Ingenio, Gran Canaria's magic triangle

Turning off the GC-1 motorway and following the signs to the south-east's Ingenio will make you wonder what all the fuss is. But continue past the anonymous modern development to discover a beautifully-preserved municipal centre. Starting from its ruggedly-charming coastal base, Ingenio narrows to form a triangle, taking in some stunning countryside too.

Here, little piggy

This little piggy

The fate of an Ingenio pig's to be on a plate. After all, Spain's the country of jámon, of ham, and the locals of Gran Canaria enthusiastically follow this imported tradition. Natives of Ingenio, however, take particular finger-licking delight in cochinillo negro (roasted black suckling pig), always accompanied with plenty of salt.

Refined Ingenio

Ingenio mural

Ingenio didn't exist before the Spanish conquest of the late 15th century. For Ingenio translates as sugar mill or, more precisely, the machinery used to crush the sugar cane grown in the valleys surrounding the Barranco de Guayadeque. This mural in Ingenio Old Town shows settlers exporting sugar to Flanders in the 16th century via the Bay of Gando.

Palm park

Palmera de Paquesito

There are some beautiful parks in Ingenio, including Parque Lectura Francisco Tarajana, where you'll find the tourist information office, and Parque Las Mimosas. The pick of them all, though, is Parque Néstor Álamo. Here, you'll have to crane your neck to fully take in the palmera paquesito, a palm tree, which at 43 metres in height, is one of the tallest in the whole of Spain, let alone the Canary Islands.

Fist of yum

Panaderia Artesanal de Lina Amaro

Ingenio's famous for its pan de puño, bread named because the baker uses their fist to knead the dough which means the finished product resembles the shape of a fist. In the centre of town, you'll find Panaderia Artesanal de Lina Amaro, the oldest bakery on the island. They've been firing up their oven for over 250 years, with current owner Amaro Rodríguez the sixth generation of the family to be involved in the business.

House proud in Ingenio

Casa del Cura

The architecture you'll see in the centre of Ingenio's some of the finest examples of the neo-classical Canarian style in the whole of Gran Canaria. In the La Palmita neighbourhood, you'll come across Ingenio's white house, the Casa del Cura (priest's house). It's perhaps unsurprisingly grander than the humbler Casa del Fraile (monk's house) out front.

Let the bells ring out for Christmas

Nativity tableau

You know Christmas is just around the corner in Spain when the municipalities start to display a belén (nativity display). If you wish it could be Christmas every day, head to Ingenio's Museo de Piedra y Artesanía Canaria. Here, as well as a free geological and traditional local craft exhibition, they boast their very own belén, which is open all year round.

Barranco de Guayadeque, Gran Canaria's great divide

Barranco de Guayadeque

The Barranco de Guayadeque's the name of the ravine which separates Ingenio from neighbour Agüimes. As well as dividing municipalities, its natural beauty will conquer your heart. Park your hire car and admire the view or, if you're of a more active persuasion, go for a hike in this trekker-friendly area.

Photogenic Ingenio

Escultura de Las Lavanderas

Don't forget to bring your camera when you visit Ingenio. There's plenty to snap, including the Escultura de Las Lavanderas, the sculpture celebrating the area's traditional washerwomen, in the foreground. In the background, that's Ingenio's striking parish church, the Parroquia de Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria.

Ingenio's crammed calendar

Festival Internacional de Folklore de la Villa de Ingenio

Canarian song and dance's the theme of the Festival Internacional de Folklore de la Villa de Ingenio, held late July to early August. Other dates for your diary include Ingenio Cómico (March and April), a comedy festival held in Carrizal's Centro Cívico. The same venue's also home to Ingenio Mágico (December), where magicians will transport you to a world of illusion.

Life's a beach on Playa del Burrero

Playa del Burrero

Ingenio's not particularly known for its playas and indeed it's only beach of note's El Burrero. This is very much a destination for locals and makes a change from the more touristy playas further south. And, in common with other east-coach beaches, Playa del Burrero's popular with watersport enthusiasts.