THE days of the sun, sea and sand holiday may still be very much alive for those residing in climates where those three components don’t exactly warm the heart.
But the increasingly sophisticated tourist industry in the Gran Canaria is encouraging visitors to experience the delights of the island’s northern region before packing off to the traditional southern resorts of Playa del Inglés, Maspalomas, Costa Meloneras and Puerto Rico.
When the Spanish Tourist Board in Ireland invited a number of Irish journalists to spend a few days in the south Atlantic hotspot situated 210 kilometres from the west coast of Africa, there was a certain emphasis on savoring all the flowers in the garden rather than a tiny section of it.
So an intriguing journey began in a location rarely mentioned in the glossy Irish travel brochures, the seafaring town of Agaete in the Port of Las Nieves.
It has a lush and volcanic feel and the waves sweep in from the sea with exciting intensity. Located just a few miles away is the Azuaje Valley, which is part of Doramas Natural Park, a natural protected area with a myriad of walking treks.
Here, our guide Yamilet Cárdenes brought us on down ancient forest paths graced by large numbers of endemic plants and trees from the Laurisilva forest. Little by little the valley becomes narrower, with side walls of more than 100 metres high.
The ruins of an old small thermal hotel, where Europeans visited searching for its medicinal waters, are nearby.