Fun meter: Amazing
Location: Las Canteras, Gran Canaria
Type: Nature Preserve
Time: However long you want
Level of difficulty: Super easy
Good for what ages: All ages, especially littles
At the end of Peña La Vieja beach, on Las Canteras in Las Palmas, there is a tiny corner at low tide that becomes one of the best places to swim with fish on the island. There are hundreds of colorful swimmers of all different kinds everywhere. The reef stops the waves and makes it calm and it’s so shallow that it is only waist deep for my little 7 year old brother. It is absolutely incredible. Wetsuit not required.
How to Get There
Las Canteras is a 3KM stretch of beach on the north-eastern tip of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. Peña la Viejo is pretty much in the middle, and is a 20-30 minute walk from either end. You can park anywhere along Las Canteras if you don’t mind a stroll. There is a parking garage on Olof Palme that often has space. Street parking is tricky but you might get lucky. We live close and usually put Sojourn on a skateboard or just walk.
Photo caption: Grandpa and grandma take us for ice-cream.
The Beach & the Boardwalk
Las Canteras Boardwalk is full of walkers and people eating on nice days. It runs along the side of Peña la Vieja beach. You know you are in the right place when you see the statue of the fisherman, the big rock in the water with people jumping off, and (most of the year) the little fishing boats floating on buoys. This part of the island can be super sunny or super windy. Sometimes both. While playa grande around the corner is a post card beach where the tourists go, Peña feels natural and is usually full of locals. It’s amazing how big a change 500m makes.
The sand beach has tons of space to play. La Barra, which is a rock barrier reef, blocks all the waves at low tide. While La Cicer around the corner always has waves, Peña is calm. The rocks right at the shore can make it hard to swim for littles if there are any waves. Except at fish corner, which is perfect. Fish corner is right at the bottom of the stairs in front of Basal restaurant. Mom and dad prefer to use the stairs by Heladería Peña la Vieja and then find a spot to set up in between the two.
While this beach rocks a lot of the year, every so often it gets covered in kelp and gets stinky until the city cleans it up.
The snorkeling is absolutely beautiful. Especially if you want to find hundreds of fish. There are all types of fish from common gray fish to these tiny, beautiful, rainbow fish that swim super fast. From parrot fish to ornamental wrasse. At low tide, it is shallow enough that my little brother can stand easily and it only reaches his waist.
Ornamental wrasse and Porgies
Dad and I found a secret. When you turn over a big rock under the water, all the fish come because they like to eat whatever is under the rock. And it isn’t just fish. Once dad and I were here and we saw two cuttlefish!!! They are like tiny squids. It was sooo cool. There are also octopus, shellfish, crabs and more. You don’t really need snorkel stuff. Swim goggles are what I use. These pictures were taken on a cold day in winter, now absolutely no one wears a wetsuit. Not all of these pictures are ours. We don’t have an underwater camera. The fish pictures and the videos are from Alex from Gran-Canaria-info.com.
The Tide Pools
Directly next to fish corner are a bunch of tiny pools. Lots of kids swim in the tide pools. They are full of tiny crabs, fish and other animals that live there. Sojourn and his classmates like to go fishing with tiny butterfly nets and strings on a stick to catch and then release fish. They love it.
Las Canteras has So Much Great Food
Las Canteras has a bunch of good restaurants and places to have a snack. There are too many to cover, but here are my absolute favorites within a 1 minute walk of Peña la Vieja. I’ll write more about others up and down the paseo another day. Got kids? They will be happy.
On the south side of fish corner is Piemonte. It has classic thin crust italian pizza + pasta and they are super nice if you call ahead. We often grab a pizza there to eat on the beach.
Right above the stairs is Basal, and you probably want to call ahead to reserve a table. This place is really yummy. I love the boa buns, the make your own fried rice and the ceviche. When I asked dad how to describe it, he called it asian fusion.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE FOOD?
Heladeria Peña La Vieja
There is always a line on a warm day that leads around the boardwalk.If you are unlucky, you could have to wait 30 minutes. They have a lot of flavors, but the dark chocolate sorbet is special. Powerful and yum.