Cost of Living On The Canary Islands- $1300 in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria

05/08

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What's living in the canary islands like for expats?

QUICK SUMMARY- THE CANARY ISLANDS COST OF LIVING

  • Monthly budget in Las Palmas for a Single Person = $1,300 <skip to budget details>.
  • Santa Cruz de Tenerife is one of the least expensive cities in Spain
  • Housing will be your biggest expense. Stay away from the resort areas to save on rent.
  • The Canary Island get special tax treatment keeping the cost of living lower than many cities on mainland Spain.

Canarian life in Las Palmas starts with a morning run on the boardwalk of Las Canteras, enjoying the tranquility and the salty ocean air before it gets more crowded later in the day. After the run, I would head back home, and at 9 am I had to be at the office for work. When I finished my work at 5 pm, I would either sit on the sandy beach to watch the sunset or head to the gym if I hadn't gone for a run in the morning. The sunsets at Las Canteras golden sand beach are stunning, and I loved watching them either from my rooftop terrace or from the beach. 

The boardwalk of Las Canteras beach is bustling with people during sunset as locals and foreigners mingle in the streets and bars. Life happens outside in Las Palmas. As the weather is warm all year round, people love to go out and socialize.

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female expat living on the Canary Islands enjoying the view

Our guest, Maria breaks down her monthly expenses as an expat living in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

I'm a nomad from Austria with a passion for exploring new countries and cultures. I've traveled to more than 40 countries and lived in 7 of them. I've been an expat in Spain, Malta, Mexico, Chile, Portugal, and the UK. Spain has always been my favorite European country to live in, and especially the Canary Islands won my heart. In 2018, I was an expat living in Las Palmas, the capital of Gran Canaria, for six months. Gran Canaria was a great choice; the warm temperatures all year round allowed me to trade the cold European winter for sunshine and beach.

This guide will cover all the essential topics (where to live, best islands for expats, and the non-tourist, real-life cost of living) to consider when living in the Canary Islands as an expat.

Expat Life on the Canary Islands


A Piece of Spain off the Moroccan Coast of Africa

The Canary Islands are a group of 8 main islands located in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Morocco. While the Canary Islands are roughly 60 miles or 100 km from Africa's Saharan coast, the islands are an autonomous community of Spain and part of the European Union.

While technically part of the EU, the Canaries are well over 1,000 miles from the southernmost part of mainland Europe. Additionally, the Canary Islands enjoy a special economic and duty-free status driving down the cost of living. With affordability and mild year-round temperatures and climate (average summer 25 degrees Celsius, winters ~16 degrees), the Canaries are ideal for tourists, expats, and digital nomads who want a taste of Spain, mixed with a laid-back island lifestyle, but with the comfort and convenience of Europe.

Often thought of as a beach tourist destination, with over 12 million visitors annually, the Canary Islands offer much more than beach resorts. There are eight main islands to choose from in the archipelago, providing plenty of variety in scenery and micro-climates. The weather is pretty much always outstanding, the food is excellent, and you'll never run out of things to do, even if it's just spending the day on a beautiful beach relaxing!

Roughly 60 miles off the African coast, some places on the Canaries take a very Saharan-like appearance

Which is the best Canary Island to live on?

There are eight main Canary Islands to choose and each island has its own unique set of pros and cons. However, Gran Canaria is getting the most recent acclaim and an expat and digital nomad hotspot. Las Palmas is a vibrant city with arguably the best restaurants, shopping, and active social life.

However, Gran Canaria is more than just shopping, snacks, and sunny beaches; Gran Canaria has the best nature and outdoors of the Canary Islands with a varied terrain of colorful deserts, mountain vistas, and lush green areas.

Best Do It All Island- Gran Canaria

Las Palmas de Gran Canaria is a beautiful island that offers something for everyone. The third-largest island in the Canaries is divided into three regions:

  • The capital city of Las Palmas dominates the north.
  • The center is more wild, rural, and hilly.
  • The south is known for its beaches.

The resort towns are in the south, but if you're looking for a more quiet and relaxed lifestyle, you'll find it farther north near the forests and rolling hills. Regardless of where you live on the island, you'll be able to enjoy everything Gran Canaria has to offer.

Best Island For Tourists- Tenerife

Tenerife is the largest island, has the highest population, and sees the most tourist traffic as a famous travel destination. Tourism is both good and bad, as it means there is plenty to do, but it also means the biggest crowds and higher prices than on some other islands.

Most of Tenerife's beaches are volcanic black sand beaches, except for Playa de Las Teresitas. Playa de Las Teresitas is an artificial beach with imported white sand from the Sahara desert.  

 INSIDER TIP :  The Canary Islands has two capital cities- Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Las Palmas are the capitals of Tenerife and Gran Canaria, respectively. Both cities are considered capitals of the Canary Islands and trade-off hosting the Presidential office every four years.

The Best Up and Coming Island- Fuerteventura

Fuerteventura is a smaller, less-populated island still popular with both expats and tourists. Fuerteventura boasts 10 Blue Flag beaches and some of the best beaches for water sports in Europe. If surfing is not your vibe, Fuerteventura's crystal turquoise waters allow surfing, sailing, windsurfing, kitesurfing, and freediving.

Interestingly, Fuerteventura is the second-largest Canary Islands, but its tourist industry developed much later. Consequently, it doesn't have as many amenities and conveniences found on some of the more popular islands.

Are the Canary Islands a good place to live?

The Canary Islands are a Spanish archipelago located just off the coast of Africa. The Canary Islands are a popular destination for expats and retirees because they offer the benefits of a comfortable life in Europe but with the beaches, mild winters, and friendly locals of a laid-back island lifestyle.

Additionally, the cost of living on the Canary Islands is much cheaper than in mainland Spain, making it an attractive option for those on a budget.

The Canary Islands are a great place to live for many reasons. Aside from the affordability, renowned sunshine, and beaches, the islands include gorgeous hiking trails, the world's 3rd highest volcano, and stunning national parks.

The Canaries aren't known for their cultural heritage in the same way as mainland Spain, but this doesn't mean islands are not without their cultural sites. Las Palmas' historic Vegueta neighborhood is a UNESCO World Heritage site with distinctive Canarian architecture unlike any other old town in Europe.

Finally, the Canary Islands are home to some delicious food. The Spanish influence is evident, but the Carnary island were the literal and cultural crossroads between Africa, Europe, and America for centuries. Traditional Canarian food is a mash-up of those flavors into a simple but delicious cuisine. 

Seafood is a big thing here. You'll find loads of fresh meat, fruit, and veg from the local markets, along with a range of interesting regional wines to wash it all down.

Are the Canary Islands a good place for expats to retire?

The Canary Islands are an excellent place for expat retirees, as they offer a high quality of life at a fraction of the cost compared to other European destinations, making it a popular choice for expats looking to live in the sunshine year-round and avoid the winter chill.

The Canary Islands have a large expat community, with the hotspots being the usual suspects of Tenerife and Gran Canaria leading the pack. On these two islands, you'll have the easiest time finding people to socialize with and get help from if needed. But don't discount Lanzarote and Fuerteventura, which have strong expat communities, as well. 

Even smaller islands like El Hierro and La Gomera have expat communities to join; though the numbers are more muted, the bonds are just as strong.

If you're considering living in the Canary Islands, finding fellow international expats will not be an issue. If you want an active social life, you can easily find like-minded expats to build a social circle around.

Is it expensive to live in the Canary Islands?

The cost of living in the Canary Islands is considerably lower than in the United States. Housing, food, and transportation are much more affordable on the islands. While some tourist areas are more expensive than others, overall, it is a very affordable place to live.

Overall, it is cheaper to live in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria when compared to other Spanish cities. If you compare the cost of living in Barcelona vs. Las Palmas, you will find much cheaper rent and property prices.

In reality, the Canary Islands cost of living is not as high as many people think. To get a non-lucrative residency visa to stay in Spain long-term, you only need a passive income of €2,151 per month. This budget will easily cover your costs for a comfortable life on whichever island you choose.

Pros and Cons of Island Life on the Canary Islands

Life here does have some downsides and expats moving to the Canary Islands should balance the benefits with the drawbacks. Let's examine some of the less obvious Pros and Cons of living in the Canary Islands.

Advantages of living In the Canary Islands:

  • Plenty of beaches-  The Canary Islands are a popular tourist destination for a reason - they have gorgeous beaches everywhere. There's always a picture-perfect beach nearby, so you can hit the coast for a view whenever the mood strikes. Some of the most famous beaches on the islands include Playa de las Teresitas in Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Papagayo Beach in Lanzarote. However, after living in the Canary Islands for a few months, you'll have the chance to discover the hidden gems that only locals know.
  • Exceptional climate- With 3000 hours of sunshine a year, the Canary Islands are a perfect place to live for those who want warm weather all year round. The temperature is consistent, and you will never have to worry about snow or cold weather unless you want to hike up one of the mountains. In which case, pack at least one sweatshirt.
  • Travelling is easy- The major islands have cheap and extensive public transportation within the capitals and between towns. Taxis are not super expensive for those occasions where the buses aren't convenient. Traveling between islands is super easy. Several ferries and multiple airlines daily trips between islands. Ferry and airline tickets can be found for as low as $20-$30 one-way.

Disadvantages of living In the Canary Islands:

  • Very tourist-heavy- Tourism is a double-edged sword. The tourism industry brings infrastructure investment, restaurant options, and higher-quality housing options. Tourism also means gentrification, loss of local culture, and huge crowds in the resort areas in Tenerife and Las Palmas.
  • Island life takes adjustment- Island fever is a real thing. Some expats can experience culture shock and frustration getting acclimate to island living. Being in the middle of the ocean, away from everybody and everything, can feel like you are culturally isolated and boxed in. The geographic distance from mainland Europe means you don't always find your favorite brands or foods on smaller islands. Additionally, there can be a language barrier if you don't know Spanish.
  • Slow pace of life- The unhurried pace of life on the Canary Islands can be a pro or a con, depending on your perspective. The relaxed atmosphere is precisely what some people look for when they move abroad. Others may find th

Living In Las Palmas Spain As An Expat


What's on Las Palmas Gran Canaria?

There are loads of places to explore and things to do in Gran Canaria. The island's south tends to be hot and dry, perfect for the beach and enjoying the ocean. The rugged north attracts the more adventurous tourists. In comparison, the center has stunning mountain peaks and traditional villages.

My favorite aspect about Las Palmas de Gran Canaria is that even though it's such a small island, it has so much diversity of nature and climate. These different landscapes are only about a one-hour drive from the capital Las Palmas, making it easy to get there for a day trip.

What is there to do on Las Palmas?

Gran Canaria is a popular destination for European tourists. There is loads of tourism infrastructure, including many restaurants and bars that cater to tourists. Las Palmas is especially popular among surfers, as Las Canteras beach is one of the best places for surfing and bodyboarding in Europe.

Las Palmas de Gran Canaria is a major Spanish city with a population of almost 640,000 that swells to over 1,000,000 during the peak tourist season. It is the largest city in the Canary Islands and the 9th biggest city in Spain

Is Las Palmas a good place to live for Expats?

Las Palmas is popular with digital nomads and expats, even as a tourist city. Expat life in Las Palmas is remarkable. The community of expats, the proximity to a stunning urban city beach, and a delicious food scene add up to a high Quality of Life at surprisingly affordable prices for a "tourist destination."

Since most of the tourism happens further south on the island, the city has kept its local charm, and the cost of living in Las Palmas is still relatively low, even though prices have gone up in recent years due to the growing expat community.

After work, my social life usually involved heading to the beach, some exercise, or meeting friends for a drink. Thanks to other co-workers, expats, and digital nomads I became friends with, I had an active social life.

The expat community in Las Palmas is quite extensive, and it's easy to make friends when going out for tapas or even just hitting the beach.

The extensive expat community on the Canary Islands makes it easier to make friends

Spanish Language Skills- Make More Friends Learning The Spanish Language

It is important to note that English is not as widely spoken by Spanish locals you might anticipate. Learning some basic Spanish helps a loads when speaking to locals on a daily basis.

Learning The Local Language- Here is the "Secret" method that the US State Department, FBI, and overseas military uses to learn new languages quickly and effectively- The Pimsleur Method

Avoid hours doing mindless repetitive vocabulary. Pimsleur focuses on quick, easy-to-digest organic learning to get you conversational as fast as possible.

Monthly Budget Living On The Canary Islands


$1300- Cost of Living in Las Palmas Spain Details [HIDE]

Total Monthly Expense$1300
COST PER MONTH
Rent- Shared 2-bedroom apartment Funished Las Canteras533
Water/Sewer/Trash/ElectricityINCLUDED
Cell Phone 10 GB Data11
Total Housing Expense544
Home Cooked Meals 18 times per week273
Budget Meal- Tapas Night 1 times per Week48
Mid-Range Restaurant 1 times per Week67
Splurge Meal 1 time per Month21
Total Food Expense408
Coffee with Friends- Café con leche6
Drinks with Friends- 2 mixed drinks once per Week72
Surf Board Rental once per Week22
Gym Membership47
Total Entertainment146
Guaguas City Bus Transportation Card Refill for 100 Euro66
Car Rental 2 per month Split 2 people33
Total Transportation Expense99
Travel Health Insurance60
Health Care Expense60
Personal Care (Shampoo, etc.) & Household Items (Soap, etc.)20
Miscellaneous23
Total Personal Care and Misc Expense43
Exchange Rate to $1 USD to Euro (EUR)0.91

This monthly budget splits rent and utilities between two people. Living solo would increase this monthly budget to $1400, but with a studio instead of a 2-bedroom apartment.

The cost of living on the Canary Islands is surprisingly low for a tourist destination. A single person could enjoy a high standard of living on a $1300 per month budget, roughly equivalent to the price to live in Split or Zagreb, Croatia. There are plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy, and the island has a diverse culture. Plus, it's easy to hop between islands for day trips when you get tired of one! 

Monthly Budget In Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

Las Palmas' low cost of living, laid-back island life, and the mild climate attract people from all around Europe. The increased popularity caused a spike in rental prices over the past ten years.

Despite the increase in prices, Las Palmas is still more affordable than many Western European cities or even other major Spanish cities like Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia. Although the cost of living index for Las Palmas puts it about more expensive than Granada.

How does the cost of living in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria compare to the United States?

The lower cost of living in Las Palmas can save you nearly $17,000 a year compared to a medium-cost city in the US (Portland). 

Look at the cost of living comparison below representing the Top 4 essential expenses in the US: housing, food, transportation, and healthcare. These 4 expenses make up 68% of the average living costs in a major city.

Essential Living Costs

US-

Portland

ES-

Las Palmas

HOUSING

$962

$543

FOOD

$313

$408

TRANSPORTATION

$862

$83

HEALTHCARE

$353

$60

Total Average Per Month

$2,490

$1,094

Save 64% on Major Monthly Expenses

Housing Costs Living In Las Palmas


Shared Housing Costs

$543

Las Palmas rental costs can seem high at first sight, but depending on your effort and willingness to actively search, you can find places for a fantastic value for their price. I stayed in a fully furnished shared two-bedroom apartment in Las Palmas near Las Canteras beach. The flat included 24-hour security and a rooftop terrace with a sauna, hammam, and a little playground for kids. Watching the sunset dip into the Atlantic Ocean from my lovely rooftop terrace was my little heaven on earth.

I was pretty lucky to find this gem of an apartment, and I paid 450 EUR (500 USD) monthly rent for my room. In my opinion, the area around Las Canteras is the best place to stay in Las Palmas. You will be near the best city beach and a long promenade with numerous restaurants, cafés, and bars. The northern part of Las Canteras beach is the island's most famous surf spot with hip cafés and surf rental shops.

Las Palmas Accommodation Costs

  • A typical one-bedroom apartment near Las Canteras beach costs around 800 EUR (890 USD) per month. Sea view from the apartment can significantly increase the monthly rent to over 1200 EUR (1340 USD).
  • The average price of a two-bedroom is $900-$1000 for a ~970 square foot / 90 sqm furnished flat in the La Isleta neighborhood near Las Canteras beach.
  • Average price of a studio (fully furnished ~375 square feet / 35 sqm) $550

INSIDER TIP :  Finding An Apartment In Las Palmas-  The best way to find housing in Las Palmas is through Facebook sites such as "Canary Islands Digital Nomads & Remote Workers." It's easier to look for an apartment once you're already in Las Palmas. Consider getting an Airbnb for the first couple of weeks, and when you start getting to know other expats or locals, you might meet someone who can help you find a place to stay.

How much is the average utility bill in Las Palmas

Thanks to a temperate year-round climate cutting heating bills, the cost of monthly utilities for an 85m2 apartment in Las Palmas ranges from $100 to $175. Expats should budget an average monthly utility bill of $125 to cover electricity, home internet, heating, cooling, water, and garbage.

Is it better to rent or buy property in the Canary Islands?

Short-term rentals are the best option for Americans or other non-EU citizens subject to the 90-day Schengen limits. Just note that peak summer months mean peak tourist rental rates. Rental property is easier to find during the winter months, but some landlords require a long-term lease.

If you are thinking of moving or retiring in the Canary Islands for the long term, you'll be better off looking for property to purchase potentially.

What are the best neighborhoods in Las Palmas for expats to live in?

Vegueta, the old town of Las Palmas, is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The neighborhood is renowned for its architecture, shopping, and a fantastic selection of places to eat out. However, it is pretty far away from the beautiful beach in Las Canteras.

And one of my highlights of living in Las Palmas was the proximity to the beach and the laid-back surf vibes in that area.

The architecture in Vegueta in Las Palmas is unlike any old town in Europe

Food Costs On the Canary Islands


You can find a wide variety of international cuisine to choose from in the resort areas of Tenerife or Las Palmas. But expect the tourist prices to match. If you venture outside these areas, you can find terrific value for your food budget. Tapas dishes start at just $1.20 USD in many cases, so you can enjoy a delicious meal without breaking the bank.

You'll generally pay a slight premium for food shopping if you buy in the smaller shops rather than, the larger supermarkets in the main towns. Alcohol is very cheap, thanks to duty-free status - a bottle of local beer costs around $1.20 USD, while a cheap wine retails for around $3 USD per bottle, and a mid-range bottle of delicious Spanish wine sells for about $6 USD per bottle.

The Atlantic waters surrounding the islands provide an abundance of healthy and inexpensive fish. In addition, cooking at home using local produce will help to keep costs down even further.

pizza restaurant affordable canary islands cost of living

Enjoying a pizza at Casa Roja. Mid-range prices with a million dollar view.

Food Costs

$548

How much should I budget for food living in Las Palmas?

As a tourist destination, Las Palmas has a lot of great restaurants, but at tourist prices. I cooked my meals at home most of the time. If you need to provide breakfast, lunch, and dinner for yourself and you eat out once a week, I would consider a food budget of about 280 EUR (317 USD) per month.

In my case, the food budget was unrealistically low as my work provided me with breakfast and lunch from Monday to Friday, so I usually just snacked for dinner. I did eat out about once a week, but most of the time, this wasn't in Las Palmas, but in a different town of Gran Canaria when I was exploring the island.

Grocery Shopping In Las Palmas

Food in Las Palmas is expensive by Spanish standards but cheap compared to most of Europe. Expensive items include fish, meat, and cheese. However, fruits and vegetables are relatively affordable.

 I used to do most of my grocery shopping at the local supermarket chain "Dino," which has economical prices. Besides Dino, you can also find the German supermarket chain "Spar" if you're looking for more Western European brands or organic products.

 INSIDER TIP :  Food shopping on the Canary Islands-  For groceries, stick with Hiperdino (Dino), the local Spanish supermarket chain. Between Dino and Mercadona, you'll find a good range of products and prices much cheaper than Spar. By all means, stay away from Spar Natural, which is the European version of Whole Foods. Unless you need a specific health-food item (super organic, free-range, oatmeal with kale superfood), prices in Spar Natural will bust a food budget quickly.

Teguise Farmers Market in Lanzarote

All the Canary Islands have farmer's markets, which are ideal for buying the freshest organic produce direct from local farmers at bargain prices. Some are purely food and craft markets, but many have huge tourist markets. The largest one is at Teguise in Lanzarote every Sunday. Several hundred stalls offer local produce, designer goods (many of which are fakes), clothing, aloe vera products, bed, table linen, and many more interesting and unusual items.

Eating Out In Las Palmas

There is a big difference between local restaurants and restaurants for foreigners regarding meal prices. If you're on a budget, I highly recommend visiting traditional restaurants in local areas when eating out. Las Palmas is the capital of the island and the 9th biggest city of Spain. The city gives you numerous options for restaurants and bars and a wide price range. As everywhere in the world, restaurant prices next to the beach with a beautiful view are more expensive than restaurants a few streets further back.

 INSIDER TIP :  Saving Money Eating Out-  The cost of eating out is relatively reasonable, especially if you take advantage of the daily special lunchtime menu (Menus del día) offered at most restaurants. Menus del día provides an excellent food value and includes three courses, a drink, and many times a dessert.

The Cost of Meals In Las Palmas

  • Très Jolie (budget)- A Spanish-Italian fusion restaurant with great value for the price. They also do superb sangrias and cocktails. On Thursday evenings they take part in the tapas night where you can get a selection of tapas for only a few Euros.
  • La Casa Roja (mid-range)- Another Italian restaurant located right on the beachfront of Las Canteras. This restaurant was my favorite pizza place in Las Palmas, and their rooftop terrace has a jaw-dropping sea view.
  • Rincon de Triana (Fine Dining)- If you want to treat yourself to a fine dining experience, check out Rincon de Triana. They serve delicious meat and seafood.

 

Tapas $2- Thursday Tapas Nights

Mid-Range Restaurant $15- Risotto Fruitti di Mare

Expensive Restaurant $24- Grilled Black Angus Steak 350g

Entertainment Budget In Las Palmas


Entertainment and Sports

$146

  • Surf Board Rentals $22 -  If you surf or want to learn how Las Palmas is the place to do it. You can take a single class, several classes, or book a surf camp at Mojo Surf. If you already know how to surf, you can rent a board and a wetsuit for about 20 EUR (22 USD) for a couple of hours.
  • Gyms or Fitness Centers $50 per month- I was a member of the Macro Fit gym, which costs 42.50 EUR (47 USD) per month and includes classes like spinning or body pump.
  • Weekend Night Out With Friend $15- In terms of social life, I used to go out to bars and clubs with friends on weekends. Most clubs charge an entrance fee from 5-20 EUR (5.50-22 USD), including a drink voucher. Chester was one of my favorite clubs. In summer it's also common to sit together and drink with friends in a park in the evenings. Initially, this tradition was a way of saving money by not going to a bar to drink.
  • Weekend Car Rental $35- My friends and I usually rented a car to explore the island on weekends. 30 EUR (34 USD) per day for a rental car is absolutely worth it split among 2-4 people. It might even end up being cheaper than taking the bus. 
    Also, the most beautiful places of Gran Canaria are tough to reach by bus. Cars can drive up the curvy mountain roads in the center of the island, where you can stop to enjoy the view or to relax on secluded beaches.
  • Thursday Tapas Night $10- Every Thursday evening starting at around 8 pm there's "Tapas Night" in the old town of Las Palmas. You can get special deals in tapas bars with a glass of wine and a tapa for as cheap as 2.50 EUR (3 USD). It's a lively event with streets full of people, especially in summer. People commonly do bar hopping to try the tapas in several bars. I go there almost every week with friends, and it's a great way to socialize and meet new people.

Transportation Cost On The Canary Islands


Transportation

$83

Las Palmas is partially walkable, but not every part of the city. If you live near Las Canteras, you can easily walk the whole boardwalk and the area around it. However, to get to old town Vegueta you need to take a bus or a taxi. The same goes for if you live in the Vegueta, you can easily walk that part of the city center, but if you want to go to the beach, you need transportation.

The great news is public transport is cheap. 

  • City Bus Single Ticket $1.50 -  A trip in the "Guaguas" (busses) within the city of Las Palmas costs 1.40 EUR (1.50 USD) no matter how far you go, as long as you stay in the city. Taking a bus to another town, for example to the island's south region, may cost up to 7 EUR (7.8 USD) for a ticket depending on the distance.
  • Intra-Island BusTicket $8 - Taking a bus to another town, for example to the island's south region, may cost up to 7 EUR (7.8 USD) for a ticket depending on the distance.
  • Taxi $5 - $10 -  If you're more than one person or you don't mind paying a bit more, it might be convenient to take a taxi within the city. Usually, 5-10 EUR (5.50-11 USD) gets you to most places, depending on the traffic. Las Palmas gets horrible traffic jams. Avoid taking a taxi or even a bus during rush hour. Unfortunately, there's no Uber on the island.
  • Island Ferry Boat $20 -  Traveling between islands is super easy. Over three ferries make several trips between Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and Santa Cruz de Tenerife daily, with ferry tickets as cheap as $20 per person.
  • Bike Lan FREE -  For active expats who want to save money on transportation and a gym membership, there are 6 miles / 11km of bike lanes that crisscross Las Palmas.

 INSIDER TIP :  Exploring the Canary Islands- The Canary Islands are an archipelago consisting of 8 islands not far from each other. If you have time for a few days, I recommend visiting one of the nearby neighboring islands such as Lanzarote, Tenerife, or Fuerteventura.

You can either take a ferry for a few hours or a local flight for about half an hour to get there. The ticket prices depend on which island you want to visit, which day you're traveling, and in the case of the ferry, if you're going to take a car with you or not. Just compare prices and see what works best for you.

I recommend exploring the neighboring islands by car, as public transport is limiting if you only have a weekend to explore. You don't want to waste hours waiting for a bus.

International Flights

Gran Canaria Las Palmas Airport (LPA), also known as Gran Canaria International Airport has non-stop passenger flights scheduled to 121 destinations in 25 countries.

The island has an international airport, receiving direct flights from other European countries as well as Madrid, Barcelona, and 28 other destinations on mainland Spain. 

Airport Pick Up-  Avoid the stress and hassle of finding a taxi in a strange country. Get a safe airport pickup with no hidden costs.

Other Costs When Moving To The Canary Islands


  • Mobile Internet Plan $10- When living in Spain, I kept my Austrian sim card. EU phone plans usually allow free roaming in all member states for the same price. If you don't have an EU sim card, the average cost of a Spanish phone plan is about 10-20 EUR (11-22 USD) a month. Movistar and Orange España are the most common providers of phone plans. The Canary Islands even get a tax break on cell phone costs, as the (Impuesto General Indirecto Canario-IGIC) is 14% lower than mainland Spain.
  • Clothes Shopping (Varies)- Las Palmas de Gran Canaria is a proper European city and a popular tourist destination. As such, the city has a wide range of stores that cater to tourists. If you're looking for fashion brands like Mango, Zara, or H & M, Triana is the place to go. This pedestrian street is known for its colorful architecture and the best shopping in the city. 
  • Hair Salons $11- Going to the hairdresser can be rather inexpensive, depending on which one you choose, of course. I usually went to a very basic salon and paid 10 EUR (11 USD) for a haircut (for girls) and 40 EUR (45 USD) for coloring.

 INSIDER TIP :  Canary Islands Spain Internet- The Canary Islands have a local internet mobile broadband provider focused on digital nomads and travelers that provide SIM cards, mobile 4G routers, and fiber optic plans. 50 GB plus a 4G Wifi router runs about $80. Delivery is free and only takes 1 to 2 working days.  

How Much Does Health Care cost In Spain?

Healthcare

$60

As an EU citizen temporarily staying in Spain, I get public medical treatment at the same cost as a Spanish citizen using a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).

Non-EU citizens will need expat medical insurance or travel health insurance for coverage while in Spain. If you apply for a Spanish visa, like the non-lucrative retirement visa, purchasing Spanish private health insurance is required.

The good news is health care in Spain is MUCH cheaper than in the US. A 45-year-old single male can get full coverage medical insurance in Spain for $60 per month.

Will I Have To Pay Taxes Living In Spain?

If you answer "Yes" to one of the following criteria, you may liable for Spanish income tax:

  • Did you spend more than 183 days in Spain in a calendar year? FYI, leaving Spain doesn't reset your 183 day clock, unless you become a tax resident in another country. 
  • Is Spain is your "center of interest?" Do you have employment, economic interest, or family living in Spain? 

 INSIDER TIP :  Tax residency in Spain- The United States and Spain have a double taxation agreement. Taxes paid to Spain by US citizens may be deducted from US tax returns. Check with a tax professional for more information.

What Are The Visa Requirements For The Canary Islands?


While logistically close to Africa, the Canary Islands are a part of Spain and have the same visa rules as if you entered anywhere else on mainland Spain.

Along with 26 other European countries, Spain allows visa-free freedom of movement inside what the governments refer to as the Schengen zone for up to 90-days. 

Americans can only live in Spain for 90 out of 180 days without acquiring a long-term visa such as the non-lucrative retirement visa or if you have a Spanish partner, the Unmarried Partnership visa

Citizens of other countries can visit the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website for Spain's visa agreements with other governments.

More Details On Visa Options For Spain

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If you are a citizen of a member state of the EU, you don't need a visa to move to the Canary Islands. However, staying for more than six months per year in Spain will trigger tax residency. 

Compare Cost Of Living In Las Palmas, Spain

Still researching the best cities for retirement? Check out our extensive Cost of Living collection for the best expat destinations. Get insider information and real examples of expat life from people who have spent years living abroad. I've compiled all the information you need: cost breakdowns, insider tips to save money, and detailed examples of the quality of lifestyle you can enjoy. 

Final Thoughts: Expat Life in Las Palmas

I enjoyed Canarian life in Las Palmas. The atmosphere, the climate, nearly 3000 hours of sunshine a year, and the nature around the city make Las Palmas a great place to live in. Add in the friendly welcoming locals and the tight-knit expat community and it becomes very easy to settle into life on the islands.

Considering that the city has an exquisite beach, a picturesque old town, and a large expat scene, the cost of living in Las Palmas offers better value than in other cities providing a similar environment. If you want to live the authentic (and cheaper) Canary Island experience, settle down away from resorts.

FAQs: Cost of Living On The Canary Islands, Spain

How Much Does It Cost to Live In Las Palmas de Gran Canaria?

With its warm weather, beautiful beaches, and supportive expat community, the quality of life in Las Palmas is surprisingly affordable. Your cost of living in Las Palmas varies by your lifestyle and spending habits, but the smallest amount you would need to get by comfortably would be around $1300.

Is it cheap to live on the Canary Islands?

For expats, spending $1350 per month to live on the Canary Islands is low compared to most of Western Europe. However, for Spanish locals, tourism causes significant price inflation. $1350 in average monthly expenses is not much higher than the $1,588 monthly average wage (net) in the Canary Islands.

Which is the best island to live on and work in the Canaries?

For remote work or digital nomads, Gran Canaria and Tenerife are the best islands to live and work. Both are larger islands with the best infrastructure and community to support remote work. Both have beaches, social activities, and affordable prices to sustain a high quality of life.

Are the canary islands a safe place to live?

The Canary Islands are some of the safest island beaches in the world. While located off the coast of Morroco, the Canary Islands are still a part of Spain. The Canary Islands have the same high standards for policing, justice, and the rule of law as the rest of the European Union.

Even better, there are very few places criminals can hide on the Canary Islands, as islands have "built-in" security of being surrounded by water. In fact, the Canary Islands have a lower crime rate than most of Spain or the EU.

Is the cost of living in the Canary Islands expensive?

A single person can live comfortably on the Canary Islands on a budget of $1300 per month, roughly $1190 Euros. Even for Spain, one of the least expensive countries in the EU, that is hardly expensive. Madrid or Barcelona are over 32% more expensive than Santa Cruz de Tenerife. 

EXPAT INSIGHTS

I have traveled to over 40 countries to give you the best ways to save, invest, and live overseas for less cost than in the US. After five years of traveling, my list of places to live keeps getting longer. To give you more information on the best places to live abroad, I partner with experts from the expat community.

You want insider information from people with feet in the street? I only work with expats with real-life experience living in countries you want to know about. Together you get updated info on the best neighborhoods, detailed Cost of Living examples, money-saving advice, and recommendations on the local places to eat, drink, and see.

Are you a travel blogger with information you can share on living in another country? Contact me and let's talk about collaborating on a guest post. 

EXPAT CONTRIBUTION BY: Maria Stadler

Maria is an outdoor-active traveler who seeks to go off the beaten track to discover hidden gems and authentic local places. Most of the time you’ll find her exploring small beach towns or untouched places in the mountains to connect with nature. She shares her adventures on her travel blog aworldofdestinations.com.


About the author

Hi, That's me. I'm Marco Sison. I am a survivor of the corporate rat race. I started Nomad FIRE to show you an alternative to the stress and grind of 70-hour weeks to pay off a mortgage, student loans, and countless bills. After getting laid off in 2015, I said screw it all and retired early at 41 years old.
I have traveled the last five years to over 40 countries to show you the best ways to save, invest, and live in amazing countries for 70% less cost than the US.
I have been featured in: US News & World Reports, Huffington Post, MSN Money, USA Today, ABC Network, Yahoo Finance, Best Life, CW Network, Dr. Wealth, and others. [view press...]

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