Relocating to Gran Canaria

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:

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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.

Photo by Obols1

Photo of Marzagán by Obols1

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,

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Victoria 😎

18 Comments

  1. Liuk Canaria

    You can find some more information about prices and areas where to live in nuroa.es

    http://comprar-piso.nuroa.es/marzagan/comprar-piso-marzagan?s=marzagan-gran-canaria

    Hope it’s usefull!

  2. peter mccone

    we are moving to peurto rico in early december .We have two girls aged 2 and 4. would you know of any local nuserys and if so how much are they.
    Also any idea of propertys close to the beach that are for along term rent { 6 month min } and approx. price.
    Regards,
    Peter

  3. helen lee

    Hi, I am coming to live in puerto rico in the easter holidays. I have visited the school in motor grande and my daughter loved it can someone tell me what paperwork i need to have in place in order for my daughter to go to state school. Many thanks

  4. Bethany Cross

    HI there!!

    I’m moving to Gran Canaria in late September/early October time.
    I’m moving out there as part of my degree and therefore will only be there for a year. However i need to find some accommodation for that year.
    I will be teaching in a school in Las Palmas and therefore will need an apartment/house/flat in that area.
    I have tried looking on the internet for places to rent but the only results that come up on my search are holiday lets which are not suitable for me.

    Could you help me?
    Thank you
    Bethany Cross

  5. Victoria

    Hi Bethany,

    Are you searching in English or Spanish? If you use the word “alquiler” which is Spanish for rent you can find a few agencies. Here are some to get you started and you can email them.

    http://inmobiliarialascasitas.com/en/listagem.htm?nat=1&tit=1
    http://www.apartmentspain.org.uk/ES/LargoPlazo/21/0/La_Palma-alquiler-de-vacaciones.html
    http://www.alquilaryvenderpisos.es/alquiler-de-apartamentos-en-espana-a-largo-plazo.html
    http://www.thinkspain.com/properties-in-spain/4/6/59

  6. Suzette

    Hi, we have a business, home and have lived near Gerona for 15 years. We are trying to avoid a Catalan education for our nearly 5 years old, twin boys. My husband will need to fly weekly in to Barcelona/Gerona. We are looking to relocate to Gran Canaria and immerse our 5 year old boys in a Castilian education for at least the next 3 to 4 years. Where would you recommend on the island for us to live and the boys join a great, state run or Concertado school for their primary years. We are residents of Spain and are British nationals. Many thanks. Suzette. August 2011

  7. Victoria

    Sorry for the late response, Suzette, I was on holiday. I don’t have kids or experience with any of the schools in GC but don’t they teach Castilian Spanish in the Catalan schools? Canarian Spanish is totally different from the Castilian Spanish you’d hear in Spain. The Canaries have their own words and a very strange accent. Since I don’t know a lot about the schools I would have to assume that Las Palmas (the capital) would be your best bet. You can Google “school Las Palmas” and get several results. I don’t want to give you the wrong advice and anything I tell you would be what I’ve learned from Google so perhaps it’s better if you have a look. Hope the move works out.

  8. Ciaran

    Hey Victoria,
    I was just wondering if you could give me an e-mail? Would like to ask you for some advice before i move over..
    All the best, Cus

  9. Victoria

    Ciaran, ask on here.

  10. Stuart McLaughlin

    hi my name is stuart mclaughlin i am thinking about moving to maspalomas with my partner and my daughter what is it like to live there and what i it like for work my partner is a chef can you let me know thanks

  11. Rachel

    Hi everyone I’m moving to Puerto Rico within the next year with my partner and our soon to be 8yr old daughter.. Can any1 advise and name any public schools local to this area please ?

  12. Aneta

    Hi Victoria,are you still online cause the latest comment here is from 2013 year,i woud like to ask you some particular questions

  13. Aneta

    hallo are you still there…

  14. Natalie tooth

    Hi Victoria my names Natalie,we are moving ova to purto Rico in 2 years time!! I was just wondering whsts the chespest village Orr area to live with my family?! I don’t want to be in the center but close enough to travel into the center to work! I don’t drive but don’t mind traveling to work daily!! I need 3 bedroom family home to rent,I’d b paying either 6months Orr years rent upfront! Thankyou for taking the time to read my e mail Natalie

  15. Max

    What are the differencies between spanish language in mainland and on canarian islands? I’m moving there,can you tell me how is it like and what is the best island?

  16. Duncan Mortimer

    Hi Victoria

    Hope this finds you well.
    My twin brother Paul has lived in Puerto Rico for some years and I am thinking of coming out this year to live there. Paul lives in a small motor home up near the Crazy Horse and I like the idea of doing the same.
    Do you have any advice regards this idea and can you point me in the direction of somewhere on the island I might buy a motor home.

    All the best
    Duncan Mortimer

  17. ray

    hi i will soon be moving to gran c..i have an apt in puerto rico that i will have no mortgage on , i was wondering can i live well on an net income of 450 euro per week..regards …ray

  18. Rosarie Spillane

    Hi any one that moved a year or2 ago can ye updated us on how ye are getting on was it a good move im hoping to move from Ireland to Puerto rico in sept would love as much feed back as possible

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