From here to God knows where.
Gran Canaria

Canary Islands Calima days

La Calima

On a recent blog, I discussed the Panza de Burro a unique cloud formation that can fit Las Palmas like a glove. The Panza de Burro is not the only weather phenomena that can affect Gran Canaria. There is also something called Calima in the Canary Islands.

Gran Canaria

La Calima is a hot and sand filled cloud that originates in the Sahara desert in North Africa. By the time it reaches the Canary Islands it has a fog like look and can cover everything with sand.

To the unsuspecting visitor on holiday, it can just look like a warm, hazy sunny day, Calima type weather can be a problem for people with respiratory problems.

Gran Canaria

Calima is more prevalent during the winter but can also happen during late summer. It usually lasts for a day or so. In 2002 the Airport in Santa Cruz Tenerife had to close on one occasion due to bad Calima visibility.

Canary Islands and South Amercia

One of the reasons I prefer living in Las Palmas in the north of Gran Canaria and not in the main tourist resorts in the south is to experience the unique Spanish/Canarian atmosphere here. The local people make up the vast amount of the city’s population but not all of it.

You will find Morrocans, people from Mauritania, Western Sahara and Ghana also. Las Palmas also has a sizable South American community.

Gran Canaria

Emigration from the Canary Islands to the Americas began soon after Christophers Columbus first voyage. Some of the first people from the Canary Islands to go were the original inhabitants of the Islands who were conquered by the Spanish. These people went as slaves.

In the 17th century, the Spanish crown introduced the blood tribute law. This law meant for every thousand tons of cargo that came from the Americas fifty Canarian families went the other way to populate the Spanish colonies in the west.

After the blood tribute law was revoked people from the Canary Islands continued to emigrate to the Americas in search of a better life.

Las Palmas Gran Canaria

Because of this emigration, the Canary Islands had an even stronger bond with the Americas than people who went from the Spanish mainland. During and after Cuba’s struggle for independence Cuba favoured immigrants from the Canary Islands over the Spanish peninsula.

During the recent economic crisis, many Spaniards again went to Latin America in search of work. The advantage of a common language and a shared history made it an attractive option for some as Europe was in recession.

As always happens with colonial powers emigration works both ways. As previously conquered lands gain independence and mature many desire to emigrate back Spain overtime.

Anyone who has visited Madrid and Barcelona will have seen many South American people living there. Of course, because of the special connection, many South Americans end up in the Canary Islands. This gives places such as Las Palmas a unique atmosphere. During the recent football world cup, the bars in Las Palmas were full of many nationalities cheering on their teams.

Canary Islands Pirate days

Las Palmas Gran Canaria

The Canary Islands also have has a pirate history. The Islands were a prime location for pirates raiding Spanish Galleons returning from South America full of gold.

The pirate issue was a big problem for the Islands for a long time. Indeed the Canary Islands also produced its pirates. One was the famous Amaro Pargo born in Tenerife. Pargo attacked and plundered all ships considered enemies of Spain. He also had a few run-ins with the pirate Blackbeard.

After his pirate days, Pargo used to look out the window of his Tenerife house saying he could see his treasure from there. After his death, the house and nearby area were ransacked many times by people looking for his ill-gotten gains. Most people now think there was no treasure there and that Pargo was having one last laugh.

Have the Canary Islands passed the peak of the tourism boom?

Las Palmas Gran Canaria

Last week I did a blog on the recently published 2018 visitors to the Canary Islands. I did not promote it much so here is a summary.

Visitors from abroad were down 2.8% on 2017.

Visits from mainland Spain were up 2.5%.

People from abroad stayed on average 7.5 nights and Spanish domestic visitors 5.2 nights. Because people from abroad stay longer the overall rooms nights sold in hotels and apartments fell by 3.6% from 2017. That was 4 million room nights less sold.

Prices for accommodation was almost 2% higher than in 2017. Most of the increase came in the first half of 2018 and prices declined modestly in the second part of the year.

Las Palmas Gran Canaria

This year will be worth looking at to see if the downward trend continues from the record highs of the past few years. Las Palmas will be particularly interesting.

Currently, the Capital of Gran Canaria is undergoing a bit of a construction boom. After years of stagnation during the economic crisis, cranes are everywhere. New hotels and apartments are in development. Prices of housing have risen each year for the past three years.

A lot of this accommodation will come on the market at the same time. If tourism is going to decline it will be interesting to see if this will affect prices or not. It is worth noting that 3.6% fewer room nights sold is from a record year in 2017. Also, Las Palmas has become a place to visit in its own right and not just a day trip from the south. Nevertheless, let us see how 2019 plays out.

To see the full blog post on 2018 tourist numbers in the Canary Islands click here.

Las Palmas Gran Canaria

Last night I saw my first violent incident in Las Palmas in five years. It was in a bar, and a woman knocked out a man cold. It turned out they were partners. They were also Swedish. I think I have a full blog or more on Scandinavians in the Canary Islands, but I don’t have the strength to write it yet.

After the quick TKO, I reflected on how safe Las Palmas is. I know if I were in my own country I would not go for five weeks and not five years without seeing a similar fight.

On a personal front, I have started working on a project that may result in some fulltime work here on the Canary Islands. More about that if it progresses.

Join me on my journey. 

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