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Matthew Hirtes, our resident broadsheet journalist, moved to Las Palmas de Gran Canaria back in 2004. He's travelled extensively through Spain, covering it for such publications as Telegraph Travel, Metro, and The Independent. The author of Going Local in Gran Canaria: How To Turn a Holiday Destination into a Home, Matthew truly is a resident expert. Matthew writes for two sections of Spain Buddy: Moving to Spain and Spanish Football as well as providing Reviews

22 Comments

  1. Dr M E Piper
    April 27, 2015 @ 5:40 pm

    We were hoping to retire to La Palma ,avoiding the noise, inefficiency and health issues related to wind farms.Is anywhere free of these things?
    Yours, Mary

    Reply

  2. Sheila
    April 27, 2015 @ 10:09 pm

    There are wind farms dotted around La Palma, but I think the biggest installation is 6 of them in one place. I’m not sure what kind of wind farms you’re used to, but I can only hear the ones here if I’m within about 0.5 km of them. If I’m standing right underneath one, they do sometimes sound very creepy. I’m not aware of any other health problems associated with them.

    Reply

  3. Abena
    October 15, 2016 @ 2:58 am

    Thanks for this article. Interesting in particular to hear about the schools. I wonder if there are any established homeschooling networks on the island, especially in the north.

    Reply

    • Elle Draper
      October 17, 2016 @ 11:51 am

      Homeschooling is still not legal in Spain I’m afraid x

      Reply

      • K.
        December 23, 2016 @ 1:25 pm

        Yes it is.
        It is not illegal in Spain. A lot of families actually homeschool and are being left alone. Sometimes a family is sued for a short amount of time, but it has been a long time since they did that.

        Reply

  4. Richard and Pat Bamford
    October 26, 2016 @ 12:49 am

    My wife and I have just moved to Los Norias, La Palma, and we need to learn Spanish.
    Can you help us please with any tutors ?

    Reply

    • Elle Draper
      October 27, 2016 @ 10:04 am

      Hello Richard and Pat – congratulations on your move!

      We don’t know of any local tutors unfortunately. A couple of things you could try though.
      1. Ask around on any La Palma or Canary Island groups on Facebook
      2. Consider finding a tutor who provides lessons from Skype (you’ll need a decent internet connection for video chat). That’s what I do and it’s working well… although my tutor is now full for the next few months.
      3. Contact Sheila whose link is at the end of the article (click the words “La Palma” next to her name). She lives in La Palma and may be able to recommend someone
      4. Go to your local Ayuntamiento. They may know someone. But Google how to ask in Spanish first and write it down. Write down (in Spanish) that you want to learn Spanish and if they can help. Most town halls will know someone they can phoen who may know, even if they don’t know a tutor themselves.

      Good luck!

      Reply

  5. Abena
    December 2, 2016 @ 10:26 pm

    Thanks for replying to people’s queries and sharing your insights.

    https://hslda.org/hs/international/Spain/

    Seems homeschooling is a grey area, and I do know of people on La Palma doing it now. I wonder how it would apply to immigrants who have never been part of the schooling system. Guess we’ll find out!

    Reply

  6. Harry
    January 8, 2017 @ 9:54 pm

    Moved To Tenerife now over a year and loving it, Started a new business so I guess semi retired

    Reply

  7. AHM
    October 31, 2017 @ 8:14 am

    I’m considering a move to La Palma and as a keen gardener, am interested in whether I can bring some plants with me. Does anyone have any information about whether this is possible? I’ve been unable to find relevant resources for such things.

    Reply

  8. Justin
    November 16, 2017 @ 4:09 pm

    Visiting La Palma in two days. Can’t wait, looks great. Hopefully looking at ways we could move over some time next year.

    Reply

  9. AHM
    November 21, 2017 @ 12:30 pm

    Thanks Elle. This is my concern. I just need to find some contact details for them now!

    Reply

  10. Maggie
    April 10, 2018 @ 11:17 pm

    Is it easy to move to La Palma. We have been a few times. How do you go about looking at property and the process of buying.Would love to live there.

    Reply

    • Elle Draper
      April 11, 2018 @ 3:22 pm

      Yes it’s easy.
      Start by Googling for “Estate Agents in La Palma” or “Property for sale in La Palma” and the agent will help you through the entire process if you buy through them.
      Remember to add 10% on top of your purchase price to cover taxes and legal fees.
      Good luck!

      Reply

  11. Agnes
    July 21, 2018 @ 6:26 pm

    hi, I am going to relocate to La Palma. I have export, import, sales, customer service, purchasing-planning and hospitality experiences in supervisory level. I would be grateful if you would be able to advise me sites to search for job, it seems that most of the job ads are from Tenerife and Gran Canaria.

    Thank you and best regards

    Agnes

    Reply

  12. peter tuson
    March 5, 2020 @ 12:18 pm

    Looking for a possible move to the Beutiful Island of La Palma. I have obviously looked at the price of house and fees but want I would like to know is the cost of utilities , water gas local taxes(rates) etc. Is there anywhere I can find out these details. Many thanks Peter

    Reply

    • Elle Draper
      March 5, 2020 @ 12:40 pm

      Sorry Peter – ignore any email notification of the previous comment. I hadn’t finished writing it and was looking up some extra info – but I hit “Send” by accident.
      I’ll re-post it in a few minutes once I have a couple more figures for you.

      E xx

      Reply

    • Elle Draper
      March 5, 2020 @ 12:45 pm

      Hi Peter!

      It really does vary from area to area and municipality to municipality. The best source of that info would be the relevant Town hall for where you are interested in moving to. They’ll be able to advise on local taxes and any applicable rates.

      Water, gas and electric will vary by your own usage and can be wildly different from home to home. Maybe try finding a Facebook Group or a forum for your chosen areas and ask in there. Give them as much info as possible – eg: Number of persons, whether you’ll be having baths each day or showers, how often you’ll wash up etc. For us – two people both having showers per day, plus anything else requiring hot water such as washing up.
      – Our bottles for that lasted about 7 to 8 weeks.

      One tip that you may find useful: We use gas bottles (no mains gas here) and we only switch the pilot light on when we want a bath or shower. We boil kettles for washing up. That has meant that our gas bottles now only need changing every few months instead of every fortnight. Bottles vary in price from €13 to €16 euros each and are readily available at petrol stations. If you go rural – there will likely be a man with a van who delivers to outlying areas. We do leave our hob bottle constantly connected and that lasts us at least six months for two of us. We don’t own an oven now, so I can’t advise really how much that would change – but in the last house (from 4 years ago) a bottle would last our oven/hob about a couple of months and it was used a lot for roast dinners, stews, lasagnas etc.

      So… I’m sorry that I can’t offer specifics but hopefully some of the above will still help.

      Elle xx

      Reply

  13. Rich D'Amato
    September 21, 2020 @ 3:23 pm

    Hi Elle!

    Thanks for your informative and detailed responses. I very much appreciate the effort and spirit you put into them.

    We are planning a visit (our first) after the 1st of the year to assess the general vibe in anticipation of a possible move.

    Are there any venues you are aware of that are frequented by expats and is it possible to speak English on occasion? We have some language skills but not fluency, my Spanish is more U.S./Mexican/Ecuadorian and I had a difficult time understanding Valencian, Barcelonian dialects.

    We are somewhat alternative, interested in permaculture (I have seen several installations online). I am American, my wife Polish, we have lived as expats since 2009 in various places, mostly Ecuador. We are reasonably adaptable and live somewhat alternatively. We are not interested in the city, but perhaps something with even a bit of earth around it.

    I realize these are pretty vague questions, I suppose my more distilled question is the following: do you have an “uh-oh..fish out of water” reaction based on what I have just said?

    I’m interested in and open to any observations you might have.

    Thanks so much!

    Rich D’Amato/ Ella Ostapowicz

    Reply

    • Elle Draper
      September 22, 2020 @ 10:42 am

      Hi Rich and Ella!

      I have good news and bad news.

      The bad news is that although La Palma island does have a few English speaking residents, there aren’t as many as the larger Canary Islands. There isn’t the level of activity that you may be seeking. I know a couple of people that live there and they’re very integrated, but said they found that really easy. Don’t be like me who worries more about grammar than letting chatter flow – be like my husband who doesn’t give a hoot about grammar but can jabber away with anyone.

      However – don’t lose heart!! Your “U.S./Mexican/Ecuadorian” will do you much more good than you think. If anything, the dialect in the Canaries is more like South American than Castellano. There are a few words that you may need to relearn, but most will be the same and you’ll find it easy to pick up the twang. They speak slightly slower, have more “s” sounds than “th” sounds and will bend over backwards to help you understand. It’s definitely easier to understand than the Andaluz accent (for example) in my opinion. Slower and clearer. When you visit, you should be able to make a judgement. If you’re still really unsure, perhaps look at one of the larger islands.

      The Canaries are a wonderful place to live – we did it for six years – so I wish you all the very best of luck!

      E xx

      Reply

  14. Nigel K
    November 21, 2022 @ 5:15 pm

    We love the look of La Palma and plan to retire out there in a couple of years. Whilst I realise it is a quieter island than the others, are there still venues for live music etc…although semi retired, we still love listening to live music.

    Reply

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