Money tips for travellers to the Canary Islands
Together with the rest of Spain and continental Europe, the Canaries successfully converted from the Spanish Peseta to the Euro (€) on 1st January 2002. €1 was equivalent to about 166 Pesetas.
The new currency has been good news for travellers, especially those in the Euro Zone. British holidaymakers also find it an easier currency to convert and use.
The Canary Islands are part of Spain and the European Union but outside for the purposes of taxation. This means no VAT (or IVA) is charged on goods in the Canaries and you will find that alcohol, cigarettes and fuel are noticeably cheaper.
Remember that, unlike mainland Europe, there are limits on the duty-free goods you can return to UK.
General advice for UK holidaymakers
It's easy to lose your head when using an unfamiliar currency. Stay savvy by remembering the following:
- NEVER hand over cash without fully understanding the price. Most shops have cash machines with an electronic display. ALWAYS check your change.
- It is far cheaper to buy sun lotion, alcohol, cigarettes and food in local shops and supermarkets. Avoid high prices in tourist centres and the airport.
- Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted in shops, restaurants and cash machines. Shops will ask for identification with card purchases - keep your passport handy!
- For your personal safety, never carry more cash than you really need.
- Avoid cheap electronics - it is NOT cheaper to buy these locally, especially in tacky tourist shops (that have been the source of many scams).
- The Spanish use decimal points and commas in the opposite way to the UK format. Points denote thousands, commas denote a decimal point e.g. £9,999.99 would be written 9.999,00€
Tips and Gratuities
Although the locals rarely tip, it is still accepted courtesy to tip for good service. In restaurants, 10% is considered normal where service is not included. In cafés and bars, leave a little small change. For porters, chambermaids and tour guides, €1 - €2 is common. 10% is also normal in taxis.
Remember that tipping is optional; if service is poor, don't be afraid to make your feelings known by leaving nothing.