Saturday, December 15, 2012

Animal Lovers' Guide to the Canaries

By Catherine McCulloch

The Canary Island's unique volcanic formation has made it one of the world's most diverse destinations for plants and animals. In fact, this island chain is home to more than 600 endemic species, the largest national park in Spain, and marine reserves in Lanzarote. It is no wonder then that this archipelago's diverse wildlife attracts visitors from all over the world, approximately 12-million tourists a year. With this many people to entertain, the Canary Islands provides a wealth of animal-themed activities for all ages and visitors.

If you're travelling with kids, the Pardellas Park in Lanzarote is a great environment for them to meet a variety of different farm animals from cows and goats to pigs and even donkeys. Locally run, there are even donkey rides available not to mention quiet areas for parents to relax in including its very own library!

The island of La Graciosa, only a short boat ride north of Lanzarote, is entirely protected as a marine reserve. In fact, only approximately 500 people live on the island with only one village; whilst some might think that is deserted, it also means you can enjoy time with the local wildlife without fighting crowds or waiting in queues.

Another island worth a visit for nature-lovers alike is Gran Canaria which boasts around 50 different types of birds throughout the region. The island was also awarded the title of a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO for its plentiful plantlife.

The large bird community is also where the island got its name from in the first place. With a range of hotels to choose from all over the island, you'll find plenty of chances for bird watching amongst other activities.

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