Gran Canaria is called a "miniature continent" due to the different climates and variety of landscapes found. The island is under protection as a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO. Tourism tends to be concentrated on the southern part of the island as it’s the warmer and sunnier side – the north tends to be slightly cooler. The best beaches are on the east side of the island, whereas the west coast is dotted with rocky coves.
Sites and attractions on Gran Canaria include Palmitos Park, Reptilandia Park, Cocodrilos Park, Roque Nublo (an 80m monolith), Cenobio de Valerón with about 290 caves, Cueva Pintada the most important archaeological park in Canary Islands and the botanical gardens Jardin Canario (in Tafira Alta) and Cactualdea (in La Aldea de San Nicolás).
The town of Agüimes on the east-part of the island has been carefully restored so that its town centre maintains the peace and tranquility of a traditional Canarian town, centered around its old church and quiet square. The district also has some of the best preserved cave homes in the protected area in the Guayadeque Ravine, where even the church has been built into the hillside, and visitors can eat in the popular cave restaurants.
The good weather conditions all year round make Gran Canaria the perfect destination for those looking for plenty of fun in the sea. Sea temperatures rarely drop below 19ºC, the average temperature being around 23°C. The island is considered one of the world’s best windsurfing destinations but sailing, scuba diving, jet and water skiing, and sailing are all activities that are easily available all around the island.
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