When your offspring begin to cross the threshold into their teenage years, the phrase ‘family bonding’ suddenly has all the appeal of ‘week-old leftovers’. Where they were once eager to hang with their parents, your little darlings are now prone to sullen silences, boredom, and oh-so-cool indifference.
What happens, then, to the time-honoured tradition of the family holiday? Fear not: teen angst need not spell the end of your annual getaways – provided you choose the right location! For a successful holiday with your teens in tow, you’ll need one that provides adventure, amusement, and independence (within reason).
Puerto Rico, a fun-loving town on the southwest coast of Gran Canaria, is the perfect fit for a family with teens. Home to two beaches packed with sports, a sprawling waterpark, and several arcades and tennis courts, your teens might just forget to be bored. What’s more, Puerto Rico is perfectly positioned for accessing all that the island of Gran Canaria has to offer – from the dunes of Maspalomas to the nightlife of Playa del Inglés.
What to Do
Voted the number one zoo in Europe according to TripAdvisor, Loro Parque has evolved into one of the Canary Islands’ biggest attractions. Originally conceived as a sanctuary for parrots, the park now holds some 350 species – including dolphins, orcas, penguins, chimpanzees, gorillas, jaguars, tigers, and alligators. The good thing about visiting Loro Parque with teens is that they’re likely to be fascinated rather than terrified by the shark tunnel in the park’s aquarium. As you walk through the glass-enclosed tunnel, watch some of nature’s most fearsome predators swim around and above you – from the white tip shark to piranhas.
Loro Parque is located on Tenerife, the island that neighbours Gran Canaria to the west. However, there are numerous ferry lines between the two islands that can make the crossing in just over an hour. Ask at your accommodation about the best way to organise a day trip to this outstanding park.
Av. Loro Parque, s/n, 38400 Puerto de la Cruz, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain
Tel: +34 922 37 38 41
Prices: €34 for adults
For a little adventure away from the resort hubs on the coast, plan a family horseback riding outing in the interior of the island. There’s much more to Gran Canaria than meets the eye – forests, mountains, scrubland, valleys – and horseback riding is the perfect way to access the island’s hidden corners. The two-hour riding excursions are suitable for beginners and experienced riders alike – you’ll be matched with an appropriate horse at the ranch. Though you’ll be riding as a group, there’s plenty of room for your teens to try their hand at a canter or a trot if they like.
Archipiélago Canario, 66, 35109, Maspalomas – Gran Canaria
Prices from €55. Includes guided tour, equipment, transport. Pickups available at some Puerto Rico hotels.
Now that you’ve become acquainted with the land, it’s time to head out to sea. The waters around Gran Canaria are prime territory for spotting bottlenose dolphins. Climb aboard the Spirit of the Sea for a two- or three-hour guided trip to see these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat. Keep your eyes peeled for a dorsal fin or tail bobbing through the waves – if you’re lucky, a whole group may come up to swim alongside the boat!
Puerto Base, Puerto Rico, Gran Canaria, Spain
Tel: +34 928 562 229
Hours: 3-hour trips begin at 10:00am and 1:30pm on Mon., Wed., and Fri. 2-hour trips begin at 10:00am, 12:30pm, and 3:00pm on Tues., Thurs., and Sat.
Prices: €27 for adults
Chances are your teenaged offspring will find family togetherness slightly more appealing if it occurs in the back of an open-top 4×4 that’s trundling through Gran Canaria’s beautifully wild Fatage valley. Over hills and down into dusty valleys, you’ll see a side of Gran Canaria that few tourists ever see. Some tour options even offer a camel ride in the mountains for the truly adventurous.
Pickups available at some Puerto Rico hotels.
Tel: +34 609 93 60 59
Prices from €51
How to Get to Puerto Rico
To get to Puerto Rico from the London area, you’re best off flying from Gatwick, Heathrow, or Stansted to Las Palmas de Gran Canaria airport. Thomas Cook Airlines and Ryanair both offer nonstop flights (about 4 ½ hours) for reasonable prices, although there are many more flights available with one stopover.
Once you’ve landed, you’re probably looking for a low-stress way to get from the airport to the town of Puerto Rico. Gran Canaria transfers with Shuttle Direct are easy to arrange with our straightforward online booking system. Rest assured knowing your driver will meet you at arrivals to make your travel as seamless as possible. The 40-minute drive along the coast to Puerto Rico will fly by – just sit back and enjoy the incredible view.
Where to Stay:
Apartamentos Portonovo – For maximum flexibility for a family of four, a two-bedroom suite at Apartamentos Portonovo is an ideal choice. With your own private kitchenette you have the option to stay in or go out for meals as you like. Just around the corner from the beach, the teens can come and go as they please while mom and dad relax on the patio or balcony.
Hotel Riosol – Overlooking the port and Amadores beach, the Hotel Riosol provides spectacular ocean views as well as easy access to the best of Puerto Rico. All apartments include a kitchenette, and the on-site supermarket makes it easy to get the essentials you need. If you’re not up to cooking, both breakfast and dinner are available at the hotel. The well-stocked game room includes a pool table and video games to keep kids and teens entertained.
Terraza de Amadores – With its stony façade, the Terraza de Amadores blends in almost perfectly with the high cliff behind it. Its broad terraces mean every apartment enjoys a beautiful view of the sea just a few minutes’ walk from the premises. A supermarket is on-site to provide necessities and snacks for your days out on the island.
About Shuttle Direct
Shuttle Direct provides fast, easy and economical transfers from airports, railway stations and ports to destinations all over Europe and North Africa. Our user-friendly online booking system makes it easy to organise your travel arrangements before you leave home, and one of our friendly drivers will meet you at the airport and transport you and your luggage to and from your final destination without delay.