Newbie guide to Gran Canaria
A comprehensive guide for new arrivals in Gran Canaria. All the paperwork you need to do in Gran Canaria and how to settle in, get a telephone, Internet and mobile.
So you’ve arrived, you’ve been to the beach, you’ve eaten out and been shocked at how cheap it is and you’ve tried to buy something in a shop and nobody has understood you. If you’ve been on the roads someone has probably honked their horn at you and you’ve no idea why. More than likely you like living here and wouldn’t mind hanging around for a bit. Well, if you’re serious about staying there’re a few things you should know that will make your life a lot easier.
A good way to start is to read the book Gran Canaria Living: It’s packed with tips about how to come to Gran Canaria, make friends and live happily ever after.
If you ever get stuck ring 012 It’s a free Canarian helpline, they speak English and can advise you how to do almost anything, plus doctor’s appointments and telephone numbers.
NIE First you’ll need to get your NIE (Número Identificación Extranjero) – ID number. You need this to get a job, buy a car, get cheap flights and for any kind of paperwork you’re thinking of having a go at. Have at look at this guide to see how to get it.
SOCIAL SECURITY Secondly you’ll need to get your social security number. Basically, if you get ill, unless you have insurance or an EHIC card (valid for 90 days from arrival) you’ll need this to get medical attention.
CERTIFICADO DE EMPADRONAMIENTO Basically a certificate certifying where you live. They are easy to get and you never know when you’ll need it. Your local Town Hall budget depends on how many people are empadronado in the area. Getting your certificate helps everyone.
Read up here on where to get it.
DOCTOR Register with your local health centre – If you think you’ll get ill while you’re here, best register now, it makes life a lot easier once you do need to go to the doctor.
YOU GET ILL!!If you do get ill in your first week here there is a private clinic in Las Palmas where the staff speak English – Inter Clinica, on the Paseo de Las Canteras near the Hotel Melia. In the South there is a private clinic in Puerto Rico and in San Agustin in the hospital San Roque. You can’t get aspirin in a supermarket, you’ll have to go to a pharmacy. To find the nearest out of hours pharmacy go to this site.
FLATS Flat hunting – It’s always a bit stressful arriving in a new place and not knowing where you’re going to live – check out our guide on how to find the best flat.
MOBILE You want a mobile – stop using your UK phone – you’ll go bankrupt before you know it. Go get a pay as you go to tide you over – read our guide on how to do it.
CAR So you want a car to explore our beautiful island? Reading our guide is a must; it’ll save you many euros and many hours of frustrating waiting in queues.
EATING OUT Restaurants don’t open until 8 – you will be considered very strange if you try to eat anytime before then!
You want to visit the other Canary islands or Mainland Spain. Here’s how to claim your 50% resident travel discount.
While we’re at it, here’s a list of other cushy discounts for Gran Canaria residents.
Everyone was new here once. If you have any hot tips for new arrivals please leave them below.