Well, it has been a HOT minute since our little family break to Gran Canaria, I’m a bit behind – but guess what? I came home to Covid, and so did Reuben… since then I’ve felt rotten on and off and I’m only really now starting to feel back to my “normal” self a bit!
You’re probably here more for the top tips about Gran Canaria, specifically Playa Taurito/Puerto Rico area, than you are to read about me and Roo having covid when we came home, so let’s get on with it shall we?!
We booked a 7 nights all inclusive stay at Paradise Lago Taurito in Gran Canaria with Jet2. The transfer is pegged as 45 minutes but it was much more like 90 minutes – and for the love of god DO NOT do a standard transfer – pay extra and have a private one. We will never make the mistake again, I think it was just in the excitement of our first post-covid trip. We chose it mainly for the waterpark that sits in the middle of 4/5 hotels know as Lago Taurito. It is independent but can be used/accessed for no extra cost by hotel guests and is packed full of water slides and different pools to enjoy. The one thing that I didn’t think would bother my kids, but did to varying degrees, is that the pool itself is saltwater, so it’s an absolute *must* to have goggles. The water isn’t heated either, which didn’t really bother us but was actually a complaint made on Tripadvisor quite a lot! It’s also worth noting that, whilst we were all inclusive, you can’t take drinks or snacks in the waterpark, but instead have to buy inside – and whilst I can’t really say that bothered me, on hot days the cost of water can add up!
My top tip for enjoying the waterpark, apart from ensuring you have goggles, is to buy a float from one of the many small shops surrounding the hotels – they aren’t especially expensive and you can’t take them in the hotel pools (which aren’t salt water) but the kids had hours of fun playing on their float in the bigger pools – well worth 20 EUROS.
The hotel itself was delightful and really shocked me – the reviews were so incredibly mixed on tripadvisor and I was a little bit apprehensive but it appears that, as per usual, the moaning Brit who wants to pay 3 star Gran Canaria prices and get a 6 star Dubai palace had come out to play! It was spotless, the staff were generally polite and helpful, the food (whilst admittedly a bit samey at times) was actually rather nice and there was plenty to do. They had a mini golf course, an arcade (open from 8pm), pool, various bars and a restaurant – yes, it was a little tougher to entertain the kids on the one day it was cooler and rainy, but then that does happen and you generally have to head off complex and use your brain a bit. Meal times were a bit odd and I saw various complaints from people in peak travel time that they were assigned a meal time between 8-9pm with small children, but I believe the set meal slots were due to covid regs and not really something the hotel could change – the same as enforcing masks indoors for anyone over the age of 6 years – it’s a Spanish regulation and not something the hotel can just sack off. We actually pretty much ignored our time slots and no one questioned it, but travelling in off peak does afford you that luxury.
There were lots of little shops that sold all manner of stuff, a mini supermarket and a place to get hair braids – my only complaint was that the pharmacy was closed and for some utterly baffling reason you can’t buy ANY medication, including calpol and paracetamol products from anywhere other than a pharmacy. It was the one thing that really frustrated as when Adam had a roaring temperature it would mean a 15 minute trip to Puerto Rico to grab some medicine had we not had just enough to see him through until our planned trip.
Getting around was super easy – there is a bus stop and taxi rank a the top of the complex, and whilst bus routes were easy enough to navigate, we have always preferred getting a taxi. I will say, ordering/finding a taxi for 5 was a bit of a nightmare as it was off peak season, but usually if you go to the taxi rank OR you ask the hotel to specifically order one for 5, it’s fine. A few times we just travelled in two as it was easier and for 11 EUROs to get to Puerto Rico, 18 EUROS to Playa Mogan and 16 EUROS to Anfi, we didn’t think it was too much of a cost.
The beach at the bottom of the hotel complexes is lovely, they have a range of watersports and activities which we didn’t indulge in this time but would if we went back. There are also several bars and restaurants along the beach so if you want to, you can try something a little different to the hotel at your own cost. Definitely walk around to the left side of the beach and sneak through the little caves – there are only a couple but they were cute and the kids found them exciting… maybe wear your flip flops though…
So what should you factor into your trip to Playa Taurito apart from enjoying the pool and all that the hotel has to offer?
Anfi del Mar
I’m putting it first because it was sensational – you felt like you were in the Caribbean – white sand beaches, beautiful views and all over lovely atmosphere. It’s small but there were some lovely touches like taking the lift down to the beach, walking through the little mall, walking around the little island and then at the opposite side of the little beach you can find places to open water swim in the deeper sea.
It was so lovely – we had lunch at a little Tex Mex place on the seafront and thoroughly enjoyed it. Snorkelling is another must here if your kids are trying to spot fish!
Visit Mogan Mall in Puerto Rico and have a walk around.
I really wasn’t keen on Puerto Rico at all, it just felt like a really touristy and tacky place, but the new Mogan Mall was fabulous! There were a lot of bars and cheap restaurants – one of which we ate in and had a fab pizza, they even made Edith’s pizza into bunny ears which was super cute and the staff were really lovely. Be aware that, if anywhere, this is where shop sellers will harass you, we had one fairly unpleasant experience with a seller who would NOT stop following us and shouting at me about being cheap because I wouldn’t buy a knock off football shirt he was trying to force on Toby. I take the stance that you quite often get these experiences, especially in tourist hot spots and to just let it roll over me, but the kids did find it a little intimidating and asked why the man was getting angry with us for not buying.
We walked down out of Mogan Mall, towards the beach where there were lots of pretty parks, including the highly recommended Angry Birds park (though we felt our kids were a bit old for this, it looked fab!).
Visit Puerto Mogan
Equally as pretty as Anfi, but totally different. Mogan had two sides – beach and harbour – but both were lovely. We ate just across from the beach in a place I think was called Pinocchio and it was LUSH. Really great food and drink with lovely views. Mogan is awash with pretty streets covering in hanging flowers and the harbour was lovely to see. We were told that there is usually a yellow submarine that is worth going on but it wasn’t working due to covid. You can take whale and dolphin watching trips from here, actually from most of the places I’ve mentioned including the hotel, but we just never factored one in with me and Adam both being a little poorly on different days.
There is a glass bottom ferry that goes from Mogan to Puerto Rico but, like most glass bottom ferries you really can’t see anything once it gets going so it’s really not worth it (unless you want to make a day of it and just fancy it!)
And there you have it! That was our holiday – Adam and I are heading to Norway in a few days so I will have a little post about what I recommend there as a solo or couple!