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Gran Canaria

Living in Gran Canaria

Living Gran Canaria

We have all dreamed about it. The moment it will happen. You check your lottery ticket, and it finally is your day. Your numbers come up. You now are going to implement your long-held dream about living in the sun on Gran Canaria.

Do you need to wait for your lotto numbers to click to make your dream move? Is it that difficult to end up living in Gran Canaria? Will you like the Island? Will you like the locals.

Gran Canaria the Island

Gran Canaria is only 150 km from Northwest Africa and 1350 km from southern Spain. It is a 57 km to drive from the capital Las Palmas in the north to Playa Maspalomas on the very south of the Island. It has a population of 846,717 as of 2018 with 378,628 living in Las Palmas. The average monthly temperature is 24c. August at 27.5 is the hottest month, and January is the coldest at 20.8 c.

Gran Canaria

The north or the south of Gran Canaria

So where in Gran Canaria should you live? For such a small Island the experience of living in Gran Canaria can be very different depending on what part you choose to live.

The South of Gran Canaria

The south has the best weather. The main resort tourist areas and beaches are in the south. Maspalomas and Playa del Ingles are the main beaches and the busiest. Going up the east coast a little bit you will find Puerto Rico and Puerto Mogan. Puerto Mogan tends to be one of the more expensive places for accommodation in Gran Canaria.

Most days are sunny, but you will be living in a mass tourist area. Friendships can be temporary, and prices are higher than in other areas. Taxis drivers dealing daily with tourists are a bit crankier.

Gran Canaria

The North of Gran Canaria

Most visitors to Gran Canaria go to the southern reports. Many are unaware that most of the population live in the north of the Island.

Approximately 40% of the population of Gran Canaria live in the capital Las Palmas. Las Palmas is becoming a choice for more tourists to visit each year. Las Palmas has four beaches and one of the best city beaches in the world. Playa Las Canteras is over 3 km long and lined with bars and restaurants. Playa Las Canteras is a blue flag beach and yet only a few minutes walk from some of Las Palmas busiest streets. Because this is a real city where people live and work it has a genuine Spanish feel to it.

The north also has a number of beautiful towns. Teror the religious centre of the Island. Moya and Firgas are surprisingly green. Santa Brigida and San Mateo are key towns are you make your way to the Islands mountains and then there is the unique port area of Agatte.

If you want a real experience than the north is a good choice. It is also cheaper than the south, and taxi drivers are less cranky. The downside may be the north is wetter than the south. In my experience, sunny days are around 80% of the time. Down south it is probably more than 95%.

Gran Canaria
Gran Canaria

The interior of Gran Canaria

If you fancy getting away from the tourist south or the busy Las Palmas in the north, the interior is an option.

The centre of Gran Canaria has some dramatic scenery. This part of the Island has some charming small towns. Artenara and Tejeda are good options if you fancy a quiet life. This part of Gran Canaria is a walkers paradise.

From Cruz de Tejeda to north has a climate similar to the north of the island. Cruz de Tejeda to the south enjoys weather closer to the south of Gran Canaria.

Gran Canaria

The Locals

So what are the local Canarian people like? In my experience, they are friendly and polite people. Rarely will you see any local people involved in any on-street disturbances. While they love their locally produced Rum, there is not the same alcohol culture you will find in many European countries.

Service in restaurants and bars may be slower than you may be used to back home but what is the hurry. You are in the sun.

Your stay will be better the less contact you have with the Islands bureaucracy.

Who can live in Gran Canaria

The Canary Islands are governed by Spain. Spain is part of the European Union so all E.U citizens can work and live on the islands. Officially you need to report to the police after 90 days. I did this and was told it was not necessary as I come from an E.U country. This was my experience. It may not be yours.

If as an E.U citizen you want to register as a resident you will need to meet certain criteria. Having an employment contract and you need to have a rental contract or have you own property are the key requirements.

Gran Canaria

Renting

Renting accommodation is standard. Many people use agencies. They normally charge a months rent as a fee. A month in advance is also asked for by the owner. A year is usually the minimum contract.

It can at times be difficult getting replies from agencies when you contact them from abroad. Online forums can also be a way to find accommodation, but you should never give money in advance to anyone that you do not trust 100%.

Another popular option in Las Palmas is people buy cheap boats. They live in the Marina at affordable monthly rates.

Language

Spanish is the official language in the Canary Islands. As the south of the Gran Canaria is a major tourist destination English is widely spoken. In the north English is not spoken as much as the south. I find pointing works when my bad Spanish is not enough. The word beer is of course universally understood.

Transport

Gran Canaria Las Palmas airport is one of the busiest in Europe. It is connected to most European countries. Many low cost airlines fly into Gran Canaria.

The GC-1 is the main motorway in the Gran Canaria. It links the Capital Las Palmas in the north to Puerto Mogan in the south. It is 75 km in length and has a speed limit of 120 km. The roads in the interior can be narrow as they wind up to the mountains.

Gran Canaria has a cheap and efficient bus service. There are regular buses running from Las Palmas to the south. As Las Palmas is the main population, centre it also has an extensive bus service to the northern towns and the interior. Bus services from the south to the interior are infrequent and few. To visit towns in the north such as Teror from the south by bus would require going to Las Palmas first.

If you want to visit the other Canary Islands there are regular inter-island flights from the airport. There are also ferries from Las Palmas and Agaette.

Gran Canaria

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