Banner
'Join us in Paradise!'

The Canary Islands

The Greek writer Homer called the islands "Elysium" - where the good and great spent an idyllic afterlife. Hercules visited the daughters of Atlas here, in their paradise island home. The Romans bestowed the enviable name “Fortunate Islands” on them. Even Shakespeare sang the praises of these Islands, gushing that Canary Island wine “perfumes the blood.”

As for the name, the Canary Islands are named after the large dogs (Canes) found living on the islands.

These Atlantic islands are located off the northwestern coast of Africa and
have been part of Spain since 1479. The Canary Islands are one of the most popular tourist destinations, especially with Europeans.

The Canary Island's archipelago includes seven major islands, all remnants of very steep, extinct volcanoes. Weather conditions here are considered almost perfect, and the beaches are some of the best in the world.
Stacks Image 407
Beaches

The Canary Islands are blessed with a wealth of natural resources, the most notable of these being the numerous and exquisite beaches. Most of these beaches have white sand and some are completely unique in the world. Almost 60 of the 236 kilometres of Gran Canaria´s coastline consist of beaches of various descriptions, ranging from the impressive Maspalomas beach, where you can find 250 hectares of sand dunes right next to the sea, to the concealed and unspoilt beach of Güigüi, as well as the lively beach in the capital, Las Palmas, known as Las Canteras beach.
Stacks Image 408
Taste Buds

In 1493, Christopher Columbus called at the Canary Islands to take on provisions. Columbus enjoyed a month-long romance with the lady governor of the islands, and she gave him a bundle of sugar cane cuttings as a souvenir. In those days sugar cane was grown in warm spots around the Mediterranean, but it was a difficult crop to harvest and process, and sugar remained an expensive luxury.

The governor's gift was planted on the island of Hispaniola. It was the first sugar cane in the New World, which as far as the cuttings were concerned was sugar-cane heaven. The first harvest took place a few years later, and a sugar boom was under way. A sweet story indeed!

Stacks Image 409
The Land of Atlantis?

Are the Canary Islands the last remnants of the lost continent of Atlantis? Some say they are. Keep an open mind and discover for yourself...
Stacks Image 410
Papas Arrugadas Recipe:

If you visit the Canary Islands, then you must try Papas Arrugadas with red or green Mojo sauce. You can also prepare this dish at home, but it tastes so much better when eaten in a tapas bar overlooking the Atlantic Ocean!

Ingredients:
Small New Potatoes
Sea Salt

Preparation:

Add the potatoes to a pot of very salty water (in the past the Canarians used sea-water).
The potatoes should float in the salty-water, if they don't you need to add more salt.

Bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes.

Now drain most of the water from the pot and cover the potatoes with a layer of salt.
Turn down the heat and gently shake the pot so that salt crystallizes on the potatoes.
Finally, turn off the heat and cover the pot with a tea-towel for 5 minutes (so that the potatoes turn 'wrinkly').

Serve with Mojo sauce.
Stacks Image 411
Did You Know?

In February 1927 the celebrated novelist, Agatha Christie, visited Canary Islands to recover from the psychological strain of the events that took place late in 1926. She mysteriously disappeared for eleven days due to emotional stress. Her mother, Clarissa Miller, had died after a severe illness, her husband was in love with another woman and she was going through a period of financial difficulties. She too found the Canary Islands an ideal holiday destination to help her overcome her problems.



The Canary Islands Banana

Bananas are to be seen everywhere in the Canary Islands, and particularly on the western sides of the islands. Originally, the Portuguese brought the banana to the islands from West Africa and planted them as exotic ornamental shrubs. In the 16th Century the plant was taken from the Canary Islands to the Caribbean and Mexico.

In the 19th Century, an Englishman in the Canary Islands spotted a business opportunity. His company imported the dwarf banana from the Far East and grew it on the islands. The company exported the bananas to England, and by 1878 many cargoes of bananas were leaving the Canary Islands for the UK.

The banana, known as the plátano in Spanish, has been the most important crop and the chief commercial product of the islands for well over a century. The dwarf banana is still popular today and sold throughout Spain. Its skin is thinner and it tastes much sweeter than other varieties on sale from other parts of the world.

Artificial irrigation is needed for bananas grown in the Canary Islands. About 400 litres of water are required to ripen two pounds of fruit. The Canary Islands do not have regular or plentiful rainfall, which is why so many holiday makers choose to come here for winter holidays!

There is a danger that the cultivation of bananas in the Canary Islands will reduce. Many of the islands’ young now look to make their income from the tourist industry, and not from growing bananas.

Canary Islands’ bananas remain popular and are being grown to fulfil demand, although growers are diversifying by growing other tropical fruits such as mangoes and avocados as well.