The answer to that question has to be yes. I have been living here for 10 years and I know people who have been living in Gran Canaria for way more than that. I’m not sure I am going to be here permanently, ie forever, but it is certainly possible to make a life in the sun and live well.
Saying that, things aren’t always easy. You have to pay the rent or mortgage and the bills, just like anywhere else. Wages are much lower than you are probably used to and the language can be a barrier (even if you speak a bit of Spanish don’t assume you’ll understand “Canarian” which can be pretty different). Unless you have a contract, you don’t get sick pay, free medical care or unemployment benefits either.
Buying a House
If you don’t have savings or a much needed skill you are going to find it hard to buy a property because you need at least 10% of the property price as a deposit plus plenty more in various fees and most ex pat jobs (bar or restaurant work, selling tickets, teaching etc) do not pay enough to make saving a possibility. Else saving up takes years. A lot of people here rent and if you live outside the main resorts you can find something inexpensive.
In Puerto Rico or Playa del Ingles you should expect to pay an absolute minimum of 400 euros for a studio apartment or small 1 bedroom apartment. A reasonable sized 1 bedroom will be about 550 euros and a 2 bedroom place from 650 euros and up. Of course, this varies a lot but you can use those figures as a guideline.
With the average wage being 1000 euros a month, bills being about 80 euros a month and having to buy food, kids’ clothes and more too, you can see why saving money can take time, especially if one person is supporting a family.
However, if you are prepared to be realistic, there is no reaon why living in the Canaries permanently should be a problem. Like I said, I know many ex pats who have been here for years, are enjoying it and have no intention of ever leaving! 🙂
There are also people who retire to Gran Canaria and I can’t say I blame them! 😀