Sunday, March 17, 2019

Discover Gran Canaria Tour, Spain

On Friday we took a "Discover Gran Canaria" tour to see some of the island.  It was a small group tour designed for up to a maximum of six people which was great.  Highly recommended!  
We started off from Maspalomas and made our way by minivan towards San Bartolomé de Tirajana.

We stopped at Mirador Degollada de la Yegua for about 10 minutes for views of Maspalomas and Fataga Valley which is also known as the Valley of the Thousand Palms.

In 2005, UNESCO confirmed the area as the World Biosphere Reserve of Gran Canaria.

Then it was on to Nublo Rural Park, in the centre of the island, to check out Roque Nublo (Rock in the Clouds).  At 67 metres (220 feet) tall it is the third highest point on Gran Canaria.  The rock was formed from a volcanic eruption about 4,5 million years ago.  The 1,5 km hike up the hill took about 30 minutes.

After working up an appetite we headed to Llanos de la Pez which is a popular picnic area amidst tall pine groves.  For lunch we got to taste several home made local specialties.  Super tasty!

Then it was on to Pico de las Nieves which is the island's highest point.

Most of the highest plateau is home to a Spanish military base with a prominent ball-shaped radar.  Surprisingly, tourists are allowed in the area for some great views of the island.

At Mirador Caldera de los Marteles there's a lookout and a view of a volcanic crater.  It is about 80 metres (262 feet) deep and 550 metres (1805 feet) wide.

Opposite the crater is another view of the island.
Although I don't remember the name of this city.

Then it was on to Agüimes which is on the eastern part of Gran Canaria; about 26 km south of Las Palmas.
Agüimes is home to just over 30,000 people.  It was founded in 1487 and is one of the oldest cities on the island.

The Iglesia de San Sebastián is just off the main square.  Construction began in 1796 but it wasn't completed until 1940.

The local history centre is a free museum showing the development of the city.

The Punta de Arinaga Lighthouse is a working lighthouse.  The current tower is the third to be built here.

Our final stop of the day was at the Reserva Natural Especial de Las Dunas de Maspalomas.  The sand dunes occupy a 404 hectare (1000 acre) area and have been a protected nature reserve since 1987.

This was a great tour!  We got to see mountains, a pine forest, the ocean, and desert all in one day.  Who knew you could do this in Spain?  California is the only other place in the world where I know where this is possible.

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