Money and Costs
The most convenient way to bring your money is in the form of a debit or credit card, with some extra cash for use in case of an emergency.
The Canary Islands has a surfeit of banks, and virtually each one has a multilingual cajero automático (ATM). There is usually a charge of between 2% and 3% on ATM cash withdrawals abroad.
Even if you’re using a credit card you’ll still need to carry some cash – bus drivers and some smaller restaurants and shops don't accept cards.
All major tarjetas de crédito (credit cards) and debit cards are widely accepted. They can be used for many purchases (including at petrol stations and larger supermarkets, which sometimes ask to see some form of ID) and in hotels and restaurants (although smaller establishments tend to accept cash only). Contactless payment by credit and debit cards is also widely available.
For current exchange rates see www.xe.com.
Exchange facilities can be found at most air and seaports on the islands. In resorts and cities that attract large numbers of foreigners, you’ll find them easily – they’re usually indicated by the word cambio (exchange). Most of the time, they offer longer opening hours and quicker service than banks, and in many cases they offer better rates. Shop around and always ask from the outset about commission, the terms of which differ from place to place, and confirm that exchange rates are as posted. A typical commission is 3%. Places that advertise ‘no commission’ usually make up the difference by offering poorer exchange rates.
Not obligatory but most people at least leave some small change if they’re satisfied; 5% is normally fine and 10% considered generous. Porters will generally be happy with €1. Taxi drivers don’t have to be tipped but a little rounding up won’t go amiss.
Travellers cheques are a dying breed. Amex, Visa and Travelex cheques are the easiest to cash, particularly if in US dollars, British pounds or euros. Increasingly, banks are charging hefty commissions, even on cheques denominated in euros.
Budget: Less than €60
- Budget hotel room with shared bathroom: €25–50
- Self-catering market/supermarket meal: €6
- Bus ticket: €3
- Parks, churches, walks and some museums: free
- Room in midrange hotel or private apartment: €65–100
- Three-course meal with wine in midrange restaurant: €30
- Admission to top museums, galleries and sights: around €6
- Car hire per day: from €20
Top end: More than €150
- Boutique hotel or resort room: from €100
- Fine-dining meal with wine: from €50
- Taxi trip: €20
- Activities (diving, surfing, boat tours): €60
Haggling over prices may be accepted in some markets (try and see what other customers are doing around you), and shops may offer a small discount if you’re spending a lot of money. Otherwise expect to pay the stated price.