As one of the best-known resorts on Gran Canaria, Maspalomas is renowned not only for its considerable natural beauty, but also for its family-friendliness. With a stunning 6km coastline, the dramatic dunes, wide beaches and inviting waters set the perfect scene for a laidback holiday in the sun – and there’s not much else to worry about except which side to tan next…
If you’re travelling with teens, however, you’re going to need more than a day at the beach for a back-up plan if you want to keep the peace and achieve the Holy Grail of holiday contentment. You’re in luck…
Get Wet at Aqualand
If you’re looking to burn off some of their teenage energy, a trip to Aqualand will do it. Chock-full of waterslides of all shapes and sizes, there’s something to suit everyone – but especially the thrill seekers. Some of the most popular are:
- Anaconda – the ultimate vertical drop slide, with a few surprises along the way!
- Aquamania – you didn’t get to your age without knowing to be wary of a water slide with the word ‘mania’ in its name. Enough said.
- Mamut – kids can join a group on a simulated raft race down spine-crunching, wet and wild rapids.
- Discovery Beach – the park’s huge wave pool where they can surf, body board or just catch a wave the old fashioned way.
- Pirate’s River – for a more relaxing change of pace the kids can kick back and cruise on a giant rubber ring down the undulating river route.
There’s more than 30 different attractions here, making it is the largest water park in the Canaries, so you may need to return a few times to get through everything. It won’t be any hardship for you though, because you’ll be able to keep busy soaking up rays on the sun terraces. There are also plenty of eateries and ice-cream outlets so, as long as you keep the cash coming, the kids can be pretty much self-sufficient for the day.
Aqualandia is open all year round from 10am-5pm daily. Entry is from €28 for adults and children over 12 (purchase online for €80 family pack discount).
Stay Dry in the Yellow Submarine
Treat your teens to a voyage to the bottom of the sea without even getting their toes wet! This fantastic sub-aquatic adventure is the perfect way to get up close and personal with the colourful marine life of the Atlantic around Gran Canaria. The Yellow Submarine tour includes transport on the bus to the village of Puerto Mogan, from where you’ll depart on a 40-minute exploration of the seabed.
All you need to do is take a seat in the below-deck cabin and sit back and enjoy the ride. As the vessel submerges to 25 metres below the ocean, you’ll have a prime view of the incredible underwater world through huge portholes. The sub even cruises past an eerie shipwreck, now only home to long forgotten secrets and opportunistic sea creatures. Teens, especially, will appreciate the running commentary and dramatic sound effects designed to make the underwater adventure all the more real.
The Yellow Submarine is a half-day tour leaving from Maspalomas. It costs €35 for adults and kids over 12.
If your teens go wild over animals, a day at Palmitos Park will go down a treat. Set within beautiful surrounds, this extensive nature park is home to birds, reptiles, marine animals and mammals – including the world’s most lovable show-offs, the dolphins.
The 3,000sqm dolphinarium is the highlight of the park, with shows and interactive experiences conducted over three pools and viewable from the 1,500-seat grandstand.
Other attractions include:
- Several aviaries and interactive bird areas, which are home to exotic species like toucans, emus, pelicans, hornbills, storks and flamingos, among others.
- The huge aquarium, with salt water and fresh water zones, housing species from all over the world.
- The reptile area, which includes the incredible (and intimidating) Komodo Dragon, and the Caiman Lake, home to a family of these fascinating predators, as well as turtles and other swamp dwellers.
- The Primates Island, where you can observe gibbons and orang-utans swinging through the trees on their own private island.
- Other animals as diverse as wallabies, aardvarks, meerkats…and many more!
Palmitos Park is located just outside Maspalomas, at Barranco de Los Palmitos. You can get there by local bus number 70. Entry is €30 for adults and children over 11. You can also get a combined ticket for Palmitos Park and Aqualandia for €58.
Dunas de Maspalomas
Get the kids off their technology and out into nature for a day with a hike around these incredible dunes, which were formed during the last ice age. Walking around a bunch of sand dunes might not sound exciting on paper, but this place is a designated nature reserve and its 1,000 acres are alive with the beautiful botanical natives of the Canaries. Depending on when you come, there are times when even the designated trails are pristine and footprint-less – it’s an incredible sight, and a pretty good backdrop for a family photo!
If you want to up your cool quotient with your teens you can also opt for a camel trip around the dunes to get you over, err, hump day on your holidays!
A camel safari with Camello Safari is just €12 for a 30-minute ride. They leave every 15 minutes from 9am-4pm every day.
Maspalomas has plenty of activities and attractions perfect for teens, so take a memo, mother (or father!), and get ready for some serious family bonding. I promise it won’t hurt a bit…
Tip: If you like the sound of Maspalomas for your next family holiday, you might also find this blog post of interest.
How to get to Maspalomas
If you’re planning a family break in Maspalomas it’s not hard to pick up cheap flights to the Canaries with a selection of budget carriers, including Iberia and British Airways. Direct flight time from the UK to Gran Canaria Las Palmas Airport is just over four hours.
Once you land at Las Palmas, for the most convenient and hassle-free onward transport to your accommodation, the range of Gran Canaria airport transfers makes the most sense. You’ll be met at the airport by a local driver and, whether you choose a private or shared transfer, you’ll be delivered right to the door of your accommodation in Maspalomas in around 30 minutes.
Where to Stay
Bungalows Vistaflor – Cool, colourful and contemporary, Bungalows Vistaflor offers funky family accommodation that won’t dent the budget. Set around a superb pool area and with every mod con on hand, the spacious double storey bungalows allow everyone free rein to relax in their own way. With tennis courts, a buffet restaurant, bike hire and a shuttle to the beach, you might even be able to sneak some time away from the kids for a game of golf next door.
Club Vista Serena – A fabulous base for a family holiday in Maspalomas, Club Vista Serena offers a friendly village ambience with everything at your fingertips. The delightful garden setting and elegant, roomy apartments create a wonderful relaxing ambience in which to enjoy two pools, an outdoor games area, bar, convenience store and restaurant. Why would you ever need to leave?
The Koala Garden Suites – The striking décor and warm service of the Koala Garden Suites set the scene for the perfect family holiday. You can enjoy the convenience of the kitchenette or dine in the onsite restaurant, and you’ll be able to really stretch out in the spacious, bright apartments. The games room, complete with pinball machines, will be a winner with the kids, while you’ll be able to relax in the bar or take in a session at the gym. Everyone’s a winner.
About Shuttle Direct
For all your airport transfers throughout Europe or North Africa, Shuttle Direct offers the most trusted, convenient and cost effective options. With a simple online booking system, you can choose from a range of shared or private transfer services then receive instant confirmation of your travel arrangements before you leave home. At Shuttle Direct, our years of experience and friendly, knowledgeable service gives you the peace of mind you need for a hassle free holiday.