What types of cars do you rent?

Car Hire Comparison UK: Most rental companies categorise the hire cars and broadly speaking, these are as follows: Mini, Economy, compact, Standard or Intermediate, Full Size, Luxury or Premium, Vans/Minivans (also referred to as MPV's or People Carriers), SUV's and, depending on the location, Exotic and/or Special Cars which may include such icons as Aston Martin, Ferrari, Bentley, Lamborghini and so on. The 'vans' or people carriers are typically available in derivatives from 5 seats through to nine seater. Some locations will also have soft tops (convertibles/cabriolets) available, from a sports car through to a family soft top or 4x4 with a removable, canvas top. Compare Car Hire.

The range is exhaustive and we invite you to look at the 'information' section for additional details on individual vehicles and specifications. Remember, that the extent of the range will be dependent on availability, location and country. 

Where can I get my rental car?

The good news is that 'Car Hire Assistant' has access to over 550 suppliers who, combined, have some 30,000 locations in 175 countries. Therefore, if you want to collect your rental car from a large city, small town, holiday resort, sea port or airport, there is an excellent chance that one of the rental companies we use will have an office near you. If you want to collect your hire car from one location and return it to another, this is also possible with some hire companies, although a premium is charged. Many of the companies we deal with also have kiosks or stations at major airports. 

Remember, our service is free, there are no hidden charges or booking surcharges. We search, so you can compare, not just the price of your rental car, but the options, types of vehicles, locations and service. Compare car hire prices with Car Hire Assistant, The UK  Car Hire Comparison Site - Compare Car Hire

Car Rentals made simple

Renting a car, van or people carrier (MPV) does not have to be a stressful experience. Using a car rental comparison site such as 'Car Hire Assistant' can save you  many hours attempting to find the cheapest deals and then trying to compare the hire options on a like for like basis. Moreover, the process of weeding out those rental operators that employ tactics of headline grabbing, low rental costs, only to hit the hirer with a huge list of extras, means you have to remain alert. Car Hire Assistant removes ambiguities with a guarantee of no hidden prices and a commitment to inclusive rental rates. Car options are laid out in a logical manner allowing the renter to compare 'apples with apples'. We also offer additional, complimentary services such as Car Hire Excess Insurance, Travel Insurance and Airport Transfers. Free service and no booking charges. The best comparison site for Cheap Car Hire

Car Rentals in Gran Canaria

Find more about Weather in Gran Canaria, CR
To get the best deals, we all need a little help sometimes and, if you are seeking a great deal on car rental in Gran Canaria (Spain), then the Car Hire Assistant website is place to be. We are a price comparison site specialising in car hire, not just local hire, but international car rental in any of one the 175 countries we cover, which includes 30,000 rental locations. With some 550 suppliers, we are confident that we can present you with the best prices and range of options for you hire car in Gran Canaria (Spain). Of course, we don't just limit ourselves to local suppliers, where appropriate, we will also seek prices from many of the major international car rental companies, which includes; Europcar, National, Avis, Sixt, Hertz, Budget, Enterprise and Alamo.

The service is free and you will not be charged a booking fee. The prices are fully inclusive and completely transparent, therefore you do not have to be concerned about hidden charges, something we have all experienced at one time or another. Too good to be true, well not really, at Car Hire Assistant, we believe your rental price should include such necessities as; Collision Damage Waiver, Third Party Liability Protection, Theft Waiver, Airport charges, Taxes and Credit Card Surcharges. We think the search and the subsequent booking for you hire car in Gran Canaria (Spain) should be as painless as possible, therefore we provide you with a wide range of options, clear pricing, great prices, a simple, 3 stage booking process.
Don't be concerned that you may miss out on special offers from rental companies in Gran Canaria (Spain), if they are running promotions, we will include this in your hire summary and highlight it as a best buy.

Economy, family, luxury and 4 wheel drive car hire available in Gran Canaria, Canary Islands.It doesn't really matter where you are travelling to in Gran Canaria (Spain), or where it is most convenient to collect your hire car, be this at an airport, train station, city location, holiday resort or railway station. There really is every possibility we will be able to accommodate your wishes.

At Car Hire Assistant, we truly believe that it is important to be completely open about everything. Therefore, we want to take this opportunity to highlight the fact that laws and regulations are different in every country and this, would of course, include Gran Canaria (Spain). Similarly, some terms can vary between rental operators, albeit in a minor way, therefore we ensure that the terms and conditions are made available to you to enable you to truly compare your options.

We offer a wide range of vehicles in Gran Canaria (Spain), however, the full extent will be determined by the local operator and your chosen rental location. The types of vehicles will include economy and compact models, family cars estate cars (station wagons), multi-purpose vehicles (also referred to as MPV's, people carriers or vans), prestige car including Mercedes (E Class, S Class, BMW 5 Series and 7 Series etc) and four wheel drive vehicles such as Sports Utility Vehicles (SUV's) or 4x4's. In some larger locations or cities, we can also provide sports cars or high value prestige cars (Porsche, Ferrari, McLaren, Aston Martin etc).

About the Canary Islands

The Canaries consists of seven large and several smaller islands, all of which are volcanic in origin. The largest being; Tenerife, Gran canaria, Lanzarote, Fuerteventura, La Palma, La Gomera and El Hierro. Tenerife is the highest mountain in Spain, and the third tallest volcano on Earth. All of the islands with the exception of La Gomera have been active in the last one million years; four of them (Lanzarote, Tenerife, La Palma and El Hierro) have historical records of eruptions since European discovery.

In the summer months (from June to September) the daytime highs in the Canary Islands is generally around 27°C. At night they typically fall to about 18°C. In the winter the daytime highs are about 17°C and night time lows are rarely below 8°C. Daily sunshine hours range from an average of six hours per day in winter to as many as twelve in the summer months.

The main holiday resort areas in Tenerife are Playa de Las Americas, Puerto de la Cruz, Los Cristianos and Santa Cruz. Attractions in Tenerife include Loro Parque, a popular wildlife centre which welcomes 1.3m visitors every year. It houses the largest parrot collection in the world and has the biggest dolphinarium in Europe. Also worth a visit is the Castle Museum Park where you can find out about the history of the Canary Islands and information about volcanoes, agriculture and so on. Tenerife has a population of 780,000 people. Car Hire Assistant offers car rentals in Tenerife.

The principal holiday resorts in Gran Canaria are; Playa del Ingles, San Ugustin, Maspalomas and Puerto de Mogan. Attractions include Museo Canario the main museum which is located in Las Palmas, there are 3 water parks including Aqualand in Maspalomas, which is the largest water park in the Canary Islands. Also close to Maspalomas and Playa del Ingles is Palmitos Park, a zoological and botanical park. Then there is Sioux City, a Wild West theme park situated on the resort of San Agustin. Gran Canaria has an island population of 790.000. Car Hire Assistant offers car rentals in Gran Canaria.

Lanzarote resorts include Cost Teguise, Playa Blanca and Puerto Del Carmen. Situated on the island are the attractions of the Cesar Manrique Foundation which is located at Taro de Tahiche and is the home of the late Cesar Manrique, a renowned international artist and architect. Timanfaya National Park is a park with a collection of more than 100 volcanoes, most of which are termed active. Lanzarote has an island population of 135,000. Car Hire Assistant offers car rentals in Lanzarote.

Economy, family, luxury and 4 wheel drive car hire available in Gran Canaria, Canary Islands.The main vacation resorts in Fuerteventura are Corralejo, Costa Calma, El Cotillo and Morro Jable. Things to do include La Olivia Visitors centre, Cueva de Llanos, which include more than 400m of accessible caves which were formed from volcanic tubes. Situated in the south of Fuertaventura is La Lajita Oasis Park, which was created to protect and preserve the natural fauna and flora of the island. Situated in an area of 780,000 square metres, it also boasts an animal park and offers shows with birds of prey, sea lions and parrots. Fuerteventura has a small population of just 30,000 people. Car Hire Assistant offers car rentals in Fuerteventura.

La Palma holiday resorts include Barlovento, Brena Baja, Los Llanos, Playa de Los Cancajos, Puerto Naos and Santa Cruz de La Palma, which is the capital of La Palma and situated on the east of the island. It is also the location of the airport. La Palma has a population of 80,000 inhabitants. Car Hire Assistant offers car rentals in La Palma.

The smallest of the islands La Gomera has two principal holidat resorts which are; San Sebastin de la Gomera, the capital of the island and home of the main airport. And, Vallehermosa which is an agricultural municipality with vineyards and rubber wood plantations. La Gomera has a population numbering just under 19,000. Car Hire Assistant offers car rentals in La Gomera.

Like La Gomera, El Hierro is the smallest of the islands with visitors tending to head towards the towns of Timijiraque, La Caleta or Tamaduste. The island sports many small coves, natural pools and crystal clear waters, perfect for snorkeling and diving. Car Hire Assistant offers car rentals in El Hierro.

The principle airports are as follows: Gran Canaria Airport (Gran Canaria), Tenerife South Airport (Tenerife), Tenerife North Airport (Tenerife), Lanzarote Airport (Lanzarote), Fuerteventura Airport (Fuerteventura), La Palma Airport (La Palma), La Gomera Airport (La Gomera) and El Hierro Airport (El Hierro)

 

Mediterranean Spain which, in spite of Spain having a reputation for sunshine, only applies to one fifth of the country. Nonetheless, it has high sunshine levels, from 6 hours per day in the winter and up to 12 during the summer. Winters are mild, but much warmer than central Spain. Central Spain and the Southern Atlantic coast have a generally low rainfall though winter, although snow can be heavy on the Sierras. Summers are generally hot, particularly in the Guadalquivir valley of Northern Andalucia running out to Seville where some of the highest temperatures are recorded. Sunshine levels average 5 hours per day in winter and up to 12 hours in summer. North and North West Spain can be influenced by depressions from the Atlantic, these areas are characterised by cold winters and mild summers, with a predominance of cold temperatures. Snow and strong winds are also commonplace. Sunshine levels average 3 hours per day during the winter and up to 8 hours in the summer.

According to Instituto de Estudios Turisticos, there are over 12 million visits by British nationals to Spain every year. Street crime (typically using distraction techniques and working in teams) can be a problem, with thieves targeting money and passports. In some city centres and resorts, thieves posing as police officers on foot patrol may approach tourists and ask to see their wallets for identification purposes. According to the FCO, there are a significant number of travellers reporting that their passports have been stolen while passing through the airport whilst arriving or departing the country. Hotels have a legal duty to register the passport details of tourists when they check-in, but you should insist that they take a photocopy of it rather than leaving it at reception.

When driving, it is important to be wary of approaches by bogus police officers in plain clothes travelling in unmarked cars. In all traffic related matters, police officers will be in uniform. Unmarked police vehicles have a flashing electronic sign on the rear window which reads Policia (Police) or Guardia Civil (Civil Guard), and typically have blue flashing lights. The Civil Guard or Police will only ask you to show them your documents and will not ask for your bag, wallet or purse. You must provide ID (such as your passport) if requested by a Police Officer, if you fail to do so, The Police have the right to hold you at a police station until your identity is confirmed. You also have the right to ask them to identify themselves. The Police have the right to hold you at a police station until your identity is confirmed. Another issue to be aware of is so called "highway pirates" who typically target foreign registered and hire cars. Some will try to make you stop by claiming there is something wrong with your car or that you have damaged theirs. If you decide to stop try to do so in a populated area such as a service station and if it is at night, in a well lit area. be wary of anyone offering assistance.

You drive on the right in Spain. Care should be taken when driving in Spain because regulations and customs are different from those in the UK and the accident rate is higher, especially on motorways. It is a legal requirement for motorists travelling in Spain to carry two red warning triangles which are to be placed, in the event of an accident or breakdown, in front of and behind the vehicle. Drivers are also required to have a spare pair of glasses (if needed for driving), a spare wheel and a full set of spare light bulbs plus the tools to change them. If you exit your vehicle due to an accident or breakdown or whilst waiting for the arrival of the emergency or breakdown services, you must wear a reflective jacket or you could face a heavy fine.

As with the UK, Spain has strict drink driving laws. Penalties include heavy fines, loss of licence and possible imprisonment. Seat belts are required for all passengers in the front and back seats. No children under the age of twelve should be in the front seat and small children must be in an approved child safety seat in the back seat. Your car hire agency will be able to provide a seat so let them know you need one when you reserve the car. Talking into a mobile phone whilst driving is forbidden, even when stopped on the side of the road. You must be completely away from the road. Using an earpiece is also prohibited, although you are permitted to use a phone provided your car is fitted with a completely hands free unit.

People tend to drive very quickly on motorways and dual carriageways and although the speed limit is 120 kph cars are often travelling at 160 kph or more. The Civil Guard is attempting to address this issue with the increased use of mobile speed cameras, radar on motorways and the use of unmarked cars. It is worth noting that Spanish drivers do not usually stop at zebra crossings unless they are accompanied by traffic lights, therefore you should take care if someone is following you and you elect to stop. Roads in Spain have improved considerably, however, in contrast to the excellent new motorways (autopistas) and trunk roads, many secondary roads in rural areas and small towns (particularly parts of South West and Northern Spain) are full of potholes and in generally in a poor condition, some may also be quite narrow. Some main roads are also in poor condition with undulations and dips and tend not to be up to the standards of roads that are typical in northern Europe.

It is illegal to smoke in indoor public places such as bars, restaurants, airports and shopping centres. Smoking is also illegal outside hospitals, schools and children's play areas. Fines for breaking laws range from €30 to €600k and are being strictly enforced.

The currency in Spain is the Euro. When changing money, you should always use official money exchange offices or banks, given the possession and/or use of counterfeit money is considered a very serious crime in Spain and may lead to prosecution. ATM's are available in all cities and holiday resorts and instruction are also given in English.

Planning your Trip

Things always seem to go better when they are carefully planned and flying to another destination is no exception. Plan well and all things being equal, you should have an uneventful trip with less stress. Here are the top tips:

Before you leave

  • Ensure that you have your airline tickets, vouchers for hotel bookings, car rental and/or airport shuttle transfers, your passport, visa (if required), money, credit cards and travellers cheques. If you are renting a car at your destination, make sure you have your driver's licence (paper and photo) and, if necessary, an international drivers permit. These items should all be kept in your hand luggage.
  • Familiarise yourself with the 'banned item' list, these change from time to time, but it is important to know what can go in your hand luggage, what must go in the hold and what you simply cannot take with you.
  • Avoid wrapping items such as gifts or presents because these may be opened by security at your departing or destination airport.
  • If you are taking essential medicines, ensure that that they are in their original packaging and, if they are prescription drugs, try and get a letter from your doctor confirming that these have been prescribed for you. Also remember, that is some countries, certain drugs are banned, even if you have been prescribed them by your doctor. If in doubt, check with the airline and/or embassy.
  • Make sure that you choose comfortable clothing, especially if it is a long journey, also be cognisant of the weather at your destination, which may influence your choice of clothes.
  • Check the weight of your luggage. Most airlines have a strict policy on exceeding baggage limits and airport surcharges can be very expensive. In addition, some airlines will not allow you to pay in excess at checkin, which could lead to delays and inconvenience.

Heading for the airport

  • Always remember to allow plenty of time to arrive at the airport. As a general rule, if you are taking an international flight, you should aim to be at the airport at least 2 hours prior to departure. For local or domestic flights, at least one hour.
  • Make sure you know what terminal you are departing from, some airports are very large and the distance between the terminal buildings can be considerable.
  • Allow plenty of time to get to the airport. Road maintenance often happens at night, and this can occasionally lead to unexpected road closures, so check before you travel and allow ample time for your journey. If you are travelling during the day, then traffic may become your curse, once again, check on travel information sites and allow extra time for unexpected delays.
  • If you are driving to the airport yourself, it is advisable to book your airport parking in advance. Many websites no offer this service and it can be much cheaper than attempting to find parking on arrival.
  • If you are using public transport to get to the airport, then make sure you have booked advance tickets and also, that there are no planned maintenance (in respect of railways) or anticipated road works in the case of coach travel.
  • If you are travelling by hire car and intend to leave it at the airport, make sure the rental company has facilities to allow you to drop it off. Not all car rental companies have airport facilities, many are located just outside.

On arrival at the airport terminal

  • Since 2001, airport security has been tightened considerably and, on occasion, additional security measures are employed at very short notice. As a consequence, the amount of time taken to go through airport security has lengthened considerably and it can also be unpredictable, especially if additional measures have been introduced.
  • Make sure you are familiar with what you can take through security, particularly in relation to banned items and liquids. Remember, even if you have purchased something at the airport (such as drinks), you may not be able to take it through security and/or on the airline.
  • You must keep your baggage with you at all times. In part because of the security issues at airports, but also because it will almost certainly contain your essential travel documents and you would not want to lose them or have them stolen. You should never look after the belongings of other people or agree to carry anything onto the aircraft on their behalf.
  • Once you are through passport control and security, make sure you keep a close eye on the 'departure boards', many airport no longer make verbal announcements and you need to know which gate number your flight is departing from. Also consider the amount of time it takes to get from where you are to the gate, some airport are very large, such as Heathrow and it can take up to 30 minutes to get to the gate.

On the plane

  • If you are going on a long journey, then try to relax and get some sleep. For shorter journeys you may want to read a book, watch a movie or listen to music on your MP3 player. So make sure you have packed laptops, tablets and/or music players into your hand luggage.
  • It is advisable not to eat too much on long haul flights, because this can lead to an inability to sleep or indigestion. Move around the aircraft as much as you can to keep your circulation working. If you have flight socks, then consider using them.
  • Avoid too much alcohol, but drink plenty of other beverages to avoid dehydration.
  • Even if you are a seasoned traveller, it is worthwhile spending a few minutes to decide exactly what you need from your hire car. 
  • When considering the type of vehicle you wish to hire, consider the passengers and the luggage. Hiring a Suzuki jeep for 4 people with luggage could really be a problem. All too often hirers count the seats, but not the luggage.
  • If you are going on holiday and want to relax consider carefully whether you want a manual or automatic gearbox. 
  • Most cars have air conditioning as standard, but some of the economy vehicles may not, therefore if this is important to you, check carefully before you book and upgrade to the next model if necessary.
  • If you are not familiar with the country you are travelling to, then you need to think ahead. Planning the journey from your arrival airport to your destination is often overlooked. Do you need a local map, SatNav or will you take written directions? There is nothing worse than arriving at the airport in the middle of the night and getting lost! 
  • Do you need booster seats, child seats or a ski rack? These are often available from the hire companies at an additional charge, but they have to be booked in advance.  
  • Will you be the only driver? Some rental companies will allow a second driver at no additional charge (or for a small fee), but this needs to be booked in advance.
  • It is recommended that you remove the identiying tag from the car key ring and keep it in a safe place until the termination of your hire to avoid highlighting that you are a tourist and using a rental car. 
  • One Way Hires or dropping the car off at a different location can be convenient, but expensive. Most car hire companies allow this option, but it is worth checking the difference between these options and returning the car to the airport terminal. 
  • Check the terms of your hire carefully. Some rental companies will supply the car with a full tank of petrol and will expect you to return it with a full tank. If you don’t, then there could be additional charges levied and the cost of fuel may not be the most competitive. If your car is not provided with a full tank of petrol then you should plan to stop as early as possible refuel. 
  • Before you accept the car, make sure you check the condition carefully, noting any damage, including scratches, dents, tyres or windscreen damage. You should ensure that these are written on the handover form to avoid any arguments when the vehicle is returned. Also remember that, as the driver, you are responsible for ensuring that the hire car meets local road and traffic regulations, this includes, but is not limited to tyres, lights, wipers and brakes. If you are not happy, reject the vehicle and ask for an alternative. 
  • Above all, familiarise yourself with the car before you drive. Being in a different country with an unfamiliar car can be stressful. Take your time.
  • Rules of the road and more specifically traffic laws and regulations vary enormously between different countries. Therefore, whilst your drivers licence may be valid, your appreciation of local driving laws may not. To avoid frustration, fines, arrest or accidents, all travellers would be well advised to familiarise themselves with the local driving regulations before they embark on their journey. Many European countries also impose 'on the spot' fines for offences such as speeding. Also worth noting is that the car hire company will hold you personally liable for any fines incurred whilst you are using the vehicle, for example, parking fines

Guide to common rental car definitions:

These definitions are provided only as a guide and it essential that you refer to the terms and conditions of your rental agreement for specific terms relative to your hire.

Collision Damage Waiver (CDW), also referred to as: Loss Damage Waiver (LDW)
If the hired car or any of its parts or accessories is damaged other than by theft, attempted theft or vandalism, while on rental, CDW limits your liability to the amount of the non-waivable excess, if any, which applies in each country, provided that you have adhered to all the terms and conditions of the Rental Agreement. CDW does not cover any damage caused as a result of theft, attempted theft or vandalism.

Theft Waiver (TW)
It is an insurance offered by the car rental firm limiting your liability to the excess amount in case of theft of the vehicle. This does not over negligence, if for example you can't return the ignition key, or you left it in an unsafe place, you could be liabel for the full cost of the vehicle, as would be the case with most domestic car insurance policies.

Third Party Liability Protection
Offers protection against any third pary liability such as damage to another vehicle or personal injuries to an individual not travelling in the hire car. TPLP typically does not have an excess or deductible amount to pay.

Super Collision Damage Waiver (SCDW)
Covers tyres, roof and windscreen.

Personal Insurance (PI) Insures against the cost if you accidentally kill yourself or a passenger. (Also see ALI below)
 
Personal Effects Cover (PEC)
Covers property that has been stolen from a vehicle.
 
Additional Liability Insurance (ALI)
This is an optional insurance that protects the hirer and other other authorised drivers against claims made by third parties for personal injuries, death and property damage caused by the use of or the operation of the rental car.

 

The top 20 tourist destinations around the world for British nationals are as follows; 1. Spain 17m, 2. France 14m, 3. USA 6.5m, 4. Ireland 3.579m, 5. Italy 3.5m, 6. Greece 3m, 7. Germany 2.372m, 8. Portugal 2.254m, 9. Turkey 1.920m, 10. Cyprus 1.3m, 11. China (including Hong Kong) 1.212m, 12. Egypt 1.202m, 13. UAE 1.1m, 14. Thailand 812k, 15. India 734k, 16. Australia 670k, 17. Canada 650k, 18. South Africa 451k, 19. New Zealand 300k, 20. Pakistan 285k.

The coveted, top 10 most visited countries in the world are; 1. France 75.5m, 2. United States 50.9m, 3. Spain 48.2m, 4. Italy 41.2m, 5. China 31.2m, 6. United Kingdom 25.2m, 7. Russia 21.2m, 8. Mexico 20.6m, 9. Canada 20.4m and 10. Germany 19m.

According to SkiHorizon, the top winter ski resorts were Switzerland, France, Austria and Italy. The French preferred, Val Thorens, Les Deux, Avoriaz, Les Arcs 1800, Les Menuires, The village of Les Coches, Saint Sorlin d'Arves, Risoul, Tignes Val Claret and Plagne Bellecote. For the British, it was; Morzine, Les Arcs, Saas Fee, Serre Chevalier, Avoriaz, La Plagne, St. Anton, Megeve, Puy St. Vincent and Alpe D'Huez. Whilst the Dutch opted for Risoul, Val Thorens, La Plagne, Saint Sorlin 'dArves, Menuires, Les Deaux Alpes, Avoriaz, SFL, Arca and Oz.

Although France leads the league table in terms of visitor numbers, the top spot in terms of revenue earned from tourism goes to America (World Tourism Organisation figures for 2010) of $103.5bn. 2. Spain $52.5bn, 3. France 46.3bn, 4. China $45.8bn, 5. Italy 38.8bn, 6. Germany $34.7bn, 7. United Kingdom $30.4bn, 8. Australia $30.1 bn, 9. Hong Kong (China) 23bn and 10. Turkey $20.8bn.

The worlds safest roads based on the estimated number of road traffic deaths per 100,000 of population are; 1. Netherlands(49), 2. Sweden (53), 3. Norway (56), 4. United Kingdom (57), 5. Switzerland (69), 6. Germany (71), 7. Finland (72), 8. Denmark (74) 9. Japan (75) and 10. Iceland (79).

The top selling cars in Europe in 2011 are; 1. VW Golf, 2. Ford Fiesta, 3. W Polo, 4. Opel Corsa, 5. Renault Clio, 6. OFord Focus, 7. Opel Astra, 8. Peugeot 207, 9. Fiat Punt0, 10. Renault Megane, 11. VW Passat, 12. Nissa Qashqai, 13. Fiat Panda, 14. Citroen C3 and 15. Skoda Octavia.

360Cities – Canary Islands

Overview and HistoryThe Canary Islands lie off the west coast of Africa and exist as an autonomous community belonging to Spain.There are seven major islands in the archipelago and one minor island, then several small pointy bits which grumble about their diminutive status. The big ones are Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura, La Palma, Lanzarote, El Hierro, and La Gomera.The whole group is the result of volcanic activity from 60 million years ago, which is why the beaches have black sand for you to crunch along on. There are no active volcanos at the moment, but one never knows. Another way to say it is that these islands are part of the Atlas Mountain range which can be traced across northern Africa.At one point in the 16th century the islands were called "the sugar islands" for their production of cane sugar. The economy has since developed wineries, agriculture and now tourism as principal activity.Getting ThereThe Canary Islands have six airports in total. Here's a quick reference for the airports. The main international airport is Gran Canaria Airport, the gateway to the islands. It's 18km south of Las Palmas and has EU, International and Inter-Island terminals.TransportationHighway maintenance to the Canary Islands is sorely lacking, ha ha. Ferry service connects the islands to each other, but you can also take a small plane to hop between them.On the islands you can rent a car but be sure to carry your passport and license with you all the time. People ride bikes and take the guagua bus to get around. (It's pronounced "wa-wa".) Bus schedules can be infrequent or sporadic. Tenerife and Gran Canaria have impressive public transport systems that cover most of their islands.People and CultureThe Canary currency is the Euro; the islands are one of the farthest outlaying regions of the Euro zone.The culture is undoubtedly Spanish, but the mainland custom of kissing on both cheeks when you say hello can be abbreviated to only one kiss. You need quick reflexes to get it right. There's an accent that's a little bit different from mainland, and not quite the same as South American spanish either. The saying is that islanders talk "with potatos in their mouth" because of their lazy-sounding pronunciation.Things to do, RecommendationsHere's a basic look at the main islands. The way we see it, if you need directions for how to have fun on a tropical island full of fruit and fish, you're beyond our help.The largest island is Tenerife with about two thousand square kilometers and a wide variety of plant life and terrain. It is home to the highest point "in Spain", the volcano El Teide at 3718 meters. Tenerife has excellent weather all year round, with a wide variety of terrain and vegetation including crops such as bananas, tomatos and potatos.La Palma does not have very many beaches, and they are not very long. Two popular ones are in Puerto Naos on the west side, and Los Cancajos on the east. Most of the island is a biological reserve. It's known as "the green island"; come here for the mountains, sweet bananas and vineyards.On Gran Canaria you can choose from endless sandy beaches, dunes, mountains and also lush green scenery. This island is home to more than half the population of the Canary Islands.Fuertaventura has the oldest history. Homer mentioned it in his brief travel guide called "The Odyssey." Its name may come from the expression "What a great adventure!", or possibly, "strong wind." It's only separated from continental Africa by a narrow channel. Fuertaventura has the longest of all the beaches, and wonderful fine sand.Lanzarote is a Biosphere Reserve under UNESCO declaration, and comprises one of the six universal models of sustainable development according to the World Tourism Organization. Lanzarote is the farthest East of the major islands and has a year-round average temperature of 22 degrees C.La Gomera sports a National Park with dense forestation, crossed by deep ravines and surrounded by a perimeter of cliffs along most of the coast. Islanders have a special whistling language to communicate across the gorges in the forest.Text by Steve Smith.

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