Canary Islands Cruising Guide
An online cruising guide for yachts sailing in the Canary Islands
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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
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.
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
Key to symbols: || — Harbor || — Marina || — Needs data ||
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
- Anne Hammick: RCC Pilotage Foundation, Atlantic Islands: Azores, Madeira Group, Canary Islands and Cape Verdes, Imray Laurie Norie & Wilson: 5th Edition (2011), ISBN 9781846233364
- Anne Hammick and Gavin McLaren: RCC Pilotage Foundation, Atlantic Crossing Guide, Adlard Coles; Sixth Edition edition (October 1, 2010), ISBN 9781408113806
Links to Forum Discussions
List links to discussion threads on partnering forums. (see link for requirements)
- Canaries at the Wikipedia
We welcome users' contributions to the Wiki. Please click on Comments to view other users' comments, add your own personal experiences or recommend any changes to this page following your visit. Personal experiences?
Last Visited & Details Checked (and updated here)
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