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.