Canary Islands – Challenges and Highlights of Sailing the Atlantic

What are the general characteristics of a sailboat charter in the Canary Islands?

The Canary Islands form an archipelago of seven main islands and six islets. They are an autonomous region of Spain with two provinces: Las Palmas and Santa Cruz de Tenerife with the capitals Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and Santa Cruz de Tenerife.

The Canaries enjoy mild climate all year round. The beaches are lovely. There are impressive natural attractions like the dunes of Maspalomas on Gran Canaria and Mount Teide on Tenerife which is the world´s third largest volcano measured from its base on the ocean floor. The landscapes are very varied depending on the geographical location. You can find volcanoes, nft monkey mountains, high dunes, pine forests, laurel forests, jungle, desert, banana plantations, orchards, vineyards and much more.

The marine wildlife is stunning. You can spot whales, dolphins, logger head turtles, porpoises, etc. Also on land there is abundant and very special flora and fauna.

The Canary Islands have a very good traffic network. All islands have an airport, the largest being Gran Canaria Airport. Tenerife even has two, one in the South and one in the North. The main ports are Las Palmas on Gran Canaria, Port of Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Port of Los Christianos in southern Tenerife. Good roads enable you to go for land excursions and there are also ferries and fast ferries linking the islands together.

Local cuisine and culture is highly intriguing. The islands have been charteracatamaraninthebvi a stopping point for many sailors before an Atlantic crossing throughout the centuries. So you encounter many museums that tell you about this rich history.

Some figures regarding a yacht charter in the Canaries:

Location: North East Atlantic Ocean, 27° – 29° N, 14° – 18° W; ca. 100 – 500 km west of Africa / off the southernmost Moroccan coast

Main islands largest to smallest: Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Palma, La Gomera, El Hierro

Total length of coastline: 1,500 km

Total surface area: 7,493 km²

Highest point: Mount Teide, 3,718 m

Population: ca. 2,105,000

Country code: +34

Climate: Subtropical and desertic, moderated by the sea and the trade winds

Tidal range: up to 2/2.5 m

What are the most popular charter destinations and cruising grounds in the Canary Islands?

The distances between all the different Canary Islands are larger than in the Balearics, for example, so you get to spend more time at open sea during crossings. Longitudinally they are arranged along a stretch of 450 km. Winds can funnel between the islands and the bostonhaikusociety anchorages aren´t that protected. Also the distance between mooring options is much larger than in other sailing grounds in the Mediterranean. So it has to be said that a yacht charter in the Canaries is rather for more experienced sailors than for a family sailing holiday.

Head to Fuerteventura where you find beautiful beaches and dramatic rocky volcanic landscape. The Port of Gran Tarajal has 258 moorings for yachts up to 100 m. It offers all kinds of services including a travel lift and is close to the nearest airport. Anchor at Ajuy village on the west coast to see the black sands of Caleta Negra, for instance. From here sail to Lanzarote with its unique scenery and many craters. On the way stop at Los Lobos, a small island and national park. The distance between Fuerteventura and Lanzarote is only about 9 NM. For any services head to the Marina Lanzarote that can host 400 boats up to 60 m.

Sail the approx. 57 NM distance from Fuerteventura to Gran Canaria. The island boasts a high diversity of landscape from desert to jungle and mountains. Deep sea fishing is great there. Head to El Cabron Marine Reserve for fantastic diving. You can moor up in the International Port of Las Palmas, the first Mid-Atlantic port that was built and the most important one in Spain. It has 850 berths for boats up to 45 m and is known as the great Atlantic gas station. A wide variety of services is at your disposal if need be.

Tenerife, about 38 NM away, is the largest island in the Canaries and has 336 km of coastline. Admire the famous Mount Teide from the sea. There are beautiful beaches to cruise along and set anchor. Santa Cruz Marina in the main town has 300 berths for boats up to 80 m maximum and a full range of nautical services. Over time is has been used as a port of call for many regattas and is the last stopping point for many boats before their Atlantic crossing. From Tenerife it is only about 20 NM to La Gomera which has the shortest length of coastline with 97 km.

You need to sail about 37 NM from La Gomera to La Palma, the greenest of all islands. It features spectacular lava fields and offers many gorgeous bays to anchor, swim and snorkel.


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