Gran Canaria assembles, in an almost perfect circle of 1,532 square kilometers (597 square miles), a little of everything found on the other Canary Islands, in addition to holiday attractions that combine vast beaches and natural physical diversity. This astonishing variety has turned it into the vacation destination of various millions of visitors a year who seek to enjoy not only the sun and the sea, but also the beautiful countryside, the culture, and the excellent tourist facilities.
Approximately 50 of the 236 kilometers of coastline are occupied by diverse beaches. Maspalomas, with 250 hectares (618 acres) of dunes by the sea, is unquestionably the focal point. In addition to this calm sandy shore, Gran Canaria also has abrupt wild areas with secluded unspoiled spots, such as Guigui, or rockscapes that push headlong hundreds of feet towards the sea, such as the cliffs of Anden Verde.
Most of the beaches are found on the southern end of the island, where the climate is sunny and dry. Whereas the mountains in the interior retain the clouds coming from the north, the south has clear skies all year long, and sunbathing and swimming are possible in winter as well as in summer. Some of the best beaches in this area are near tourist complexes of different sizes, offering the amenities of a large city in some cases, or the quiet of a small village in others, or the possibility of practicing water sports.
San Agustin and the Playa del Ingls, together with Maspalomas, make up one of the most important tourist complexes in Spain with a large variety of hotels, apartments, shops, restaurants, bars, and entertainment. The three resorts share what is possibly the most well-known beach of the archipelago; eight kilometers (5 miles) long and up to two meters wide formed by dunes and an oasis of palm trees, an authentic mini-desert by the sea. Puerto Rico and Mogan are two smaller resorts devoted to the practice of water sports, each with its own boating marina. Puerto Rico has a quiet beach around which it is possible to enjoy a wide assortment of activities, including boat trips, windsurfing, deep-sea fishing, parachuting into the sea, etc. The port of Mogan is an attractive enclave of traditional architecture located in a fishing village. Its flower-adorned streets open onto a harbor where hundreds of boats are docked and excellent fresh fish is plentiful.