Presa de las Niñas: one of Gran Canaria’s most comprehensive recreation areas
The jagged landscape on Gran Canaria and the archipelago as a whole is known for its lack of rivers. An endemic scarcity of water and rainfall over the centuries has turned Canary Islanders into experts in saving water. Indeed, the fact that there are more than 140 reservoirs in each and every corner of Gran Canaria is a clear indication of the islanders’ keen interest to avoid wasting it.
You will find Presa de las Niñas, one of those reservoirs, in Tejeda on the southern tip of the island. It is a fine example of that traditional fight to save water. The artificial lake is in Nublo rural park at an altitude of 900 meters. There is a recreation area with several services at your disposal including tables, BBQs, toilets and parking spaces. You can also follow one of the many hiking routes that begin in the park. Alternatively, stop off for a few days in one of the campsites. It is an incredibly popular area in spring and summer. Here’s a little more about this special place.
Presa de las Niñas on Gran Canaria: a delightful surprise
It’s easy to get to Presa de Las Niñas (about 55 km from the capital city) from Tejeda and from Puerto de Mogán. Tejeda itself is classed as one of the most beautiful spots on Gran Canaria and in Spain.
You will find a delightful lake surrounded by Canarian pine and palm trees. Take the opportunity to immerse yourself in the peace and quiet of nature. You will also notice species of trees that are very typical of North Africa such as the tagasaste and broom. Plus, if you keep your eyes and ears open, you may even spot some species of birds that are native to Gran Canaria forests such as the blue chaffinch and great spotted woodpecker.
In addition to enjoying nature, Presa de las Niñas has an air of a fairytale about it. For example, the mysterious ‘Casandra tree’, a huge, four-hundred-year-old pine tree that has a legend attached to it. According to some of the older locals, the tree takes its name from a young fifteen-year-old girl called Casandra who was deeply in love with her boyfriend, Iván. She was accused by the locals of witchcraft and was burnt alive at the foot of the tree. Those who truly believe in the romantic tale say that whenever there is a full moon you can see a huge heart carved into the bark.
What to do in Presa de las Niñas recreation area
Presa de las Niñas recreation area has pretty much got everything you could possibly ask for. This is one of the reasons why it is one of the most emblematic spots on Gran Canaria and an ideal stop-off point for families, groups of friends, couples and people travelling alone. There is a parking area to leave your vehicle, several tables and BBQs where you can arrange to have a picnic, several water fountains and toilets.
You can also do any number of water sports on the lake itself. Kayaking and paddle surf are very popular. There are a number of specialist tourism companies where you can make arrangements to hire the material you need or find a professional monitor to help you on your way.
You are also allowed to camp in the vicinity. The permitted areas are clearly signposted and fenced off. You do need to ask for permission, however, so you will need to contact the local authority (Cabildo Insular) at least three days in advance.
What to see near Presa de las Niñas
Presa de las Niñas camping area is also a popular starting point for several hiking routes. One of the routes is called Las Tres Presas (S-60). It connects the Soria, Las Niñas and Chira reservoirs along a twelve-kilometre circular route. If you do take this trail, you will walk through Nublo Nature Reserve and Polanconces Natural Park. These are great places to see some of the cave dwellings that were used by the native settlers over one thousand years ago.
If you’re looking for something a bit more laid back, however, another great place to visit if you want to make the most of your time near the lake is Roque Nublo crag. This impressive volcanic rock formation is just a few kilometres from Tejeda. To get there, you can take your car and leave it in Degollada de la Goleta car park. From there, you will only need to walk one kilometre along a track and you’ll find yourself at the foot of Roque Nublo in under twenty minutes.
Information of interest
- By car. Take the GC-15 towards Santa Brígida from Las Palmas. Once you reach San Mateo, take the GC-600 towards Roque Nublo and then turn off on GC-605 to Presa de las Niñas.
- Using the rural bus service (guagua). Take the number 26 guagua from Las Palmas to Biblioteca Universitaria, the number 323 guagua to San Mateo and the number 305 guagua to Tejeda.