We have just returned home from a week in Gran Canaria.
This was our first trip to the Canary Islands. Lying on a beach is not for us, and we don’t like places that are too hot. So although I knew there was more to the islands than their beach resorts, there have always been places that were more appealing to us.
But I found a cheap and convenient flight to Gran Canaria (with Jet2) and thought – why not?
A quick bit of research showed that there are fantastic places to walk in the centre of the island. And for a quieter place to stay, Puerto de Mogan looked idyllic.
My idea was that we could stay in Puerto de Mogan and get buses to other parts of the island to go walking and exploring each day. We could then enjoy Puerto de Mogan in the evenings when the day trippers had left.
A good plan – but I should have done more research.
Puerto de Mogan
Puerto de Mogan is indeed idyllic. There are picturesque streets with bougainvillea-covered arches, tidal channels which earn the village its nickname ‘Little Venice’, and a tidy port surrounded by waterfront restaurants.
It is a very popular destination for coach excursions, so it does get very busy during the day (especially on Friday when there is a large market). But it is really charming when the coaches have left and peace returns.
Puerto de Mogan is really easy to reach via a regular direct bus service straight from the airport(see timetables). And we stayed in a fantastic hotel – the Hotel Cordial Mogan Playa – which has such amazing grounds that it is like staying in a botanical garden.
I cannot praise the hotel highly enough – staying here was a memorable experience. As well as the fantastic collection of exotic plants, many labelled, there is also a marked trail around an archaeological site, fountains, pools, secluded courtyards and even some canaries.
So where did we go wrong?
What I Should Have Realised
- It was seriously hot! I wrongly assumed that the temperature would be cooling down by the beginning of October, but late September is actually the hottest time of the year.
- I had booked us into our hotel on a half board basis, but there are so many restaurants around the port that B&B would have been better. We could still have used the hotel’s excellent restaurant a couple of evenings, but strolling around the port in the late evening would have been lovely.
- Getting a bus to the centre of the island from Puerto de Mogan to do even a short walk is totally impractical.
The last point was the one that spoilt the holiday for us. If you simply want to go from one beach resort to another, there is no problem (see timetables). But if you want to go up into the mountains from Puerto de Mogan, and have time to do a reasonable walk, it is simply not possible by bus.
The main bus service from the south of the island up to San Bartolome and Tejeda is the Number 18 service from the Playa de Maspalomas. There is one bus that goes so early that to connect with it from Puerto de Mogan would mean missing the hotel’s excellent breakfast (not an option!). The next bus does not leave Playa de Maspalomas until 11.00 am, and it only goes as far as San Bartolome – not all the way to Tejeda.
Of course we could have hired a car. But driving through the busy beach resorts is not appealing. The road up to San Bartolome is one of the most spectacular roads we have ever been on, but it is definitely not for the faint-hearted (see separate post coming soon). Again we much prefer to use public transport – roads like this can so easily be spoilt by too many cars, and you can appreciate the amazing views so much better on a bus, while leaving the driving to someone who knows the road well.
And although Puerto de Mogan is lovely, it is not the best base to walk from. There is a road in the process of being built which gives access to the cliffs, from where there is a trail along the deserted coast north of Puerto de Mogan. But this was closed with an impenetrable barrier when we visited.
The road south to Taurito was also officially closed due to a landslide, but after seeing other people pass the barrier, we decided to do the same.
This was a pleasant enough stroll, with great sea views, but not exactly the mountains we had in mind.
How We Would Do It Next Time
If, like us, you want to go walking in the central part of Gran Canaria, the options are
- Hire a car
- Stay in Maspalomas or Las Palmas where there are more bus services
- Stay up in the centre of the island
As I mentioned above, we prefer not to hire a car if possible. And although Maspalomas and Las Palmas have their charms, they are busier than the places we like to stay. And even here the bus services into the hills are infrequent and at inconvenient times.
The brief glimpse we got of the mountains and footpaths in the centre of the island was enough to convince us that we would like to return. And Puerto de Mogan is so nice….
So here is what we will do next time.
- Go in February/March when it is cooler
- Get a bus from the airport to Puerto de Mogan and stay a couple of nights
- Spend a whole day getting to Tejeda by bus via Playa de Maspalomas and San Bartolome – worth it for the journey alone
- Spend a few nights in a hotel at (or near) Tejeda and walk from there
- Return to the airport by bus via Las Palmas
If we get round to doing this one day, I will let you know how we get on!