“Grand Canary Islands”

How many Canary Islands do you know? Most people have heard of Gran Canaria, Tenerife, Fuerteventura and Lanzarote, but there are several more main islands too – La Palma, La Gomera and El Hierro. There is a dubious eighth one called St Brendan’s Isle, which Christopher Columbus apparently found but… it seems to have vanished!For every Canarian place name there are about 5 ways of pronouncing it! Take “Gran Canaria” itself – easy enough perhaps? But a lot of people (usually the English!) like to Anglicize everything so… “Grand Canary” has been born. 


Canary Islands
Photo By Secret Tenerife

 There is a place in the South of the island called Arguineguín (correctly pronounced “Arginnagin” with the emphasis on the last syllable). You can imagine what a tongue twister this one is!! The ferries from Puerto Escala run both to Arguineguín and Mogán and people even get that one wrong! It is Mogán (with the emphasis on the last syllable) – not Morgan, not Mogarn and certainly not Moggern. I work on a fishing desk next to the ferry desk so I frequently hear all this! The ferries stop running at 5pm so I become a kind of “general information kiosk” until I finish work.

Me: “Hello, do you want to go fishing?”
Tourist: “No.”
Me: “What do you want?”
Tourist: “Where is ze ferry to Orgweeeenagweeeen?”

Puerto de Mogan
Photo By +Guido


Playa del Inglés is one of the biggest tourist resorts on the island. Inglés (which means English) is pronounced “ing-lace” but even the tour operators rhyme it with Dingles! I know a lot of the place names are guesswork because many visitors do not speak much more Spanish than “hola”, “gracias” and “una cerveza, por favor” but it gives us natives a good laugh hearing some of them!!!



  1. Suzi

    Not very nice to be rude about foreign tourists is it, especially not on www and especially not when you’re expecting them to buy your tickets and effectively paying your wage?. How many Scandinavian/other languages are you fluent in?

    There are actually 13 Canary Islands, with San Borondón being the mythical 14th, said to be sometimes visible from El Hierro in the mist; Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, Fuerteventura, Tenerife, La Gomera, El Hierro, La Palma, La Graciosa, Los Lobos, Alegranza, Montaña Clara, Roque del Este, Roque del Oueste.

    By the way, that pic you show of Mogán is actually Puerto de Mogán, not the Pueblo. And Playa del Inglés is THE biggest resort on the island. 🙂

  2. Victoria (Post author)

    Thanks for your comments! I admit I can only say “do you want to go fishing? We have big fish,” in Scandinavian. It helps…sometimes 🙂

    I don’t mean to be rude to anybody, just have a laugh at the way some of the places get pronounced…even I have trouble with a lot of them!

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