La Palma information, please

Hi there,

I'm originally from the UK, and my wife and I are considering moving to La Palma. Does anyone have any information on the island, please? I'd be grateful for any input.

1. Housing

What can we expect to pay to rent a small, two-bedroom house, preferably in a quiet, natural location? Are there any recommended/non-recommended estate agents? While we look for a place, are there any serviced apartments or similar that we could use as a base? The only website I've found for rental properties is here: However, there's not too much on there and most of the listings aren't live.

2. Language

I'm keen to improve my Spanish before we leave. However, I understand that Canarians speak a very specific strain of the language. Would it be best to learn Latin American or Iberian Spanish? Will it matter?

3. Hobbies

Are there any boxing, archery or kayaking clubs on the island? The internet hasn't been very helpful.

4. Weather

I know there's a big east/west split, but all the weather statistics I can find are based on the airport or Santa Cruz. Is it possible to get stats for the west of the island? In particular, I'd love to know the number of hours of sunshine for locations in the west. Also, how is the humidity on La Palma? I've heard it can be high, and after years in Hong Kong, that's a concern!

Many thanks for all your help!

I live 40+ miles away on the island of El Hierro, we get if we are lucky seven good days of rain annually, so unlike Nathan Road, Kowloon, (memories of my youth), humidity isn't a problem. For weather on the western side of the island, Google,' El Tiempo Los Llanos de Aridane, 

Or this link


Estate agents Google,
' Alquilar casas en La Palma ' That brought up a few results,

Or this Link … GwodnpEJog

Here 2 bed house or apartment would be 350 to 550 €uros a month.
I notice on the link that they are priced in € per square metre.

Language. South American Castellano, Canarian Castellano, and Iberian Castellano, the difference is minimal somewhat like comparing English with that spoken in Australia or the U.S., my neighbours are Venezuelan, I have friends from northern and southern Spain, and of course the Canary Islands. I have no difficulty conversing with all.

Your Hobbies, no idea whatsoever

Hi Boseley!

Many thanks for your helpful advice. I'm back in the UK now, but I lived in Jordan for 6 years, so I'm very familiar with Nathan Road! I miss HK but not the humidity.

That property link is brilliant, thanks. There are lots of suitable places on there and I'm relieved to see that we can afford what we're after!

I think I'll just progress with Iberian Castellano, as that's all that's available here (Canterbury). I'll have to remember to stop lisping when I get to La Palma!

So how is El Hierro? It looks very beautiful and I imagine it's paradise for nature lovers. I just wonder... Does it ever get boring? Is there enough to keep you occupied?

One other question, if I may. I understand that the Canaries have a lower rate for IVA than mainland Spain. Do you happen to know if this also holds true for people working as autonomos? As a freelance writer/editor, I know I will have to pay social security, income tax and IVA on my earnings. I'm wondering whether the IVA would be at the Canarian or mainland rate. Any ideas?

Many thanks!

Hello out there,

Vat is called IGIC here, the current rate is 7%, so yes a lot cheaper, I would suggest that you go on to Facebook and look for Mathew Hirtes or Alex Bramwell, both are based on Gran Canaria and both are freelance writers on tourism etc. I would imagine that living in the Canaries you would invoice your clients at the 7% rate, but you should get the correct answer from one of those two, mention my name Bob Cendal, I have helped them in the past.

El Hierro, 274 Km2, population actually residing here, maybe 6000, unemployment 34%, so yes it is quiet, we are retired and thus our, well my pace of life has slowed down somewhat. However there is always something that needs to be done, we have a huge terraced garden, we grow flowers fruit and veg and that in its self can be a full time occupation. Bosslady writes blogs for the tourist information board, and is active with the local walking/running/cycling club, they have delegated her the task of being official photographer.
Christmas is quiet here so we jump on a plane and fly 50 minutes to Las Palmas G.C. and enjoy the hustle and bustle of large city life, and sometimes we venture to watch Union Deportiva Las Palmas play football, quite an experience, the supporters are not segregated and they do not fight each other.

Castellano, an Argentinian lady from Bariloche helped me, and with no one speaking English here, I survive.


You may also be interested in a FREE online weekly newsletter that covers all the Canary Islands: *** News from the Canary Islands[/url], as well as popular expat sites: Expat Survival[/url] and Barrie Mahoney - Blog
I hope this helps.

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Hi Bob,

Thank you very much for your post, and apologies for taking so long to get back to you. Unfortunately, life and work intervened!

I'll do as you say and contact one of the freelancers. Hopefully it'll just be the 7% IGIC. Spain doesn't seem to like freelancers too much, what with all the taxes. However, I understand there's a more forgiving temporary regime for new freelancers, so that should help me settle in.

El Hierro sounds amazing, as does your lifestyle. My wife and I are keen to visit all the Canary Islands, and El Hierro is definitely on the list. I was reading something about energy independence on the island recently, which sounds like a really worthwhile endeavour. I suppose El Hierro is a pretty good testing ground for this sort of thing. Have you lived on any of the other Canaries? I was wondering about your thought process in choosing El Hierro. Did you just fall in love with the place?

Many thanks for all your help!


Thanks, Canary Islander. I've subscribed. Barrie Mahoney's blog also looks very interesting. His latest post about the paperwork needed for residency is particularly relevant to me right now!


I first arrived on the Canary Islands in 1962, I came from Trinidad to Las Palmas G.C. on a Shell oil tanker, the Achatina, that started my relationship with the archipelago, I have visited all the islands, El Hierro in 1995.

Here is like going back in time, back to the 1950's, the people in general do not steal from each other, very little crime at all, unlike the larger islands tourism has passed us by, hence no rowdy lager louts, in fact because we are so isolated, we do not have  huge tourist resorts. Apart from the month of August the island is very quiet, the inhabitants extremely friendly, providing you are not seeking employment, this is the place to live.

Yes we do have a none fossil fuel electricity generating system, all very well, but it hasn't or maybe wasn't intended to generate employment, which at the moment is the major concern, we now export people and pineapples, a visiting friend I was with last night, left for Australia and now has a business in Perth W.A. Others I know are in the U.K. and one family are in New Jersey U.S.A.

Next year is the four yearly festival of La Bajada, the population will more than quadruple, people return to their roots from all over the world, incredible listening to the different accents and languages, there are so many people that I sometimes wonder if the island will sink.

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