Gran Canaria - what a great place for the kids. It's just a shame our children weren't with us on this holiday! With the children safely holidaying in Devon with their grandparents, my husband, Tom, and I flew off to this gem of a Canary Island for a week of pure rest and relaxation.

When we arrived in Gran Canaria, the heat hit us as soon the plane doors opened. In that initial rush of holiday excitement, I wondered what the next seven days would bring on our first holiday, as a couple without our children, in more than six years.

Gran Canaria was Gemma and Tom's chosen romantic retreat for their first child-free holiday in six years.

Why join RCI

We checked into Holiday Club Puerto Calma (2805) in Puerto Rico, a resort that is available to timeshare owners, and which is also in the RCI holiday exchange programme.

We were unsure what to expect from our RCI timeshare accommodation. You hear the word 'timeshare' batted around and we both wondered what the timeshare holiday experience would be like, being a little nervous that we would be badgered into purchasing a timeshare at every given opportunity...

Holiday Club Puerto Calma (2805) sold timeshare accommodation and the value of why join RCI to Gemma and Tom.

That notion couldn't have been further from the truth. Our experience at Holiday Club Puerto Calma made me realise the value of buying a timeshare and why join RCI. The apartment was amazing, the staff were so friendly and helpful, it was clean and the location was perfect. The resort was just slightly up the hill from the beach, which gave us a fabulous view from our balcony.

The balcony room at Holiday Club Puerto Calma afforded incredible beach views for the couple.

Tree-lined avenues and a pretty seafront walk takes you from Puerto Rico to the relatively new white-sand beach of La Playa de Amadores. There is a shopping centre nearby, with the bonus of being set in attractive gardens, but as I am not a keen shopper we made straight for the beach and the bars.

The couple's resort was a short and pretty walk away from some beautiful Gran Canarian beaches, such as Puerto Rico beach pictured.

The best beaches on Gran Canaria

The beaches on this island are beautiful and varied, depending on what you are looking for. Only a short distance from Amadores you will find a wonderful natural beach called La Playa de Tauro, which is secluded and quiet - away from the crowds! It is a perfect hideaway to bask in the sun together, completely undisturbed.

Playa de Amadores could so easily be a Caribbean beach, with its endless stretch of golden sand and azure shore.

La Playa de Tauro is a much more secluded beach and the perfect hideaway from the world for a day.

Things to do in Gran Canaria

We hired a jeep to get away from the tourist spots and set out to discover what the locals loved most about Gran Canaria. We collected our Suzuki Vitara convertible and set off on what we soon realised would be an exhilarating road trip across the island. Taking in the stunning coastal and mountain scenery along the way, we discovered little picturesque mountain villages, stopping off in some of the local watering holes for a refreshing glass of the local beer and a fruit juice for me, the driver!

A trendy Suzuki Vitara convertible jeep proved to be a great way to see Gran Canaria as the locals do.

The little Suzuki Vitara took the couple across the island, and up into the hills of Gran Canaria, where Tom is pictured taking in the breathtaking vista.

During our stay we joined a boat tour to see the dolphins in the open ocean. The sea breeze was a welcome relief from the midday heat as the sun beamed down on us. Sailing for an hour out at sea, we were fascinated as these amazing creatures leapt through the waves, swimming by the bow of our boat.

Getting up close to the dolphins, out in the ocean, is now a very special memory of the island adventure for Gemma and Tom.

Late afternoon we headed over to Puerto de Mogán, which had become our favourite place on the island. The first things that struck us as the ferry pulled into the dock, were the colours. The buildings were dazzling white, freshly painted and adorned with bright garlands of pink and purple bougainvillea flowers climbing up the sides of the houses and across the trellises. This picturesque town had grown, like so many villages fringing the beaches of the island, from a tiny fishing village. It's marine heritage is still very much alive in the beautiful marina and harbour. It has the feel of an upmarket resort, having many palm-lined avenues, a secluded and sheltered beach, with several good-quality restaurants close to its stretch of soft golden sand.

Our apartment was in Puerto Rico, so Mogán was a short and refreshing boat ride away. Costing approximately €10, the scenic journey took about 30 minutes.

Puerto de Mogán is a picture-postcard pretty town. Its white houses, bright flowers and palm-lined streets give it a real upmarket feel.

The harbour area reminds the visitor of Puerto de Mogán's maritime heritage and the fishing village that it once was.

The food and drink here was out of this world - so fresh. Tom had freshly caught salt-baked fish, doused in vodka. For pudding, lemon sorbet, with yet more vodka... Something of a pattern was developing here!

The nightlife in Mogán was perfect. We found a few small intimate bars where the locals gathered. If these lovely hideaways were good enough for the local people, they were good enough for me and I was happy to join them in sampling the local tipples. A standout treat for me was a cheeky strawberry daiquiri.

Gemma is ready to sample more of the local tipples and delicious dishes in one of Puerto de Mogán's many restaurants.

Puerto de Mogán by night was a classy affair, with intimate bars fringing the town squares and harbour front where the local families met at the close of the day.

While Gran Canaria was a fabulous escape for that much needed week away together as a couple, I couldn't help thinking about how great this place would be for a holiday with our children. With sheltered beaches, tons of sunshine, dolphins and a very welcoming local community, Gran Canaria is a perfect family holiday destination.

So, the big question... Will we ever return to this tiny Canary Island? For sure we will, but next time we are definitely taking our boys!

There are 24 resorts signed up to the RCI holiday exchange programme on the tiny island of Gran Canaria. Click on the button below to see if one of them could be your perfect place in the sun for a romantic getaway.

Click here to visit the RCI Resort Directory

If you own timeshare, and are not yet an RCI member, but want to use your weeks or points to take you to some fresh holiday destinations - or perhaps you want to gift your time in your timeshare to members of your family or a special friend, click on the link below to join RCI to widen your timeshare holiday horizons.

If you are already an RCI member, don't forget that there is now some new RCI Member Help material and videos on to guide you, as an RCI member, to getting the best value from your timeshare ownership. Log into your RCI account now and have a play on your membership site to make sure you know how to use your timeshare with RCI membership to get the holidays you deserve.

Click here to Join RCI