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Canary Islands Cruising Guide

An online cruising guide for yachts sailing in the Canary Islands

Canary Islands
Map - click for larger view
Capitals: Santa Cruz
World icon.png 28°28′N, 16°15′W
Las Palmas
World icon.png 28°9′N, 15°25′W
Language: Spanish
Currency: Euro (EUR)
Timezone: UTC+0 (DST observed)
More notes about the country
Small info.png Latest News
Content - news items, etc.
The Canary Islands, also known as the Canaries (Spanish: Islas Canarias), are a group of islands located just off the northwest coast of mainland Africa. The cities of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and Santa Cruz de Tenerife are joint capital cities.

The islands are an autonomous region of the kingdom of Spain. There are two theories on the derivation of the name: one is that it was the name of a north African tribe (the Canarii) and the other that it comes from the Latin term Insularia Canaria meaning Island of the Dogs. The islands were known to the Carthaginians and it is believed that they were found by he Carthaginian captain Hanno the Navigator in his voyage of exploration along the African coast. The Greeks knew about the island and called them the Hesperides. Archaeological excavations have found several Roman artifacts so it is established there was some trade with the Romans. In the late middle ages Europeans "discovered" the islands. The Spaniards conquered the island in the period between 1402 and 1496. They colonized the islands and cultivated them first with sugar cane and then with vineyards. In the 1500s the islands were an important stopping point in the trade routes with America, Africa, and India, and the port of Las Palmas became one of the most important ports of the Spanish Empire. They brought great prosperity to the island as evidenced by palaces and churches still remaining.

Today tourism is the main industry. This has led to overexploitation of the land and the destruction of many of the beautiful coastlines now covered by ugly concrete high-rise buildings.

The islands are outside European Union customs territory, though politically within the EU. That means that parts imported from Europe are subject to customs and considerable bureaucratic delays.

Many yachts congregate in the Canaries from November to January to prepare for crossing the Atlantic.

Canaries Climate & Weather

The climate of the Canaries can be mild and wet or very dry. It depends on the trade winds. The north-easterly is the prevailing wind over the Canaries.

Sources for weather forecasts:

  • Weather on Line gives detail 7 day forecast charts for the Canaries
  • Wind GURU is a surfer's site with worldwide wind forecasts
  • Passage Weather Passage Weather, gives accurate info in the Canary Islands for the next 7 days.


1869 Gran Canaria to Hierro
E2 Canary Islands
51260 Islas Canarias (Western Group)
National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA)
51022 Cap Juby to Baie du Levrier including the Canary Islands

Approach and Navigation Notes

Any navigation notes here.

Local Radio Nets

Also see World Cruiser's Nets

Submit details of Cruiser's Nets and VHF operating/calling channels here.

Arrival/Departure procedures

The Canary Islands are part of Spain and as such are members of the European Union. The islands are however outside the VAT region. The normal EU regulations apply, though the authorities tend to treat all arriving vessels as if coming from a non-EU country.

On arrival, the skipper must report to the Port Authority or marina office who will advise on procedures. Marinas will contact the relevant authorities on your behalf. As the Canaries are duty-free, yachts are not required to clear customs.

You can cruise around the islands (after having checked in) with no restrictions - documents may however be checked at subsequent ports.

Note: If you intend leaving the Canaries by any other means (i.e. by air) you must ensure that Immigration stamps your passport on entry.

Customs and Immigration


Visa exemptions and requirements are the same as for Spain.

Passports of crew are not normally stamped on arrival.

Visas are not required for nationals of West European countries, Canada and the United States, as well as Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Israel, Japan, Kenya, South Korea, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Poland, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Uruguay and Venezuela. Children under 14 of any nationality do not require visas if they have their own passports.

Most nationalities are given 90 days' stay on entering Spain. Visas are required for all other nationals, or for stays longer than 90 days, to be obtained in advance from a Spanish consulate abroad.


  • There is no restriction on firearms
  • You may lay up your yacht in the Canaries - the authorities must be informed and they will "seal" the boat so that duty is not liable.
  • PETS: The Canary Islands fall under the Pets Travel Scheme (PETS) and animals are allowed in and out providing they have a "Pet Passport", microchip, current Health Certificate and Rabies Vaccination Certificate issued by a recognised Veterinarian. They should also have been blood tested prior to travel as detailed under the scheme.

Fees and Charges

  • Harbour Tax


There is no restriction on firearms.

Health and Security


Submit any health warnings/information. Remove any of these sections do not apply here.



Islands in the Group

Poe.jpg = Port of entry, Marina icon.png = Marina, Icon anchor.png = Anchorage, Question icon.png = Needs data.

Lanzarote Question icon.png Fuerteventura Question icon.png Gran Canaria Tenerife Question icon.png
Arrecife Poe.jpg Question icon.png
Marina Rubicon Marina icon.png
Playa Blanca Question icon.png
Puerto Calero Question icon.png
Puerto Carmen Question icon.png
Corralejo Poe.jpg
Morro Jable Question icon.png
Puerto Castillo Question icon.png
Puerto Rosario Poe.jpg Question icon.png
Agaete Question icon.png
Amfi del Mar Question icon.png
Arguineguin Question icon.png
Las Palmas Poe.jpg Marina icon.png
Pasito Blanco Marina icon.png
Puerto Rico Question icon.png
Puerto de Mogan Marina icon.png
Candelaria Question icon.png
Los Cristianos Question icon.png
Los Gigantes Question icon.png
Puerto Colon Question icon.png
Radazul Question icon.png
San Miguel Question icon.png
Santa Cruz Poe.jpg Question icon.png
La Gomera Question icon.png El Hierro Question icon.png La Graciosa Question icon.png La Palma Question icon.png
Playa Santiago Question icon.png
San Sabastion Poe.jpg Question icon.png
Vueltas Question icon.png
(Valle Gran Rey)
La Restinga Question icon.png
Puerto de la Estaca Poe.jpg Question icon.png
La Graciosa Question icon.png
Santa Cruz de la Palma Poe.jpg Question icon.png
Tazacorte Question icon.png

Cruiser's Friends

Hi, I am Agustín. If You are travelling to the Canary Islands, I live in Gran Canaria, in the south of the island, in Pasito Blanco. My CF name is Navegante and my email address is Email. Do not hesitate to contact Me for any help I can give You. Good sailing..!!

References & Publications

Links to Forum Discussions

List links to discussion threads on partnering forums. (see link for requirements)

External Links

Personal Notes

Personal experiences?

Last Visited & Details Checked (and updated here)

Date of member's visit to this Port/Stop & this page's details validated:

This is a useable page of the cruising guide. However, please sail in and help it grow further - add new notes and edit/update the existing information! GRAB THE PAGE AND BUILD IT!.

SailorSmiley.gifContributors to this page

Names: Lighthouse, Istioploos

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