Food and drink
The Netto and other small supermarket chains in Playa del Inglés offer a wide range of food and essentials but are expensive: Great for buying bread, water and daily essentials. but it's cheaper to head to where the locals shop if you are self-catering.
The big supermarkets in nearby San Fernando have a wider range and low prices. Just hop in a taxi and ask for “el Hiperdino (or Mercadona) grande de San Fernando”. Similarly, the Maspalomas market sells a much better range of fresh fruit and veggies than the supermarkets. If you do head to San Fernando, take the time to wander along Avenida de Galdar; it's where the locals do their day to day shopping.
Lex Says: Gran Canaria’s tap water has a strong taste (it is made from desalinated seawater) but is perfectly safe to drink. The locals buy big water bottles, called garafas, to drink but use the tap water to cook with and brush their teeth.
Clothes and gifts
Quality shopping in Playa del Inglés is a bit thin on the ground. Most of the clothes shops are in the shopping centres along the Boulevard Faro in Maspalomas although the Tropical Shopping centre has some good shops like Fudgrube (which also has an outlet store in the CITA centre).
Note that you can't buy a pair of genuine branded sunglasses for 15 euros, no matter what the man tells you. If you're after quality perfume, jewelry (such as Pandora) and cosmetics, head to a reliable local shop.
We sincerely recommend anyone who is looking for a new phone, camera or tablet in Gran Canaria to head to a big local shopping centre or a Media Markt rather than buying in small shops in Gran Canaria's resorts.
Souvenirs and duty-free
Holiday souvenirs are everywhere in Playa and most are cheap and fun. They may not last much longer than your holiday but do you really need a willy-shaped corkscrew at home? For a wider selection of souvenirs head to the big markets at Arguineguín, Mogan and San Fernando. Here's our guide to some of Gran Canaria's most authentic handicrafts.
Tax on alcohol and cigarettes in Gran Canaria are minimal so it's almost always cheaper to buy your duty-free in the resorts rather than the airport. Technically you are only allowed 200 cigarettes and one litre of spirits per person as the Canary Islands are outside the EU Customs Union. You can, of course, buy as much as you want to consume during your Gran Canaria holiday.