This is a personal guide to Gran Canaria in general, and Playa Del Inglés / Maspalomas in particular. I haven't ever lived there so please don't ask about immigration, buying property or getting a job on the island.
Gran Canaria is 28 degrees up from the equator, level with Algeria and Egypt. The main language is Spanish and the currency is the Euro. In October 2015 the exchange rate was around 1.35 euros to the pound. High season for tourism is 1st October to 31st May and low season is 1st June to 30th September.
The weather is almost constant sunshine all year round with passing clouds. If you're very unlucky it will rain, ranging from light drizzle to a torrential downpour which may come through the roof of your chalet, but this is rare. It's slightly cloudier in October, some rain in November and December and a bit colder in January and February - but still very pleasant. The island is at its most green and lush in March after the winter rain. It becomes progressively more barren until September/ October.
Gay Pride Maspalomas, May 2010. Expect to see LOTS of men in drag.
There are a number of tourist maps for sale, some of which are gay-oriented and copies of which can often be found on the web. However, if you'd like a really good, zoomable map of the island (or anywhere else for that matter) try Open Streetmap (www.openstreetmap.org) which is an excellent resource.
Las Palmas (the capital) is in the north of the island, the airport is half way down the east coast and the Maspalomas conurbation (which includes Playa del Inglés) is on the southern-most point. Playa del Inglés has the best weather and is usually warmer and drier than Las Palmas.
Slightly confusing: the airport is also called Las Palmas, even though it's half-way between the capital Las Palmas at the north of the island and Playa del Ingles in the south.
Electricity runs on a 220 volt, 2 pin plug, so UK travellers usually need only bring a 2 pin "Southern Europe" adapter. On one occasion our accommodation required "Northern Europe" adapters, so it's probably wise to bring both.
The only major crime on the island is theft from tourists. Hire a safe in your apartment (typically 20 euros per week) and put everything of value in it unless it's on your person. Always know where your wallet is and don't go drinking immediately after withdrawing lots of money from a cashpoint.
GAY PRIDE MASPALOMAS is usually held in the second week in May. It attracts around 60,000 people but expect accommodation prices to double that week. Winter Pride Maspalomas (www.gaypridemaspalomas.com) is usually in the second week of November and Maspalomas Fetish Week (www.maspalomasfetishweek.com) is in October.
Iberia, British Airways, Monarch, Ryanair, EasyJet and Thomson Airways (soon to be rebranded as Tui) are among the airlines which fly from London to Gran Canaria. The flight takes about 4 hours from Gatwick airport, or 6.5 hours via Madrid.
THROB (www.throb.co.uk) advertises package holidays to Gran Canaria in the UK gay press.
Taxis from the airport to Playa del Inglés cost 30 to 50 euros, depending on the time of day and possibly your haggling ability although they are metered. A city bus to the Yumbo Center should cost about 5 euros and takes around 30 minutes. Leave the arrivals hall at the far end (follow the signs for 'bus'), turn right outside and follow the road around to the left until you reach the bus stop. Make sure you catch the right service: southbound buses go to Playa del Inglés and northbound buses to the capital Las Palmas.
Los Almendros, 2006
Gay accommodation in Playa del Inglés includes:
*RECOMMENDED* LOS ALMENDROS - opposite the CITA Center. We like this location as it has a nice pool and is central enough you don't need taxis for most trips. Plus it's far enough away from the Yumbo that you feel like you're getting a break from the nightlife. (www.losalmendros.es)
Richard emailed in May 2013 to recommend BEACH BOYS RESORT, half way between Playa and the Faro lighthouse. He says: "I have always found it excellent value and a really friendly place. The owner, Manel, is extremely helpful and all the staff are welcoming. The place is newly decorated, fresh and clean and very well maintained. Beachboys is now number 1 on Trip adviser and gets consistently excellent reviews." (www.beachboysresort.com)
VILLAS BLANCAS - Avda. de Tjaereborg in the Campo de Golf district. Next to the Tenis Center Maspalomas, but you'll probably need to take a taxi to go the beach or Yumbo Center. (www.villasblancas.com)
THE BASEMENT STUDIOS opened in December 2006 directly opposite the Yumbo Center. The small studios complex is a members-only environment for gay men and operates a strict dresscode of nudity or jockstraps. Day passes are available. Came under new management in 2012, and now all rooms are air conditioned and have been refurbished. (www.basementstudios.eu)
The following advertise in the gay press in Gran Canaria but we don't know anything about them:
We've never stayed at a hotel on the island, always preferring to stay at a complex of apartments around a shared pool.
In November 2013 Peter emailed to say "There's a new gay male only complex, Spanish owned, called Tropical La Zona. I have stayed twice and it is excellent - just 10 mins walk from Jumbo." (http://tropicallazona.com)
"Also Axel Hotels have opened a large gay (straight friendly) apartment close to Jumbo. It's an old block which has been refurbished and looks lovely although I have not stayed yet." (www.axelhotels.com/gran-canaria/seccion/38/en/playa-del-ingles-gay-apartaments)
In December 2011 Xeph emailed to say "The RIU hotels in Playa del Ingles appear to have a strict policy of no visitors after 11pm. I found this out when I was refused entry by the doorman at the RIU Don Miguel hotel, even though I was in the presence of a mature male guest staying at the hotel. This hotel is situated next to the Yumbo centre. The same experience also happened to a friend in the RIU Papaya hotel, although it was only early evening."
In October 2015 Zeno emailed: "For a second time we've stayed at the Riu Don Miguel (www.riu.com) and couldn't recommend a better hotel on the island. The staff are so accommodating and friendly and are completely accustomed to seeing guys in fetish gear too. The hotel is adults only which is great during school holidays."
Other chalet complexes are likely to have several gay guests staying (e.g. near the CITA Center, handy for the main Playa del Inglés beach), although nudity around the pool may not be quite as welcome as in the openly gay accommodation.
Gran Canaria is a duty free island, with apparently no "weights and measures" legislation. Bar staff pour drinks freehand, so depending on how friendly you are spirits are usually served by the triple, wine by a third of a pint and sangria by the jug. On our first visit the guidebook recommended that we avoid all local water and even refuse ice in drinks. However, staff inform us that all ice used in public places must be bought from a single, regulated source and so is perfectly safe. (We've gone back to having ice in drinks with no ill effects.)
Perfume and aftershave is also duty free, but we've been advised to only buy goods in cellophane (clear plastic) wrapping as this is meant to cut down on counterfeit goods. How true this is we don't know, but we've followed the advice anyway.
Traffic drives on the right hand side of the road in Gran Canaria as in the rest of Spain. It is possible to hire cars, motorbikes and quad bikes but bring a valid driving licence with you if you plan to do so.
Taxis are ubiquitous in Playa del Inglés. They are white and red cars and have a green light on top when available for hire. At certain times of day, (for example 7pm - 10pm), it is impossible to go for 30 seconds without being passed by an available taxi. Other times (e.g. after midnight) you might have to walk to a main road or taxi rank, but you still won't have to wait long.
Taxi drivers are very proud of their cars, which are always spotless. They are less likely to pick you up if you are wearing fetish gear and won't take you at all if you're shirtless or covered in sand.
A typical taxi journey in Playa del Inglés costs 4 - 5 euros (£3 - 4), including tip. If you want to take a trip outside the resort it's much cheaper to go by bus. There are bus stops outside most major shopping centres. The longest bus journey we've taken was to the capital Las Palmas (at the north of the island) in 2001, which took 1 hour and cost 7.50 euros (£6.50) each way for 2 people. A single bus journey from Playa del Inglés to Puerto de Mogán (see below) was 4.20 euros in October 2015.
Our friends, Duncan and JL, add: "Car Hire - Car hire costs from 15 euros a day and about 23 euros per day for an air conditioned model. Recommended is the gay owned car hire company Quality Cars. There is a good two days worth of exploring the quieter parts of the island and mountain areas not seen by the tours or bus routes and this makes car hire well worthwhile."
Gran Canaria has a long and dignified history dating back earlier than the Romans and illustrated by its archaeology, which is only just beginning to be appreciated. For example, opposite the well-heeled boutiques along the Paseo de las Meloneras very close to the Faro (see below under “SHOPS”), you can see an excavation of three “aboriginal” houses. The rest of the island offers many other hidden delights and beautiful views.
If you want to do something other than sunbathe by the pool or drink in the Yumbo, you can go on organised day trips every day of the week. Each day involves a different mode of transport, so you can choose from a catamaran, glass bottomed boat, yellow submarine, jeep safari, quad bike tour etc. Book early in the week as most excursions have limited places and are soon sold out. Also bring an alarm clock with you, because the trips often begin earlier than 10am and you won't get your money back if you oversleep. We've been told the best place to book these is from the excursions shop on the third floor of the Yumbo, above the gay restaurants.
We had a bad experience booking a day trip to Tenerife with Unaira, who were advertising on the airline's website when we booked our flights. The confirmation email came from Viator, telling us to phone Hotelbeds when we arrived in Gran Canaria. We phoned Hotelbeds twice and both times they confirmed the trip was going ahead. At 12 hour's notice we received a fax from TUI Travel Plc saying the trip was cancelled. By then it was too late to book any other excursions, and it took us a couple of weeks to get our money back. We wouldn't book with any of these companies again.
If you want to go on a jeep ride bring warm clothing as it can be very cold on top of the mountains. We've gone on a jeep safari and can recommend it, although you will end up with some bruises from the pot holes in the mountain trails. The jeep tour lasts from 9:30am to 5pm and includes breakfast, lunch and some wine tasting. The price was 45 euros.
In November 2002 we went on a GAY CATAMARAN TOUR. This also cost 45 euros, which included lunch, banana boat rides and unlimited free drink. The big drawback is that it's so popular you have to book by Tuesday morning for the trip on Friday, so you have no idea what the weather will be like on the day. We can imagine if it's a sunny day with calm sea it would be the highlight of your week. Unfortunately the day we went it was overcast with a choppy sea, and you're on the catamaran for a minimum of 5 hours. There were a few people who regretted having so much to drink. I've never suffered from sea sickness before but even I was glad to get back on solid ground at the end. (The banana boat rides were HUGE fun though.)
If spending a day on an organised excursion is your idea of hell, then grab a bus from the Yumbo Center and go on a sight-seeing trip of your own. Make your way to the stop on Avda. de Espańa close to the Tourist Information Office at street level. Buses to the east will take you to San Agustin (we found this to be pretty, but a bit dull, though a walk in either direction along the beach between San Agustin and Playa del Ingles is lovely), or further on to the capital Las Palmas (an hour away). The city of Las Palmas has two bus stations served by Global Utinsa (the bus company providing for transportation all over the island). One is San Telmo and it's more or less in the geographical centre of the city and the other one is Santa Catalina, on the north of the island (Muelle de Santa Catalina, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria). Las Canteras beach is only 20 minutes walk from the Santa Catalina bus terminal. A friend emailed to say "The beach of Las Canteras itself will certainly not match the southern tip of the island, the magnificent dunes at Playa del Inglés, but it's still worth a visit. A small reef parallel to the sea shore some 400 metres away makes this one of the finest, cleanest and safest urban beaches worldwide."
Bus rides to the west used to be quite hair-raising along roads cut into the cliffs, but recently (2009-2013) the main GC-1 motorway has been extended and will now take you to Puerto de Mogán and Puerto Rico. Both of these are very pretty (Puerto de Mogán especially so) and definitely worth a visit. You can also take a boat ride between the two, or a trip out to see the dolphins at set times of day. They make a refreshing change from the Yumbo, but fewer people speak English so bring a Spanish phrase book.
PALMITOS PARROT PARK is open daily from 10am to 6pm. Entry 28 euros. If you don't mind seeing birds in cages it's an acceptable day out. (www.palmitospark.es)
Friends of ours have visited SIOUX CITY (a "Wild West" experience open from 10am to 5pm) and thought it was a waste of their money.
In July 2002 Tom from Dublin emailed to say "Both times that my boyfriend and I went to Gran Canaria we visited the AQUALAND water park (open daily from 10am to 5pm, entry 25 euros - www.aqualand.es). It's just off the main road in Maspalomas, miles before Palmitos Park. It's a decent water park with loads of slides, pools, sunbeds etc. Also, we were pleased to see it wasn't covered in kids. There were a few around when we were there but in general just couples and 20-30 somethings. Also some nice fit boys too. It's spread out over a large area, with lazy river stuff etc. and is great to spend a day once your tan has taken hold." Someone else went and said that the food is not that good so possibly take a packed lunch, and they'd got some bruises from the rides which were quite old. But they still enjoyed it and would go again.
|*RECOMMENDED* KUMO KI. Instead of going out for the day why not let the pampering come to you? Roland (who works under the name of "Kumo Ki") offers massages using a combination of four techniques: "Shiatsu", "Swedish massage", hand and foot massage, and "Reiki" (Roland is the first Reiki master on Gran Canaria). Massages can last 30 minutes (30 euros), 45 minutes (40 euros), 1 hour (55 euros) or 2 hours (95 euros). He visits most of the gay complexes during the week, so if you want a massage lasting up to one hour he will visit you in your apartment. However, if you book the 2 hour treatment he'll collect you in his car and return you home afterwards. This is a non-sexual service. For more information call Roland on 00 34 686 04 44 74 (outside Gran Canaria) or 686 04 44 74 (from the island), email: kumoki (at) hotmail.com
Roland also works as an artist and his paintings have been exhibited around the world. His work is also included in the hardback book STRIPPED - THE ILLUSTRATED MALE (ISBN 3-86187-871-2).
Our friend, Roland, who gives massages and paints great pictures
The Iguazu clinic, May 2010
The CLINICA IGUAZU is close to the Yumbo Center and most personnel speak good English. They are open 24 hours a day and also offer a dental clinic. We have used their services and found them quick and reassuring. However, the prescribed drugs at a nearby pharmacy cost more than the appointment. The address of the clinic is:
Tel: 928 764 894
There is an HIV/ AIDS organisation in Gran Canaria called ASOCIACION AMIGOS CONTRA EL SIDA, which has an office on the 4th floor of the Yumbo Center. To contact them phone 928 23 00 85 or 928 14 99 69 (from the island), emergency tel 695 578 004, or email: amigos (at) idecnet.com
Before leaving the subject of health, it's worth mentioning that we've noticed an alarming amount of unsafe sex taking place in the bars and clubs. We can only emphasise the advice to travellers: take your own condoms and lube (or buy them in the many sex shops) and INSIST on using them. You really don't know what's doing the rounds and the island is a melting pot for the whole of Europe.
The most important thing you need to know about shops in Gran Canaria is that they shut for siesta. For those people who take a few hours to get over the night before and stumble off for breakfast around lunchtime, it can be frustrating to find shops shut. You'll usually find a supermarket willing to open during the afternoon, but it's hit and miss. Try to do your shopping in the morning or after 5pm if you want the majority of places to be open.
The common types of shops are:
Duncan and JL add: "We noted that prices were higher in the CITA Center and slightly lower in the Yumbo BUT the exchange rate in March 2007 meant that there were no real bargains and prices were very similar to the best UK prices. Furthermore if one is stopped by UK customs you WILL be charged 17.5% VAT and they do watch flights from the Canaries specifically for this."
In September 2010 Stephen and Kevin wrote to say: "There is a big commercial center called Atlantico in Vecindario which is a plush shopping center with 50+ shops and a cinema. Mostly named brands, popular with locals so the prices are not touristy. (www.justgrancanaria.com/en/gran_canaria/vecindario.htm)
Also CC Boulevard Faro is a nice area of restaurants and shops by the Faro Light house. Most of them have a terrace overlooking the sea."
Xeph adds: "If anyone is staying self-catering, the cheapest supermarkets (Mercadona, Dino, Euro Spar) are in San Fernando, a 25 minutes walk or 3 euro taxi ride from Yumbo." There are also Spar and Dino outlets in the CITA Center.
Ryan from Canada emailed in December 2011 to say: "The Mercadona grocery store chain carries a number of gluten-free items. Those that you wouldn't think to check the ingredients on - like bread and cakes - are in large boxes labelled that the product is without gluten (they use the same type of box throughout the store). For other products, like potato chips and packaged goods, there's a red and blue 'sin gluten' logo that you can't miss on either the front or back. A shopkeeper in Sitges told us that the daughter of the chain's owner cannot eat gluten, and that was the inspiration for the store's products. We also found that the McDonald's in Playa Del Ingles offers gluten-free hamburger buns and reports that the French fries are also gluten-free."
In Playa del Inglés the "local" dish seems to be grilled fish, chips and a small side salad. They tend not to cook anything inside an oven, so meat is grilled or pan fried. Potatoes are boiled, fried or mashed or there is a local speciality, Canarian wrinkly potatoes (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canarian_wrinkly_potatoes). Salad is grown all year round, but root vegetables are rarer. The fresh fish is beautiful but I once suffered food poisoning and the prime suspect was a chilled salmon mousse, so make sure your fish is cooked and hot.
We have to be honest and say Gran Canaria is the only place where we've had bad meals in restaurants. Quality varies enormously. If you avoid restaurants which have pictures of the food by the menu or where the waiters try to persuade you to come inside you can reduce your chances of being disappointed.
Here are a few Playa del Inglés restaurants we can recommend, most of which also serve gluten free meals upon request. (I'm allergic to gluten so that's really important to me.) Don't rely on the waiter or waitress claiming that the meal is gluten free - you must insist that they check with the chef every time you visit. (You can download useful phrases about a gluten free diet in Dutch, French, German, Greek, Italian and Spanish from the Coeliac Society website at www.coeliac.org.uk)
OK Restaurant, May 2010
Other gay restaurants in the Yumbo include Bei Lelo (www.beilelo.net), Centrum (www.restaurantecentrum.com), Contigo, Facecook (www.facecook.de) and Dali's (http://dalis.gaycitymap.com). They are all in a row one floor up from the ground level but we haven't visited them.
In November 2013 Peter emailed "I recommend a lovely restaurant/cafe in the mountains called Let Me Take You, run by a gay couple. You need a car but it's really worth the trip. They also have overnight accommodation." (www.letmetakeu.com/index/index/lan/en)
In September 2010 Kenny emailed: "We have a place to add to your list of recommended restaurants in Playa Del Ingles: Romeo, Avenue de Tirajana. Gay owned and run, very friendly waiters, and terrific food. The salads in particular are quite spectacular, but everything we had was really good. Bit pricier than a lot of places, but worth every penny."
In December 2008 Tony emailed to say he enjoyed LA LIGURIA on Avenida Tirajana (Iguazu complex): "great Italian food, fresh home-made pasta and pizza, not costly, generally a gay crowd."
In October 2015 Zeno emailed "I'd like to recommend a restaurant near the lighthouse in Maspalomas. It's in the strip of restaurants about two in and it's called La Bodega. The food is fantastic and the service very friendly. We have never had a bad meal there." (www.restaurantelabodegafaro.com/)
There seems to be no restriction on smoking in restaurants. Don't be surprised if halfway through your meal guests are seated at an adjacent table and immediately light up.
I've tried several gyms in Gran Canaria but always on the lookout for new places. Here are the ones I've heard about, please contact me if you know of any more (email: gyms (at) iml2003.com). You will need to take a towel and sit on it while you're working out.
Sea view from the Beach Gym
As always, consider advertised opening hours in Gran Canaria as a rough estimate. Shops, gyms and restaurants often close for siesta/ maintenance/ holiday with no warning.
Gran Canaria must have one of the best beaches in the world at Maspalomas. It can take 20 minutes to walk across sand dunes before you reach the sea. The dunes are over 20 feet high and we've seen people sledging down them. The beach stretches from Playa de Maspalomas in the west to Playa del Inglés in the east, with numbered stations for sunbathing all the way along. When we arrived we were told that the gay beach was "number 7" - what we weren't told is that there are TWO number 7's. The numbering system starts at 1 at the furthest west & east points, and increases in number as you reach the middle. The gay beach is on the western side, which is Playa de Maspalomas. If this is your first time to the beach ask a taxi to take you to the Plaza del Faro, a shopping centre at the furthest western point of the beach. Then start walking east until you reach spot number 7. You'll know it's the gay beach because the ratio of naked men to naked women suddenly rises dramatically and there's a big rainbow flag on the kiosk.
Dunes at Playa del Inglés
(Don't take your camera unless
you want it filled with sand.)
Once you’ve got there, the two obvious ways off the Maspalomas beach are either to walk/paddle back to the Faro or trek back over the dunes to the Riu Palace Maspalomas Hotel. (Of course you can start at the Riu Palace as well. There are taxi ranks at both. The taxis won't take you if you are covered in sand, though.)
If you can’t find the Faro (lighthouse) you’re just not trying. The Riu Palace is also huge and easy to spot from the beach. It is much harder to start at the Riu Palace and try and find the gay beach unless you know where you're going. (Although someone emailed to say that if you follow the line of gay men you can't go far wrong, and Dave says if you follow the red marker poles they will take you in roughly the right direction.) Half way between the sea and the Riu Palace are clumps of bushes which are popular with men who wish to sunbathe away from the wind. If that's what you're looking for just follow the footprints.
Duncan and JL emailed to agree: "There's a much simpler way to find the gay beach - follow the RED topped posts. For the gay cruising area in the dunes follow the BLUE topped posts. Also worth mentioning that the reason the beach clears by dusk is because of the sand flies which are vicious."
Dave says: "Because of the notoriety of this gay cruising area in the Maspalomas dunes, it’s easy to overlook the beach on the east (Playa del Ingles) side. In fact, this offers much easier access to the sea from the Yumbo and particularly CITA areas, via various cut-throughs to the splendid new coastal path running from Riu Palace hotel all the way along to San Agustin. Don’t be put off by the mixed bodies of all shapes, sizes, sexes and presumably sexuality. There’s progressively less clothing around as you go back towards the Riu Palace if you like nude swimming. And let’s face it, it is nicer to wash the sand off your feet at the many water standpipes on the east side than trek back over those hot dunes getting blisters because of the sand between your toes."
The Yumbo Center is a 4-storey open air concrete shopping and entertainment centre in Playa del Inglés. On our first visit it resembled a pink concrete crater but subsequent moves to landscape the gap in the middle have made it much more attractive. It is so popular that if you say to any taxi driver "Yumbo, por favor" they will take you straight there without question.
By day the Yumbo Center is mainly heterosexual and you can visit duty-free shops, bars, ice cream parlours, banks and a couple of supermarkets. Many restaurants open in the evening with mixed clientele. After midnight the Yumbo turns almost exclusively gay as up to 50 gay bars, clubs and shops open through the night.
Apart from the Tourist Information Office at the side (which is a delightfully welcoming cool oasis with an indoor fountain), don't expect any moments of cultural significance in the Yumbo. It's a tourist trap and you have to take it on that level. Bars compete for business by turning their sound systems up to deafening proportions, so your quiet candle-lit dinner could well be drowned out by the karaoke bar three doors down. The music is a mixture of manufactured pop music and European sing-along summer hits. In 2000 every other song was by Cher - in 2010 you were never more than 2 minutes away from Lady Gaga.
Drag is still popular in the Yumbo, with gay and straight venues. If you like watching grown men wearing a dress, a wig and too much makeup miming to female pop singers you will LOVE the Yumbo. If you prefer to join in with the musical numbers you need to visit CENTER STAGE bar, one floor above ground level, which shows non-stop musicals and show-tunes on a widescreen TV. One wall is covered with posters from leather bars and events, whilst the other wall is covered in photos of film and singing icons.
Yumbo Center by day. (This view has been obscured by a miniature golf course now).
Some bars advertise as "leather/ jeans/ boots" bars in the Yumbo Center. However, if you wear leather boots and a leather waistcoat (UK)/ vest (US) to any of these places you will be wearing more leather than 95% of the other customers. And if you wear more leather than that gay men will stare at you open-mouthed as you walk from bar to bar.
The standard way to dress in these bars appears to be trainers, jeans and a t-shirt. The only way you will ever be thrown out is if you refuse to buy a drink at the bar.
Having said that, there are slight variations between the venues.
One Floor Up
In July 2010 Bruce emailed to say: "the gay bars also welcome full nudity ... security and police have no issue with it."
In January 2011 another reader emailed: "Having tried some cruise clubs, we found Reds (on the side of Barbados II building, Avenida de Tirajana, clearly sign-posted from the pavement nearby). It's a clean, fresh, modern looking joint run by two attractive guys, Marco and Miguel, both friendly and multilingual. They run theme nights where clothing is generally not an option. We were there January 2011 and the place being NOT within the Yumbo it was not very crowded, but we spent a great couple of hours at a venue that we felt is in a league of its own." (www.redsclub.es)
Tom emailed in November 2011 to say: "Strand-apo-Theke is a fun German gay singalong bar with some great homemade German cooking by Margo (the owner). Lots of British guys seem to be using it as an alternative to Cafe Wien, which is also nice." (www.patroc.com/grancanaria/d/strandapotheke.html)
CITA Center at dusk
In 2006 there were several gay businesses in the Cita Center, which is a short (less than ten minute) walk from the Yumbo Center. However, in 2008 I received emails from three people saying the center was not worth visiting and most gay businesses there had closed.
Dave says: "On an early-season visit in October 2015 things generally seemed to have picked up a bit, with "swing" sex clubs advertising quite stridently, but a trip down to the basement around 11pm revealed only one gay club in progress at that hour. Because there was still relatively fresh wall signage and advertising for others, we hesitate to write it off completely - some places may come alive later in the evening or the season. Several of these clubs are still being listed elsewhere on the web, such as CHAPS, Cockring Bar, Man's Lounge Bar and so on. The CITA gay venues tended to open and close later than those in the Yumbo anyway, and we know one actually used to wait until 6am and then run until lunchtime."
*RECOMMENDED* CAFE WIEN is worth a trip, it's on the first floor (upper level) of the Cita Center at the back - up the stairs from the open-air restaurant zone. Tony emailed to say "Just follow the boys and your nose to the best coffee and tea in Playa del Ingles. The boys start arriving at 3.45pm forgoing their last chance for love in the dunes and make the pilgrimage to Cafe Wien for cheesecake and a wonderful assortment of desserts. Get their early for the best seats and once you have claimed your table you make way to pick up your cake at the showcases, then order your tea or coffee from the waiter." (www.cafe-wien.org)
Next to Cafe Wien is a shop selling underwear and swimwear for men called Code Store. Opening hours seem to be around 1600-2200. And round the corner is MAUU Bar-Café which opened in 2014 and now seems to be as popular with gay patrons as Café Wien.
(Page last updated 7th November 2015)
Other pages: John's Guide to London ... John's IML website ... John's comedy website