GRAN CANARIA

Gran Canaria With Your Dog

Checking out the dunes of Maspalomas and climbing the Roque Nublo, from where you will see impressive views of Teide National Park (Tenerife). Only plans to visit these two places merit a trip to the island of Gran Canaria. That’s it – if you want to go to a dog-friendly beach, this is not your destination. And watch out because in the capital, and other towns, families with dogs are prohibited from walking in the main streets in the tourist areas. 

I was in Gran Canaria in December 2018. We stayed in the Maspalomas area, not the capital (Las Palmas de Gran Canaria), and we used apartments because we did not find enough dog-friendly hotel options (approximately 10 percent of the hotels on the island admit dogs, but there are zones where you won’t find one). If you look for lodging in specialized websites like www.bringfido.com, you’ll see that the options are concentrated in Maspalomas, and that in the capital there are hardly any dog-friendly hotels.

This destination suggests sun and beaches, but dogs are practically not able to step foot on this island. There is a coastal zone to the south of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria set up for dogs, but the area is so degraded by the strong swells that everyone advised us against going, so we didn’t bother. It is called Playa de Bocabarranco. From what we were told, strong-minded families with dogs are not deterred from going to the beaches, although they do risk getting a citation.

With the beaches officially ruled out, this left us with nature zones. To the south you don’t want to miss out on the magnificent dunes of Maspalomas. Dogs are not able to enter in them (although we saw one walking in this desert landscape). What is good is that we are able to walk on the long path that goes along the Playa del Ingles and we took some great photos near the beautiful viewpoint at the Hotel Riu. 

Another worthwhile excursion is the Roque Nublo, a great icon of Gran Canaria. It is an enormous rocky formation of volcanic origin that reaches 80 meters high and is located 1,800 meters above sea level in the center of the island. You can arrive to this area by car and then you have to walk about 40 minutes via a trail with precious views. And on clear days you can see Tenerife and La Gomera.

ALOE VERA FIELDS AND PUERTO DE MOGÁN 

We went to Roque Nublo from Maspalomas and, on the way, we stopped in the Fataga ravine, known as the valley of a thousand palm trees, where we visited a field of aloe vera plants. It is operated by Finca Canarias and they explain to you all the features of this plant that grows wild on the islands and has many attributes. The visits are guided and dog-friendly. And if you want, you can buy the various products they make from the plants, which are ecologically grown. 

From Maspalomas we also spent an afternoon at Port Mogán, which is about 20 minutes away by car. It is an old fishing village impeccably preserved and it has a pretty beach and sports area full of restaurants and stores. Known as the “little Venice of the Canaries,” it is undoubtedly one of the most elegant tourist sites on the island. 

And elegance is what you see and breathe on the sea path that starts at the lighthouse of Maspalomas and passes all the way to the Meloneras beach. Stores, restaurants, and luxury hotels that are worth seeing. Of course, many of these restaurants and businesses are dog friendly.

IT IS PROHIBITED TO WALK WITH YOUR DOG THROUGH THE MAIN TOURIST ZONE OF LAS PALMAS

The outlook changes in the capital. There are some 60,000 dogs living there, but surprisingly, Las Palmas Gran Canaria expressly prohibits families with dogs from walking on the 5-kilometer seaside path that passes through the Las Canteras beach area. Unbelievable, but it’s true.

It is the main tourist area of the city. Yet tourists with dogs are not welcome. It appears that the reason is to keep the area free of dog poop, but in our opinion, this just transfers the problem to the surrounding areas. Wouldn’t it be better to take actions to raise awareness and give exemplary tickets to those who don’t pick up after their dog instead of prohibiting such a large part of your citizens from enjoying this main recreational area? The sad part is that this practice has extended to other cities on the island, according to many of the locals.

One of the things we did like is that Las Palmas requires you to carry a bottle of water to dilute your dog’s urine. Until recently, it had to be soapy water, like in Valladolid, but now it can be water with nothing else.

TRANSPORTATION

To get around the island, the best option is to rent a car. There are several companies and the prices are good. Some of them charge you a penalty if you return the car full of dog hair, therefore, in order to return the car in good condition and to avoid this problem, it is best to be prepared with a blanket to cover the back seat, and to use a lint roller to remove the hair. And don’t forget the car safety harness for your dog!

Another option is a taxi (request one by telephone that will accept dogs). Recently, the buses (“guaguas” in the Canaries) from the company Global have started allowing dogs to ride (10 kilo max). 

With respect to bars and restaurants, one must highlight the fact that to enjoy the good weather, the patios are the best option. And almost all of them accept dogs. Of course, on the Las Canteras promenade in the capital, as we’ve said, you won’t be able to sit with your dog and enjoy the sea views. But if you look at a map, there are some small street sections that merge with the promenade (calle Sagunto, calle Numancia . . .) and on those, sometimes, the city looks the other way and allows you to sit with your dog to have a bite or a drink. Next to the promenade there is a vegetarian, dog friendly restaurant that is quite recommendable: Bioloco.

In the old city area of Las Palmas you can have a coffee with very good cakes in Pastelía Guiniguada (highlights are the three chocolate tart and the special meat pie made at Christmas time).

In the capital, there are very few dog-friendly businesses (El Corte Ingles and that’s it).

And when you go out for a walk, bring along a bottle of water to drink! You won’t find a single public water fountain. In addition, it isn’t recommended to drink the tap water. Everyone will tell you to drink bottled water. 

THANKS TO SHANA AND JEFF MINTZ FOR TRANSLATING THE ORIGINAL TEXT 

WHERE TO EAT OR HAVE COFFEE

BIOLOCO (CALLE ALFREDO L. JONES 33, LAS PALMAS DE GRAN CANARIA).

PASTELERÍA GUINIGUADA (CALLE ARMAS, 12, VEGUETA. LAS PALMAS DE GRAN CANARIA).