In December 2020 I made a Gran Canaria trip despite Corona and give you a brief overview of my experiences before, during and after the trip. The COVID-19 pandemic has messed up many travel plans in 2020. Would you like to travel despite Corona and are you looking for a suitable destination? Then I can absolutely recommend the Canary Islands to you! Why are you reading this article.
What do you learn from this article?
How do you find out about risk areas & entry regulations?
This article is written from a German perspective:
How did I come up with the idea of doing a Gran Canaria trip during the Corona pandemic? – Simple answer: There was not too much choice…
I check what is currently considered a risk area on the overview of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) on a daily basis. Next, I look for the official entry requirements on the website of the Foreign Office of the Federal Republic of Germany, in this case for Spain, to which the Canary Islands belong.
In general, I use the search term “entry regulations [country / destination]” on Google, the website of the Federal Foreign Office is usually the first search result.
What do you have to consider BEFORE traveling to Gran Canaria?
According to the assessment of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the Canary Islands are no longer a risk area since the end of October 2020 (UPDATE December 20, 2020: Unfortunately, they are again …) Since November 11, entry from a risk area which currently includes Germany, a negative corona test is presented that was no longer than 72 hours ago. A negative corona test must also be presented in the accommodation upon check-in.
I was able to conveniently have the test sent to my home and carry it out by video under the guidance of a trained person – within 15 minutes I had my result and a little later also the important “Negative Corona test is available” certificate.
No more than 48 hours before entry, each traveler must fill out a health check-up form. You can do this online in the Spain Travel Health portal or conveniently via the app. You also have to have the Spanish Corona warning app “Radar COVID” installed.
The German federal government is of course currently advising against unnecessary private travel. Everyone has to decide for themselves whether they want to expose themselves and other people close to them to the risk. The following statements are my very personal opinion.
How do you feel in an airplane during Corona?
To be honest, flying feels weird. Everywhere in Germany there is talk of “keeping your distance”, there are markings on the floor, in buses, in front of shops, at the airport. Just not on the plane. The plane to Gran Canaria was FULLY BOOKED on the outward and return flights. Everyone sits close together, no space in between. And you surely know the cramped conditions of an inner-European economy class. Especially in 2020, the airline does not want to forego any euro on offer and use the flights as much as possible.
The everyday mask must be worn throughout the flight – at least in theory. Because you can of course take off the mask when eating and drinking. The flight takes over 4 hours and a corresponding amount of drinks and food are sold – and half the plane has the mask off and doesn’t hurry with everything so that it can “finally” be put on again.
Of course, the flight attendants point out more or less emphatically from time to time, but the “mask requirement” is not really that consistent. Everything is logical when you consider how airlines earn their money: With friendly, not too penetrative employees and all the services on board – does that somehow run counter to compliance with the rules or compliance with the mask requirement? But hello!
To anticipate one thing: For me, flying was the most critical point of the whole trip from a Corona perspective – at least it felt like it.
How was the entry into Gran Canaria during Corona?
As in the current situation at most airports, there is very little going on at Las Palmas / Gran Canaria airport. There is no passport control or the like on the intra-European flight. So you move quickly through the building.
A special feature due to the COVID-19 pandemic is the temperature measurement station. Thermal cameras are used to check whether arriving passengers are at a higher temperature as they pass by. Then there is a station where the barcode from the Spain Travel Health app is scanned, so that you can virtually “register” in Spain. Installing the app on the smartphone is mandatory for the trip. I was already checked by the ground staff at Frankfurt Airport to see whether I had properly entered the information from the app.
The authorities are also checking whether the Spanish corona warning app “Radar COVID” has been installed and activated.
There are over 10 tables, so the waiting time is manageable. As one of the first to get off the plane, she was zero with me.
Which corona rules have to be observed in Spain / Canary Islands?
Masks everywhere? Oh yeah! Because the same applies to public transport. In Spain, it is mandatory to wear an everyday mask in public buildings and everywhere (!) On the street. The mask marathon known from the aviator continues happily.
Restaurants and bars were open in late November / early December during my stay. As soon as you have taken your place at the assigned table, you can remove the mask.
I strongly recommend not to disregard the rules and to always wear the mask on the street, disregarding them will result in very hefty fines … and you want to avoid looting your travel budget by the Spanish police, right?
Sure, the mask is not always comfortable, especially in the high temperatures, but you get used to it quickly.
Does the mask have to be worn on the beach?
No, the individual groups sit at a distance outside on the beach. There is no need to wear the mask here – even when surfing, of course.
How did you feel at the accommodation in Gran Canaria?
For an accommodation in Gran Canaria you have to prove a negative corona test. That creates a certain feeling of security. In my hostel, the Ventana Azul Surf Hostel, it was mandatory to wear a mask in the hallways and in all common rooms. The roof terrace was closed in the evening at 10 p.m. – which also makes sense, because wherever one or the other Cerveza is opened in the course of the evening, you don’t follow the rules …
In the dormitory or smaller rooms, however, the mask could be removed.
The rules never made me feel uncomfortable. Whether rules and distances – especially when cooking or having a beer on the terrace – are always strictly adhered to? Not always, definitely. Nevertheless, the risk is also reduced in the accommodation – even in a hostel with dormitories – where possible. I came back from Gran Canaria healthy.
How does everyday life in Gran Canaria feel during Corona?
What can I say? To be honest: completely normal. You quickly get used to the masks on yourself and on all the people you meet on the street. Nowadays it is part of the everyday picture. In shops you keep your distance, shops and bars have clear restrictions on how many people are allowed to be in the premises at the same time. Queues form in the street in front of very small shops such as pharmacies.
But otherwise? Everything feels pretty normal. There are fewer tourists than usual on the island, most of the people you meet are locals. Especially on weekends there are a lot of people from Las Palmas on the beach promenade of Las Canteras, the beaches are full, the sun is pleasant, bars and restaurants are open.
There is a maximum number of visitors for all shops, restaurants and bars, depending on the square meters and ventilation options. Some places seem surprisingly empty – although they are “fully occupied” during Corona times.
There is now a night curfew from midnight to 6 a.m. on all Canary Islands.
Still, it all felt sooooo far away from the gray weather in Central Europe, lockdown and contact restrictions.
Do I have to be quarantined after the trip?
That depends on the currently valid Corona rules in your country. When I returned in December 2020, the Canary Islands were NOT a risk area, which is why no test or quarantine was necessary after the return trip. UPDATE December 20, 2020: Unfortunately, the Canary Islands are again a risk area from a German perspective.
I voluntarily stayed in the home office a few days longer than planned – luckily my job allows that.
What is my conclusion of the Gran Canaria trip during Corona?
It was definitely worth it! Of course, it always depends on the current Corona rule and lockdown on site, which you should keep a close eye on.
But in my case it is definitely worth the trip to warm and laid-back Gran Canaria during Corona! Gran Canaria and the other Canary Islands are one of THE travel tips for spring 2021!
If you are flying to Gran Canaria, definitely plan a visit to the capital Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. You can find out how to experience the perfect day there with all the sights and highlights in the article Things to do in Las Palmas de G.C. in one day.