Where to Stay in Gran Canaria

We are constantly being asked about options for travel to and accommodation in Gran Canaria, with many people looking for hotels, flats, apartments, studios, or houses and villas for rent. This page is a summary of our experience and knowledge.

The South of Gran Canaria

The sandy beach of Puerto Rico is a great place for the family and sunbathing; for scuba diving in Puerto Rico, a short ride will take you to some excellent diving in the Arinaga marine Reserve
This is the most popular holiday destination and has over 100,000 holiday beds available, almost entirely located in the resorts of Maspalomas, Playa del Ingles, San Agustin, Bahia Feliz, Sonnenland, Meloneras, Puerto Rico and Mogan. They range from simple apartments up to the five star luxury of the Gran Residencia. With strong competition between tour operators to fill these beds our first recommendation is therefore to get a package deal from a principle tour operator, such as Thomas Cook or Sunset Holidays, which combines a flight, airport transfer and accommodation.

If you or your partner wants a complete package, to sit by a pool, go clubbing at night, or mix with other like-minded tourists, then this is the place for you. You can choose the level of accomodation, the type of resort and local amenities from over a hundred options.

Divers wanting to dive in El Cabron or the north should select a package in Bahia Feliz, San Agustin, Playa del Ingles, Maspalomas, Meloneras, or Sonnenland, as this will give a relatively short transfer of 15-25 minutes to our dive centre.

Las Palmas and the North of Gran Canaria

The sandy beach of Las Palmas is a great place for the family and sunbathing; for scuba diving in Las Palmas, a short ride will take you to some excellent diving in the Arinaga marine Reserve
In the 1950's, Las Palmas was a secret winter holiday destination for the rich, but with the opening of many new hotels in the South, the town became more commercial and oriented to the port. However in recent years it has been rediscovered by many travellers, especially since the site AirBnB opened up the ability to book small apartments and hostels in the surfing zone.

Las Palmas is an authentic Spanish City with the longest urban beach in the world, a museum to Christopher Columbus, a football team back in the premier division of La Liga, and one of the biggest Carnival parades in Europe every year. As a city it is a great place to stay and you can get to all the main points of the Island via the motorways very quickly.

Stay in one of the major hotels, or in the area close to Playa de Las Canteras, or Vegueta (old town) in the south. We can normally arrange a pick-up from Las Palmas, but if not there is a very easy single bus transfer to Arinaga where we meet you at the local bus stop. If you are coming by boat you can stay in Muelle deportivo and if you come to Las Palmas on a cruise then we also do a single day pick-up service.

Independent Travel to Gran Canaria

Arinaga has a long promenade, but all the buildings are houses and flats for local residents
If you want to stay out of the bustle of the tourist resorts, then it can be relatively simple to put together your own tailored package. UK customers can now book both return and single flights on the web with low-cost airlines such as Ryanair, Jet2, Monarch and Easyjet; and tour operators including Thomas Cook, Airtours and Thomson. There are direct flights to Gran Canaria from most countries in Europe including the UK, Ireland, Germany, Holland, Sweden, Norway, Belgium, France, Switzerland, Austria and Portugal.

When you arrive you will need to organise your own transfer, with car hire and taxi being favorite options. All taxis are metered and it costs about €25 to get a taxi from the airport to Arinaga.

Gran canaria central mountains beautiful scenery
If you search online you will find a huge selection of apartments, villas, fincas and more, including many in the beautiful centre of the Island. Please remember that if you stay up in the mountains you will need a long break after your dive, at sea level, to reduce the risk of mountain induced decompression sickness!

If you or the family want to undertake other adventure activities in Gran Canaria such as hiking, running, cycling, windsurfing, or surfing then there are plenty of great walks, rides and trails for all levels from the not so fit to the super fit. This is where the Tour de France teams practice in winter, and where the 'Trans' race is an extreme fitness challenge.

Staying in Arinaga

the Aveneida in Arinaga, Gran Canaria
the Aveneida and beach

Arinaga is a strange town on a holiday island .. it has only one small hotel with six rooms! It used to be 'off' the main tourist routes, as there was almost no accommodation available for short term hire. For many years it was the favourite 'local beach' for many of the residents of Gran Canaria, who would come down to Arinaga for the day. However over the last few years a lot of 'short-term' accommodation has become available via AirBnB and Booking.com and this has been eagerly used by many 'sunbirds' from Nordic countries and Germany over the winter. Despite this small influx, Arinaga remains firmly and solidly a Spanish town, speaking predominately Spanish in the shops and bars, with locals out walking and greeting each other along the aveneida all day long.

the Muelle in Arinaga, Gran Canaria
Muelle de Arinaga

It is principally a dormitory town with a typical relaxed Canarian atmosphere. At present all the short-term accommodation we are aware of are all self-catering, and we have been using the following for several years:

There also more small apartments to be found on AirBnB and Booking.com. These are all ideal for divers looking for somewhere completely different to stay, in a town that is truly Spanish in character.

Nautilus Apartments in the Canary Islands take their shape from the bow of a ship to make best use of their corner site.
Nautilus Apartments
These Apartments in Arinaga have one ground floor studio flat and one seperate apartments on three floors.
Sea-view Apartment
The house on calle Mero is well appointed and will sleep up to six adults
House on calle Mero

For those wanting more of a hotel than an apartment, in nearby Vecindario the Hotel Avenida de Canarias is very reasonably priced, but not in a tourist area, while for more refinement the nearest 4* hotel is the Gran Hotel Aeropuerto de Vecindario. This is a four star business hotel, and in some places describes itself as being in 'Las Palmas'.

If you want a different character again, in the old town of Aguimes the Rural Hotel "Villa de Agüimes" is full of charm and authentic Canarian character, and is set in the beautifully restored heart of the town. The Aguimes Tourist office also has some holiday apartments to let in the town, but divers need to be cautious .. Aguimes is 300m above sea level so an extended surface interval of at least one hour is required after the last dive of the day before ascending to your hotel. Look at TURISMO RURAL DE AGüIMES for more details.

The lowest cost option is of course to camp, and in 2011 the council inaugurated a fully provisioned camping site just up the coast at Vargas, with protected pitches, showers and barbecues. This is very popular with the surfing community, and they also offer a package which includes tent and bedding for just €12.50 per night. We also collect divers from the campsite.

Because there is such a wide range of different accommodation available, there are two ways we recommend for finding somewhere to stay in Gran Canaria. If you book a package with a major Tour Operator, such as Thomas Cook or Airtours, then you can be assured that the property has been tested, inspected, and that the price includes airport transfers. While if you want to be more independent, and put together a more personal package, then we recommend Viajes Islas Canarias Tours who are one of the local specialists and can recommend a wide range of different options. You can e-mail then your enquiry or call them on (00 34) 928 76 03 86

Finally, if you want a self catering option back in the popular tourist areas (and remember that we offer a free collection service from the resorts of the South) then there are several other pages and websites which may help you:

Discover more secrets of the best diving in Gran Canaria