Add Event Gay Gran Canaria Gran Canaria is the most gay-friendly destination in the Canary Islands, an archipelago situated just miles off the northwest coast of Africa that for decades has been a favorite destination for Europeans in search of sunshine.
In addition to fine beaches, the islands have a fascinating history to explore, and plenty of relaxed revelry to enjoy, all with Spanish flair. It's generally accepted that the Gauches from North Africa, descendants of Berbers, originally settled the islands. They lived mainly in caves and under rock spurs. Left pretty much alone until the 14th century, they were taken as slaves by Italians, Portuguese and Catalans, forcibly converted to Christianity, and then quickly died out.
In the mid 15th century the Spanish arrived to rule the islands. In contrast, the northern coast has a more traditional cultural ambience, and a change of scenery. Known as a "miniature continent" with different climates, the landscapes range from long beaches and white sand dunes to mountain terrain and lush green ravines with picturesque villages.
Maspalomas has one of the best nude beaches in the world, complete with a gay section near the western end. The gay section is named for shack "Number 7" - just look for rainbow flags and the guys you saw at the clubs. You'll see northerners on the sand earlier craving every ray of sunshine , while Spanish locals tend to come out for a dip, or for a beer at the "chiringuito" later, as the sun gets lower in the sky.
Unlike beach towns "on the Peninsula," winter doesn't shut things down, and a cultural separation from mainland Spain makes for a slower pace of life. Fashions are more casual. The boy-next-door has grown up but he won't get turned away at the disco rope, and the partying usuallly ends when the sun comes up.
Weekdays are slow, building up to the weekends. Sundays involve a lazy brunch, or Sunday roast, and time-out at the pool, but not T-party dancing. The scene is broadly international. But, end of the day, there are comfort zone retreats that provide all things familiar --beers and food from home, and the familiar acid wit of drag queen emcees. Also, with satellite TV, no one needs to miss their team's next game, or a favorite program episode.
It's well worth visiting the capital of Gran Canaria. With about , inhabitants, Las Palmas is less touristy than the south shore communities, and it offers more historical sights and some lovely architecture. The city has some beaches too, and local bars and restaurants serve traditional tapas, local seafood, beers and wines. Most Spanish businesses traditionally shut down during siesta hours, usually pm, so you'll find better eating and shopping options during the early evening hours than in the mid-afternoon, when most places in Spain look like ghost towns.
Gran Canaria's Gay Pride event attracts over , participants to Maspalomas for a whole week of entertainment and partying in May. Every business displays the colors of the rainbow. The streets are full of people in stunning costumes and suntanned men in skimpy swimsuits. The day ends in a huge outdoor dance party on Avenida de Tirajana.
Many major carriers land here too. Canary Fly is a low-cost airline for getting between the islands, La Palma, Lanzarote, Tenerife, and Fuerteventura, plus some Africa connections. Binter Canarias also covers these routes, along with flights from Lisbon, Cape Verde, Madeira and some cities in Morocco.
Many hotels and guesthouses will send a taxi to pick you up. Also see bus information, at the link below. Getting around Buses, known as guaguas, are a great way to get around Gran Canaria. Global service is not always frequent, but they operate many routes around the island, including from the airport, to both Las Palmas and Maspalomas.
Guaguas Municipales covers Las Palmas with more frequent bus service; also with tourist open-top city tours. Buy a trip book of tickets for a fare discount. Car rentals are easy and inexpensive, reserved ahead, and picked up at the airport - and local companies in town sometimes have good last minute deals too. With so many gay resorts, bars and restaurants packed in close together around Yumbo Center in Maspalomas, walking may often be the best option --but taxis aren't that expensive either.
GayBoat Gran Canaria offers gay group sailings every Friday. The pickup time is 2pm at mini golf Yumbo to board a catamaran at Puerto Rico for music, sun, sea and a stop at a small beach where parasailing and jetski rentals are optional.
GayJeep Safari Gran Canaria takes you on a tour to some hidden corners of the island, far from the usual tourist trails, with a midday mountain village restaurant stop in Ayacata. Banks close at 2pm and on weekends, but there's always an ATM nearby. Check with your local bank to possibly save on withdrawal charges; your bank may have reciprocal agreements with local banks such as Barclays, BBVA or Santander. Informing your bank of travel plans will also make your credit card charges go more smoothly; likewise a credit card with a chip and 4-digit pin number is often preferred.
Cruising The infamous dunes provide opportunities for nudity and lots of all-male recreational fun. A hat is helpful too, especially for guys with shaved heads -- in straw or paper, Panama-style, they're cheap and disposable, and much cooler than a tight cap. There are plenty of indoor cruising places too. Besides two saunas, several sex clubs and with naked nights in dark rooms with slings etc, and porn shop video lounges, there are dark rooms in the discos and in lots of other bars too, especially the men's clubs.
The best local gay websites for information on what's going on: Maspalomas , the official tourism website, has useful general visitor information, also in Spanish, English and German. The Gran Canaria and JustGranCanaria websites also have information for the whole island, from nightlife and shopping to camel safaris and submarine excursions.
They also list restaurants, including the best places to find authentic Canarian cuisine, and 22 area museums, most of which are up north in and around Las Palmas. For map locations and website links to the businesses below, and more, see our gay Gran Canaria listings and for whats going on, the Events pages.
Spend a lazy afternoon, or party the night away. Their business roster changes from season to season, but there's always another club nearby, and new places usually open as the old ones close. Blue Night Bar Yumbo, 2nd level , nightly gay German and international men's party bar; all welcome; former Prison Bar site.
Gran Cafe Latino Yumbo, 1st level, , Sixpack , every day cozy gay bar, large terrace, Latin salsa, samba, and merengue, coffees and cocktails. Former Block Bar site. Bungalows and studios, naked dark room, slings, glory holes. Former Chupa Chupa site. Zoo Av de Tirajana 17 , nightly men's cruise bar until 4am, two levels, private cabins, g-holes, cages, slings, dark and orgy rooms; naked, underwear and fetish events.
Cafe Wien Cita Center, Av De Francia, 2 , popular retreat half-way between Yumbo and the dunes, stylish teashop, pastry and cakes, hot and cold drinks. Restaurante OK Av de Tirajana 19 , popular gay-owned restaurant near Yumbo, 5pmam home-style international dining.
Local fresh fish and meats, pastas and sauces from their own chefs. Yumbo Center Av de los Estados Unidos 54 , besides all the bars, clubs and shops at this gay center, there are restaurants of many world cuisines, including those of Belgium, China, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Italy, India, Spain and Thailand - plus supermarkets and a couple of mini-marts which also stock international foods.
The Cita Center Av de Francia 2 , a bit run down these days, but closer to the beach than Yumbo, with restaurants, cafes and mini-mart food options among the shops. For those willing to venture outside town, there's Restaurante Tagoror Montaya Las Tierras 21, Guayadeque; Set in the mountains in this Guanchen Village, they offer authentic Canarian food and entertainment.
You can book a table through your hotel or tour operator, or call them direct. Basement Studios Av de Estados Unidos, 37; , men-only resort complex dedicated to naked cruising and sexual freedom, opposite the Yumbo Center.
Comfortable, well-equipped bungalows and studios, naked dark room, slings, glory holes. Yumbo, near dunes, 12 unique bungalows, each with city theme: Berlin, London, New York, Paris, etc. Private terraces overlook clothing-optional pool, bar, suptropical gardens; heated jacuzzi, massage, plasma SatTV, kitchens, WiFi. Birdcage Resort Calle de Egipto 10; , men-only gay resort close to Yumbo Center, rich breakfasts, pool, whirlpool, sundeck, tropical garden, relaxing music, Wellness Spa, and trained massage therapists.
Island tours and airport transfers. A tropical oasis of natural gardens, pool area with Jacuzzi, sun deck and bar, roof deck overlooking the sea. Rainbow Golf Bungalows Touroperador Finnmatkat 6; , gay men-only boutique resort bungalows by the hole Maspalomas Golf course, also near Meloneras Golf; 21 units, reasonable prices, clothing-optional heated pool, Jacuzzi, gym, satellite TV, WiFi, massage.
The GayMaspalomas website can book you into these and other gay resorts, including: Aqua Beach Bungalows apartments for gay men, with terraces, pool, gardens and free WiFi; Artemisa Gay Bungalows with 28 units at the center; and Paso Chico , with 6 poolside bungalows, across from the Yumbo. The Yumbo website lists several gay-friendly resorts, including: Aparthotel Rondo room poolside hotel with Miraflor Suites kitchenette bungalows; and Vista Bonita , 20 duplex apartments with tropical garden pool, Jacuzzi, and bar on the south coast of Gran Canaria, in Sonnenland.
The Rui hotel group has two large hotels right at the edge of the Maspalomas Dunes -- on each side of the gay beach and cruise area. Dreamhomes Av Tirijana 11, Edificio Taidia; 34 offers complete property services and well-informed assistance with local investments. They boast extensive experience in all aspects of property purchases --and with their suprisingly cheap prices, your dream home could be closer than you think.
Home Sweet Home offers holiday-letting services in Playa del Ingles, with a range of apartments and rooms. Options include rooms in lavish shared accommodations with pool and wi-fi, or self-contained apartments. Even those with the most basic facilities have pool access and a balcony. Also sunbeds and luxury skin treatments.
For more stores see the website of Yumbo Centre. Check Out the Capital Set between two bays with beautiful beaches, on the northeast coast of the island, the city was founded by the Spanish in Rich in cultural and historical heritage, especially in Vegueta, the oldest part of town, it has a cosmopolitan feel without being as touristy as Maspalomas.
The distinct Canarian culture is perhaps best experienced at one of many cafes and restaurants; also in the streets during Carnaval Las Palmas celebrations, held just before Lent. Around 10 museums of history and modern art can also be found here, as well as many small shops. Vela Latina Canaria regattas and the Lucha Canaria , similar to Japanese sumo wrestling, are two more annual events to check out. The Gran Terraza Lolita Pluma Parque Santa Catalina 7 is a Las Palmas landmark, literally a grand terrace cafe named in homage to a local colorful character who once fed street cats and sold chewing gum to tourists, in the park that faces here.
Restaurante Clandestino Calle Doctor Miguel Rosas 8 , Las Palmas cuisine in the harbor area from 1pm daily, gay-friendly atmosphere; steak, seafood, pastas, tempora.
Sauna Portugal Calle Portugal 37, Las Palmas , men's club on two levels, Finland and steam saunas, free cabins and darkroom, bar and massage services. For an entertaining gay tour, try Let Me Take U for an excursion with highlights you might miss if on your own.