Going Local in Gran Canaria – Book Review

Although Gran Canaria is nothing more than a destination to many people, somewhere to spend a sunny week or two, it has become home to other tourist-turned-residents like myself.


People who simply visit the island for a week of good weather once a year think they know how it must be to live there but life in Gran Canaria is very different to what a lot of them assume.

Photo by El Coleccionista de Instantes

When I used to work in the harbour I would get endless families coming up to me sitting at the fishing sales desk to say, “oh you live here do you?” (after establishing that no, I didn’t fly home to England and back every day) “how lovely, it must be like being on holiday all the time.”

In one way you can forgive them for this ill thought-out plan. After all, good weather and the sun are very much part of the Canarian lifestyle, which is why you can plan an outdoor event without having to put those dreaded words “weather permitting” at the end of your invitation.

You can choose pretty much any day of the year to lie on the beach or swim in the sea (or at least stroll along the beach without getting frozen). But life in Gran Canaria is very different to taking a long holiday and there is more to becoming a local in Gran Canaria than simply buying a one-way ticket instead of a return trip.

Matthew Hirtes was kind enough to allow me to read his new book ‘Going Local in Gran Canaria’ and I read this with relish, eager to find out how his experiences compared with my own. I also read the book in one sitting – not because it’s especially short (it isn’t!) but because it was very entertaining.

What to Expect

Matthew gets the mixture of useful factual information and personal anecdotes just right, balancing what you really need to know before you move across to what life is really like as an expat, answering with good humour and accuracy all those questions you have in your mind about whether to make the move and what to expect once you’re there.

The book talks about how to enroll your kids in a Canarian school, how to set up your own business, how to get to grips with the language, and much, much more.


So whether you are considering a move to Gran Canaria or you simply enjoy reading travel books which are well-written and full of fascinating facts and stories, ‘Going Local in Gran Canaria’ is sure to capture your interest and give you plenty of food for thought. It’s a must for anyone who loves the island of Gran Canaria and dreams of moving over there for good.

5 / 5 stars     


  1. David

    Interesting article nice work.My parents on route to puerto de mogan now for the holidays:) what is the weather like there at the moment? What attractions is there on at the moment there?It seems they have missed the festivals i think!!:(

  2. Victoria (Post author)

    Hi David, well it’s been quite sunny with a bit of cloud, and nice temperature in the low 20s.

    Depending how long your parents are here they might catch the Aboriginal Day and the Cheese Festival.

  3. David

    They are only there from today until next tuesday so i guess they will miss them unfortunatly! Staying in the Cordial Mogan Playa hotel.I hope this is a nice hotel as I made the booking online for my dad and chose the hotel? :)it seemed to have quite good reviews on tripadvisor, although im sure a lot are not all genuine reviews!!! We stayed in Maspalomas 20 years ago ,i was only a child though at the time and said they took a drive up towards puerto de mogan where a lot of construction was going on at the time.Is it a nice little area now?!What is the must see things to do in the little town?! Thanks for the replies:)

  4. Victoria (Post author)

    Puerto de Mogan is a pretty place. See https://www.cunningcanary.com/196/puerto-de-mogan/ There is a big market there on Friday which your parents might enjoy. The port is pretty to walk around and there are boat trips.

    They can get the bus to Playa del Ingles, Maspalomas or Puerto Rico for a day trip or enjoy Mogan beach.

    I don’t know that hotel firsthand but you’re right, it does seem to have a lot of good reviews. Gran Canaria has changed immensely in the 12 years I’ve known it so I should think it’s unrecognisable from 20 years ago when you were there. You’ll be able to see this from your parents’ photos.

  5. David

    And what about the hotel?? 🙂

  6. Victoria (Post author)

    As I said, I don’t know anything about it firsthand. I haven’t been there. Hope it’s nice for them though.

  7. David

    Sorry didnt notice you had mentioned the hotel in the previous post! I hope all goes well for them too 🙂 Thanks for your help and enjoy every moment of it you 2 🙂

  8. Victoria (Post author)

    No problem 🙂 Let us know how they got on, when they’re back.

  9. David

    No problem Victoria…will do thanks 🙂

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