CAMPING IN GRAN CANARIA PART 2
(Full details and addresses of all campsites mentioned can be found at the end of the blog post)
The second part of our last ‘child free’ adventure took us to two more fabulous campsites on Gran Canaria both perfect if you prefer to get away from it all, love walking and finding fabulous views rather than being stuck on an overcrowded beach. (not that I don’t like lying on beaches I just rather selfishly prefer empty ones!)
Christmas Eve took us on a hopeless hunt for non-existant campsites in the south of the island which was also full of massive hostels and so busy it was nearly impossible to park the car simply to stock up on food and ask about campsites! (Please note Camping Guantánamo is now permanently closed despite being in the 2014 addition of our guidebook!) After feeling a degree of sympathy with Mary and Joseph – and being thankful we had a hire car and not a donkey to take us between potential accomodation options we eventually headed north up the west coast in search of Camping Villamar near Tasartico.
We couldn’t get through on the phone and our guide book said the campsite was in ‘the remotest region’ of the island so we desperately hoped it would be open! It was and we were greeted by lovely friendly people and a very cute baby goat! Since it was Christmas we decided to splash out and rented a fabulous little cabin complete with hot shower and mini garden with a sea view for 20 euros a night! The couple who greeted us lived in a caravan next to the cabin which was covered in fairy lights that twinkled in time to an assortment of Christmas Carols – our soundtrack from 7.30pm till 10pm when the electricity was turned on! They even lent us their own barbecue and we had the kind of feast that makes Dave a contented man!
Taking full advantage of the empty beach and sunset we had some fun taking silhouette photos of me dancing around the beach with my big belly! If you want to see more from this shoot there will be a full blog post of it up soon 🙂
After a breakfast which included my Christmas Day treat of a box of chocolates and banana and nutella sandwich (My pregnancy craving is very simple… anything sweet, especially chocolate and trifle!) we drove back up the dirt track road till we found this sign which marked the start of the hike to Gui Gui beach. While we hadn’t got any presents, Christmas dinner or even a nearby church to go to we thought we would at least get our Christmas day walk!
From the statistics we thought this was quite do-able and ignored the fact the difficulty rating was marked ‘very hard’ despite the fact it was written in bright red letters! I would now like to add the additional information to the sign: 1) You have to do the walk twice as the only way back from the beach is by walking over the mountain again – it took us over 6 hours with a twenty minute break on the beach and we only just made it back before it got dark! 2) Do not attempt when nearly 6 months pregnant, not at your fittest as the walk back will nearly kill you! 3) Take hiking poles … everyone else we saw had them and I was very jealous as the path is really easy to slip on due to lots of loose rocks.
Despite everything the walk was spectacular and when we got to the beach we found two groups of campers who had somehow carried their tents, water and food with them to the beach and had the luxury of spending the night there! I don’t think its strictly legal but since the only way to get there is the hike or a boat its unlikely anyone would tell you to move on!
On boxing day we got back in the car to drive along the coast and up to our next campsite in the pine forest of Tamadaba. Our hire car drove us crazy with all its supposedly ‘helpful’ modern features and soon had Dave longing for our own trusty old Ford Fiesta ‘GeeGee’. On the way we picked up three friendly Croatian hitch hikers on their way back to their squat in Las Palmas – one of the reasons we didn’t actually stop at the apparently rather nice beach at Puerto de la Aldea (quite close to the town of San Nicolas which has a handy Youth Hostel). At lunch time we dropped off our passengers and stopped at Puerto de las Nieves where we treated ourselves to a slap up fish and seafood lunch and rested on a shady bench near the beach for an hour. (I discovered that whilst I normally love the sun, heat and pregnancy don’t go well together!) Despite being quite touristy Puerto de las Nieves is really pretty and definitely worth a visit – especially since it has a fab ice cream shop!
Looking at the map we thought we were about 30 minutes drive to our campsite in Tamadaba – but we were WRONG and would advise checking your route carefully and not trusting your sat nav at all!! Nearly 3 hours and numerous false routes leading up dirt tracks to dead ends later we arrived at our destination. Since it was pitch black and all we could make out was lots of trees with spooky moss hanging from their branches it was all rather unnerving, but taking heart from the small wooden sign proclaiming we were indeed at a campsite we pitched the tent and settled down to one of the coldest nights of our lives!!! I was soon regretting the fact we only had cheap one season sleeping bags and was so thankful I had packed my hot water bottle! Even though we wore ALL OUR CLOTHES AND WINTER COATS AND HATS AND GLOVES to bed WE WERE STILL REALLY COLD so if you camp here make sure you come prepared!
When morning arrived we discovered we had found a real gem of a campsite! Camping Pinar de Tamadaba is beautiful, the air is crisp and fresh and the morning light through the Canadian pines was magical! There are also lots of colourful woodpeckers around if you get excited by things like that (I do, Dave doesn’t!) I got a bit carried away with the camera so there are quite a few photos of the campsite coming up!!!
Once we had discovered the amazing view we decided that breakfast should be made where we could fully appreciate it and took our camping stove to the edge of the cliff so Dave could start frying sausages while I enjoyed looking out over the incredibly blue sea over to Tenerife!
Dave went on a long walk – there are loads of really well marked hikes and walks starting at the site so he was spoilt for choice. I on the other hand was still recovering from the effects of the Gui Gui Hike so I spent the day reading my book and eating satsumas!
For our last full day we took our time descending through the twisty roads, passing fascinating cave houses and more beautiful reservoirs before heading onto Galdar and the man made pools at Dos Roques. These have been built to make it easier to enjoy a dip without having to venture into the rocky and somewhat wild sea of the northern coastline. Instead of cramming in lots of tourist sites I was perfectly happy taking photos of the colourful houses in the village and got very excited about all the fish and sea creatures we found in the rock pools.. after a picnic and little snooze on the beach it was time to head off.
Although we had booked another state campsite up in the centre of the island I wasn’t about to face another freezing cold night so we went back to the trusty Camping Playa de Vargas nice and close to the airport. We were very sad to leave and were very tempted to re-book our return flight for a weeks time so we could see more of the north of the island! All in all our accommodation for the two of us for ten days had cost 80 euros but you could do it more cheaply by sticking to the free state run campsites and not splashing out on cabins!
We hope this information has been useful for those of you who found this blog whilst looking for info about camping on this beautiful island and that the photos will tempt those of you who came to see our holiday photos to consider Gran Canaria as a possible future holiday destination!
CAMPING IN GRAN CANARIA – WHERE TO GO
CAMPSITE 4: Camping Villamar, Tsartico. Address: Drive to Tsartico and take the road to the beach – Tasartico to Playa del Asno road. (road isn’t paved and is very bumpy – it takes about 20 minutes in the car. There is no mobile phone reception once you turn onto the road or at the campsite.) Phone: 696 92 41 63 (We never got through on the phone but just turned up) Lovely friendly campsite short walk from a pebbly beach and perfect for going on the hike to Gui Gui beach.
CAMPSITE 5: Camping Pinar de Tamabada. Address: Pinar de Tamadaba. 35480 Pinar de Tamabada, Agacte – Gran Canaria. (Free but you need a permit – see below) Stunning views of the reservoir, Pine trees, loads of space, fab stone picnic tables and barbecue areas, great walks.
CAMPING PERMIT: Go to the Citizen Attention and Information Office (OIAC) of the Cabildo of Gran Canaria on C/Bravo Murillo 23, access on C/Pérez Galdós 35003 Las Palmas and ask for a camping permit. You will need your passport and be able to tell them where and when you want to camp – if you don’t know which site you want they can show you the options and make recommendations. Office hours are 8.30 – 14.00 Monday to Friday and 9.00 – 12.00 noon Saturday. Phone: 928 21 92 29, Fax: 928 21 94 25 Web: www.grancanaria.com. For more info Click Here
OTHER CAMPSITES: Camping El Pinillo. Address: el Sao 18, Barranco de Arguineguin. Phone: +34 090 881 or 629 907 826. We didn’t camp here but passed it on the road and spoke to other people who had stayed and liked it. It is in a beautiful if rather dusty valley. It is a good location to go on day trips to the beach or up into the hills as it is between the two but you will need a car. (5 euros per person per night in a tent and cabins for 20 – 25 euros. There are 14 state campsites in total: for more info and permits call or visit…. You need to give specific dates you want to book each campsite for – tricky when you want to be spontaneous but the ones we went to were in fabulous locations so worth it! Please Note: After looking for Camping Guantanamo we discovered it had been closed for four years. More campsites are listed here but we didn’t visit them so don’t know if they are all still open.
Disclaimer: whilst as far as we know the info in this blog post is correct things may have changed and/or there may be errors so please look things up and double check before heading off! We hope you have a fabulous time!!