People keep asking me how to choose WHERE to live in Gran Canaria, which resort to choose and where to stay – South or North? In fact, this question covers several main criterias, you need to decide on when choosing your resrot. Firsly – weather. Do you preffer long sunshine hours or do you want to experience all the Gran Canarian climate has to offer? Secondly – big city or small town? And third, do you prefer active and noisy places or calm resort?
Let’s start from the most popular South part of the island. South is known as the sun land all the year long. It offers sunny days and 1 to 10 °C degrees higher temperature than in the North. To tell you the truth, almost every time when it was raining in Las Palmas, Maspalomas visitors were enjoying hot and sunny time (up to +30°C on the beach in winter time). Hwever, the minus of Maspalomas or Playa del Ingles locations is that ithey are always full of tourists and loud pubs. As well as good restaurants. Nethertheless, sometimes you might get bored with sun and want some fresh rain or clouds in the sky. (Well, that’s what people living in California say.)
So, here is the list of the most popular Gran Canaria holiday destinations in the South. Sun lands, guaranteeing some sunshine almost everyday all the year round. You will find some photos and short descriptions to help you out.
Maspalomas dunes zone
Maspalomas is the second largest city in Gran Canaria. The name of Maspalomas takes the long beach area in the East-South, of almost 17 kilometers (from the Bahia Feliz to Meloneras). So here I talk about Maspalomas as Maspalomas beach area. What is it known for? Stunning beautiful white sand beaches full of tourists, and famous tourist check point – Maspalomas dunes. Uniquely, these dunes are worth there fame – they are like a piece of desert landed in Gran Canaria. So everyone could taste what it feels like to walk in the desert.
Well, but talking about living here, we must mention, that Maspalomas residential area is very popular among locals, who prefer calm and good living. As Maspalomas is the city, it has all the amenities of it – shopping, market, infrastructure (such as nursery schools, schools), comfortable local transport, beach and dunes. However, you might need a car or a bus stop nearby as distances here might be quite long ones (i.e. to the beach or to the supermarket).
To sum up – Maspalomas is quiet in the residential areas, vibrant in the beach area, it has few hilly promenades.
Playa del Ingles
This the most loud and crowded resort in Gran Canaria, full of hotels and apartments suiting every taste. Why choose this town? Firstly, temperature is good all year round. And Playa del Ingles is the most popular destination among the nightlife and beach lovers. It is lively, it offers good choice of bars, caffes, restaurants and pubs. As well as tourist oriented shopping places, which are more like indoor markets and leasure centers (such as popular in UK). In addition, here you will find a lovely promenade and nice comfortable beach.
Meloneras is like a more up-market location for tourists who want to enjoy higher class holiday. Correspondingly the average price level here is a little higher than in other resorts. In the first place, it is a nice seaside town with good restaurants, seaside hotels, beautiful promenade, famous lighthouse and some shopping centers. Secondly, it offers nice beach (at the end of Maspalomas dunes). And it is usually popular among tourists, coming to see the lighthouse. As it was mentioned – Meloneras is not a big city, more like a small town, but has all the attributes of the city, such as shopping, variety of places to eat, hotels, activities.
Puerto Rico is a small tourist’s town stepping up to the mountains. Nethertheless, it is one of the most popular South destinations among nightlife lovers. In addition, Puerto Rico is famous for it’s small white sand beach, yachts, cristal clear waters, boat tours. Some places uphill may require for a permanent car – if you live on the mountain, it can be difficult to climb the steps or go up a hill every day to reach the supermarket or the beach. To sum up, we would recommend this place for active tourists, who preffer both active and relaxing holiday time.
Puerto de Mogan resort
Lovely holiday resort all covered in flowers and guaranteeing some sun all the year round. Like in a tale – tiny cosy streets with many shops, some nice restaurants and cafes makes you fall in love with Puerto de Mogan. Therefore, this south town attracts a number of tourists for sightseeing, picturesque views, sea boat tours, shopping and street market on Saturday. The beach is really nice, but quite small and might be too busy on popular holiday days or when the tourism season starts. In addition, have in mind that Friday is the market day. Therefore, all the streets and entrances to Puerto de Mogan are jammed with cars and traffic. As well as this little gem gets too crowded with people. So if you are up to have a relaxing day here, avoid Friday. On the other hand – if you are up to buy some local or African souvenirs, or need some casualties, clothes, etc. – Friday is just right for you.
Very calm small resort, with the small beach (rocky), surrounded by few hotels and apartments up and down the hill. Actually, it is not a town really, it’s more like few holtels in one place. We stayed in one of the hotels on the hill during our first visit to Gran Canaria. Even there is a bus stop down the hill, the car was a great thing for our holiday. The views are really nice and it is a good place to live for those who have a car and enjoy calm environment. In addition it offers affordable rent price on the south shore.
Nice medium town, near Puerto Rico. Near some nice beaches, reachable on foot. Very popular among Scandinavians (Finnish, Swedish, Norwegian tourists).
San Augustin and Bahia Feliz
Small, more hotel and apartments based areas, more suitable for short stay or calm holiday lovers, on the other hand – it’s not so far from the vibrant Maspalomas, reachable by the promenade.
More budget friendly places
If you are a budget traveler and want to live in the calm budget place, I have few recommendations.
First, consider Taurito. Second, consider suburbs of Las Palmas near the sea and near the airport – La Garita, (Playa de) Melenara, (Playa de) Salinetas. These areas less touristic and have some nice rent options for families, who want to live in the family-friendly quarter. They have some houses, some luxury places, but also you can find reasonable accomodation. Quiet locations – some seems like the sleeping quarters, because most of the people work in Las Palmas or Maspalomas. Here you can find some small parks, beaches, small streets, not too many people, small shops and local feeling. Moreover, it is only 10-25 minutes from Las Palmas or 15-25 from Maspalomas.
One more suggestion – even more price-friendly, but a little less romantic Spanish town – Arinaga. To add – it’s completely off the beaten track. Arinaga is very local town, near the industrial area and airport. Sounds like not too much holiday? Well, there is a dark sand beach, promenade, few restaurants. Actually, almost no tourist. It is not far from the airport. Nothing very special, but quite cheap option. Might be a good location to stay for a winter and explore the island with the lower budget.