If there is one thing we hate it is visitors being tricked in Gran Canaria. In the past we've warned about overcharging at Gran Canaria chemists, and rip off electronics shops in resorts. 

In this Tip Of The Day we return to the island's chemists or rather, to the island's fake chemists.

A chemist in Gran Canaria is called a Farmacia and always has a green cross sign. Farmacias are the only place tobuy medicine in Spain, even basics like paracetamol.

However, there is another kind of shop in Gran Canaria that looks and sounds like a chemist but doesn't sell medicine. This is the Parafarmacia and it also uses a green cross sign.

A parafarmacia is a herbal medicine shop that is not allowed to sell any normal medicine such as paracetamol, ibuprofen or antibiotics. 

Instead, parafarmacias sell herbal alternatives to medicine but don't have to prove that they work and they can charge whatever they want.

We recently heard from a visitor to Gran Canaria who went into a parafarmacia and was charged 40 euros for a herbal alternative to Ibuprofen. It was only when they read the label that they realised what had happened. 

To locate a genuine farmacia, see this website and search within your municipio (Puerto Rico is in Mogán, Playa del Inglés is in San Bartolomé de Tirajana). At weekends and on fiesta days many farmacias close but there is always one open, known as the farmacia de guardia, in each municipio.

Search for the nearest one to you with this tool

Lex Says: To keep costs down, see this article for the way to ask for generic medicine rather than expensive branded alternatives. 

Published in Tip of the day

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Tip of the day

  • Tip Of The Day: Avoid Bank Card Charges By Paying In Euros
    Tip Of The Day: Avoid Bank Card Charges By Paying In Euros

    Save money and avoid rip-off bank charges while in Gran Canaria by paying in euros when using your credit or debit card.

    Many bars and restaurants in Gran Canaria, and in almost all European holiday destinations, give you the option of paying in euros or in your home currency. Opting for your own currency, while it may seem like the safer option, can add as much as 5% to the bill as it triggers dynamic currency conversion. 

    DCC basically means that the exchange rate is calculated at point of sale rather than by your bank. It allows you to see the total cost of the transaction in your own currency but adds up to 5% to the total because it uses a terrible exchange rate. 

    Since the extra money is shared between your bank and the merchant, some places will automatically bill you in your own currency and hope you don't notice. You have the legal right to refuse and void the transaction should this happen. 

    ATMs too

    The same applies when taking money out of ATM machines in Gran Canaria (and anywhere in Europe); Always choose the local currency option to avoid losing money to poor exchange rates.

    If you opt for the local currency option, using bank ATMs is often the cheapest and safest way of getting euros in Gran Canaria. It's far safer than having a big pile of euros hidden in your room or tucked into your shorts.

    More details in this Daily Telegraph article.

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