La Lucha Canaria: una rica herencia cultural de la región

Lucha Canaria: a rich cultural heritage of the region

May 25, 2023

Lucha Canaria is a traditional sport of the Canary Islands, which has its roots in the region's aboriginal Guanche culture

It is a contact sport in which two wrestlers face each other in a circle of sand, known as a "terrero", with the aim of knocking the opponent down and throwing him to the ground.

Lucha Canaria Rules 

One of the most specific characteristics of Lucha Canaria is that the wrestlers wear a traditional costume, consisting of a short-sleeved shirt, shorts and a scarf to protect the head. In addition, the participants are often of impressive size and physical strength, which makes the sport very exciting to watch. 

For this sport, which is native to the Canary Islands, a circular space is set up, usually made of sand, inside which two concentric circles of 15 and 17 metres in diameter are drawn, sharing the same centre. The fight begins when the opponents get into a grappling position: left hand on right trousers. The objective is to unbalance the opponent in less than a minute and a half, without leaving the marked area, which is called the "terrero".  

The technique is very precise and well-defined and does not allow the use of blows or holds. Only a series of guidelines specific to this sport, known as “mañas”, are allowed. These are divided into four groups:

  • “agarre” (grabbing), which consists of grabbing and lifting the opponent.
  • “cogidas” (gripping), where the "Cogida de muslo" (thigh grip) stands out.
  • “desvío” (deflecting), where the trick is to use the opponent's own strength to unbalance him.
  • “bloqueo” (blocking), where the use of arms and legs to block a part of the other fighter's body is allowed.
La Lucha Canaria: una rica herencia cultural de la región


History of Lucha Canaria

Lucha Canaria is a very popular sport in the Canary Islands, and has a large fan base. Several competitions are held in the region throughout the year. The sport is also practised in wrestling clubs and schools throughout the island. 

Besides being an exciting sporting activity, wrestling also contributes to preserving the culture and traditions of the Canary Islands. This Canarian wrestling sport is deeply rooted in the history and identity of the islands, and it shows the rich cultural heritage of the region. 

In fact, looking back, the aborigines already practised this sporting ritual. The first recorded date of this kind of wrestling, which has evolved into the practice we know today, dates back to 1527: a match held on the occasion of the birth of Philip II of Spain. 

The first regulations were made official centuries later, in 1872. This sport continued to become popular and found official backing in the 20th century. In 1943, the first Spanish Wrestling Federation was formed, with its headquarters in Tenerife, and in 1960 the General Organic Regulations common to all the islands were established.


Other traditional sports in Gran Canaria 

Gran Canaria has a whole niche of traditional sports. In addition to the popular Lucha Canaria, the island is also home to sports such as "salto del pastor" (shepherd's leap), "bola canaria" (Canarian bowling game) and "el juego del palo" (stick game). Didn't you know about these traditional Canarian games and sports? We will explain them to you briefly.  

Salto del Pastor. This practice originated in the indigenous society of the archipelago and is currently maintained as a traditional sport. It refers to the "ritual" that the Canarian shepherds had to perform, supported by their "garrote" (a typical shepherding tool), to overcome the obstacles of the terrain and the unevenness of the slopes.  

Bola Canaria. This practice is similar to petanque and consists of throwing a ball from a starting point in order to get closer to another ball that is further away. In this way, successively with the greatest number of balls that the team has at its disposal. Unlike petanque, the balls are heavier and the playing area is wider. 

Juego del Palo. Possibly one of the few 'non-competitive' games or sports in the world, where the aim is to develop your physical skills. It is a friendly confrontation between two parties, where each holds a stick that has two positions - sending or parrying (dodging) blows - and recreates a fight without touching the opponent; only using the sticks.   


Sport at Seaside Sandy Beach Hotel

As sports are popular in Gran Canaria, Seaside Sandy Beach cannot do without them. Cycling, tennis, golf, fitness, aerobics…you name it. Discover the wide range of activities on offer at our hotel and enjoy the best holidays in Gran Canaria.

These are just a few examples of the sports you can do in Gran Canaria. As you can see, the island has a wide variety of options for sports fans. And specifically at Sandy Beach, we are very committed to sports, such as cycling. As a matter of fact, the hotel has an independent shop for renting bicycles and all kinds of accessories. 


The hotel has a floodlit artificial grass tennis court. Some of Gran Canaria's best golf courses are within easy reach of Sandy Beach, so we are in the perfect location for you to plan your golfing holiday.  

Meloneras Golf

There is also a gym equipped with the latest Technogym technology and all the fitness equipment necessary for any cardio session, aerobics and pilates classes, as well as other sports activities such as table tennis, billiards, pétanque or archery.  

Training at Seaside Sandy Beach

Find out more about these sports options and much more on our website


Gran Canaria Hotel Cycling