing, whale-watching, fly-boarding with a hydro jet pack, snorkelling, scuba diving, health spas, golfing and hiking to name just a few. That’s besides just relaxing, of course. There are several tourist booking centers in both Playa del Ingles and Maspalomas.

Scenery near Puerto Magan from the sea, Gran Canaria

My friend and I took a half day trip with It was a four hour experience on a boat that was well worth the 50 Euros. The staff was delightful and knowledgeable. The day included a ride on a speedboat, lunch with beverages, (beer and soft drinks), and great company. For an extra charge, pulled by a speed boat, you can ride a sausage boat and/or a donut, Jet Ski or fly board. It was a good price for a fun day out.

Leaving Puerto Rico on the Afrikat Catamaran

The locals are friendly and go out of their way to help you. A hotel I popped into was nice enough to print out my return boarding pass free of charge. Staff in restaurants and bars are very friendly and it really seems genuine. I never got the impression during my eight day visit that I was being taken advantage of. Taxis and the Plus Airport Line are the best ways to get to tourist resorts if you haven’t rented a car. My transport to and from the hotel was provided by the Gran Canaria Tourist Board.

Playa del Ingles and Maspalomas are the perfect travel destination, and, six weeks later, I’ve still got my tan to prove it. One of the best sun tans I’ve ever had I must add.

James Cowling
James Cowling

James Cowling is a freelance journalist. He was brought up in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, and has lived in London, UK, for 20 years. He worked for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation during the election that brought Nelson Mandela to power in 1994. James came to London shortly after that and has worked for the CBC, NBC and CNBC. He also worked for NBC Radio where he covered the Hong Kong Handover in 1997, the Death of Diana, Princess of Wales in 1997 and the Bosnian elections in 1998. James worked for press operations for the last two Olympic Winter Games covering figure skating and short track speed skating and at the last Olympic Games in London, he covered gymnastics. Since 2013, he has been freelancing for BBC World Service radio where he previously worked full time for seven years.

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