News

The latest news from Gran Canaria for residents and visitors.

A (small) earth quake of 3.6 degrees magnitude and with its epicentre in the sea at the east coast of the island, 18 kilometers deep has been felt, very slightly, all over the island at 8.18 am this morning. Nothing serious happened, no one got hurt.

Wave of the earthquake
More information: http://www.ign.es/web/ign/portal/ultimos-terremotos/-/ultimos-terremotos/getDetails?evid=es2020kjeyf&zona=1

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The Maspalomas dune system in Gran Canaria has transformed since the beginning of the Coronavirus lockdown. The undisturbed dunes have recovered their natural shape and grown in height, and the area's native vegetation has started to recover.

The dune system, considered one of the jewels in Gran Canaria’s crown, has suffered in recent years from constant trampling and sand loss.

From now on visitors will have to stick to the eight kilometres of marked trails within the dunes or risk a fine. The new rules mean that visitors will no longer be able to walk across the dune field, sunbathe in the bushes (yeah, yeah, we know), or surf down the dunes themselves. Access to the beach along the front of the dunes will not be affected by the new rules.

The rules will be enforced by a team of six caretakers and regular police patrols, both with the ability to fine people. Fines start at 150 euros for going off the path to 600,000 euros for removing sand on a large scale.

While this move will be unpopular with those used to roaming the dunes, they are designed to protect a threatened ecosystem. The Maspalomas dunes have slowly shrunk in recent years due to constant trampling and changes to natural wind flows.

The dunes are so threatened that the authorities now transport sand from the seashore to the back of the dunes rather than let it blow into the ocean. They have also removed 15,000 invasive tilapia fish from the Charco de Maspalomas lagoon.

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With businesses now reopening across Gran Canaria, new ways of working are set to improve customer experience. The island's estate agencies are leading the way. 

More than masks and gloves

Cardenas Real Estate Covid safeThe post-Coronavirus world may seem like an endless series of queues and a constant routine of masks, gloves and hydroalcohol gel but much more is happening behind the scenes. The need to guarantee safety and reduce unecessary procedures means that Gran Canaria businesses are rethinking the way things are done.

Less paperwork, more digital support

For example, in real estate the number of physical bits of paper needed for property transactions has dropped fast. Digital signatures mean buyers and sellers don't have to visit as many offices and can even buy or sell from abroad. The property registry and other government departments now offer more online services and legaly valid digital documents.  

The virtual visit or 3D tour is now a standard feature of all quality estate agencies in Gran Canaria and allow buyers to view properties from home and visit only the ones they want to see in real life. 

With more of the process of buying and selling property moving online and going digital, it is ever more important to choose a quality estate agency to guide you through the process.

People first, thanks to the technology

Laura Leyshon estate agentRamón Sánchez Bruhn, Marketing & Productivity Manager at leading south Gran Canaria estate agency Cárdenas Real Estate, told us that "the real estate business is all about service and trust and this means people must meet and talk openly. If this isn't possible physically, we have the technology to help us; shared documents, walk through visits in real time, live video calls, all these things allow us to be open with our clients". 

As Gran Canaria estate agent Laura Leyshon confirmed, "it's not just about the technology, its about using it to talk and share opinions. I can walk buyers through properties and answer their questions in real time and that really helps me to understand their needs". 

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There is no official date for the restart of international tourism in Gran Canaria, the Canary Islands or Spain. Here's what we know about travel and tourism in Gran Canaria during the rest of 2020 and beyond.

Spain's borders are currently sealed to everyone who isn't Spanish, an official resident of Spain, or one of a small number of workers from key industries such as aviation, healthcare and transportation. The border closure is in place until at least May 15. 

The EU's borders are sealed to all non-EU citizens and residents untril at least June 15 and many EU countries are restricting international travel for most of 2020.

The Canary Islands are part of both Spain and the EU so these dates affect Gran Canaria's ports and airports. 

Travel within the Canary Islands in 2020

Now that the Canary Islands are in Phase One of the de-escalation of quarantine, inter-island flights and ferries are operating again with reduced capacity and timetables. Hotels in the Canary Islands are allowed to open although their buffet rooms, swimming pools and other common areas must remain closed. However, many hotels will remain closed at least until Spanish tourists start to return to Gran Canaria. 

Travel from Spain to Gran Canaria in 2020

The Canary Islands president and several other government sources have stated that the islands hope to welcome Spanish tourists during the summer of 2020. This will depend on the Coronavirus vcase levels on the islands remaining low, and on declining levels in the rest of Spain.

The two main airports in Spain, Madrid and Barcelona, are in zones that are currently still in Phase Zero of de-escalation due to higher numbers of Coronavirus cases. If and when they move tyhrough the phases of de-escalation, national tourism will get more likely. 

International travel to Gran Canaria in 2020

Everyone in the Canary Islands has endured a two month lockdown and the islands now have one of the lowest levels of Coronavirus in Europe. The virus is no longer in community transmission according to local health authorities. This is positive for island residents and for the future of tourism here although many locals worry that tourists will bring Covid-19 back. 

There is currently no official date for the restart of international travel and tourism in the Canary Islands. The Canary Islands president has said that the Islands would like to welcome tourists back from September of October. However, this depends on other countries opening their frontiers and allowing international travel, and on the airlines getting their planes back in the air.

The restart date is effectivelty out of the Canary Islands' hands even though they are doing everything they can to prepare for post Covid-19 travel. The Canary Islands Tourism Minister Yaiza Castillo has already announced a trial of a digital health travel certificate along with UNTWO, the UN's Tourism Association. The first trial flight is expected in July. 

Perhaps the best hope of a restart to international tourism lies with the EU's plan to reactivate tourism. Otherwise a complex web of travel national agreements and travel bubbles across Europe will cause confusion and risk viral outbreaks. The EU has announced a four stage plan that is based on an EU-wide track and trace app that allows people on holiday to be contact traced if needed. 

The working assumption in the Canary Islands is that there will be few international tourists visiting the Canary Islands in 2020. Setting up tracking apps will take time and even if a vaccine or effective treatment emerges it will not be manufactured fast enough to save the 2020 winter season. At best, the Islands could get 20-30% of the normal number of tourists in the last months of 2020.

Travel from the UK to Gran Canaria in 2020

The situation with Great Britain is further complicated by the ongoing Brexit process. If the EU keeps it external borders closed, British tourists would not be allowed to fly to the Canary Islands after the UK leaves the EU. 

 

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Bars and restaurants with outside tables reopen tomorrow, Monday 11 May, at 50% of their capacity as Phase One of the lockdown de-escalation begins. Groups of up to 10 people can also meet in public places and restaurants (while maintaining safe distances) and small shops can reopen.

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There were no new cases of Coronavirus reported yesterday in Gran Canaria or anywhere in the Canary Islands for the first time since March 8, according to the local press.. 

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Several adult veiled chameleons (Chamaeleo calyptratus) have been found close to Arucas, raising fears that the potentially invasive species has gone wild in Gran Canaria. 

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The Maspalomas sand dunes have recovered their pristine  natural form after six weeks of lockdown in Gran Canaria.

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Gran Canaria took another step towards the end of its quarantine today as adults stepped out for exercise for the first time in almost two months. Many chose to run or walk along its open beaches.

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The Spanish Government has announced the national timetable that governs the relaxation of quarantine rules. The lockdown will end over the next 8 weeks in four different phases. Each phase lasts for a minimum of two weeks meaning that Spain returns to normality (within the confines of social distancing) by the end of June. 

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Children in Gran Canaria left their homes for the first time in six weeks on Sunday 26, April in the first relaxation of Spain's strict Coronavirus lock down. If virus cases keep dropping, adults will follow them on May 2nd for short periods of exercise.

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The President of the Canary Islands government, Ángel Vïctor Torres, has announced an ambitious calendar for the reopening of hotels, arguing that the islands cannot afford to wait any longer. 

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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.

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Monday, 03 February 2020 10:12

New Fire near Teror - now controlled

[edit 10:35: the fire is now under control] A bus went up in flames this morning, between Los Castillos and El Llanete, near Teror / Firgas and started a fire that so far is still burning.
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Gran Canaria is currently full of Painted Lady butterflies that are currently swarming all over the island and gathering in parks and gardens to feed on flower nectar.

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The Gran Canaria fires has burned through the night and is expected to continue to spread today due to high temperatures and winds. The Tamadaba forest in the west is ablaze and possibly unsaveable.

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The Gran Canaria fire has burned out of control across the highlands all day and has now made its way into the vast and pristine Tamadaba pine forests of north west Gran Canaria.

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A new fire that started in the forest just above Valleseco in the northern Gran Canaria highlands has now burned over 1000 hectares of forest and countryside and is spreading.

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Saturday, 17 August 2019 18:20

Making Sense Of Gran Canaria Forest Fires

Gran Canaria forest fires are spectacular events but the island is well-prepared to deal with them and most are extinguished before they get out of control. Tourists and visitors are not at risk as Gran Canaria wildfires happen up in the mountains a long way from the resorts and the airport.

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Monday, 12 August 2019 07:28

Gran Canaria Fire Now Extinguished

Tejeda has been evacuated after strong winds reactivated the Gran Canaria fire and pushed flames towards the town. The fire is currently out of control and spreading on several fronts.

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