Alex Bramwell

Alex Bramwell

Thursday, 18 November 2021 11:42

Let's Make Gran Canaria Green Again

You can come on holiday to Gran Canaria on holiday guilt-free by offsetting your carbon production, and contribute to making Gran Canaria green again. Here's our detailed guide to all the things Gran Canaria is already doing to reduce the environmental impact of tourism.

And here is the way to offset your carbon consumption in a way that makes Gran Canaria a greener and better place for everyone...

Foresta: The Gran Canaria reforestation charity

The Foresta Foundation plans to replant all of Gran Canaria's primeval forests in a sustainable and fire-safe way. In the 1980s there were only 6000 hectares (one hectare is just larger than a football field) of forest in the whole island. This has now risen to 20,000 hectares. However, the island originally has 154,000 hectares of forest stretching from palm forests by the sea up to mountain pine forests. So, there is plenty of room for more trees: Here's a detailed guide to Gran Canaria's forests.

Foresta plants mixed forests of native species making sure that the right trees go in the right places. This means the forests grow faster and also makes them more resistant to forest fires and droughts. 

Alex Says: To offset the carbon footprint of your flight to and from Gran Canaria you can sponsor a tree via Foresta.

Foresta plants one native tree sapling per donation in an appropriate location and cares for it (rabbit-proof fencing, watering, etc) until  it gets established. A mature tree can absorb enough carbon dioxide during its lifetime to offset the carbon generated by one person on a flight to Gran Canaria. Three trees would offset all the carbon generated by return flights and all the activities yoiu do during a holiday in Gran Canaria. 

Published in Alternative Tourism

The growing trend towards environmentally friendly and Carbon neutral travel is a good thing for the planet but a problem for Gran Canaria and the Canary Islands. 

Without tourism, it is hard to see how the Canary Islands will survive because the local economy is 40% dependent on the industry.

So, given that travel guilt and the move to low-carbon living is an existential threat, what are Gran Canaria and the Canary Islands doing to reduce or eliminate the carbon footprint of travel and holidays? And what more can they do in the future? 

The big Gran Canaria water battery

 Presa de Chira reservoirEast Gran Canaria is a windy place and its windmills often generate more power than the island can use. When this happens they have to be switched off, thus wasting a huge amount of potential green energy. 

The solution is to use two of the island's big mountain reservoirs as a giant battery to store excess wind energy. 

Soria reservoir in Gran CanariaThe way it works is very simple: Excess power generated from windmills pumps recycled water up to the Presa de Chira reservoir. When extra energy is needed this water runs down through a rock tunnel and drives turbines to make electricity. The water is stored in the lower Presa de Soria. From here it can either be used to water farmland, or pumped back up the hill when there is an excess of wind energy.

It's a clever and green way to reduce the island's dependence on burning oil to make electricity.

The landscape around Chira in Gran CanariaHowever, the project is not popular with  some of the islands ecologists who say it will damage pristine areas of the island (there will be some pylons) disturb the locals (the tunnel and turbines need some blasting work) and will be a for-profit operation (a Spanish power company has the concession). 

Another complaint is that alternatives to the water battery could be better. However, these rely on experimental new tech such as hydrogen generation that just isn't ready to go. 

Offshore wind turbine Gran CanariaIn balance we at Gran Canaria Info believe that the Chirea Soria water battery is a good idea. 

It means that at least half the island's electricity will be wind-generated (and that's with the island's current turbines). With offshore wind and solar power added, it could allow the island to go completely green. 

Green energy research in Gran Canaria

Windmills Agaete 012As you drive north from the airport to Las Palmas you see a huge grey square floating in the sea. This is the PLOCAN marine research station dedicated to investigating new ways to generate wind and wave power in the ocean. The Canary Islands also have experimental offshore wind farms,solar energy plants and a whole range of other green energy projects. With the ocean, wind and sunshine of the Canary Islands, it is a matter of time before we become energy independent and no longer need to generate carbon to keep the lights on. 

A green levy or eco tax on tourists

Tourism in south Gran CanariaTourism is an energy and resource-intensive business. Visitors want to reduce their carbon footprint but they also want fresh towels, green golf courses and air-conditioning. To compensate for the extra burden on the island's resources, politicians have suggested a small levy or tourist tax paid by every visitor. The funds would be invested, in things like reforestation, offshore reefs, low carbon transport and rewilding of abandoned farmland, to reduce the island's carbon footprint and counter the effects of tourism on the environment.

The benefit of this idea is that it would generate a large sum of money right away. The downsides are that it would be hard to collect, and some people would choose to go to other destinations that don't have a green levy. Another issue is how to decide who spends the money and on which projects. Politicians love coming up with ways to get more money but aren't always very good at spending it effectively. 

Indirect taxes on visitor spend

Las terrazas 2Instead of taxing every visitor, some think it would be better to add a green tax to certain things that damage the local environment or are cheap in the Canary Islands ton start with. For example, a surcharge on the price of petrol, or on luxury goods like perfume, premium alcohol and / or tobacco. 

Reef life Gran CanariaOr, what if every hotel and large tourism business in the Canary Islands chose a carbon offset project and agreed to use a percentage of their profits to funding it. They could then show their guests and customers exactly what they were doing to reduce the environmental income of their holidays. For example sponsoring a specific rewilding or reforestation project, or contributing to an artificial offshore reef to increase marine biomass. Visitors would be able to watch a live fed of life on the reef that their hotel sponsors. Maybe on those silly giant iPads that every hotel reception has but nobody uses. 

Carbon Offset Schemes like reforestation and rewilding

CumbresHowever it is paid for, rewilding and reforestation are going to be a major way that Gran Canaria offsets the carbon generated by visitors. The island now has 20,000 hectares of forest but once had over 150,000 hectares of pine, laurel, tree heath, wax myrtle and olive forests. Some of this is now occupied by towns, roads and farmland but there is a lot of space for replanting the forests.

Other rewilding projects could include returning the abandoned farmland of the east and south coast to their natural state with native palm trees and vegetation.

See our detailed guide to the reforesting of Gran Canaria.

Azuaje Gran Canaria 0004Another important idea is to return Gran Canaria's natural water to the island's valleys. Gran Canaria is not a dry island but most of its water is currently piped from source to banana and tomato farms. It would be far more valuable flowing free to created natural firebreaks and new areas of natural beauty such as streams and waterfalls. 

Low carbon transport and travel

 transport 0004For visitors to Gran Canaria, using public transport, taking care with water and electricity use and eating only sustainable meat (such as grass-fed Spanish or Uruguayan beef) are small but significant ways to reduce their carbon footprint. Here's a good list of ways to reduce the impact of your next holiday.

Consuming local produce such as wine, cheese, fruits and vegetables also contributes to reducing emissions on imports and supporting rural life in Gran Canaria. 

If you want to do more, then there is a local charity that does a superb job...

Foresta: The Gran Canaria reforestation charity

foresta 2The Foresta Foundation is dedicated to replanting all of Gran Canaria's primeval forests in a sustainable and fire-safe way. It plants mixed forests of native species making sure that the right trees go in the right places. This makes the forests grow faster and also makes them more resistant to forest fires and droughts. 

various 0011To offset the carbon footprint of your flight to and from Gran Canaria you can sponsor a tree via Foresta. It plants one native tree sapling per donation in an appropriate location and cares for it (rabbit-proof fencing, watering, etc) until  it gets established. A mature tree can absorb 1000 kg of carbon dioxide during its lifetime, more than enough to offset the 650kg of carbon that each return flight to Gran Canaria generates per person. 

Published in Transport

Teide volcano was belching ash when Columbus sailed past on his way to accidentally discovering America in 1492, and a large chunk of Lanzarote got covered in lava during the 1730s. More recently, El Hierro experienced an undersea eruption off its southern tip  in 2011 and La Palma island is currently experiencing an eruption on its southwestern flank. 

Volcanic activity can be violent and destructive with houses and farms swallowed by lava and ash. However, volcanoes are also the reason the Canary Islands exist and without fresh lava, the archipelago will one day disappear back under the sea. 

And since eruptions have been an inevitable part of live on the Canary Islands since people arrived here, the locals know how to take advantage of the lava once it cools. Here are some of the ways Canarians have made amazing things out of lava flows.

Natural swimming pools made from lava

Las Salinas Agaete 0002When molten rock hits the sea it forms a rock delta or fajana that sticks out into the sea. In many cases they form natural pools because the lava shrinks as it cools, or blocks off an area of the old coastline. The nartual pools at Agaete in Gran Canaria, called Las Salinas, are a great example of this. Pozo de las Calcosas pool in El Hierro is another. And La Fajana in La Palma is yet another.

Lava Cemeteries In Gran Canaria

Maipes Agaete 0009Gran Canaria's aboriginal people, called the Canarii, buried their dead in side lava flows at burial sites like Maipez in the Agaete Valley. Nobody knows whether they did it as an offerring to the mountains that they considered sacred or whether it was just a convenient place to put their dead. Either way, they chosse the solid lava rivers of Gran Canaria as the place for their cemeteries.

Lava banana plantations in La Palma

Faro Punta Cumplida La Palma 0001When La Palma erupted in 1949, the lave destroyed banana plantations as it flowed towards the sea. It then formed a large delta just to the south of the current volcanic activity. As soon as it was cool, La Palma locals started to bring soil from up in the highlands and put it on top of the lava. The area is now one of the most productive banana plantations in the Canary Islands. In Fuencaliente, at the far southern tip of La Palma, there is now a large, multicoloured saltpan on top of the lava from from the 1971 eruption. 

Auditoriums made out of lava tubes in Lanzarote

Jameos del AguaAs lava flows the surface cools and solidifies. The molten lava keeps flowing thjough within a rock tunnel. When the volcano stops it leaves behind long tunnels that were once underground rivers of lava. In  Lanzarote, local artist Cesar Manrique took these lava tubes and made one into an Auditorium and garden at Los Jameos de Agua , another into a tourist attraction called the Cueva de los Verdes. He even built his house on top of a lava tube, put a swimming pool inside it, and had a lava flow inside his living room! 

Lava flows as walks and tourist attractions

Caños de Fuego La PalmaIn La Palma, the Caños de Fuego visitor centre lets you walk over the lava flow from the 1949 eruption of the San Juan volcano, then drop down from the boardwalk into caves and tunnels left by the flowing lava as the volcano stopped. 

Barbeques using volcanic heat 

Timanfaya Lanzarote volcanoAt Timanfaya in Lanzarote the ground is still so hot after the 1730 eruption that the restaurant cooks its food over an open pit. Around the back (ask the geyser man where it is) there are even a couple of barbeques that visitors to the Timanfaya National Park can use to grill their lunch. 

Vineyards on on the lava rock

Canary Islands vineyardA thick layer of lava covered large areas of Lanzarote during the last eruptions on the island. Volcanic gravel, called lapili or picon, covered an ever bigger part of the island. This bubbly rock, formed from lava foam, traps moisture from the cool night air and keeps the soil buried metres underneath moist all-year-round. Lanzarote locals worked out almost as soon as the ground had cooled that they could dig down to the soil and grow crops and grape vines. Some of the vines they planted are still in their original holes almost 300 years later. 

Learning Spanish for a couple of hours is a fun holiday option that lets you experience what it really feels like to be Canarian, and have some real-life interactions with locals during your stay in paradise. 

It is also essential if you plan to stay on the island(s) or travel to Spain for more than a getaway.

In this article you will:

- learn about “La Casita de Laura - Learn Spanish”, a successful language business based in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (teaching Spanish to foreigners for over 8 years!),
- pick up some useful Spanish tips for when you are in the Canaries and...
- get to meet the young entrepreneur behind it all.

La Casita de Laura Learn Spanish 1

HOLA, Laura León! Could you share a bit about why did you decide to dedicate your life to teaching Spanish and helping newcomers integrate in the local language and Canarian culture?

I love traveling and learning languages myself (I speak English, Italian, French and understand a few other European languages), so it soon became very natural to also share my language and my culture with other travelers. That is why almost 9 years ago I decided to create “La Casita de Laura – Learn Spanish”, to help newcomers integrate in the community and learn more about the locals, our way of living life and enjoying its simple things.

La Casita de Laura Learn Spanish 2

 

How easy is learning Spanish at La Casita? What can people expect when learning Spanish with you?

Imagine if you could learn Spanish with your best friend. Well, what we offer is exactly that! We are three freelance teachers working under the same brand name. What we do is we become our students friends and we guide them through the process of learning Spanish with a very conversational method and lots of practice. We keep it very simple and more importantly FUN, so our students don’t frustrated with all the boring grammar. Anyone joining our community can expect very little weekly commitment and a great progress. You just need to read our reviews and see how many students tend to extend their programs, to keep on learning and having fun with us.

So, you are teaching anyone who would like to learn Spanish? Do you only teach adults or also children?

We have had students from 5 up to 70 something years old. We do specialize in expat families and remote workers or digital nomads who need Spanish to live in the Canaries, but we also have many students who decide to come here on holidays and take Spanish to get to speak to locals and enjoy their experience to the max. I teach mainly adults but my colleague Niti is also really good with children. More recently, due to the COVID crisis we have focused more on the online teaching which has allowed us to get even students from abroad, people who would like to improve their Spanish and get ready for their next visit to a Spanish speaking city. For in-person lessons (whenever possible due to the restrictions), me and my colleague Niti we teach in Las Palmas and our other colleague, Dina, teaches in Maspalomas.
La Casita de Laura Learn Spanish 4

What would you say it is the common struggle of those who start learning Spanish?

They struggle with basic conversations in interactions with locals. They feel alone and lost in translation! Especially those who come to Gran Canaria to live with their Canarian partner - when they meet their new extended family they often feel like they can’t find the words to be able to interact in basic everyday life conversations. We focus on making that integration process faster and less painful. They find in our lessons a safe space for them to make mistakes (and not be judged), get proper corrections and grammar explanations when needed. It helps them regain some control in their lives. We connect with them because we understand what they are going through. It’s very rewarding seeing them grow confidence and become the most updated Spanish version of themselves. And they know they are not alone. We have created an amazing community and we do organize free Spanish meetups online and in-person ones whenever we can.

Could you share some Spanish tips for our readers to make it easier to understand Canarians?

Here you go, the top 5 Canarian Tips that will help you a lot:

1. Letter “-S” is kind of randomly exhaled mostly at the end of words, and it sounds almost like an English “h”, but for some reason tends to sound like an omission to foreign ears. One good example would be “gracias” which really sounds like “graseeah”, or ‘hasta luego’ which sounds like “ahta looegho”.

2. Canarians use “ustedes” instead of “vosotros” when addressing more than one person at the same time (“you all”). For example, we would say “¿Ustedes son de Reino Unido?” for ‘Are you all from the UK?’, instead of “¿Vosotros sois de Reino Unido?”. This actually happens also in most countries across Latin America, so we could say that “vosotros” is only used in the mainland, and even they may understand you if you use “ustedes” and not “vosotros”. Canarians can travel to the mainland and they never have any misunderstandings, they may just sound more formal – which is not a bad thing, right?

3. When Canarians use “mi niño/a” (my child), “mi cielo” (my sky), “mi amor” (my love) they are doing it from a good place as a term of endearment, don’t take it literally. They are not calling you “my child” or “my love”, they are just trying to be friendly and more approachable. Once you get used to it, you will miss it when you go back.

4. Canarians don’t use “Pasado Compuesto (Pretérito Perfecto Compuesto)”, they use “Indefinido (Pasado Simple)” instead. But I always encourage my students to use it because it’s easier to conjugate and we understand it anyway. For example, “Hoy fui a la playa” rather than “Hoy he ido a la playa”, to say that you went to the beach earlier that day.

5. We have a beautiful and very rich dialect and very funny words for some everyday things, for example “la guagua” for bus, “papa” for potato, “mojo” for our very own Canarian red or green spicy sauce, “millo” for corn, “leche y leche” for a delicious and extremely sweet coffee with condensed milk, “fleje” for when we want to say “a lot”, “calufa” for extreme heat and “chacho/a” for buddy/girl.

Thanks so much for sharing these useful tips and for your dedication to help newcomers in Gran Canaria. How can people connect with you?

They can find “La Casita de Laura – Learn Spanish” on Google, Facebook and Instagram, and also feel free to reach out via email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. We are also working on our YouTube channel where we will be sharing tips and hacks to learn Spanish faster and easier.

So, if you would like to learn Spanish or improve it, head to “La Casita de Laura – Learn Spanish”; hands down the most fun and useful Spanish learning experience in Gran Canaria. 

Published in Sports & Activities

Go to any market or even local supermarkets and you find piles of cheese made in the Canary Islands but not all of it is the real deal. Here's how you recognise the good stuff...

The best Gran Canaria  and Canary Islands cheese is made from goat and sheep cheese although most of the cheese on sale in supermarkets is a blend of cow and goat or sheep cheese.

If a cheese has a picture of a cow on the label, you know it is a mixture. Or if it says 'mezcla de leche de cabra, oveja y VACA'. This doesn't mean that it won't be nice but it will be blander tasting and with a smoother texture than the proper stuff.

Types of Canary Islands cheese

There are well over 100 cheeseries on Gran Canaria, 500 across the islands, and Canarians love their cheese so much that they eat over 11kg per person every year.

Queso tierno is fresh cheese that hasn't had a chance to ripen. It is pure white and roughly equivalent to Mozarella. It's often served as a starter along with sweet quince or guava jelly, or in salads. Go for a brand like Pajonales (black tub) that is pure goat cheese and has some flavour because queso tierno can be bland. 

Queso semi tierno is cheese that has had some maturing time in a cellar or cave. It's still creamy and soft but has developed some flavour and sharpness. Many Canarian cheeses have gofio or pimentón rubbed into the rind during then curing process. 

Queso duro or maduro is mature cheese that has plenty of acidity and flavour. It can still be fairly soft but some go rock hard (great for grating over pasta or using to make pesto). 

Queso flor is a sheep milk cheese made using thistle sap rather than rennet. It is soft and tastes of grass and socks; a real cheese-lovers cheese. The real stuff is just called flor but you often see semi-flor which uses some rennet and is harder and milder in flavour. Proper flor comes in small wheel only a few centimetres high because it doesn't hold its shape well enough to be bigger or taller. Flor de Guia cheese has its own EU designation of origin and has to be made mostly from local sheep milk fro sheep that roam free to graze. It was first mentioned in 1526!

Queso Majorero is cheese made from goat milk in Fuerteventura. It tends to be drier, spicier and more acidic with a stronger flavour than Gran Canaria cheeeses. Try the maduro or semi curado with the pimentón rind by the Maxorata brand. This is sold in local supermarkets and has won lots of medals at the World Cheese Awards. 

Queso ahumado is smoked cheese and is traditionally made on El Hierro island. 

Find the best cheese in Gran Canaria

Gran Canaria cheeses tend to be slightly sweet with bitter, herbal notes and small irregular holes. Many are made from raw goat and sheep milk which is quite safe because the Canary Islands are brucelosis-free.

A lot of the tastiest cheeses come from mountain areas like Valsequillo and Tejeda where the goats and sheep get to graze, or at least are fed with fodder harvested on the island. 

Local markets are an excellent place to try and buy local cheeses as you always get a nibble before you have to choose. Don't be afraid to say what you like.

"Mas fuerte" means stronger while "mas suave" means milder. 

Local shops and delis also allow tasting,as do some supermarket deli counters (although Covid has made this rarer). 

No matter where you buy your cheese, try to keep it out of the fridge or at least let it warm up before you eat it. Refrigeration can change the texture of cheese, especially flor de Guía. 

 

 

Canary Islands cheese for vegetarians

All Canary Islands cheese sold in shops and markets is made with vegetarian-friendly rennet and pure queso flor is made using thistle sap rather than rennet to curdle the milk.

 

 

Tapas are not a traditional thing in Gran Canaria. You don't get the free tapa with every beer that is so common in Mainland Spain, except on Tapas nights.

That said, there are places that offer something similar to the tapas experience in the capital Las Palmas.

Toma Pan y Moja, on ther beachfront at the southern tip of Playa Chica, is one of the best. 

It has sunset views, outdoor tables (the ones furthest from the door get less breeze) for hot days and a cosy interior for those cooler winter evenings. 

The papas con mojo with heirloom black Canary Islands potatoes are delicious (summer season only). The cold tomato soup (salmorejo) is very tasty, the croquetas excellent and the ham is decent quality. Try the tortilla española with avocado if you dare!

With friendly service, generous portions and fair prices, Toma Pan y Moja is always a good bet for a snack on the Las Canteras beachfront. 

Published in Members Only
Monday, 21 June 2021 11:03

The Many Mojos And How to Majar Them

Red mojo or green mojo? 

This is always the most answered question on our Facebook page and the red version is slightly more popular. This is probably because it comes on the papas arrugadas (wrinkly popes as they are sometimes translated on local menus). Somehow, red and green are the only two mojo variations that make it onto restaurant tables. But there is far more to mojo than a binary choice.

From red and green to almond and avocado

Almond mojo is made from garlic, pimentón and peeled almonds pounded with olive oil in a pestle ands mortar. In La Palma they add smoked cheese to green mojo, in El Hierro fresh cheese to red mojo. In La Gomera they add hard cheese to the mojo and and call it almogrote.

Then there's the superb but rarely made mojo de aguacate based on avocado, herbs, green chili and cumin. Even with the standard red and green versions, every family has their own mojo recipes. 

Oregano in the green? Parsley! What about tomato in the red? Roasted tomato! Are you crazy? That is not traditional! It is in my village! 

The only thing people can agree on is that the best version is made by their gran. 

 The truth is that mojo isn't about the exact amount of chili, spice or vinegar in the mix. It's about the effort you put into mixing it. 

Throw all the ingredients into a blender and after a good blitz you get a passable mojo. But for a great sauce use a big, stone pestle-and-mortar and spend a good 15 minutes majando el mojo; grinding everything together as you gradually add the oil. The constant mixing emulsifies the oil and garlic and really gets the chili and spices infused. Mojo that is majado looks different too; thicker and textured rather than runny and homogenous. Like lava rather than ketchup.

To make an ever richer mojo, add avocado... 

Avocados and the Canary Islands

Avocadoes are from Central and South America and arrived in the Canary Islands centuries ago. Canarians were eating them in salads long before the brunch revolution made them a supermarket staple. As a kid I had avocado and jamon Serrano bocadillos for school lunch. 

So mojo de aguacate isn't just a reworking of guacamole to hitch Canarian food to the avo bandwagon. It's a bona fide Canary Islands recipe made by local grannies for generations.

It's also delicious!

 Mojo de aguacate: The recipe

I'd like to say that this is my gran's mojo de aguacate recipe but she was from Liverpool. Nana made a mean apple pie but never really dabbled with garlic and only ate avocadoes halved with Worcestershire sauce in the hole.

So instead this is my mojo de aguacte recipe honed during the lockdown and tested on two fussy kids.

You need...

  • A large avocado (a ripe Haas variety with the crinkled skin is best; check ripeness by wiggling the stump of the stalk. If it falls off easily, the avocado is ripe).
  • A mixed bunch of coriander and parsley (one or the other is fine too)
  • 1 large clove of raw garlic
  • 100 ml olive oil (a light extra virgin oil is best)
  • 25 ml of red wine vinegar
  • Teaspoon of coarse salt (the coarser the better for the majada).
  • Teaspoon cumin (lightly toasted to bring out the flavour)
  • One spicy green chili like a Habañero or a Thai chili (to taste)
  • Lemon juice

Remove the avocado flesh and chop roughly. Chop up the parsley and coriander. Grind the remaining ingredients in a pestle and mortar (blender on pulse mode if you must) as you add the oil. Add the avocado and herbs and mix into a rough paste. There's no need to grind the herbs but it helps to bash them a bit to get ther flavours out. 

Add a squirt of lemon juice to stop the surface from browning (especially if storing for later). 

Serve as a dip with veggies, or as a dressing for fish.

May the mojo be with you!

Published in Members Only
Friday, 18 June 2021 13:19

First Mango Spotted In Gran Canaria

The Gran Canaria mango season runs from summer through to February depending on the year. The first ones normally appear in the shops in July but this year they are really early.

This year Spar supermarkets are already selling little ones at an outrageous 10 euros per kilo. However, prices should fall fast as the main crop starts to ripen in the warmest spots in south Gran Canaria.

How to choose a good mango in Gran Canaria

Mangos grow all over Gran Canaria but the best ones come from the south and south west valleys like Arguineguín, Mogán and mango1Veneguera. Really fresh ones have a faint white bloom on the skin, like a fine layer of chalk dust.

 If you find a mango that smells great, it will taste just as good no matter what it looks like.The tiny yellow ones, often with sticky skin, are fibrous inside but taste delicious. Larger yellow or green ones have no fibres and you can smell them as soon as you walk into the shop.

Some varieties, like the big red ones, are delicious but don't have any odour at all. Choose one that is slightly soft to the touch but doesn't have black spots or by the stem (which indicate that it has started to rot before it ripens). 

It's often best to buy local fruit in Gran Canaria from small shops and fruterias rather than the big supermarkets. The supply chain is shorter and the fruit less likely to be picked early and kept in cold storage. 

Published in Members Only

Water flowing in Gran CanariaAs you drive or walk around Gran Canaria you get the impresssion that it's a dry island because there is no water flowing in the valleys. However, this is an illusion as almost every barranco on the island should have a natural stream. 

Before tourism, water was life in Gran Canaria. Vast networks of water channels carried it from natural springs and deep galleries carved into the island to where it was needed for drinking, washing clothes and watering crops. These stone waterways and aqueducts were built to last for centuries and managed communaly by the people they supplied. The washing points were meeting points for local commmunites and the flowing water kept valleys cool and allowed the island's birds to drink. The water was chanelled but still leaked out to keep palm groves watered.

firgas gran canariaNowadays most of the water runs through undergound pipes. The old water-sharing agreements have disappeared to be replaced with commercial contracts. Water no longer flows free and a shocking amount goes to irrigating unprofitable banana plantations that only make money thanks to huge subsidies.

Palm trees all over the island, such as the Agaete Valley and Telde, have died in their hundreds and there are no streams to act as natural firebreaks during the summer.

Free the water: A common resource and vital for tourism 

A growing number of local people are calling for change. Why does the island's water flow out of view? Why do a few people get to decide what it is used for? Why don't we put it back where it belongs; running free down the island's barrancos? Why do we spend a fortune keeping a few farmers in business when the money coGuayedra Gran Canaria 001uld be spend on rewilding the island, replanting its forests and making Gran Canaria a more attractive place to live and to visit? 

If Gran Canaria wants to be a more attractive place for walkers and visitors, putting the water back would be a good start. You only have to look at the popularity of the few places where free-flowing water remains; Azuaje, Barranco de los Cernicalos, Barranco de la Virgen up by Fontanales, and the water town of Firgas.

Firgas: Gran Canaria's water town

firgas gran canaria Firgas is the place in Gran Canaria that most visitors associate with water. The islands eponymous mineral water is bottled nearby and the main street in town has a flowing water feature. The old part of town is dotted with restored water mills, aqueducts and water channels. 

In the surrounding countryside, the main crop isn't bananas but watercress or berros, essential ingredient of one of Gran Canaria's most famous dishes; potaje de berros.

And where better to try it that in Firgas itself?Potaje de berros in Firgas

Any restaurant in or around town will serve you up a bowl of watercress, maize and pork soup, often sprinkled with gofio (toasted maize flour).

But one restaurant has upped its berros game beyond just potaje...

El Rincón de Marcos goes all in on the green stuff

El Rincón de Marcos, five minutes walk southwest of the Firgas church, puts watercress into everything. Green, pepperry bread, cress croquettes, green alioli, salads loaded with watercress,  watercress soup, even a flan (creme caramel) with a greenish hue for dessert.

The potaje de berros, alioli and croquettas are excellent, as is the bread. The dessert and a couple of other green dishes are more about the novelty than anything else (does anyone reEl Rincón de Marcos in Firgasally need a green flan?). It also serves plenty of non-watercress options like steak, calamares and papas arrugadas.

The restaurant itself is rustic with an outdoor terrace for warm days and cosy indoor rooms for the inevitable wet days. There's a reason why Firgas is famous for water; it's one of the island's rainiest spots. 

Book el Rincón de Marcos if you plan to visit Firgas at the weekend but you should be fine just walking in on weekdays, especially if you turn up early (before 14.00). 

 

































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Firgas town in north Gran Canaria is famous for water. The island's eponymous mineral water is bottled nearby, the main street has a waterfall, and the old part of town is dotted with restored mills and aqueducts.

 

 

Published in Members Only

Gran Canaria Info has teamed up with a quality local transport company to offer you a safe and reliable transfer service from Gran Canaria airport direct to your accommodation.

The service lets you skip the airport taxi queues, save money, and travel direct to your accommodation with no delays or hidden charges. The quality of this service is guaranteed by Gran Canaria Info; the island's top source of quality local information. 

The Gran Canaria Info airport transfer service includes the following...

  • Greeting at the arrival gate by your driver
  • Transfer to your accommodation in a quality, fully insured car by a licensed, multilingual driver
  • Payment on arrival apart from the booking deposit of 20%

 The prices of the Gran Canaria Info airport transfer service for up to 3 people*  in euros are as follows...

  • Airport - Playa del Ingles 40. Return 75
  • Airport - Meloneras / Pasito Blanco 45. Return 85
  • Airport - Puerto Rico 50. Return 90
  • Airport - Mogan 60. Return 100

*Covid rules limit the number of passengers in a standard taxi or private transfer vehicle to three. 

 For larger groups of four to eight people, with transport in a Mercedes van, the prices are as follows...

  • Airport - Playa del Ingles 50. Return 100
  • Airport - Meloneras / Pasito Blanco 55. Return 100
  • Airport - Puerto Rico 60. Return 110
  • Airport - Mogan 70. Return 120

To book a Gran Canaria airport transfer just fill in this form, leave a small deposit and you will receive a confirmation form right away. Our transfer service will then be in touch to arrange the details of where you will be met, etc. Any questions or problems, just let us know and well sort them out right away. 

Published in Book excursions
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