First Choice Blog
  • This week Seb Smith has been mostly shooting down slides, soaking in hot tubs and shouting at rocks. All in the name of research, of course…

    sebprofile

    A little birdy told me Gran Canaria has it all, and that bird certainly wasn’t tweeting up the wrong tree. The place is amazing. And my hotel was an absolute beauty, too. I’d have been quite happy to stay in my room the whole time, if it wasn’t for the fact there was so much to see and do…

    Destination #14: Gran Canaria

    I stayed at the LTI Paradise Valle Taurito in Playa Taurito.

    LTI Paradise Valle Taurito

    LTI Paradise Valle Taurito room

    Slide of the Week: Yellow Serpiente

    This waterpark couldn’t be in a better setting. It’s smack bang in the middle of a valley, and I was half expecting to hear an echo from the screams of thrill-seekers flying down the slides – particularly the Freefall.

    But it was the Yellow Serpiente I got my kicks from. Setting off down this fairly inconspicuous-looking slide, I soon lost all sense of direction. The first bend sent me whizzing around, completing a 360° turn. But that was just for starters. There was another complete rotation, then, just to mix things up, the same again in the opposite direction… and then another!

    yellow serpiente

    It felt like I was stuck between 2 roundabouts, struggling to find the exit (so basically a repeat of my driving lessons). But when I finally did locate the way out, I was in for a surprise. Instead of a pleasant little dunk into the pool, this slide decides to wallop you across the face to ‘help’ you get your bearings. The sneaky drop is a perfect end to the dizzying heights.

    A word of warning, though – make sure to close your mouth on impact, otherwise you’ll end up with a mouthful of sea water. Which isn’t fun for anyone. And I should know.

    Best Excursion: 4×4 Jeep Safari

    I saw a lot of Gran Canaria on this mini-adventure. Taking a trip up to the mountains, we drove to Fataga Valley, also known as the Valley of the Thousand Palms. It goes without saying that there were some incredible views, and they just got better with every twist and turn.

    4x4jeepsafari

    After a brilliant cruise along the skyline – with a couple of pit stops for photos – we took a breather at a lake. It was here we were told that, due to the extreme lack of rainfall in this part of the island (they could definitely do with a dose of English weather), the lake is getting significantly smaller. However, there’s still plenty of it for a paddle… or a swim if you’re as brave as the Swedish pilot on our trip.

    Continuing on our adventure, there was some more amazing scenery. Eagles soaring between the valley, lizards sunbathing on rocks… but one of my favourite sightings would have to be thanks to the gardener who, in place of plant pots, had used varying styles of toilets and sinks. He must be potty! (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)

    4x4jeepsafari2

    With a stop-off for lunch, and a screaming match with the mountains (amazing echoes – we hadn’t all gone crazy) the trip ended with some off-roading… down a mountain. It’s a good job we had some rather sturdy 4x4s, because the ride began to get a little bumpy, to say the least. Our driver was amazing, though, and – pumping up the volume of the radio – he whizzed over the rocky terrain.

    This trip was a combination of glorious sights and stacks of fun. It’s definitely a list-topper of things to do in Gran Can.

    Highlight of the Week

    Being the First Choice Slide Tester is pretty hectic. In a good way. Sliding around the waterpark all day, messing around in the Kids’ Club, ‘Wet, Wild and Wacky’ sessions. And let’s not forget all the crazy excursions I go on. White water rafting, quad biking, parasailing – it’s pretty tiring stuff y’know.

    Anyway, what I’m trying to say is, I think I’d earned some chill-out time. And what better way to do it than by putting my feet up on a big ol’ boat. But not just any boat. A Super Catamaran. This absolute gem of a ship has some comfy chairs, a deck to lounge on, an All Inclusive bar… oh, and I almost forgot. A hot tub. What more could you ask for?

    catamarangrancanhottub

    The Catamaran headed west along the coast of Gran Canaria, with the Captain pointing out some of the best spots for photo ops along the way. It was an incredibly relaxing experience, until we hit the swimming stop, that is. Here we had the opportunity to try out the banana boat, or – as I did – blitz around on a jet-ski.

    catamarangrancan
    {Right-hand photo taken by Chloe Sterk}

    Then it was plain sailing back to the harbour, with some music playing, food on the go, and sun shining. Absolute bliss.

    catamarangrancan2

    Seb Sez…

    Definitely check out Puerto De Mogan, just around the coast from Valle Taurito. There’s a lovely beach there and lots of chilled little cafes and shops. And it’s only 10 minutes on the bus and costs a paltry €1.50.

    My next post from Egypt will be the final installment in this ‘Adventures of a Slide Tester’ series, but don’t worry – that won’t be the last you hear from me. Plus, there are always plenty of snippets on my Twitter feed (@FCSlideTester) to keep you company. Catch you next week! 

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