Utility & living expenses in Gran Canaria

Gran Canaria is a relatively cheap place to live by European standards.

You can buy a large beer for €1.50 in local bars and get a three-course set menu lunch for under €10 at local restaurants.

Large supermarkets stock a wide range of Spanish goods and a selection of international ingredients. Prices are reasonable and a couple can expect to spend under €100 per week on food and supplies (and eat well).

One good thing about living in Gran Canaria is that heating bills aren’t a consideration and it’s cool enough to live comfortably without air conditioning.

Water is reasonable and a family of four can expect to pay around €40 per month.

Electricity costs around €40 per month before you start to use it and an average bill for a family of four is under €100 (unless you run aircon).

While the tap water in Gran Canaria is drinkable is has a strong mineral taste and almost everyone buys large bottles of drinking water called garrafas. They are sold everywhere and cost around €1 for 8 litres. You can even have bottles delivered to your apartment.

Internet and telephony

A pre-paid SIM card that provides call time and mobile internet is an excellent option if you are only in Gran Canaria for a few weeks or months.

To find the best deal, head to a large retail area like Las Arenas shopping center and ask in the main telecoms shops such as Movistar and Vodafone.

Virtual carriers such as Yoigo also offer good value deals.

All you need to get a prepaid SIM card is your passport.

For longer-term visitors, a fixed-line and broadband bundle from a company such as Movistar or Vodafone is often the best option because they have their own networks and cables.

The big providers tend to be faster at connecting you up once you have signed the contract; this can take anything from three days to three weeks depending on the location and the company.

Bundles start at around €35 per month and you are often asked to sign up for a minimum of 12 months.

You may also be asked to sign up for cable television as part of the package, but you can cancel it before you have to start paying.

Most of Las Palmas and the main towns in Gran Canaria now have fiber-optic networks and fast internet connections. However, fiber still hasn’t reached smaller areas like Mogán and Agaete (although it is coming soon).

Mobile phone coverage is excellent across Gran Canaria and only remote spots in the mountains are coverage-free.

If you’re bootstrapping, you’ll find plenty of cafes with free WiFi and even open WiFi areas in different parts of the island.