Are you in need of some warmer weather? Sarah Jayne, a member from our Explore team, tells us about her fantastic time walking in Gran Canaria in November, in shorts and t-shirt may we add!
When we touched down at Las Palmas International on a Saturday morning in late November, and the Captain announced the local temperature of 28 degrees, the entire aircraft let out a whoop of joy. Off came the layers of fleece and wool as we welcomed the thoughts of sangria in the sunshine.
Our week long walking holiday in the volcanic island of Gran Canaria
started with a couple of nights in the charming artistic hub of Aguimes. We spent the our first afternoon catching up with our fellow Explorers and spending time, as the locals do, eating fresh and tasty tapas, al fresco.
The next day, our hike took us up through an ancient ravine, where we encountered some uneven paths where lava once flowed, to the view of the dramatic Guayadeque Canyon. The steep ascent that followed raised our heart rates and body temperatures, as well as an appetite for lunch. We soon stopped at a perfect picnic spot overlooking the Atlantic Ocean with views of the South Western tip of neighbouring Fuertaventura and took the opportunity to relax and soak up the sunshine.
The highlight of Aguimes by far was the surprise wine and cheese tasting dinner that was hosted by Laura, who owns a small new business next door to our hotel. We got to sample plenty of regional Canarian Cheese and wine as well as some mouth-watering pork and locally grown tomatoes.
Our second base on the west side of the island is the town of La’Aldea which is an excellent location for the hikes around the Caldera.
Our walks across the vast volcanic landscape were stunning, with the bright blue sky contrasting against the red stone and little white washed villages scattered over the landscape.
The highest point of Gran Canaria is Picos de las Nieves, at 1949m above sea level with spectacular views over the Bandama Caldera, one of the many natural sites on the island.
We ascend by bus, travelling up winding roads with breath-taking views. Our Explore leader, Victor, carried some ginger sweets for those of us feeling a bit uneasy with the drive. Once we reached the top those feelings were blown away in the breeze. Even at the end of November and this high up, I was still able to wear a t-shirt and shorts.
We then hiked from the Peak along to Roque Nublo, an icon of Gran Canaria which marks the centre of the island. We were thankful to take a short drive, with an ice-cream pit stop in the warm afternoon sun, before embarking on our second walk of the day. On this walk we passed by the Acusa Cliffs that were home to many aboriginals in the Stone Age, a fantastic site to see.
My most memorable moment of the trip was tucking into a delicious sunset seafood dinner, in a family run restaurant near the beach in La’Aldea. As we sat and relaxed whilst admiring the views of the majestic Mount Teide over Tenerife, the skies turned into a stunning spectrum of reds and pinks and purples.
Island weather can be unpredictable, so to maximise the chance of having the best views, our Explore leader, Victor, swapped some of our itinerary around. This worked out perfectly and we only experienced a drizzle of ran whilst we were on the bus back to Aguimes.
The walks were rewarding in that it would be fairly strenuous at parts, but there was enough flat terrain and a plenty of rest stops to keep this as a moderate graded trip.
The rest day in our itinerary allowed us to visit the sand dunes at Maspalomas or to embark on another hike. As a group, we decided to see some other parts of the island and Victor started our venture in the South of the island.
First to the pretty fishing harbour of Puerto Mogan nestled in a valley, bustling with restaurants and bars around the marina and the beach front. After a few hours we went on to explore the Maspalomas Dune System which is a unique wildlife and nature reserve, 400 hectares including a fantastic beach, palm grove and a lagoon. This is surrounded by the resort where we had the opportunity to stroll along the beachfront cafes in the sunshine or catch a suntan on Playa del Ingles beach.
Before I went to on this trip I was struggling to get over a cold that I’d caught whilst trekking in the Himalayas and was a little worried how fit I’d be. It sounds cliché but having a week in the sunshine was the best medicine and I’ve come back home feeling fitter and healthier than I have done all year!
Click here to see our departures and full trip information for our Walking the Gran Isla trip in Gran Canaria