UPDATE AUGUST 2020: due to the Covid19 global pandemic, most places here may be closed.
Also, if you are caught roaming the sand dunes during this time, you may be fined by the police, so please be careful!
Picture a 4-storey giant shopping centre full of gay bars, shops, clubs, drag bars, restaurants…basically, a colossal gay playground! This is the Jumbo Centre, the beating heart and soul of Gran Canaria's gay scene.
Gran Canaria is one of the gayest places in the world. Part of the Canary Islands archipelago, this teeny unassuming Spanish Island, located just 93 miles (150 km) off the northwestern coast of Africa (between the Moroccon and Western Saharan waters). We certainly rate Gran Canaria as one of our favourite gay holiday destinations in Europe as well as one of the top gay travel destinations in the world. It is 365 days of complete fabulousness, with gay events taking place throughout the year. There's always something happening in Gran Canaria, which is why we love it!
Gran Canaria has always been a beacon of tolerance, which is why it has mushroomed into the gay haven it is today. During the dark days of the repressive Francoist dictatorship in Spain (1936-1975) when there was extreme hostility towards homosexuality, the Canary Islands were a popular place to exile people who broke social rules and were perceived as being “different”. Basically, Gran Canaria was too far away from the mainland to bother with, so Franco and his henchmen turned a blind eye to it, allowing more tolerant attitudes to develop.
Each year, thousands of gay boys head over to Gran Canaria for beach fun and party, ourselves included! There are tons of gay hangouts in the Yumbo Centre, as well as an abundance of gay hotels for all budgets. We've put together this detailed gay guide to Gran Canaria based on our firsthand experience in which we sift through the main gay bars/clubs on the island (there are a lot!), showcase some of the hotels we tried out, summarise the best gay events, and lots more!
Go on a gay cruise in Gran Canaria!
Grab a group of friends and book this gay (clothing-optional!) sailing excursion. The very handsome Captain Juanvi takes you sailing around the south of Gran Canaria to the remote Gui-Gui beach. It's incredible because you have the entire beach all to yourself(!!) as it's hard to reach on foot so no one comes here unless by boat. The excursion includes unlimited drinks, lunch and hotel pick up. Our top pick for a day trip outing in Gran Canaria!
Gran Canaria gay area
The Yumbo Centre, enough said!
This is the official gay neighbourhood of Gran Canaria – a large 1980s rectangular 4-storey shopping mall in the Playa del Ingles area of Maspalomas. Inside it has all the best gay bars, clubs, boutique shops, restaurants, basically everything a gay boy needs for his gaycation. There are bear bars, drag bars, karaoke bars, Eurovision bars, hanky panky bars with lots of dark spaces…you name it!
In addition to the Yumbo Centre is Gran Canaria's gay beach called Kiosk #7. Reaching the gay beach of Gran Canaria is an experience in itself. From Yumbo Centre you head south to the Riu Hotel, then just head out into the sand dunes (oh those notorious sand dunes, where many boys “get lost” for a few hours…!) until you reach the gay beach on the other end.
A typical day for us in Gran Canaria would involve hanging out by the gay beach by day, then slowly gravitating to the Yumbo Centre later in the evening for food, drinks and play.
Arriving in Gran Canaria soon?
Gran Canaria's airport is located on the eastern edge of the island, around 18 miles (30km) from the Yumbo Centre. Whilst there is a public bus between the airport and Maspalomas, it's infrequent and very slow. We instead highly recommend pre-booking your airport transfer. The taxi takes around 20 minutes and pre-booking it online will ensure you have an English-speaking driver waiting for you at the Arrivals Hall.
Gay hotels and resorts in Gran Canaria
There are many many gay hotels, adults-only hotels, gay guesthouses, gay BnBs etcetera to choose from in Gran Canaria! Whilst many have quite varying degrees of standards and also reviews, for this section we've picked our top 3 (one for each budget range), which we've tried, loved and highly recommend.
For a more in-depth review, be sure to check out our guide to the best gay hotels in Gran Canaria.
Paso Chico Gay Bungalows
Why we love it
- Excellent value male-only clothing-optional gay hotel opposite Yumbo Centre
- Stay in one of 6 cute spacious bungalows
- Perfect if you're a large group of friends
- Secluded pool and garden area to hang out at during the day
12 Speedo-clad queens, one pool, 6 bungalows, and lots of booze… That was our favourite memory from our stay at Gay Paso Chico. We came with 10 of our friends, with 2 staying in each bungalow, making it one big fun guurl-cation!
Gay Paso Chico is perfect if you're looking for an inexpensive base in Gran Canaria. It's just across the road from the Yumbo Centre and around 25 minutes walking distance over to the gay beach. It's well priced yet doesn't feel cheap at all – the bungalows are pretty impressive, and it even includes a pool.
The first thing about Gay Paso Chico – the clue's in the name. This is one for the gay boys only. It's also clothing-optional. Thanks to the high fences, it felt completely secluded and private. We had lots of raucous drinking games and late-night skinny-dipping sessions during our stay! We also love the fact that the staff just let you get on with it and leave you alone. We only saw them at breakfast and then they left for the rest of the day, so it felt like we had the entire place to ourselves.
The 6 bungalows at Gay Paso Chico have plenty of space. Each one has a separate kitchen/living area, bedroom with ensuite and its own terrace. The decor is also super gay, with plenty of Tom of Finland-inspired art pieces dotted around.
Finally, as we mentioned above, the location. You cannot get any closer to the Yumbo Centre. Want to bring a few boys to top up your midnight pool playtime? Easy…!
Why we love it
- “Heterofriendly” adults-only hotel
- 10-minute walk to Yumbo Centre
- Perfect for a mixed group of friends (gays and gals)
- Stay in one of 92 modern apartments on site
The Axel is a more upmarket adults-only hotel in Gran Canaria, located a few blocks north from the Yumbo Centre. We've stayed in several Axel hotels – in Berlin, Barcelona, Miami Beach, and we always love the vibe. It's a “hetero-friendly” hotel, more mixed, with a hip, trendy feel.
The Axel is ideal if you're a group of mixed friends, particularly gay boys travelling with their queen bees. There were a lot of both straight and gay couples here during our visit, all happily getting on without judgement.
The AxelBeach Maspalomas is pretty huge. It has 92 apartments spread over 4 floors. The rooms are modern with super comfy beds. Be sure to look out for the iconic “Do Disturb” signs that you can place on your door to invite in a bit of rumpy pumpy fun from fellow guests… The Sky Bar of Axel is where most hang out by day if not undertaking the 2km pilgrimage walk south to the sand dunes for the gay beach. It has a large pool area and bar. For us the pool was the perfect hangout for those mornings when we woke up feeling a bit fragile from the previous night, otherwise, we opted for the journey over to Kiosk #7.
Other perks of staying at the Axel include the Axel Lounge Garden – a garden area of calm & serenity surrounded by Palm trees, and also a fully equipped gym to bump out those biceps veins before taking all those obligatory Gran-Can-Thirst-Traps.
Seaside Grand Hotel Residencia
Why we love it
- Top luxury 5-star hotel in Gran Canaria
- Lavish pool area
- Outstanding foodie offerings
- Where the celebs stay in Gran Canaria (like Bruce Springsteen, Mary Berry)
Serving Colonial glamour and opulence…you own everything honey! The Seaside has Grand in its name and in feel. Checking into this lavish hotel made us feel like rock stars.
From the moment we arrived, we were made to feel so welcome. Whilst this is not a gay hotel, welcoming LGBTQ travellers felt like it was second nature for the staff (most of which are gay themselves).
Our room was absolutely huge, with one of the best bathtubs we've ever experienced – massage jets with flashing lights! Can you imagine?! Whilst all the rooms are located in stylish two-storey villas, we recommend splurging on one of the upper-floor suites for the best views of the ocean and the sand dunes.
The saltwater pool area is gigantic, extending over the central expanse of the hotel. It reminded us of a paradisiacal valley, a total contrast to the bustling world of Yumbo Centre. Hanging out at the Seaside Grand Hotel's pool was a highlight of our stay in Gran Canaria. It's so big that you'll always find a quiet spot all for yourself. There is also an impressive outdoor fitness area for the gym bunnies.
The Seaside Grand has a terrific restaurant open for dinner every evening. The food is exquisite! I tried and loved the Marinated Atlantic turbos, which was served as a ceviche. Seby went gaga for the beef tartare with fried quail egg. Note: on Wednesday and Sunday evenings they have a themed BBQ buffet evening which includes Moroccan, Japanese and Spanish.
Gay beaches in Gran Canaria
The main official gay beach of Gran Canaria is Kiosk #7 located on the sandy beach between Playa del Ingles and Maspalomas on the southern tip of the island. This is where most of the gay boys will be hanging out during the day.
To reach the famous gay beach, you first need to head to the Riu Maspalomas Hotel and from there keep going straight down, through the sand dunes for around 15 minutes until you reach the beach. When you get to the beach, you'll instantly spot the gay section by all the rainbow flags flying. There are sunbeds to rent a small buzzy beach bar. Note that although it's clothing-optional here you can wear whatever you're comfortable wearing and no one will care.
There are a few smaller less-known beaches to check out in Gran Canaria, which whilst they're not gay, they attract a more local crowd. Our favourites include Playa de Montana Arena, which is a popular beach for both gals and guys who like to hang out in the buff! In addition, we recommend the completely isolated Gui-Gui Beach which you can only reach via boat, which makes it totally private and secluded.
Gay bars in Gran Canaria
Just head to Yumbo! Inside is where all the main and best gay bars of Gran Canaria can be found. Note there are many gay bars in the Yumbo Centre – tons!! – but for this section, we've only set out a snippet of our favourites. What we love most about it is that there is something for everyone, whatever and whoever you're into!
Love it or hate it, Sparkles is the beating heart and soul of the Yumbo Centre. It's the first thing you'll probably hear and see when you enter! They have several drag shows every evening going on through the night. Some might call them trashy, but we love them. They're fierce, totally crass and completely in your face. Literally: if you sit in the front row, be warned that you will be picked on and paraded about with on the stage as I found out on a few occasions! Sparkles is open every evening and goes on until around 3am. We usually started our Yumbo night here.
Terry's is where we recommend you head to see more refined and less confrontational(!) drag shows. We love Terry's because the queens perform some of the classic Spanish hits by the Diosas – Divas from the 1960s, 70s and 80s like Isabel Pantoja… Intense drama! Pathos…ESCANDALO! The queens encapsulate the passion and soul of these Latin Divas so impressively. It's truly incredible to watch. Terry's is one of the most unassuming bars in Yumbo, located in the upstairs section. The drag shows start at around 10:30pm every evening and go on until 1am.
Eurovision gays, this is where we hang out! I am one of the many Euro gay guys who watch it religiously every year and know and love the words to every song to have ever come out of this competition…WunderBar is MADE for people like me! Monday and Friday evenings are when they have their famous Eurovision nights which I love, playing the classics all night on…Conchita, ABBA, Foureira, Gina G, Dana, Bucks Fizz…you name it! They are of course open on the other nights of the week until around 2:30am, but their Eurovision nights is when gay boys like me will be found partying the night away at the WunderBar!
If you know and love the Sitges gay scene as much as we do, then you'll be familiar with Parrots, which has now opened up right here on the Jumbo Centre ground floor. It's one of our favourite places to come for a bite to eat (some impressive French food here), a few cocktails and people-watching. Similar to Sparkles, Parrots has become another gay epicentre of the Yumbo Centre – always something happening with a buzzy crowd. On most nights Parrots has a few drag shows and exotic dancers to entertain the crowd but on weekends it can get pretty full-on here! Note Parrots is closed on Tuesdays/Wednesdays, otherwise is open every day until around 2:30am.
Bärenhöhle is the best bear bar in the Yumbo Centre. Bear boys, otters, cubs and wolves, this is for you! Bärenhöhle means “bear cave” in German – a nod to its friendly Deutsch owners. Despite the name, everyone is welcome here, regardless of your size. Every time we came to Bärenhöhle we felt very welcome which is why we love it. It's so easy to make friends here. It's an attitude-free zone with blokes who simply want to hang out. Bärenhöhle is open every evening from 8pm until around 3am. Look out for their “Happy Bear Hour” between 8-10pm where beers are only €1!
Gay clubs in Gran Canaria
Spanish guys sure know how to party! Nothing is done in small measures. The only downside is things start very late in Spain – don’t even think about turning up at some of these clubs until after 1am otherwise you’ll be Billy No Mates in the corner… These are a small selection of the best gay clubs in Gran Canaria that we liked the most. For convenience, we’ve only focused on those in the Yumbo Centre:
Mykonos is where the cool kids hang out for drinks from around 11pm. You’ll find us boogying away right here because we love the music – cheesy pop hits with plenty of Latino classics thrown in. At around 1am onwards Mykonos becomes a dancing venue, complete with poles. YES POLES! Every gay boy secretly dreams of being a pole dancer, right? At least these two queens did after several rum/cokes… Well Mykonos is the place to live out that dream! Mykonos also has a few dark spaces where you’ll find a few gentlemen engaged in a bit of rompy pompy…
Tubos is located right next door to Mykonos. And like Mykonos, it also starts as a bar, then becomes a buzzy club from around 1am. We love it because when it gets busy, the crowds from both Tubos and Mykonos spill out into the corridor outside and merge into one big happy campy family. It’s a great place to make new friends who you’ll probably end up going to Mantrix later. The music at Tubos was made for me and Seby – cheesy pop anthems blasting away all night long!
Mantrix is the main gay club in Yumbo where everyone is likely to end in at some stage in the night – that hottie you were cruisin’ earlier over at Kiosk #7? He'll most likely be hanging out here! Mantrix was definitely our favourite club on the island with gay disco house music pumping out till the early hours. It’s open every day until around 6am (sometimes later) but we prefer to come on weekends when it’s busiest. Generally, though, we’ve never had a bad night out at Mantrix and are always excited to go back for more.
Gay saunas in Gran Canaria
There are several gay saunas in Gran Canaria but many open/close all the time. Sauna Heroes in the Yumbo Centre is the main one that has survived the many tests of time (recessions, the 2020 Pandemic etc) as well as Sauna Portugal up in Las Palmas. We’ve also found the unique sensual services of Martin for a more alternative massage experience:
Sauna Heroes in Maspalomas / Playa de Inglés
Sauna Heroes is the best gay sauna in Gran Canaria and boasts that it’s the largest across all the Canary Islands. It’s well located on the 4th Floor of the Yumbo Centre and includes a Jacuzzi, dry/steam sauna, labyrinth, no fewer than 28 private cabins, plenty of play holes(!), video room with a King-sized bed and a foam room. They are open every day from 4pm until midnight.
Sauna Portugal in Las Palmas
If you’re heading up to the Northern side of the island, then Sauna Portugal is where you’ll want to head to for play time. It’s a more local vibe here than Sauna Heroes, so the perfect way to hook up with a few Canarian gentlemen. Sauna Portugal includes dark rooms, a labyrinth, steam room, Finnish sauna and cabins. It is located at Calle Portugal 27 and is open every day from 4pm until midnight.
Gay massage in Maspalomas / Playa de Inglés
For a more unique and sensual experience we recommend the private services of Martin. He is based in Maspalomas and offers a one-on-one massage service for men aiming to achieve a balance between spiritual harmony the physical pleasures of the body! He always stays within your comfort zone and never strays beyond this. Martin is also a “Reiki Master” with a speciality in Lomi Lomi and Esalen. He is based in Playa de Ingles and can be contacted via his website or his Facebook page.
Gay cruising in Gran Canaria
The main gay cruising area in Gran Canaria are the sand dunes. You’ll pass them on your way over to the Kiosk #7 gay beach and you’ll most likely stop to do a bit of sightseeing along the way! There are a few other places for a bit of indoor rompy pompy both in Maspalomas and up in Las Palmes. We’ve summarised the main ones below:
The Sand Dunes in Playa del Ingles
The sand dunes cover a large area just south of the Hotel Riu Palace Maspalomas before the beach. There are plenty of bushes and other spots affording privacy in this large nature reserve. Just remember, the heat can be quite intense, so remember to wear sun block cream, everywhere! Also bring water to drink, and of course, adequate protection.
Reds Club in Maspalomas
Reds is one of the best clubs for play time fun in Gran Canaria. It’s located a stone’s throw away from Yumbo Centre, with a themed event happening every day to include everyone but it’s most popular with the older bear crowd. Other parties include Rubber, Leather, Boots, Skins and Lycra. Reds is open every day from 9pm until 4am. It is located at Barbados II, Avenida de Tirajana, 17, next door to the Spar supermarket.
The Hole in Maspalomas
The Hole is an award winning male-only playtime bar in Maspalomas set up and run by enthusiastic owners (and former adult film actors), Kris and Bruce. The Hole is generously spread over 2 floors and features slings, private cabins, multiple adult film viewing areas, dark spaces, beds, “wet” areas and many different sized holes of wonder! The Hole is open Monday-Friday 10pm-4am and on weekends from 6pm-4am. It is located at Avenida de Gran Canaria 24, C.C. Jardín del Sol.
Black Door Bar in Las Palmes
If you’re up in Las Palmes and want a bar to go to for a bit of playtime adventures, head over to the Black Door Bar. It’s smaller compared to the other bars on the other end of the island in Maspalomas. It’s a more local crowd, in their 30s, 40s and older, particularly popular with bear boys and chasers. It includes cabins, dark areas, video rooms and more. It is open only Thursday to Sunday evenings from 10pm until 3am. It is located at Calle Torres Quevedo, 25.
Gran Canaria Gay Pride and other events
Gran Canaria has a big gay event happening almost every other month starting with the Carnivals in the winter/spring months, the Pride events in the summer and a few others in Autumn. The main gay events in Gran Canaria to look out for include the two Maspalomas Pride events: the first in May, the second in November. Here is our summary of the main ones to keep your eyes on:
Maspalomas and Las Palmas Carnivals (March)
The Carnival is the most exciting event in the Catholic calendar. Transport that over to a gay island and you’ve got yourself the recipe for some of the most exciting parties ever! Whilst this is not an expressly gay event, it has prominent gay segments including a Drag Queen Gala and a boisterous Carnival Parade through the streets. Both Maspalomas and Las Palmas have their own separate gay carnival on a different week in March allowing you to go to both.
Bear Carnival (March)
Touted as The Most Fun Bear Holiday Of Your Life! Bear Carnival sometimes also called Bear Week is one of the largest bear events in Europe. It has over 40 events happening over 9 days which includes pool parties, Bearaoke and parties with a leather or rubber dress code. Bear Carnival also includes the presentation of the year’s official Mister Bear Gran Canaria. Note: the team behind Bear Carnival also organise Bear Camp week in August. They’ve done it twice now (2018 and 2019) and whilst they have no plans to do it again, check the Bear Camp website for the latest info to see if they do plan it again.
Maspalomas Gay Pride (May)
Maspalomas Pride in May is the largest gay summer party on the entire island. Every year it draws a massive gaggle of gays from all around the world. This 10-day festival includes many fantastic events, from Drag Races, a Please Disturb Pool Party(!), the Wet & Hairy Bear Pool Party, the Women’s Pool Party, lots of free outdoor parties every night in the streets of Maspalomas and the climax, the Street Parade on the final day. Celebs also turn up in their numbers to perform/host events, which have included the likes of Conchita Wurst and Austin Armacost in the past.
Maspalomas Summer Fiesta (August)
Every August, the entire LGBTQ community of Gran Canaria get together to host 4 weeks of parties every night. This is probably the best (albeit busiest!) time to head to the island. It’s the hottest time of year and every night you’re guaranteed to have a wealth of parties to choose from: bear events, drag shows, BBQ parties, wine tasting excursions, boat parties, mountain excursions, cocktail nights, drag races, and even a scuba diving experience.
Freedom Festival Maspalomas (September/October)
Summer does not end in September! And Gran Canaria makes sure it doesn’t! If you didn’t make it over for Pride or the Summer Fiesta, fear not ‘cause the festival fun continues with the Freedom Festival in late September – conveniently coinciding with my birthday! What began as a small event in 2016 has now mushroomed into an annual fortnight of events like foam parties, Burlesque, dress up nights, and more. It has been colloquially dubbed as “the little brother of Maspalomas Pride”.
Maspalomas Leather Week (October)
San Francisco and Berlin step aside…cause there’s a new Folsom kid in town! Well ok, Gran Canaria’s Folsom-equivalent festival in early October is hardly on par as Berlin and San Francisco in terms of size and numbers. But for such a comparatively small island, it sure punches above its own weight, especially as this is the only leather-play event that takes place by the beach! The week includes parties for all things leather, rubber, sports and other uniforms.
Maspalomas Winter Pride (November)
Gran Canaria insists on closing the gay year with a huge bang. Every November, the island hosts a week of beach fun, pool parties, dance sessions and a colourful parade. Celebrities performing at previous Winter Pride have included 2Unlimited and Cristina Ramos. The Maspalomas Winter Pride also coincides with the ebullient German Carnival (Carnaval Alemán) who have carved out quite a large expat community on the island and lead the way with the best playtime events.
Gay friendly restaurants in Gran Canaria
Most of the best gay restaurants will be in the Yumbo Centre. Let's be honest, pick any restaurant in the Yumbo Centre and it's pretty much gay-all-the-way! Buddies Bar is probably the most famous and certainly our favourite. There are a handful of restaurants in and around the Yumbo Centre which we loved and set out some of our favourites right here:
Most will head to Yumbo for their gay night out and will start with dinner and drinks at Buddies. It's located right slap bang in the middle of the Yumbo Centre so you can't really miss it! They serve simple but delicious food like pizza, burgers, toasted sandwiches, salads and Sunday roasts. They also do a fab full English breakfast as well as brunch. Their coffee is delish as are their cocktails. The highlight of Buddies bar, however, the rainbow cake! Whether it's your birthday or you're just a greedy drama queen (ahem Seby!) they'll be a glittering rainbow sponge cake waiting for you at Buddies.
A.Gaudi is a more upmarket gourmet restaurant experience, perfect for date night. I found it by accident after searching Tripadvisor. I wanted to impress my Seby for our final night, and oh boy did I do good! Everything about Restaurante A.Gaudi blew us away. All dishes are designed to be a feast for the eyes, as well as the belly! Seby was most impressed by the crispy duck with foie grass and I went GaGa over the aptly named “Gaudi burger”, which was a fillet of beef with a puff pastry top. My Frenchman was impressed earning me top boyfriend brownie points!
“Will you be my Romeo my Stefan?” said my cheesy Frenchman when he surprised me with this gem…Romeo is a special blend of deliciousness, featuring a menu that combines Italian, German and Spanish food. For me, it was all about the lobster – one of my favourite seafood dishes. Seby opted for the giant prawns, which is one of his passions in life (ie he loves cooking king prawns and loves even more to eat them). We also shared a paella, but we'll be honest, it's massive and couldn't finish it off.. Be sure to look out for some of the quirky decor like the mermen ornaments hanging over the bar…right up our alley!
Can you guess what kind of food they serve at Mr. Greek? That's right, this is Gran Canaria's premier Indian restaurant with the best tandoori…only joking! I couldn't complete this list without referencing at least one Greek restaurant. First up, try their saganaki! It's so good… I recommend ordering several small plates of different things like dolmathakia, hummus and tzatziki, then order one of the mains. Seby loves it when I make him moussaka, and he said this one was almost as good as the one I make (smart boy!). For me, it's always a souvlaki that hits the spot. All washed down with an obligatory bottle of retsina wine of course!
Top things to do in Gran Canaria
Darling, let's be brutally honest with you. Most of us will be heading to GC for party, party, beach, party, party, sleep, repeat…right? However, for a small island, Gran Canaria sure has a helluva lot of things to see and do, not forgetting the hike up to the Roque Nublo in the middle of the island. Here are a few of our favourite things to do in Gran Canaria to inspire some ideas beyond the Yumbo Pink Bubble:
Hike to Roque Nublo
Highly recommended! Swap your flip flops for your trainers and hike up to the UNESCO listed Roque Nublo. It is an 80-metre high rock, created by a volcanic eruption around 4.5 million years ago. Roque Nublo is not only the most iconic point of the island, but the views from up here are also pretty spectacular! On a clear day, you might even be able to spot the Teide – Spain’s highest peak on the nearby island of Tenerife. To get more out of it, we recommend doing a guided hike to Roque Nublo, which includes the drive over from your hotel in Maspalomas or Las Palmas.
Join a gay sailing cruise
Another highlight from our trips to GC: grab a group of gays and get everyone to chip in to rent out a gay male-only sailing boat. It's super affordable, includes two meals, unlimited drinks and a very handsome (gay) Captain. Our mini-cruise (fully clothing-optional I might add!) took us around the southern tip of the island, all the way to the remote Gui-Gui beach. We had the entire shoreline here to ourselves…give the gays a few bottles of rum and an empty shoreline and we'll leave the rest to your imagination…! The best part was when Captain Juan took the time to cook up a paella feast for us from scratch right on the beach. A truly magical experience we think everyone should try out!
Do some snorkelling
Gran Canaria is unique in that it has a wide range of African, Atlantic and Mediterranean marine life. This makes it a paradise for snorkelling. We recommend doing a snorkelling excursion with Blue Water Diving which will ensure you head to the best diving spots, taking into account the weather – a professional diving school will have this information at their fingertips. The tour we did included all equipment as well as a professional guide to point out what we were looking at.
Explore Maspalomas on a Segway
Segway adventures always make us giggle. We love them! It always reminds us of that scene in Back To The Future II where Marty is being chased by a gang on hover-boards! We recommend doing a segway tour in Maspalomas. It's certainly a more unique way to explore the city. Our tour took us to the Meloneras promenade and the Maspalomas pond with views over the ocean, the sand dunes and the famous lighthouse. We timed our segway tour to coincide with the sunset, definitely ranking as one of the most unique experiences from our travels!
Spot Flipper the Dolphin and her cohort of friends! Dolphins are THE most adorable creatures on the planet. They are so playful and extremely photogenic. You can see them in the wild in Gran Canaria, an experience which we recommend if you've not seen dolphins before. For our dolphin spotting boat tour, we sailed over to the southern end of the island where we saw a few dolphins frolicking in the ocean, took LOADS of pics/videos, then headed over to Gui-Gui beach where we stopped for lunch.
Plan your trip to Gran Canaria
We've put together some handy hints and tips to help you plan your own trip to Gran Canaria. Read on to find out everything the gay traveller should know before they go.
How to get there: Most will fly into the main international airport of the island located on the Eastern edge. It is around 18 miles (30km) from the Yumbo Centre. There is an infrequent and super slow public bus between the airport and Maspalomas, but we highly recommend pre-booking your airport transfer instead. The taxi takes around 20 minutes and pre-booking it online will ensure you have an English-speaking driver waiting for you at the Arrivals Hall – zero stress!
Visa requirements: As part of the Schengen Area, many travellers to Gran Canaria won't need a visa to visit Spain and other Schengen countries for up to 90 days. Travellers from the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and many countries in South America can visit Spain visa-free, but make sure you check your personal visa requirements before making any travel arrangements.
Getting around: We relied on taxis in Gran Canaria. There are public buses but they are infrequent and slow. The best advice is to base yourself close to the Yumbo Centre and you'll be just fine!
Power Plugs: Spain uses the typical European 2-pronged power plug. If you're visiting Gran Canaria from outside of Europe you will need to bring a travel adaptor with you.
Travel insurance: Please do not leave home without it! We always like to travel with the security of knowing that any flight cancellations, stolen bags or unplanned-for medical bills will be covered. We recommend World Nomads Travel Insurance because their coverage is comprehensive and they are super affordable. Plus it's easy to make a claim online.
Safety and Security: While Spain is a pretty safe destination overall, there's always the chance when travelling that you may find yourself in a situation where you need immediate help. We use Close Circle's “virtual bodyguard” app when we're travelling so that we know we can get practical advice and assistance even up to the point of evacuation if needed. Read more about Close Circle in our guide on how to stay safe while travelling.
Currency: The currency used in Spain is the Euro. The symbol for the euro is € and $1 US converts to about 90 euro cents while £1 is worth around €1.17.
Tipping culture: Since Gran Canaria is quite touristy, tipping is widely expected as a reward for good service. Most restaurants will include service so you won't need to tip on top of that. When it comes to your guide, we always recommend giving them a tip of around 10%.
Internet access: Free WiFi is available at nearly every public place in Gran Canaria. If you will need a reliable connection for work or want to be able to connect multiple devices at once, we suggest organising a portable WiFi device to use during your trip or buying a local SIM card when you arrive at the airport.
Accommodation: For more gorgeous accommodation inspiration in Gran Canaria, we recommend Booking.com. We always use them to find places to stay as they have a huge range of properties and offer the best prices. We also love that most listings have free cancellation, which makes our travel planning a lot easier when we want a degree of flexibility.
Sightseeing and adventure: For more inspiration for things to do, we recommend checking the listings for Gran Canaria on GetYourGuide. They always give us new ideas and their tours are super easy to book.
When to visit: Gran Canaria is sunny and warm throughout the year. July/August are peak seasons and the hottest months. May, June, September and October are shoulder seasons, the heat is more bearable, and our favourite time to visit. Our advice is to head here when one of the big gay events we set out above is happening.
Gay map of Gran Canaria
This is our gay map of Gran Canaria to show you where everything we've mentioned in this article is located. Use it to find out where all the gay hotels we've mentioned above are located as well as all the bars, clubs and beach:
For more inspiration:
- To read more about alternative experiences on the island, check out our 5 interesting facts about Gran Canaria
- Spain is also one of our top 10 favourite gay friendly countries in the world to spend time in
- Make sure you check out our complete gay city guide to fabulous Barcelona
- Find out what it's like to attend Pride in Barcelona
- As well as which are the best gay Pride events throughout Spain
- Need some Pride inspo? Check out these sexy gay Pride outfit ideas
- Don't attend any celebrations without packing these must-have gay Pride accessories
- And here are the biggest gay Pride events in the world!