The marina was easy to see at night from the end of the inner mole, but if you didn't know about it the red light on the starboard side of the entrance could be confusing. It is a preferred channel marker (flashing 2+1) and should be left to starboard as you enter the marina. Turn to port and immediately round the end of the short arm at the end of the E breakwater you will find the reception pontoon, with the office just above it. Tie up here (not at the fuel berth) and go to the office or if out of hours wait here until it opens.
Take the usual documents - passports, ships registration and insurance. A little English is spoken in the office, but not a huge amount. All documents are returned to you after photocopying. There are two keys , one for the pontoon gate and one for the toilet block, for which you are charged one euro. They will only give you one set of keys per boat. You will then be allocated a berth - probably on pontoon 17 or pontoon 18, stern or bows to, and a member of staff should be on hand to pass you the lazy line.
Facilities and Charges
Very cheap - including tax the charge for a bows-to mooring for Fairwinds was 6 euros a night (based on length x breadth). The pontoon security gates are lockable, but many people leave them open so don't rely on this for security - lock your boat up. The port police patrol drive along the breakwater regularly, but we were told there had been some recent thefts.
The toilet block for visitors is at the end of pontoon 12. In the gents the showers are rarely hot and there is only one toilet cubicle with no lock, frequently paperless. The ladies are allegedly a bit better. The answer however is to joint the Pantalan Club Varadero, which can be found just along from the toilet block on the seaward side of the road. The cost is 20 euros per boat (for up to five people) for a week. This gives you access from 09.30 to 22.00, excellent toilet facilities, free wifi, pool, sauna and gym. Go to the office opposite the club to sign up and you will get a laminated card each.
The fuel berth is easily accessible by yacht, but the office is over a mile from the visitors pontoons on foot - quicker to blow the dinghy up if you want to go there. There is a small shop at the fuel berth, otherwise you will have to go into the city for supplies - there is a HiperDino supermarket not too far away. (Up the steps at the car park, turn right and take the second pedestrian crossing across the freeway - it is about four blocks up the street facing you).
In the port area itself there are a couple of bars and several very good chandlers. These are all in the road that runs along the Eastern edge of the marina (Joaquim Blanco Torrent).
There is a yard with travel-lift and all the usual facilities. We needed our outboard looked at when it wouldn't start, and were recommended to get in touch with Fernando Ruiz. He cleaned the carburettor, checked the whole engine over and replaced the valves for E30 labour and E22 parts, If he isn't at the yard tel. 649 204 019 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The city bus service is excellent - buy a 10 journey card for E5.80 for best value. The 12 and 13 run past the marina, although neither stops particularly near an access point (of which there are only two, one at either end of the marina road, Joaquim Blanco Torrent)
The Match Club bar opposite pontoon 10 has wi-fi free of charge for patrons,and the beer and tortilla are good value. If you are going to stay a period of time, you can join the Club Varadero for €20 for 1 week (up to 5 people) and use their facilities including their wifi. There is also an amusement arcade on Mesa y Lopez, where you can plug in your laptop (€0.50 for 20 minutes).
Places to See
Peublo Canario is a short walk from the marina and is a very pleasant spot. The Nestor Museum is worth a visit, then you can wander under the arch to the E of the Pueblo into the manificent gardens of the casino and watch the Koi in the pond there. Walk up the landscaped hill behind for excellent views over the marina and harbour, then back to the marina through the mellow tree-lined streets of the Ciudad Jardin (Garden City)
In the Santa Catalina district (about 20 blocks from the marina, or take a 12 or 13 bus) you will find cafes in open spaces and the museum of science and technology, which certainly looks as though it would repay a visit. There is a bus depot here where you can get a good map of the bus routes and purchase 10-journey cards. From here it is only a few blocks to Playa Cantera, the beautiful beach that flanks the Eastern side of this narrow isthmus.
The old quarter of Las Palmas, Vegueta, should also not be missed. Again, a 12 or 13 bus will take you there - get off at the bus station (Estacion de Gaguas) or a bit further on at the edge of the San Jose district. See Santa Ana Plaza, the Cathedral, the Canarian museum and various other historical buildings then wander down towards Triana, the old commercial centre of the city.
For a detailed account of Fairwinds' time in Las Palmas see HERE