All-inclusive holidays often come with something of a health warning. ‘It’s like a cruise,’ some say. ‘You are caught up with the same people every day and barely see anything of where you are.’
And it is true. It can be difficult to tear the kids away from the bottomless ice-cream bar and indeed the adults from a warm sun lounger where endless snacks and drinks are just a short wander away.
Thomas Cook has cleverly spotted this and offers the Love Local range of experiences for travellers looking to explore while still enjoying the family friendly sanctuary of a traditional resort hotel.
Chris Greenwood took his brood to Thomas Cook’s Sunwing Arguineguin Seafront resort, pictured
Chris described the resort as ‘a modern, neatly laid out and extremely well-run hotel’
FOREIGN OFFICE GRAN CANARIA WILDFIRE ADVICE
Several areas in the north-west of the island have been evacuated due to an ongoing forest fire. The authorities are working to extinguish the flames. If you’re in the area or planning to visit, check the latest updates and information on Twitter @112canarias and follow the advice of the local authorities.
Forest fires occur frequently in Spain (including Spanish islands) during the summer months. Take care when visiting or driving through woodland areas. Make sure cigarette ends are properly extinguished, do not light barbecues and do not leave empty bottles behind. Causing a forest fire is a criminal offence in Spain even if unintentional. If you see what you think might be the onset of a forest fire, call the emergency services on 112.
The activities aim to involve businesses making a positive contribution to the local area, often by helping to preserve traditions and locations. By summer 2020, there will be more than 70 experiences on offer with one in every destination.
In our case it meant leaping aboard the Afrikat, a thoughtfully custom-designed and wheelchair-accessible catamaran that plies its trade from Puerto Rico, a small but busy port on the south-west corner of Gran Canaria.
Run by a globe-trotting international couple (Queensland via Northampton and Holland and a few other places besides), passengers can enjoy a range of adventures around the rugged Atlantic coast of the volcanic island.
We enjoyed a three-hour cruise that included a layover in a remote cove where everyone leapt into crystal clear waters to enjoy snorkelling and feeding the fish. There were speedboat and inflatable doughnut rides for those with stronger constitutions too.
Captain Potter runs the trip with boundless enthusiasm and an entertaining line in multi-lingual banter which underlines his passion for safeguarding this delicate environment and his enduring love of Ed Sheeran.
Everyone is presented with a reusable cup and the strawberry-flavoured edible straws were an inevitable hit among the youngest shipmates. His crew has joined forces with a local school to raise money for a ‘sea bin’ to install in the harbour to catch plastic waste.
The trip was a welcome excursion from our base at the Sunwing Arguineguin Seafront resort, an easy 30-minute transfer from the airport on the outskirts of the island capital Las Palmas.
The Sunwing Arguineguin Seafront resort is an easy 30-minute transfer from the airport
Chris and his family stayed in a so-called ‘royal’ family room, pictured, in which parents get their own room, children sleep on comfortable sofa beds and there is a small kitchen as well as a balcony overlooking its three pools and the ocean
This is a modern, neatly laid out and extremely well-run hotel where all staff clearly work hard to cater for guests of all ages. Online reviews are glowing (although strangely obsessed with the easy availability of sun loungers) and I could see why.
We stayed in a so-called ‘royal’ family room in which parents get their own room, children sleep on comfortable sofa beds and there is a small kitchen as well as a balcony overlooking its three pools and the ocean.
It’s a good set up and everything you need to launch yourselves at the family-friendly activities on offer, from the inescapable Lollo and Bernie sing-a-longs for the under-sevens, a ‘Mini-land’ play zone and a teenage lounge complete with an array of Xboxes for Fifa tournaments.
‘It’s a good set up and everything you need to launch yourselves at the family-friendly activities on offer,’ writes Chris
Making a splash: The Afrikat is ‘a thoughtfully custom-designed and wheelchair-accessible catamaran that plies its trade from Puerto Rico, a small but busy port on the south-west corner of Gran Canaria’
For a second day out the family visited Puerto de Mogan, pictured, known as Gran Canaria’s ‘Little Venice’
Puerto de Mogan has traditional white buildings lining its harbour, interspersed with small waterways linked to the sea
The Greenwood family enjoying their break
In our case, Catherine and Anna enjoyed a mother and daughter spa treatment and I dragged everyone into the pool for aqua aerobics. There is high-quality live entertainment five nights a week with a compulsory Abba tribute show. Best keep the drinks flowing for this.
For a second day out we travelled 20 minutes by hire car to Puerto de Mogan, after being warned to stay on the coast as a wildfire – fuelled by strong winds and the tinder-dry mountain landscape – had broken out inland.
Known as Gran Canaria’s ‘Little Venice’, this fishing village has traditional white buildings lining its harbour, interspersed with small waterways linked to the sea. It’s very pretty and well worth a visit, even if only to spot where a well-known TV advert was filmed.
With so much to do at the hotel and with Captain Potter’s wisecracks still ringing in our ears, we didn’t need any more than this on a short break.
Chris Greenwood and his family were hosted by Thomas Cook at its Sunwing Arguineguin Seafront resort.
Sunwing Family Resorts were first launched for the Scandinavian market and have been expanded to UK customers.
In August 2020, a seven-night all-inclusive stay including flights and transfers costs from around £3,504 for a family of four. Self-catering packages are also available.
For more details visit: https://www.thomascook.com/destinations/spain/canary-islands/gran-canaria/arguineguin/sunwing-arguineguin.