There are pros and cons to living anywhere and many people who come to Gran Canaria or any of the Canary Islands on holiday and fantasise about living here one day. You can break the group down into:
- Young people in their teens and early twenties who dream about working in a bar (with free alcohol thrown in, of course) at night and laying on the beach all day.
- Slightly older people who want to buy a bar or restaurant in the sun.
- Older people who want to retire in the sun.
Unfortunately it’s not quite that easy. People say to me all the time, “oh you’re so lucky living here” but luck has nothing to do with it! I decided to move over, sold my possessions and moved over. It had nothing to do with luck.
Holidays in Gran Canaria vs. Actually Living Here
If you want beach holidays Gran Canaria is a great resort. Read around this site to find the best place to stay in Gran Canaria and come to visit. If you want to live here permanently, you won’t be laying on the beach all day. Well, maybe you will if you have enough money to buy a property and live without working. If not, you will have to work for up to nine hours a day for an average of thirty six euros. It’s like being back in Blighty but with nicer weather! I’m not being cynical – that’s just the way it is. You have to pay rent and bills and you have to work. The wages are lower than back home but rent is about the same. Expect to pay 450 euros upwards for a one bedroom apartment or 600 euros upwards for a two bedroom place.
This is a good job search website: http://www.canaryinfo.com/4/en/1/Search_a_job_Canary_Islands_Spain
Life for an Ex-Pat
For some people, living here is a dream come true. You get the sun every day (almost) and a relaxed pace of life.
For others, they make the decision to go home after a few months or a few years. The pace of life being “relaxed” isn’t always a good thing. I had to wait six months for a phoneline to be installed. The post office doesn’t deliver half my mail. Smaller shops open when they feel like it rather than when it says in their window. The place comes to a complete halt between four and seven o’clock, when it is “siesta” time. If you live here, you can adjust to all that, but it does take time!
How to Find Work
The first thing to do is to look for cheap holidays to Gran Canaria. When you come over, remember that you need at least enough money to pay several month’s rent. Don’t assume you will find work immediately. If you can get a cheap package holiday or a last minute deal to Gran Canaria, you won’t have to get an apartment right away and you have your return ticket in case you decide not to stay after all.
If you have a trade (mechanic, builder etc) it will be very difficult to find work without speaking Spanish. The staff speak English in most of the restaurants, bars and shops in the resort areas but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t at least try to learn a few phrases.
If you have any questions about living in Gran Canaria, just reply to this post and I’ll get back to you!