Visiting the Canary Islands

It’s been a little bit since the last time I visited the Canary Islands, but I have already been to them on four separate occasions. These islands are not necessarily a widely known tourist destination to U.S. travelers yet I feel that if you have not yet been to the Canary Islands, you’re missing out on a pretty interesting vacation.

The Canary Islands are Spanish territory, but they are on the Atlantic Ocean, just 60 miles off the West coast of Africa.

Canary-IslandsGetting there:
For the most part, to get to the Canary Islands from the states, you have to connect in Madrid or other destinations in Europe, Madrid being the easiest one if you’re coming from the U.S. On the way back, however, more likely than not you will have to overnight in Madrid as when you get to the mainland, most westbound flights would have already left for the states, and you will have to wait until the next day. One good thing about the Canary Islands is that they have pretty mild year-round weather, so you could travel in the winter and find some pretty good off-peak awards. For instance, a quick search on AA’s MileSAAver awards for November shows 40,000 AA miles for a Miami – Madrid roundtrip. To get from Madrid to the Canary Islands, Iberia is a pretty good choice if you can transfer Avios from British Airways to save money on those pesky fuel surcharges, and they have several daily flights between the islands and the mainland. A quick search shows roundtrip availability for 22,500 Avios and 41 Euros in surcharges. There are other carriers such as RyanAir and Air Europa that can get you there as well, RyanAir being a cheap choice if you can stand the nickel and diming, and Air Europa being a good product to fly, although I don’t have any experience booking award flights with them.

Lodging:
Now, I have family in Lanzarote, which is the easternmost island, so I’ve been fortunate enough that I haven’t had to pay for a hotel while on those trips, but there are many options to choose from, although you should know that the predominant type of hotels are large European chains.  There are also a lot of all-inclusive resorts and smaller local hotels.

Things to do:
My favorite part of going to the islands is enjoying their traditional food and visiting the different types of ecosystems. Within the same islands you have caves, volcanoes, tall green mountains, beaches (albeit not that great by beach standards), salt mines, camels, amazing rock formations, and even a yellow submarine!

Local food

Local food

Amazingly fresh seafood daily

Amazingly fresh seafood daily

Lanzarote-camels

Timanfaya National Park

Timanfaya National Park

Southeastern shore

Southeastern shore

Northernmost point

Northernmost point

Beaches on Southeast shore

Beaches on Southeast shore

If you love nature and great ecosystems, you should definitely check out these islands. I have only been to Lanzarote and Fuerteventura, the two easternmost islands , and I can tell you from personal experience that there’s enough in each island to keep you busy for at least a week and you will still miss out on a lot of cool stuff. They’re very unique islands and I can’t wait to visit the other ones!

 

 

 

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