I recently received a message from Patricia, who is wondering about moving to La Higuerita and who asked me about the place and the cost of living. Thanks for your most recent message, Patricia – I’ll post it on here and then answer your questions the best I can:
Hi there Victoria
Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions. There are some kind people out there which is nice to know!!! It sounds hopeful. the school is called Colegio Bilingue de la Higuerita and is in the north called la Marazan. I’d really appreciate it if you could find out about the area and cost of renting! I have been shortlisted for a job which starts in January. The school is a bilingual school and will provide free education for my children which is fantastic considering I am paying £400+ per month here for the nursery (just so I can work!!) The salary i have been told is 1600 per month is this relatively good for GC? However, the relocation package is terrible – 200E.
I have found cheap flights £30 from Manchester I thought I was seeing things!!!
Do you have to pay one month or two months rent in advance? We are fortunate that we can rent our house out here but we are living on a shoestring here! So naturally I am weighing this near job offer up. It would be great for my kids to be bilingual – a fantastic opportunity.
Believe it or not the situation for experienced teachers in the UK is dire!!!! Can you believe that I have been for 7 job interviews and last week when I got rejected again decided to look overseas!! We are surviving here on tutoring and I teach Spanish at a school but only for 4 hours per week, plus the odd job my husband acquires.
What is the cost of food like? Do you enjoy living out there? How long have you been living there for?
Speak to you soon
Adios y gracias.
The cost of living in Gran Canaria depends very much on the area where you are. If you are living in the south, in one of the resorts, like Puerto Rico, Amadores, Playa del Ingles or Maspalomas, you will probably be paying 400€ (absolute minimum) per month for a studio apartment or tiny one bedroom. Expect to pay about 650€ or more for a two or three bedroom family home. If you are living outside the resorts (which it sounds like you will be doing) the prices are much lower and you can get a family home for about 450€ a month.
There are some places on here: http://www.enalquiler.com/alquiler-marzagan-37-1-0-28585.html just to give you an idea. Also here: http://casas.trovit.es/marzagan-gran-canaria
You have the option of buying or renting. If you have a 10% deposit you might want to consider buying, for obvious reasons. My last electricity bill (there are two of us living here) was 50€ last month and the water was 30€. There is no such thing as council tax but you might have to pay “communidad” if you own a property in a complex and this can be up to 200€ a month if you live somewhere really expensive. You won’t be entitled to a family allowance (but then your costs will be much lower in the Canaries than in the UK).
It is usual to pay one month’s rent plus deposit (a refundable sum, equal to the monthly rental cost) when you move in. If you are using an agency (I don’t recommend you do this – you don’t need to if you speak Spanish) you will have to pay an extra fee (usually equal to the month’s rent) which is non-refundable. The best way to find property is to look in the local newspapers (El Baúl, La Provincia) or book a package holiday so you have somewhere to stay for a week or two until your crates arrive. Maybe the college can help you find accommodation.
1600€ is a good salary for Gran Canaria, especially if you are living outside the resort. The average wage is 45€ a day for bar and restaurant staff, so you can work out that working twenty six days a month is less than 1200€ a month. Flights can be cheap (not in the middle of summer or over Christmas unless you’re really lucky) so that offer sounds good. The relocation package sounds like a joke – are you sure they didn’t miss a zero off?!
As far as work for your husband, if he also speaks Spanish he can apply for work in Telde or Las Palmas. If he doesn’t, then you might have problems living outside the resorts (unless he doesn’t mind spending a couple hours a day on a bus). The credit crisis hit the Canaries as well as the UK, especially since there are fewer tourists than before but there are still jobs to be had.
The cost of food is slightly more than on the continent but close to UK prices (because a lot of fruit and vegetables have to be imported – growing produce in volcanic soil isn’t always easy!) Restaurants and cafes are cheaper than in the UK and you won’t need to pay for things like central heating.
If you shop for groceries at the right places (Spar, Hiperdino and Herdisa) and avoid the tourist ones (Netto) you can save money. Marzagán is halfway between Telde and Las Palmas so you shouldn’t have any problems. You will need a car though. Second hand cars tend to be expensive in the Canaries but you can get a new one and pay monthly (sometimes without a deposit) as long as you have a bank account and several consecutive recent payslips to prove you work there.
Gran Canaria is a nice place to live and a great place for kids. Not only will they be bilingual but the island is quite safe. You can let them play outside or on the beach and know they’ll be fine. I’ve been here for over ten years. The weather was the main reason I came and I’d also recommend the Canaries for an enjoyable, safe and varied life.
I live in Puerto Rico because I work here but if I had a family (and could drive!) I’d probably relocate to a quieter area. There is lots of information about La Higuerita here: http://www.lahiguerita.net/ and here: http://www.periodicolahiguerita.com/
Hope that helps!!! 🙂
All the best with your plans,