Looking for a family-friendly attraction on Gran Canaria? One of the latest and greatest to open is the capital’s Poema del Mar. Our man on the island, Matthew Hirtes, visited with his clan.
Poema del Mar…get up close and personal with the inhabitants of the fantastic Atlantic without getting your feet wet
Barça are famously more than a club. It’s the same with Las Palmas de Gran Canaria’s Poema del Mar which was inaugurated by the city’s mayor Augusto Hidalgo Macario on 17th December 2017. This is definitely more than an aquarium and not only because it’s the biggest tourist attraction to open on the island this millennium.
It’s very much a case of welcome to the jungle as Jungla is the first area you’ll encounter in an intricate multi-level project. We were lucky enough to have Poema del Mar director Alberto Castellanos show us around. And he was a veritable font of knowledge, which showed up the frustratingly-slow informational displays which Alberto pointed out the newly-opened aquarium, very much a work in progress, were keen to improve by making them more interactive.
The Jungla is where you’ll see spiny-tailed lizards such as uromastyx dispar, to give them their Latin name, which are native to Africa’s Chad, Mauritania, and Sudan. Along with mossy frogs, known in scientific circles as theloderma corticale, who hail from Vietnam and owe their survival to the fact they resemble a clump of green flora. Although there are water features in this first zone too, with the amazing axolote, the Mexican so-called walking fish which are actually amphibians capable of regenerating any severed body part.
The route through the Poema del Mar is a spiral one, enabling you to look at displays from different perspectives. So we’d already received an aerial view of Playa before we arrived to the aquarium’s second main zone. Here, the aquarium director pointed out the serious side to the Poema del Mar with the commitment to the conservation and reproduction of the loggerhead sea turtle; working in conjunction with the likes of the island’s ADS Biodiversidad with rehabilitated turtles returned to the wilds of the Atlantic.
The loudest wow from our party, however, was reserved for the Deep Sea window, the largest curved glass wall anywhere in the world. Where the haunting classical music only served to heighten the menace of the sharks in the dark. Who prowled the water along with more than 30 other species of fishy friends and foes.
Our then seven year old was also rather taken by the Nemo Kids area where Pixar’s celebrated clown fish and family take centre stage. Along with the Sweet Water Tunnel you walk as stingrays glide above your head. Not forgetting the balletic jellyfish who prove the old adage of there being poetry in motion.
You can enjoy a cup of coffee or a cold beer at the Poema del Mar Cafeteria next to the aquarium’s entrance, although you won’t be able to go in with any beverages. Inside the Poema del Mar, there are similar drinks choices at the Nemo Snack Bar. Whilst the á-la-carte Néstor offers an extensive wine list.
Poema del Mar takes its moniker from the masterpiece of the same name created by Gran Canaria’s most celebrated artist Néstor Martín-Fernández de la Torre. There’s further homage on the part of the aquarium who have also named a classy eatery after him. Néstor does fine dining with stunning Deep Sea views.
There’s a gourmet burger for 10,90€ which comprises a 100% beef patty, tomato, lettuce, bacon, cheddar cheese, Poema sauce, and onion both caramelized and fried. It’s accompanied by fries and your choice of water, soft drink, or beer. There’s also a menú del día, a three-course set lunch for 19,90€ which included on our visit starter options of salad or creamy courgette soup, main courses of spaghetti bolognese or spare ribs and ice-cream or fruit in season for dessert.
Cheaper options come at the Nemo Snack Bar, as well as the Poema del Mar Cafeteria. But we recommend the altogether more Instagrammable Néstor for a souvenir of a meal.
Poema del Mar, a gleaming white plot which lights up the landscape, is located in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria’s port area. It’s a short walk from the El Muelle shoppping centre and Parque Santa Catalina (bus terminal). Although Poema del Mar do offer two bus services themselves from the southern resorts with Línea 1 starting at Mogán before stopping at Amadores, Puerto Rico, and Anfi del Mar whilst Línea 2 sets off from Meloneras with pick ups at the likes of Maspalomas, Playa del Inglés, San Agustín, and Bahía Feliz.
Poema del Mar opens daily from 9:00am to 6:00pm and is in our opinion a two-hour attraction (although add a hour if you plan on eating lunch there). Poema del Mar tickets are 25€ for adults and 17,50€ for children from four to 11 (with 0-3s admitted free). If you want to purchase an aquarium+bus ticket, these retail at 35€ for adults and 27,50€ for children.
If you’re a resident of the Canary Islands, a standard adult ticket costs 18€ and a child’s one €13. We reckon the tickets will become even better value as newer displays are added to the Poema del Mar such as the much-trumpeted human fish. Which we look forward to seeing on our inevitable return.
Contact Poema del Mar
Website page: http://www.poema-del-mar.com
Address: Muelle del Sanapú, 22, 35008, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.
- Tlf: 928 01 03 50
Facebook | Instagram
Disclaimer: We were invited to a complimentary tour and meal at Poema del Mar in exchange for a review. All imagery provided by venue. Their rights reserved.
Matthew Hirtes, our resident broadsheet journalist, moved to Las Palmas de Gran Canaria back in 2004. He’s travelled extensively through Spain, covering it for such publications as Telegraph Travel, Metro, and The Independent. The author of Going Local in Gran Canaria: How To Turn a Holiday Destination into a Home, Matthew truly is a resident expert.