If you’ve ever tasted papas arrugadas, unpeeled potatoes boiled in saltwater and served with a spicy mojo red sauce, you may never go back to french fries. Mojo is also the preferred sauce with several fish dishes, including Sancocho Canario, and a pork ragout called Mojo Cochino. For an after-dinner specialty, order a ron y miel, a rum cocktail with palm syrup – and it’s a good idea to stop with just one.
Windiest of the Canary Islands, Gran Carnaria has become a training ground for top European competitors, who tend to divide their time between two southeast coast spots with cross-shore trade winds. Starting from its rocky shore, Bahia de Pozo Izquierdo (which hosts the World Cup each summer) is for the expert wave-sailing set; sandy Bahia Feliz, with more facilities (translation: bars and restaurants), is a friendly, bump-and-jump, windchop playground.
Neighbor isle Lanzarote is a lunar-landscape (more than 300 volcanoes), with lively beaches (Playa Blanca and Playa del Papagayo), a fine contemporary arts museum, vineyards, and (if you missed it on Gran Canaria) camel rides. Tenerife, largest of the island chain, also has beaches and volcanoes, as well as the highest peak in Spanish territory, Mount Teide; take a cable car to the 12,000-footsummit for an awesome view of four islands in the archipelago.