Once in a lifetime

Gran Canaria - 5 Great Day Trips By Car

 by Mairead Foley 

 Tejeda and its National Park

A day trip that is well worth taking in Gran Canaria is a drive into the mountain ranges to the village of Tejeda and its wonderful National Park, with stunning flora and fauna to be seen. Tejeda is located in the central mountainous area of Gran Canaria. The park is located on its highest mountain, Cruz de Tejeda, which rises to a height of 2,000 metres. 

The best route to get to this park is either from the west where you will pass through the small town of Mogan, or from the south where you will join the road that will take you to San Bartolome de Tirajana at Maspalomas. The charming mountain villages of Artenara and Pinos de Galdar along this day trip route are well worth exploring.

A day trip to the south of the island at Maspalomas is well worth exploring – the motorway on the east side of the Island (GC1) will take you quickly and conveniently to Maspalomas.  The wonderful dunes are known as the Maspalomas Costa Canaria. The landscape consists of 17km of massive dunes. The dunes expand year by year, and the beaches are safe with plenty of shallow bathing areas. 

Sioux City Gran Canaria

The Western styled Theme Park was originally constructed in 1969 at a cost of $2 million. It has been a very popular tourist attraction since. It was designed by the land owner del Castillo together with 20th Century Fox film producers, who enlisted designers to recreate the US Western type area. In the early 1970’s Sioux City was opened as a Wild West Theme Park. The popular Western film "Take a High Ride" was filmed here. The theme park is open every day except for Mondays from 10am until 5pm, with a special barbeque night on Fridays. 

The park is easily reached from Playa del Inglés in Cañon del Aguila, San Agustín, and you will be enthralled by the recreation of a Wild West Village and you can try your hand at horse riding and there are restaurant and bar facilities. There is also a reptile zoo there!

Guayadeque – Village of the Caves 

Guayadeque National Park is perched on the eastern edge of the mountains of Gran Canaria. The National Park affords you some majestic mountain scenery and views of rich green valleys laden with almond trees. 

But the real jewel in the crown of the National Park is the caves. The majority of the caves are put to good use, by farmers or locals who have converted them into houses. One part of the caves area has been recreated into an entire village, with walkways, a church, bar and street lights! A real treat is dining at the "Tagoror" restaurant, which is a huge cave transformed into a wonderful restaurant which seats more than 100 people. With tables and chairs carved from thick oak trees, and great food, what could be a more perfect end to a day trip to the Village of the Caves!

To get to Guayadeque, take the GC1 motorway north, branching off from the exit before the airport heading for Ingenio. Take the Ingenio road through to the town of Arguimes and when arriving in Ingenio, you will see the sign posts for the caves.

Mundo Aborigen

Mundo Aborigen is located on the route from Maspalomas to San Bartolome, and quite close to the village of Fataga. It recreates early island life in a realistic village, created with an authentic feel. You will learn all about the early inhabitants of the islands, who are known as the Gaunche. The history of the early dwelling people of the island has been re-enacted with authenticity in the village with a separate museum.  You will learn about the lifestyle of the people, how they lived, their world of magic, religion, and rites of burial. 

Parque Cocodrillos (Crocodile Park)

The Crocodile Park located at the Villa de Agüimes has always been a popular family attraction and is home to hundreds of crocodiles, of differing sizes. It is situated in a wonderful scenic setting. The crocodile setting of the park gives you a display showing the lifecycle of a crocodile from the egg stage and newly born in tanks, to the full-grown stage. It is perfectly safe to explore so do not be alarmed! 

Gran Canaria's Crocodile Park also contains many more of your favourite animals from the zoo, including zebras, leopard, monkeys and exotic birds. Daily shows are available, together with gardens and a souvenir shop.

The park is run as a charity and receives no backing from the government, and relies on the entrance fee money to cater for the animals, many of whom were badly treated by previous owners. It is a very worthy cause to support by visiting. To get there, get on the GC1 motorway, and take the exit at Vecindario, past the Carrefour shopping centre on the left while you head north. At the roundabout take the last exit and this will bring you to the park. 

Mairead writes for Novacarhire.com - an independent car hire reservation website where you can book low cost car hire at over 5000 locations worldwide.

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