This is a personal message from Lex and Alex at Gran Canaria Info.

It has been a loooong year since the first lockdown and the collapse of tourism here in the Canary Islands. During this period we have done our best to provide accurate and useful information about a wide range of subjects; travel restrictions, Covid rules, mask use, migrants, more migrants, etc. We feel like we have done a good job overall and we hope the majority of you do too. 

However, we also know that we have, at different times, annoyed a lot of people. Many of them haven't been shy about telling exactly why and most of the time we appreciated the communication and honesty. We did remove a small number of people from the group and from the page for consistently being rude to us and/ or other members, and for sharing fringe beliefs such as "Covid doesn't exist", "you are all sheeple", "the chemtrails did it", "migrants should be thrown in the sea", etc. Life is just too short!

2020: Fun, fun, fun in the sun

Back during the first lockdown we warned that Covid was going to take at least a year to sort out (based on official government estimates and the scienfitic consensus on vaccine development) and were heavily criticised for being negative. Unfortunately, we were right and even now in April of 2021, tourism is still at very low levels and even the optimists don't expect summer numbers to be above 50% of pre-Covid figures. 

We also covered the ever-changing mask, distancing and travel rules imposed by the Canary Islands, Spain and other countries in as much detail as we could. We were shouted at for encouraging people to follow "the stupid rules" and shouted at for not being strident enough about getting people to follow them. We have been frustrated at times by the many rule changes and by the need to wear masks at all times outdoors. However, we have also seen that there has been very little conflict here between the people and the police because of the simple mask rules. 

We also got the standard Brexit outrage from people at both ends of the argument. We were either too pro-Europe or too anti-Britain, or too pro-Britain and anti-Europe. For the record, as foreign residents living in Spain, we believe that  the EU is a good idea despite its flaws.

As for vaccines, we are in favour. We plan to be in the queue for ours with a bag of ice and a bottle of rum as soon as possible (even Lex, who very likely had Covid back in February 2020). Not everyone agrees with us about this either.

We have allowed plenty of debate in the Gran Canaria Info group but it really isn't the place for endless arguments so we have also deleted a lot of posts.

It is our deeply-held belief that there is no grown-up or friendly way of calling us or anyone else in the group "sheeple". 

Then the migrants hit the headlines and all hell broke loose...

As we said, fun, fun, fun in the sun!

Gran Canaria and the 'migrant crisis' of 2020

Migrants have arrived on Gran Canaria's shores in small boats for 25 years but they only became a story in 2020 due to Covid and messy Spanish politics.

Our position was and still is that the people arriving in Gran Canaria should be treated with dignity and allowed to continue on their journey as soon as possible. Almost all of them come with the dream of working to provide for their families back at home. None of the migrants arriving in the Canary Islands want to stay here. They all have a destination in mind somewhere in mainland Europe.  Many have borrowed money from family and friends to get to the islands and feel huge pressure to move on and start earning. 

To give a bit of context to this, here is a single statistic; those lucky enough to work in one of Senegal's fish processing factories make the equivalent of one dollar per day. 

Whatever your politics and beliefs about migration, the migrant's interests and the interests of the Canary Islands are pretty much the same. It is in all of our best interests for them to be allowed to continue to migrate from the Islands to mainland Spain and Europe. Why? Because as we saw this autumn, the Canary Islands do not have, and shouldn't need to have, the facilities to house thousands of people. Spain and Europe both have agreements in place to process and house migrants. and while Covid did make things harder, the only reason these agreements didn't work was due to politics. As one Spanish minister said, the Canary Islands were used "like a cork in the bottle" to stop migrants reaching Spain.

To us, this idea that treating people badly stops them dreaming is absurd. 

Almost all migrants have now been moved out of Gran Canaria's resorts and there isn't any reason why the islands will need to house migrants in resort areas again. Even at the peak of the wave almost all the migrants housed in resort areas behaved well despite the lurid press reports in Europe's tabloid press.

That said, we do aknowledge that many people living in areas like Puerto Rico experienced serious disruption from migrants housed in empty complexes. There were serious crimes, including a rape, committed by migrants and the noise and disturbance in some areas was considerable and constant. 

But the theory that the migrants have caused Gran Canaria's resorts to be empty, or will cause them to be empty in the future is pretty thin. Gran Canaria's resorts are empty due to Covid, not the migrants. And once Covid travel restrictions end, tourists coming back will find Gran Canaria is the same as always (better in the case of Puerto Rico thanks to the new malls and the refurbished main shopping centre). 

We make no apology for our position about the migrants. The fact that the islands have handled the migrants with dignity and respect is to our credit. We believe that the vast majority of people who want to come back to Gran Canaria will understand that the islands dealt with a difficult situation pretty well. 

We hope to see you all on the beach again very soon.

Lex and Alex

 

 

 

 

We have 

Published in News

UPDATED 10/12 TO COVER NEW RULES: Countries opening up, countries locking down - times are uncertain to say the least. Anyway, the numbers in the Canary Islands are really good, and provided you can show a negative covid test result, you are welcome to holiday on the Canary islands. So, if you plan to visit Gran Canaria this winter, here's everything you need to know.

Gran Canaria travel requirements

All visitors aged six and over that arrive in Gran Canaria from outside Spain must have been tested negative for Covid-19 in the 72 hours prior to travel or get a test within 72 hours of arrival (remaining in isolation until the result arrives). They must also fill in a sworn statement containing their home address and address in Gran Canaria. All arrivals are also subject to a visual health inspection and temperature check. 

The type of tests that are valid are PCR tests and antigen tests that are approved by national health authorities and come with a detailed certificate. The certificate must include the date and time that the test was administered, the person's identifying data, the authorised verification centre and the negative test result. It can be printed or digital.

The quick antigen tests with no certificate are not good enough and antibody tests are not valid because they do not detect an active case of the virus. However, if you have already had Covid-19, an official serological test certificate (within 72 hours of arrival) showing you have antibodies is valid.
 
The rules vary depending on where you come from and where you stay. 
 
  • If you come to Gran Canaria from outside Spain and stay in touristic accommodation  you have to fill out the sworn statement and have a test in advance or within 72 hours. The test certificate will be checked by your reception (or holiday home owner). You should also download the Radar Covid app and keep it on your phone during your stay and for two weeks after you return home
  • If you come to Gran Canaria but don't stay in touristic accommodation (own property, staying with family, friends, relocation, etc)  you have to fill out the sworn statement and have a test in advance or within 72 hours. However, there is no meachanism for checking the test certificate. 
  • If you travel from another autonomous community within Spain, you only need a test if you stay in touristic accommodation. You do not need to sign a sworn statement or pass a health check.

The Canary Islands have their own website with more Corona information here. It is updated and the most reliable source of information: https://www.hellocanaryislands.com/coronavirus/ .

Gran Canaria Covid rules

The mask rules in Gran Canaria are simple and almost everyone follows them in public. Mask use is obligatory for everyone aged six and up in all public places except when you are...

  • Sitting or lying in one place by the pool or on the beach
  • While exercising
  • While eating or drinking at a bar, restaurant or cafe. You don't have to wear your mask between sips or mouthfuls. 
  • When you are in a rural or remote area and there is nobody around you (when hiking or walking a dog, etc). 
  • While smoking at designated smoking points or a spot where you can remain more than two metres from others. You can't walk and smoke on the street. 

In bars and cafes you have to wear your mask to go to the toilet, walk to your table, etc. Some restaurants with terraces have a designated smoking point and others just don't allow smoking at all on the premises.

Gran Canaria curfews and opening hours

Nightclubs and late night drink bars are closed and will likely remain so for most of 2020/21. Bars and pubs have to close at 01.00 and cannot accept new customers after midnight. Live music is allowed provided social distancing is possible in the venue. Social groups are limited to a recommended maximum of 10 with restaurants not allowed to seat more than 10 at a table.

Between December 23 and January 10 the rules get stricter with all bars and restaurants closing at midnight and a curfew in place between 01.00 and 06.00 and social groups and table sizes limited to six. The curfew changes to 01.30 and 06.00 on the nights of the 24th, 25th, 31st, and 1st but bars still have to close at midnight. Family groups can be up to 10 in homes on rthe 25th, 1st and 5th.

Gran Canaria mask exemptions

If you are exempt from using a mask on medical grounds you will need a signed doctor's letter or certificate as the police are asking for them and most shops wont let people in without them. These letters must be signed and theoretically need to be translated into Spanish by an official translator. 

What hotels and restaurants are open in Gran Canaria?

A lot of hotels and apartment complexes in Gran Canaria closed during the summer and many don't plan to open until the recovery in tourist numbers is looking solid. There is now useful directory of places that have opened but we have tried our best with this directory. It uses information crowd sourced from the the members of our Gran Canaria Facebook Group. Most restaurants are now open or plan to open in the near future.

Renting a car in Gran Canaria

Long experience has taught us that the cheapest car rental deals are rarely value for money and often just a cover for bare-faced scams. Many of our group members have reported that cheap car hire companies  use bogus charges for damage, excess fuel charges, extra insurance demands and all sorts of other imaginative ways of getting money out of their clients.

Our members consistently advise each other to avoid GoldCar, EuropCar and Inter Rent. Be aware that if you use a cheap car rental website, you often don't know who you are signing up with until it is too late.

Our advice is to use reputable local companies. The cheapest deals are often with Autoreisen and Plus Cars while Cicar is also a good option if slightly more expensive. The best value option is often to use a specialist car rental broker who provides a quality car, personal service and enhanced insurance cover as standard. We recommend this service.

Gran Canaria airport transfers

Companies like Hoppa that offer the cheapest possible Gran Canaria transfer service are often unreliable because they automatically pass ylour transfer on to a local company. However, they also take a big commission so the local operatorsd don't liuke working with them. If there is a double booking or a shortage of cars, you are likely to get picked up late of left in the lurch. 

To avoid this, it's myuch better to book with a local operator who who can talk to directly if you need to make a change or if something goes wrong. We recommend this local service because they are good value, reliable and can communicate in several languages.  

Booking Excursions in Gran Canaria 

A lot of Gran Canaria excursions have gone into hibernation or cut back their timetables significantly. It is therefore important to use a reliable excursion booking service and to book in plenty of time to allow for changes to schedules. We'd advise against using unlicensed street excursion vendors because of the current uncertainty.

Our online excursion booking service allows you to book in advance with a secure payments system and is provided by a quality excursion booking company with excellent personal service and full cancellation refunds. 

Public transport in Gran Canaria

All public transport is running in Gran Canaria although there are less taxis on the road than during normal times. Taxis accept both card and cash payments. 

You can pay for bus journeys on board the bus using a debit card (but not with cash) or get a travel card from a bus station for significant savings. The yellow buses in Las Palmas don't accept card payments or cash so you need to get a travel card from the bus station. 

Published in News

After six weeks of total lockdown, children under 12 are to be allowed out of their homes from April 27 after the Spanish Government announced the first tentative steps towards lifting the national State of Alarm.

Published in News

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