Gran Canaria is an island in the Canary Islands of Spain that are just off the coast of northwestern Africa. It is well known for its fascinating volcanic and forested scenery and excellent beaches with both white and black sand. The capital is Las Palmas: a bustling city and major cruise ship port with duty-free shopping available. It is located in the north of the island and hosts the island's only commercial airport.
The interior of the island is mountainous, with the most notable peak being Pico de Las Nieves. This area is ideal for hiking, biking and climbing. The Maspalomas Dunes are a popular destination on the southern coast with a lighthouse dating back to the 19th century. A little further along is Playa del Inglés and Puerto Rico, which are both popular tourist resorts, while San Agustín and Puerto de Mogán are quieter spots. There are several 4 star hotels in Gran Canaria in the popular areas.
Located in the south of Gran Canaria, Palmitos Park is a botanical garden with a bird park, butterfly house, dolphinarium and aquarium. The park is located 10 km from the beaches of Maspalomas. The gardens display several species of cacti and succulents, and the aviary is home to more than 1,500 species. It features regular displays by birds of prey.
The capital city of the island offers much in the way of history including the Casa de Colón museum, which offers exhibits relating to Christopher Columbus, and the Museo Canario offering archaeological artefacts. The city offers duty-free shopping, excellent dining and a good nightlife. Las Canteras beach in the city centre offers a protected swimming area and a diving zone.
There is a variety of hotel accommodation on offer in all tourist areas of the island. Of particular note is the Marina Suites Puerto Rico, a family and couples apartment hotel close to the marina in Puerto Rico. The apartments come fully equipped, are attractively decorated and have free WiFi, and the complex offers a swimming pool, children's pool and Jacuzzi.
There is a restaurant, café and poolside snack bar for guests. In Las Palmas, Hotel Reina Isabel is a beachfront hotel offering air-conditioned guest rooms and suites with private balconies. Rooms have refrigerators, flat-screen TVs and free WiFi. There are two restaurants and two coffee shops plus a poolside bar for guests to enjoy.