Gran Canaria - December 2000

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It's one of 7 islands lying just off the north-west coast of Africa but owned by the Spanish (and it's duty free!) Gran Canaria is one of the most popular winter gay holiday destinations due to its all year round hot weather. The main season starts after Ibiza has wound down in October and goes through till April or May when Ibiza starts to pick up again.

Although there are wonderful areas to visit away from the coastal regions the main place where gay visitors flock is the resort of Playa del Ingles in the south of the island. History and culture have by-passed this man-made, purpose built holiday centre but that does mean that it is totally geared to the visitor, hell bent on a week or two of pure hedonism. The main point of reference, certainly at night, is the famous Yumbo Centre. By day this is a massive family-shopping complex built on 3 levels but as darkness descends it transforms into a gay village full of queers and queers of all descriptions and nationalities. It doesn't get going till around 11 or 12 midnight which is when the shops start to shut and, from within this concrete maze, a host of little gay bars open to form this strange gay haven.

Everyone seems to move in-groups from bar to bar almost like a flock of sheep. Bar Nestor (on the ground floor) is where most of the English start the night off. It's run by a very friendly couple Barry and Stuart who are also good contacts for all the latest gossip and information. They also organise events like a weekly booze cruse that I'd recommended. Each Wednesday and Saturday Stuart drags up and hosts a very funny game-show called `Open the Box`. It's really an excuse to strip off some of the guys in the audience and raise some money for charity. Click here to see some photos from one of the evening's antics.

After Bar Nestor people head up the stairs to a terris area that's home to several popular thriving venues: "Bar Tubos", "Mykonos" and "Metropol". From around 3 or 4am the crowd heads across to the other side of the Yumbo centre to "XL Men's Club" and "King's Club" to dance the night away. Most venues seem to have their own darkrooms if you're feeling a bit horny but beware of pick-pockets and ugly, dirty old men... but then again that's why it's a darkroom isn't it? There are also several saunas, apparently the only decent one is Sauna Nilo, this is located on the ground floor of the Nilo shopping centre, Playa Del Ingles.

Kiosk number 7 gay beach - Gran CanariaThe other most important part to this holiday island is the gay beach. Full of sexy naked men and well filled Speedo's. It's a £1.50 taxi ride to the Rio Palace in Maspalomas, than a good 20 minute walk through the beautiful golden sand dunes that could be compared to the Sahara desert. It's a good idea not to take too many heavy accessories in your rucksack as it's quite a trek especially if you're one of those queens not use to a bit of exercise! The other way to get to the beach is by taking the taxi to Faro Lighthouse. From here you just follow the coastline up until you hit kiosk number 7, very distinctively marked with a rainbow flag. This way is a bit more interesting as you can perv on all the sexy straight boys along the way, rather than getting lost in the dunes. In the afternoon the bushy part of the dunes start to get quite busy as it's a major cruising area or great for a free sex show!

There are some small refreshment kiosks dotted around the sea front serving the essentials but beware of he sand as it's very fine and seems to get everywhere and not just in the sandwiches. Because the island is in the Atlantic Ocean, it's known to be a bit windy at times, which helps bring out your tan but also very easily creates a small sandstorm.

If you feel the need to go swimming just be careful, although the sea is often warm enough the currents can be very strong and the winds fierce. However, this does make for excellent conditions if you are into windsurfing.

If you like entertainment, then another popular time to visit the island is around the first week of March when a massive Gay Pride festival held in Maspalomas. The opening party is usually a stunning affair and a great start to the week of fun and festivities. Everyone gets dolled-up in spectacular costumes, feathers a-plenty, cross-dressing and uniforms... even the str8's join in and dress up to be gay. The whole atmosphere is fantastic, and very much recommend it.

There are many gay hotels to choose from; for the best advice contact or