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Water-based excursions in Gran Canaria

Boasting year-round tropical temperatures and some of the best-loved beaches in the Canary Islands, it's understandable that taking to the water will be one of your main priorities during your holiday in Gran Canaria.

The coastline here is jaw-droppingly beautiful and you'll have no problem finding a stretch of sand that suits you, whether you're seeking thrill and adventure or would prefer to lay down your towel somewhere a little more subdued.

With everything from relaxed boat tours to high-octane watersports on offer, it's possible to fill each day of your stay with a different water-based activity. Take a look at our top picks below.

Dolphin and whale spotting

Sightings of dolphins and whales are relatively common in Gran Canaria's waters, with as many as 29 individual species making regular appearances off these pristine white shores.

Kids and adults are sure to love seeing these majestic creatures frolicking in the water surrounding the island, making dolphin and and whale watching trips one of the most popular activities for holidaymakers here.

The south of the island is where you're most likely to spot these enchanting creatures. Regular boat trips run from the shorelines of Puerto Rico and Amadores – home to one of Gran Canaria's most sublime Blue Flag beaches.

Head out for a bit of sunset whale watching here and return just in time for an evening meal at one of the many family-friendly restaurants that await you back on shore.

Submarine safari

Gran Canaria's crystal blue waters make submarine trips a truly magical experience, giving guests the chance to hop on board and delve below the sea for an underwater adventure. You'll be welcomed below the surface by an abundance of colourful marine life, including parrot fish and a world of vibrant corals.

Head to Puerto Mogan for the chance to explore a deserted shipwreck secluded in the deep, with the added benefit of also being able to spot some of Gran Canaria's most exotic species of wildlife resting on the seabed.

Tours have a tendency to book up quickly, so make sure you plan well in advance – the chance to take a trip in a real-life submarine is sure to be worth it.

Snorkel beneath the deep

Snorkelling centres are dotted across Gran Canaria, offering guidance for both amateurs and those more experienced before you head into the warm, clear waters for a look around.

Generally, rocky areas are home to a more varied selection of marine life - including colourful schools of wrasse, gobies and even octopus. 

Many snorkelling excursions are added on alongside other activities, such as stand-up paddleboarding. From Puerto Rico there's also the opportunity to take a taxi boat to nearby Gui Gui beach – a prime spot for snorkelling with lunch provided on the pure white sand.

Adrenaline-packed watersports

The beaches here are famous for offering an abundance of watersports, with the chance to learn how to surf, paddleboard and even windsurf if you're in the mood.

Larger beaches such as those in Maspalomas are where you'll find the widest range of activities, with experienced guides that are used to working closely with beginners and long-time enthusiasts alike.

Courses range from half-day to full-day excursions and are the perfect excuse to leave the bustle of the island's popular towns behind.

As well as learning a new skill and burning some energy, days out on the water give you a chance to explore different parts of the coastline under the guidance of experienced trainers with a specialised knowledge of the local area.

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