While Gran Canaria has a wonderful climate throughout the year, the south of the island (where the major resorts are located) enjoys its own microclimate with generally better weather than other parts of the island, although the sea breeze can be quite bracing. The average temperature is comfortable all year round, rarely dropping below 63°F (17°C) and more often above 82°F (28°C) during the day. Rainfall in the summer months is almost non-existent, but showers are likely between October and April.
There are plenty of cheap, metered taxis available in all resorts and towns. Grand Canaria also has reliable and efficient bus services which operate around the resorts and to all the main towns on the island; there is nowhere on the island that takes much longer than an hour to get to by bus. Local car rental companies have offices in all the main resorts, they are good value and popular with those wanting to explore the north of the island on their own.
Gran Canaria is one island that definitely caters to children on holiday. With a plethora of fantastic attractions, kids will have a great time exploring this island. The beach in the quieter resort of Puerto Morgan has black sand and boulders and families with children wanting to play in the sand should head to other resorts for better beaches. Take a day trip to Palmitos Park for an interesting day out with birds and orchids, or for thrills, Parque de los Cocodrilo is great for those with a love of predators, while the zoo on the other side is perfect for younger kids to explore. Playa del Ingles is brimming with kid's activities, with everything from amusement arcades and mini-golf to water parks and go-karting, children will find something to keep them entertained.
Spanish is the official language, but English is widely understood in areas frequented by tourists. Catalan, Galician and Basque are spoken in the relevant areas.
Spain's official currency is the Euro (EUR). One Euro is divided into 100 cents. Money can be exchanged at bureaux de change and major hotels, but banks give the best rates. All major credit cards and travellers cheques are widely accepted at most hotels, restaurants, and shops. ATMs are widespread and are generally the cheapest and most convenient method of obtaining money.
The nightlife in Gran Canaria is second to none, with night clubs, foam parties, karaoke, casinos and cabarets dominating the party scene. Most of the nightlife on the island is centred round Playa del Ingles' and the Kasbah centre here is brimming with pubs and clubs, such as the Hippodrome, Havana and the iconic Pascha nightclubs which, pump until the early hours. If you're looking for a gay scene, head to the Yumbo centre - it's the place to go. Entrance to most nightclubs is free but be prepared to pay over the odds for drinks and cocktails. Las Palmas' Plaza de España in the Mesa y Lopez district has pulsating clubs and bars that are open until very late, as well as live bands, jazz bars, pubs, and discos and even a casino. The Maspalomas Plaza is great if you're looking for a relaxing couple of pints in a bar, or head to Puerto Rico, one of Gran Canaria's hottest nightspots, for all-night clubbing and pubbing at places such as Disco Joker, Snoopy's Bar and Space. Playa del Cura is a fantastic location for a mellower evening out and although there is a disco in Puerto Morgan, most of the evening entertainment is distinctly low-key in comparison to its neighbouring resorts.
Gran Canaria has a wide range of shopping opportunities for visitors, and apart from the regular souvenir shops and tourist tat, there is a fine choice of shops and boutiques in just about every town and resort. The Yumbo and Kasbah centres in Playa del Ingles and Centro Civicoin Puerto Rico are great for buying almost anything, while electrical shops, photographic equipment, and imitation designer wear stalls abound. The Faro 2 Complex in Maspolamas is the place to go for designer boutiques, jewellery, perfumes and designer wear, while the 13-storey El Corte Ingles in Las Palmas is Spain's largest national department store and the Las Arenas Mall in Las Canteras is a favourite with tourists. Puerto Morgan's souvenir shops are more art-crafty and sell less junk than the usual stores dotted around the island's resorts, but everything from fresh fruits and produce to clothing and football shirts can be picked up at the Friday morning market in town. Reputedly the largest street market in Gran Canaria, and a must for shop-a-holics, is in the south coast town of Arguineguin, held every Tuesday. Popular souvenirs and gifts include banana-leaf baskets, pottery, embroidered goods and felt hats.
Gran Canaria has a plethora of fantastic attractions that will appeal to all kinds of travellers. Animal lovers should head to Palmitos Park, Reptilandia and Parue de los Cocodrilo to engage with all sorts of animals, while culture vultures should head to the Museo Canario in Las Palmas to admire the world's largest collection of Cro-Magnon skulls or the Casa de Colon, Christopher Columbus's former house. For something completely different, head to Sioux City in San Agustín for a wild-west day out, while the town of Arucas remains a popular tourist attraction.
Local time is GMT +1 (GMT +2 between the last Sunday in March and the Saturday before the last Sunday in October). The Canary Islands: GMT (GMT +1 in summer).