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 01/07 TO COVER NEW RULES: 

Gran Canaria travel requirements

Everyone entering Spain from another country, including international transits, must complete the Health Control Form and obtain their QR to present at boarding and health controls on arrival in Spain. This is required for all children of all ages as well as adults.

There are currently two sets of rules about travel to the Canary Islands from outside Spain.

1. The first is Spain's rules which are enforced at airports, ports and land borders. There are available in full here... https://www.spth.gob.es/info-pcr

In summary, all passengers* over the age of 12 from a country/ area that has a SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus risk, must present ONE of the following...

  • A certificate or document (paper or electronic format) certifying vaccination against COVID-19. Your last jab must be 14 days of more before your travel date. 
  • A negative certificate of a Diagnostic Test of Active Infection. This can be a PCR, TMA, LAMP or Antigen test (check just before you book your test as this may change again). The test must be done within the 48 hours before arrival in Spain. It can be a PCR or antigen test.
  • A certificate of Covid recovery issued by a doctor or health authority.

*The UK was on a short list of non-EU countries exempted from needing a test of vaccine certificate. However, from Friday July 2nd, they will have to follow the same rules as other Europeans.

People arriving from a low risk area do not need to have a test or show their vaccination certificate to travel to Spain. However, they must still confoirm to the check in rules detailed below. 

2. The second set of rules are the Canary Island rules which are enforced at check in to all touristic accommodation (hotels, apartments, holiday lets, campsites, etc). The apply to all international arrivals, including British citizens.

The Canary Islands rules are here... https://www.hellocanaryislands.com/travelling-to-the.../

In summary, the Canary Islands rules state that visitors from abroad (over the age of 12) must provide ONE of the following at check-in...

  • A negative test for active COVID-19 infection in the 72 hours prior to arrival in the Canary Islands. The tests that are allowed are PCR (RT-PCR for COVID-19), Transcription Mediated Amplification (TMA), and Antigen tests. The test must be done in the 72 hours before arriving in the Canary Islands. In exceptional cases it can be done after arrival and before check in. 
  • An official document stating that they have been fully vaccinated within the 8 months prior to their trip or have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine authorised by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) within the past 4 months and at least 15 days prior to the trip.
  • An official medical certificate or public document stating that they have recovered from Covid-19 within the past 6 months.

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 outdoors is obligatory in all circumstances where it is impossible to maintain a 1.5 metres safety distance from other people. This includes very busy streets and crowded outdoor events. 

Mask use is still required in all public indoor areas (except when seated at bars, restaurants, etc. So, you don't need to wear a mask to sit at an indoor cafe but you do have to wear it to go to the toilet. 

Smoking is not currently permitted in any public areas where you can't stay more than two metres from others. As such it is not allowed in outdoor bar or terrace areas and you can't walk and smoke on the street. You have to find an isolated spot and smoke there. 

Gran Canaria curfews and opening hours

There is no curfew in Gran Canaria and it is unlikely to return. Bars can open until late under the current Level One rules but could close earlier if the island move up to Level Two due to a rise in Covid cases this summer. 

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. Spain does not recognise lanyard or other voluntary systems. 

What hotels and restaurants are open in Gran Canaria?

A lot of hotels and apartment complexes in Gran Canaria closed during 2020 but many are now reopening. 

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. If a trip is cancelled it can be hard to get your money back. 

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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