Welcome to Gran Canaria! If you’re just arrived in the city, and you’re on this page, it means that maybe you’d like to know something more of what you have around! 😉
Well, the island of Gran Canaria is a perfect place to explore and discover new cultures and lifestyles. But if you don’t have a rented car, or you don’t like the bus, why searching so long to find a wild place? Why… if the answer is located in the same city of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, at just 30 mins walking from Mercado del Puerto or (even better!) going on walking 20 mins in the North direction on Las Canteras beach?
From the first red point to the second one, you’ll join the sunny beach of El Confital, a special place that is always in its “beta version” as the Cabildo always has some work-in-progress on the area. Despite this, it’s a very enjoyable zone, very well prepared for bathing and taking sun even without sand: in fact, it’s a rocks and stones beach.
From the second red point to the third one, there’s the walking of La Isleta to go inside. Half of this small peninsula is a military area, but the signs and nets are so old and ruined that nobody can actually say if the prohibition is still active or not. Also, the other side of the peninsula have been declared as “protected landscape” from the Government, for its geomorphological structures. As the amount of militaries on the island decreased when the dictatorship of General Franco ended – and it’s still a process that is going on – in the last years the Municipality is trying to recover some of these areas by new agreements with the Army and the Defense Department of Spain.
If, on one hand, the restrictions on the zone for more than 50 years allowed the nature to be uncontaminated from the direct pollution and the increasing of the city, on the other hand the military’s choice stole to the people the possibility to walk and enjoy such a wonderful space that should be consciously opened to the public to be shown.
It’s obvious that nobody is thinking to place a fast food or a commercial centre there, but the best intentions are about a camping area, or even just a rebuilding of the paths.
When you are there, you’ll also notice a second line of nets that surely are more new and actual as “limited military area” than the old ones. For sure these are so damaged and unreadable that no one in this world can use them as an excuse to limitate or block the access to this natural wonderful place. As example, this is one of the most famous routes in the city for the training of the runners, but it’s usual to find there also people with scooters or entire groups of fishermen!
Thanks to Google Maps and the Google Street View technology, we were able to make some pictures to give you an idea of what can expect from the place, so follow the links down here to see the paths in advance… 🙂
El Confital – Walking Route
La Isleta – Walking Route
As you’ve seen the first is a very short path, perfect if you’re on holidays in Las Palmas and you want to enjoy a day at the beach, but avoiding the noise that sometimes affects Las Canteras. You’ve to consider that in the city there are just two beaches, Alcaravaneras and Las Canteras (that is also the main touristic centre!).
That’s why is so important for us to show you these places, especially because of our mission. After the beach of El Confital it’s almost impossible that you don’t want to continue the walk until the north point of La Isleta! So, in the second route we posted, you can have an idea of what to expect and – as you can see – the old military nets are all broken and thrown down as if nobody cares. It’s a pity that this entire area hasn’t been resumed from its rubble yet, but we’re patient…
Actually, half of the beach of El Confital is a naturist place (the second red point on the map) and it’s the only one accepted in the city; but it’s very common also to meet people with swimsuit and entires families with their barbecue on the weekends.
The story of La Isleta is very nice, and it also explains the title of this article: the beautiful labyrinth! La Isleta it’s a place where the natural elements are astonishing, starting from the lines of small craters of different ages, to the different colors and levels in the rocks, because they come from different ages too, and also because of different eruptions and erosions from the sea that happened during the centuries. The result is a very complicated place, in its simplicity…
So don’t expect to find walls or hedges here, but an entire path with a breathtaking panoramic view and thousands of charcos where sunbathing (always be careful for the tides and absolutely do not bath in the water, due to the strong ridges and currents of the open ocean). Please, remember that there are no security facilities around, everything is in disuse despite its strong geological interest, so even at risk of excessive safety… put the sunscreen and enjoy the sun bath! 🙂
All the craters are considered an area of ecological sensitivity for their special conformations and the old volcanoes are a Point of Geologic Interest (PIG) for the Geological and Mining institute of Spain. Originally this 850 hectares of land was separated from the city from a one-kilometer-long tongue of water, then with the time the sedimentations of marine animals and rocks created a line of ground. The concreting after this made possible the accumulation of materials that, at the end, created the istmo de Guanarteme, a strip of land that finally made La Isleta become a peninsula, instead of an island. Naturally, the sand started to deposit on this small line of land, making it every time larger and stronger.
Until the 19th Century nothing was disturbing this process, then the demographic explosion of the city provoked a quick deterioration of its conditions. The houses and the commercial activities started to multiply in the area, and as at that time there were no necessity all the roads in the district are practically one way, just large a little bit more than two meters, with always cars parked on one side. The labyrinth today is made by houses, shops and all these small streets that connect each other in a very complicated way for the cars, but luckily for us is not so difficult for the pedestrians!
Nowadays, the urbanistic plan of the city still allows to build on this land, making it become one of the most important areas for the modern tourism: you can find there shops, restaurants, all the principle commercial activities (especially in electronics and souvenirs) and, of course, the same Mercado del Puerto where maybe you started to walk!
Talking about this, on the weekend it’s strictly suggested to try an aperitif there! There will be a lot of people standing around and chatting, all the kiosks that sell fish and vegetables during the day close to give space to the small bars with their tapas and wine. It’s absolutely a must-to-visit place in the city, with your friends even just for a Saturday night enjoying some live music.
So, just to resume all these informations in 2-3 words: if you’re searching for touristic services, good food and drinks, crowd and concerts let’s explore this “triangle” of the city, otherwise if you’re looking for some colorful parties and lifestyle go to the local district. For some wildness, paths in the nature and silence… let’s go to La Isleta!
We’ll dedicate another article to the northern barrio of Las Coloradas, that is right up on the hill in the residential area of La Isleta. Lots of paths in the area bring there, a district that increased also when the small village down the hill was destroyed because officially it grown without permission… another story, another article! 🙂 For the moment, enjoy the tour in La Isleta and don’t forget to share the post if you liked it!