Thursday, 13 December 2012

Last minute holiday planning - Gran Canaria - the gay tacky holiday type, or is it?

Tacky if you had planned to go trekking across Israel and Jordan, before tensions grew with Palestine - it was an amazing itinerary: the crusade of Indiana Jones was planned to visit Petra, while visiting the gay nightlife of Tel Aviv (okay not very Doctor Jones, but very me!)

So, hardly wanting to put my life beyond reasonable danger, nor on hold, I opted to make a quick emergency change to my travel plans. with 8 days before departure and Christmas on the side, this was an unwelcome prospect....so how did I do it

Facebook
Without a doubt my friends saved me from making the worst mistake.
- "Where Shall I go", I cried....

I received expensive long-haul options and challenging short-haul destinations. I had only 8 days, 6 of them working long days in the office, the other 2 a pre-booked weekend of DIY...I had no time to plan. It had to be simple, needed little research as possible.

Thus, several mentioned of Gran Canaria, a small island with all-year-round sun part of Spain but off the coast of North West Africa - I was told it had a big gay scene, with great weather and beautiful landscape and country-side. I was sold.



Flights
I had already booked cheap flights to Tel Aviv with EasyJet, how was I going to change this? would I lose my money - £200? No! EasyJet were a godsend and changed my flights to Las Palmas, Gran Canaria. I lost maybe £30 and my £50 pre-booked and paid for car parking, but at least I was going away. Their change policy seemed straight-forward, and I would recommend anyone calling them if they have a problem. Their customer service is excellent.

Accommodation
Here I made an error and I would encourage people to take heed of this advice. Don't go for the cheapest non-refundable rate, in most cases the difference is only a few pound/euros/dollars.

Fortunately all but 1 of my hotels were refundable, I lost one night's accommodation, for a measly £5 saving! (in total I lost £50)


It was then - do I opt for Hotel or Self-catered? Didn I want cheap buffet style meals at the hotel, or the option to cook my own?

I opted for an apartment, near the Yumbo, the gay area - I was advised it would be central to the gay nightlife. They couldn't be more right, plus I heard nothing from my apartment, it was so quiet, clean and large. This 2 bedroom apartment was maybe a little too big for me, but certainly good for the price.




Car Rental
Well this was perhaps my biggest black hole money pit. I wouldn't advise for your first visit, especially if it is a week. I used the car only for airport return (€80) and two day trips exploring the island through the bendy road between the hills of the former volcano. I used it to also go to the beach, which was an 'okay' walk. I spent £160 which was not worth it for one person (£66 to rent + £40 for insurance + €85 petrol - I only used half a tank).

They do have brilliant bike hire schemes here, and I would advise this any day. A great selection including Cannondale, Specialised and Cervelo. The roads are't busy and if you like to challenge yourself, Gran Canaria is perfect.




Itinerary
You will probably spend 2 - 3 days nursing hangovers after a 6am party finish, 2 days on the beach and 2 days by the pool - any remainder day I would suggest you take an excursion - there was a gay boat trip, unfortunately it wasn't running, but they can arrange a boat tour for you.

Day 1

Land, out for dinner in Yumbo at 10.30pm, on to bar-hopping end at Mykonos and Mantrix
Finish at 4am - DRUNK
 
Day 2
Discover the sand dunes and the gay nudist beach - bit chilly and windy but bearable - siesta, then out for dinner and party from 9.30pm
RETURN @ 6am

Day 3
Run to the beach over the dunes - meet the boys, bath, get hit by a sand storm (very small but not nice)), head to the apartment pool, sangria - head to sauna - then dinner
Early night, 10.30pm - KNACKERED

Day 4
Early rise, coffee and breakfast on the balcony
Head to beach, then siesta
Head out for dinner and party at Yumbo 10pm, out to Drag show
Back - 6am - DRUNK

Day 5
Lunchtime rise, drive out to the country with lads, Spanish tapas
Quiet night in Yumbo, meant to be an early night - finish at 4.30pm

Day 6
Day by the pool, early meal at 9.30pm, out to party - Drag show
Back @ 9am

Day 7
Sat by the pool, slept - back for a 2hour siesta
In bed by 11pm - KNACKERED

Day 8
Big drive to the highest point in Gran Canaria, climbing for 1.5 hours.
Lunch in San Mateo, Shopping in Yumbo
Siesta for 2 hours
Dinner at 9pm - Out to Drag show
Back at 5am

Day 9
Packing, Beach, half chicken with chips & salad €3.90
Left for Airport