We took off from the Las Palmas pier on a sunlit day at 9:15am on the Gran Canaria City Sights tour. Gran Canaria is the third largest in the chain of the Canary Islands and industrialized when compared to our earlier port of Lanzarote. This morning we headed to the north part of the island where most of the banana plantations exist because of the rich northern climate. Aired and hot describes its Southern Border. Combined, Gran Canaria sports its own miniature continent.
Leaving the harbor, we passed a replica of La Niña as used by explorer Christopher Columbus in the discovery of America.
Our itinerary stated that our tour begins with a photo stop at Playa de Las Canteras, a lovely golden sand beach surrounded by colorful hillside resorts. We did not stop, but instead did a drive-by. View the shore on the right side of the bus.
We arrived at the town of Arucas at 9:45am a town rebuilt in 1480 after destruction by Spanish conquistadors. We led off with an outside view, then inside visit to the Church of San Juan Bautista. The tour guide provided 30 minutes of free time. Arucas is a small town with scant avenues for walking amid a modest number of cafes and stores. In our brief stay, we discovered a garden near the Parish of San Juan Bautista where we saw a curious tree carving and foliage. In 30 minutes one could not properly pick up the atmosphere of this small pleasant town.
The Arehucas Distillery’s merchandise assortment includes up to 17 different liqueurs and a golden colored honey rum. Therefore, rum and sugarcane production are foundations of the town and shipped daily around the world.
We left behind the town of Arucas at 10:15am headed for the town of Teror. This required the bus to drive up a narrow serpentine road requiring lots of pulling over to let others pass.
We reached Teror at 10:50am and had 70 minutes of free time. Departing the bus we roamed with the tour guide to the neoclassic Basilica of the Virgen del Pino erected in 1767. We chose a self-guided tour of the Basilica taking pictures of the adorned altar. A local quarry provided the Bluestone needed for the construction of the Basilica’s facade.
The Virgin Mary appeared on a pine tree at Teror in 1478 prompting a modern-day pilgrimage to settle on the town during September. Pilgrims flock to observe the Feast of the Virgen del Pino. This trip involves walking the 20-mile curvy road between Arucas and Teror. One part of the road remains restricted to traffic during this feast. Long ago a storm wiped out the pine tree. Now an 1841 statue of the Virgin Mary stands in its place.
After leaving Teror, the left side of the bus is best for picture taking and observation opportunities.
We arrived at Caldera de Bandama, the volcanic crater, at 12:40pm. Aligned over the crater at 1,876 feet stands the observation point. At this vantage you are staring right into its mouth. The mouth is extra-wide as the volcano had a dual eruption, thus creating a massive opening. We stayed for 20 minutes at the observation point then headed for the pier via Las Palmas Old Town arriving at 1:45 pm.
Cruise Port: Gran Canaria, Canary Islands
Cruise Line/Ship: Royal Caribbean Navigator of the Seas
Tour Name: Gran Canaria City Sights
Tour Operator/Guide: Intercruises; Felisha
Steps logged: 6,148