Arucas is one of my favourite places in Gran Canaria.
This laidback town was declared a Historic and Artistic Complex in 1976, in no small part thanks to its show-stopping church. And if that’s not enough, there’s an excellent rum distillery in town.
It has something for every traveller.
Using Gran Canaria’s excellent public bus services, I visited Arucas as a day trip from Las Palmas which also took in Teror. Make the most of your time there with my travel guide to Arucas, Gran Canaria, which includes what to see and how to get there.
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Where is Arucas in Gran Canaria?
Arucas is in the northern part of Gran Canaria, ten miles west of the capital, Las Palmas, by road.
Best Things to See in Arucas, Gran Canaria
1. Iglesia de San Juan Bautista (Church of St. John the Baptist)
Start your day in Arucas at Iglesia de San Juan Bautista, the town’s architectural masterpiece.
Replacing the 16th Century Chapel of St. John, work started on this church in 1909 and it was consecrated eight years later. However, building continued for a further 60 years.
What makes this building so extraordinary is that it was built entirely by hand from local grey-blue stone without the assistance of any mechanical devices. A neo-Gothic style was chosen to allow local stone quarry workers to embellish the exterior with elaborate ornamental displays.
Inside, there are outstanding stained glass windows crafted between 1916 and 1928 by the French firm Maumejean et Frères.
Don’t miss the image of a reclining nude Christ in the ambulatory. This wooden sculpture, Christo Yacente, was hewn by local sculptor Monolo Ramos (1898 – 1971).
That said, for me, Iglesia de San Juan Bautista was more magnificent on the outside.
Opening hours: Daily 9.30 – 12.30; 16:30- – 18:00
Admission is free but a €3 donation is encouraged
2. León y Castillo Street
Pick up a free town map from Tourist Information on León y Castillo Street. However, this is not the only reason to stroll along this lovely pedestrianised thoroughfare. It is lined with several 19th Century buildings and is a good place to stop for a coffee.
3. House of Culture (Casa de la Cultura)
I stumbled across Casa de Cultura by accident but was glad that I did. This traditional 17th Century Canary Island building was acquired in 1973 to house the Public Library and has a charming inner patio with a dragon tree at its centre.
4. Plaza de la Constitución
Plaza de la Constitución is the old administrative centre of Arucas. The square’s most important buildings are the Town Hall (1875) and the former Municipal Market (1882).
5. Municipal Park
The iron gate opposite Plaza de la Constitución leads to the town’s Municipal Park. Spread over 2.5 acres, this tranquil park is home to a large variety of trees and plants.
Within the park is the Municipal Museum which occupies the former Casa de Mayorazgo of Arucas. It exhibits the works of Santiago Santana, Guillermo Sureda, Abraham Cárdenes and Mabolo Ramos.
6. Water Company Building (La Heredad de Aguas de Arucas y Firgas)
The striking 20th Century building at the edge of the park is La Heredad de Aguas de Arucas y Firgas (Arucas and Firgas Water Company Building). It was built in 1912.
7. Fuente del Pilar
Water was supplied to Canary Island residents using the watercourse of ravines, natural springs or ditches. Public fountains were built in the middle of the 19th Century to provide water to the people.
Six of these fountains were erected in Arucas, and Fuente del Pilar provided water until the 1950s when houses started to have running water.
8. Stonemason Museum (Museo La Cantera)
If you are interested in learning more about quarrying the blue stone of Arucas stop by Museo La Cantera. It is located on the site of the firm Piedras La Cantera and has a recreation of how people in these stone quarries would have lived.
9. Arucas Rum Distillery (Destilerías Arehucas)
As compelling as all of these attractions were, one of my favourite things to do in Arucas was the tour of the Arehucas Rum Distillery.
The distillery produces 3.5 million bottles of rum annually, 80% of which is destined for the domestic market. The hugely enjoyable 45-minute distillery tour ends with tastings of four spirits (the mango gin was delicious).
Tours are run from Monday to Friday and you can check times and prices here. Reservations are not needed.
10. The Marquesina Garden (Jardín de la Marquesa)
I love a nice botanical garden and the one at Arucas did not disappoint.
Created by the first Marquis of Arucas, Don Ramón Madam y Uiondo, this horticultural jewel is home to more than 2,500 tropical and subtropical flora. Cockerels crowed, peacocks strutted and a black and white cat looked on with disdain.
To reach Marquesina Garden on foot take the path leading from Acequia Alta. The garden is open from 9 am until 6 pm and a small admission charge applies.
If there is no one at the ticket booth by the entrance, don’t worry. Just enter and someone will find you and will give you a sticker in exchange for the ticket price.
How to Get to Arucas by Bus
I travelled around Gran Canaria by bus. Service 210 from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria to Arucas took 40 minutes. In 2023, the fare was €2.10.
The bus will drop you off at the Estación de Guaguas, which is a five-minute walk from the town centre
You can check bus timetables here.
READ THIS NEXT: How to Explore Gran Canaria by Bus
What Are the Best Months to Visit Arucas?
Arucas is a year-round destination.
Summers (June to September) can be hot and dry, while winters (December to February) are typically mild and pleasant. During the shoulder seasons of spring (March to May) and autumn (October to November) temperatures are comfortable and crowds are fewer.
To experience Arucas’ festival and cultural events, plan your visit to coincide with Fiesta de San Juan, celebrated on June 24, or the Carnival of Arucas, which is held in February or March.
How Much Time Do You Need in Arucas?
You should be able to hit the highlights of Arucas in a busy half-day but it’s worth lingering longer. I spent around six hours there which was enough time to visit all of the attractions mentioned in this article.
Is Arucas Worth a Visit?
Whether you are an architecture fangirl or fanboy, want to delve into local traditions, try local rum or simply enjoy a relaxing ambience, Arucas is well worth visiting
In addition to its outstanding historic architecture, notably the neo-Gothic Iglesia de San Juan Bautista, it is home to the renowned Arehucas Rum Distillery. A visit to this distillery, which has been producing rum since 1884, offers a fascinating insight into the rum-making process.
If it’s natural beauty you crave, Arucas features picturesque gardens including the tranquil Jardín de la Marquesa.
Overall, Arucas is a charming town that combines history, culture, natural beauty and unique attractions like the rum distillery.