I was rather hesitant in visiting Gran Canaria after hearing so much about the Island, the type and age of the gay men who visit the island and of course the monstrous Yumbo Centre. I had put off a visit for many years, but after receiving an invitation from the newest gay resort Club Torso (pictured above) in Maspalomas I decided to give the island a chance. I booked my flight with Condor from Berlin to Las Palmas over the Christmas period, avoiding the terrible Christmas stress and the awful winter weather in Berlin.
Indeed I had incredible luck with the weather during my ten days on the largest of the Canary Islands, only 5 hours flight from Berlin. The sun welcomed me upon my arrival and stayed with me during the entire ten days. It was wonderful to get away from winter and enjoy the fantastic pool and Jacuzzi in Club Torso (see: www.clubtorso.com).
I picked up my hire car from the airport and drove the 30 minutes to Maspalomas. I was welcomed by Martijn from Club Torso and checked into my poolside bungalow with a view of the pool and Jacuzzi. The bungalows are very comfortable and have their own, fully equipped kitchens, ideal for people like me who love cooking! In the local supermarket I found amazing seafood which meant my Christmas meal was sorted!
Time to discover more of the surroundings. A hire car proved to be a good idea on the island, especially if you want to discover the areas off the tourist tracks. The roads are very good – although somewhat confusing at first due to the number of small roads everywhere. Guests who only want to enjoy the sun, sea and sex don’t need a car. Club Torso and most other resorts offer a pick-up service from the airport. The main gay beach as well as Yumbo are within easy walking distance from the resort.
The botanical garden of Gran Canaria is also around the corner from Club Torso and not far from Yumbo. Here there are many local plants which grow on the island. On 27 hectares the visitors have the possibility to admire the Canary flora during the day. The fauna tends to come out in the late afternoon and evening and can be found at the local watering holes in Yumbo centre!
Meloneras, the western part of Maspalomas, with its exotic hotels, diverse restaurants and shopping malls is well worth a visit. To make this part of the island fit for the future around 500 million Euros were invested a few years ago by the EU and the Spanish state for the renovation of the Costa Canaria. Gran Canaria has successfully spent a lot of money and effort to improve its image.
Another centre of attraction are the dunes of Maspalomas. The 5 km long dune belt at the south point of the island is a protected area since 1987 and is a paradise for nature-lovers. The sand dunes which remind one of the Sahara in neighbouring Africa are of maritime origin. It is quite a long haul through the dunes to the beach. Some guys take the whole day to reach the beach as they get caught up in the cruising area where not only gay men are out hunting but also straight couples!
The gay beach is easy to find, thanks to the rainbow flag. There is a small kiosk bar selling drinks and snacks alongside the beach chairs and umbrellas (the prices for both are amazingly inexpensive, compared to some of the other Spanish islands).
After a good night sleep in my comfortable bungalow in Club Torso and a tasty poolside breakfast, which is included in the accommodation rate, it is time to discover the island once again. My destination is the town Tajeda, located at 1049 m above sea level on the windy national road GC 811. The serpentine roads are good but extremely windy This town is famous for its almond plantations which are amazing in January and February when the trees blossom. A more recent addition to this mountainous town is the restaurant Dejate Llevar – Lounge Cafe. The two owners Fernando and Nikolaos (a Greek guy) are amazing hosts. The view of the mountans from the outdoor terrace is breathtaking! Try out the wonderful local and international cuisine cooked by Nikos mother from Wednesday to Sunday 1-9pm. (See: www.letmetakeu.com)
Another interesting place to visit is Puerto Rico – the biggest of six artificially created holiday worlds located in the municipality Mogan. It is interesting to see the hotels built in the mountain slopes and the artificial sand beach with a promenade and cafes, as well as a yacht harbour.
The evenings start in Meloneras with its vast range of top quality restaurants. There is something here for every taste. The nightlife in Yumbo only starts at around 11pm. This shopping centre, built in 1982 and renovated in 2003 has over 200 shops and gastronomic businesses on four floors.
The gay bars and clubs in Yumbo are well known even far beyond the borders of the Canary Islands. Some bars and cafes are open in the early afternoon, for example Cafe Vienna – famous for its cakes. Usually bars open between 7 and 8pm although they only really start getting busy after 11pm. On the terraces of the bars one can sip a drink and enjoy the hustle and bustle on the “Catwalk”. Follow the crowds who go from one bar to the next and end up in the clubs which are open until the early hours of the morning.
The restaurants are good, the nightlife is exciting, the beaches are clean and ideal for meeting or making new friends and the guesthouses and resorts cater to your specific needs. I will definitely be going back to the Island. I regret not visiting it earlier and enjoyed the Christmas break – away from the stress and bad weather in northern Europe.