La Aldea de San Nicolás
La Aldea de San Nicolás mostly called "La Aldea" by the residents of the town is situated in a valley on the West coast of Gran Canaria. It used to be called San Nicolás de Tolentino.
In many supermarkets you will find fresh fruit produce often labelled as "produce of canaries" particularly bananas and tomatoes, with a proportion of these coming from La Aldea de San Nicolás. Legend has it that many land owners in the past handed down the farms and tomato nurseries to their sons, and the daughters received the barren coastlands now often used for tourism.
Tomato growing used to be the main source of income in La Aldea de San Nicolás, but nowadays they grow all kinds of fruit in La Aldea de San Nicolás, including: banana, mango, avocado and papaya. There are numerous orange plantations here too. As you travel around the island you are likely not to recognise these nurseries because they are not greenhouses trying to create the perfect growing conditions. Rather the plants are grown under a light canvas designed solely to protect them from the glaring heat of the sun and dehydration.
Although tomato production has decreased over the years, they still export over 100,000 kilograms a year. You will discover, when comparing the shape, and the size of the tomatoes here, to those you can buy at home, that they are very different. They are often misshapen and can sometimes look a bit unappetizing, but don't be put off by appearances. The flavour of a tomato or any other fruit grown and matured here far surpasses the exported fruit, which is often harvested before it is fully ripe.
La Aldea de San Nicolás itself is quite small and has little to offer in terms of historical buildings or architecture. The real charm and attraction of La Aldea de San Nicolás lies in the beauty of it's surroundings and it's landscapes. The only building of any real interest in the town of La Aldea de San Nicolás is the San Nicolás Church. It was built in 1972 on the site of an old 18th Century chapel. It has some fascinating sculptural works by Lujan Perez.
The drive up to La Aldea de San Nicolás is quite spectacular. On the way you'll pass by the Barranco de Veneguera and The Reserva Natural Especial de Güi-Güi which covers an area of over 3,000 hectares of land. It's home to a fantastic variety of indigenous vegetation all under protection of the state. Barranco de Veneguera is integrated into the nature reserve Parque Rural del Nublo and therefore can't be developed into a tourist zone. It remains an impressive landmark, untouched by man or tourism. The Parque Rural de Roque Nublo covers 8 of the municipalities of Gran Canaria and is the home of the Roque Nublo, the emblem of Gran Canaria. A volcanic monolith just perched on the top of the mountain in the centre of Gran Canaria.
Close to La Aldea de San Nicolás is the very popular La Fuente de los Azulejos, a natural attraction where oxidation has turned the once blue rocks into a strange blueish-green hue. Quite an interesting site.
The Spanish Conquered the Canary Islands through various campaigns and battles, and found Gran Canaria, and it's Guanche inhabitants difficult to crack. It was here at Tasartico near La Aldea de San Nicolás that a battle was fought, and the Spanish lost, in one of their biggest defeats. During this battle the Spanish lost 200 archers and Captain Miguel de Mújica died.
If you like cacti, you've come to the right place. La Aldea de San Nicolás is home to the Cactualdea Parque (Cactus park); a very popular tourist attraction. You'll see every kind of cactus imaginable here - Mexican, Madagascan, Guatemalan and Bolivian. You may be unsure about the virtues of cacti but one thing they all do, at one time or another is flower, and the flowers are all, nothing short of stunning and worth a view. Set amongst lush palm trees and aloe plants, this is a colourful and very tranquil park near to La Aldea de San Nicolás and it's perfect for a day out with the children.
In addition to this, the town centre of La Aldea de San Nicolás is home to some excellent examples of traditional canarian architecture. Another great feature of La Aldea de San Nicolás which needs a mention is the "museo Vivo" (Live Museum) which over recent years has become increasingly popular. By appointment you can see a live presentation of canarian culture and traditions. These include, threshing with animals,Cheese making, milking goats, milk and Gofio tasting, The baking of bread in a traditional stone oven. You can book your appointment by telephone using either of the following telephone numbers: 0034 928 892 425 or 0034 928 890 378). Unfortunately it is not yet certain if English is spoken.
La Aldea de San Nicolás is also the archaeological site of Los Caserones, Many of the archaeological finds from this site are now on display at the Canario museum (Museo Canario) in Las Palmas. These finds include a rich collection of idols made of mud and stone. It is possible to visit the túmulo Funerario (burial mound) at the Lomo de Los Caserones at La Aldea Beach, La Aldea de San Nicolas.