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 on or after November 14th, and are staying at a hotel, bungalow, holiday let or other tourist accommodation, must have been tested negative for Covid-19 in the 72 hours prior to travel. 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 showing you have antibodies is valid.
If you come to Gran Canaria without a test result, you will only be able to leave your room or apartment (or camping) to get a test. The reception will inform you of the nearest place to get a official test done.
You also have to fill out the online Spanish Health Form in the 48 hours prior to travel, and download the Radar Covid app and keep it on your phone during your stay and for two weeks after you return home.
If you are not staying in tourist accommodation, for example if you stay with friends or family, or in your own property, you are not obliged to have a test but are encouraged to at least have an antigen test prior to travel.
The Canary Islands have their own website with more Corona information here: 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. There is currently no curfew in Gran Canaria as the Canary Islands have the lowest virus case numbers in Spain and are exempt from the national curfew. However, social groups are limited to a maximum of 10.
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.