Another one of those quick trips materialised late last year. This time we would be going to Gran Canária, a Spanish island off the coast of Africa.
It’s one of those places I would never go to if not on assignment. There are a lot of reasons to go there (millions of people find their way to the island every year) but I would have never visited if the invite from BinterCanarias and the RIU hotel group hadn’t shown up.
The island is not that big but it’s known as the Miniature Continent, because you can find a ton of different landscapes. There are mountains that remind you of Morocco, sand dunes that make you feel you’re in the middle of nowhere and enough palms to make me a very happy man.
You’ll also find thousands of germans, a very large number of huge hotels and resorts, and two groups that seem to find the island very appealing: old people and gays. The island caters to both of them in a very special way, and they pay back the good karma by flying over in throngs. These are two niche markets that the island has been very friendly to for years, and you can find hotels with special deals for both of them.
We were set up in one of RIU’s resorts, a huge place, provided with one of the hotel’s bracelet that opens all doors in the property and allows everyone on the island to know exactly in which tier of the resorts you fit in.
Caste system in place, we set out to explore the island. Sadly, again, these trips are taken in high-speed mode: visit a ton of places in as little time as possible and figure it out later.
The capital and historical centre: check.
The mountains: check.
Camel ride: check.
Picturesque town by the sea: check.
Ugly, over-developed town by the sea: check.
The dunes: check.
The big shops by the sea: check.
The volcano: check.
There’s also the hotel visits. Along the way we find ourselves visiting a number of hotels belonging to the group that invited us. An upscale one, our own (mid-range), one that has a mandatory minimum age of 18 to check in, and a luxury unit.
Just like that it was time to head back to the mainland. Would I go back ? No, for sure. I can understand why some people find this kind of tourist appealing, but the resort life is not my way of doing things.
The beaches are fine, the hotel was fine, the food was fine, even the island is ok. But it’s just not for me.
I did like the ‘palms everywhere’ part of the deal, but I can find palms in nicer places, can’t I ?