Living in Tenerife and why expats and retirees love it

Living in Tenerife is one of the best options for retirement, as the aerobics photo of Parque Sanabria confirms.

Aerobics photos from Santa Cruz de Tenerife a way of life in TenerifeAerobics photos from Santa Cruz de Tenerife a way of life in Tenerife

The weather of the Tenerife island isn't dubbed of eternal spring without reason. The climatic conditions of Tenerife are ideal for the elderly, who often suffer of rheumatism, asthma,  arthritis and pulmonary problems. The biggest Canary Island with its different climate zones lets you pick the region where to live, which is best for you..
 For me and many of my friends, who are not so young either,  the North of the island is best. It is generally two degrees Celsius cooler than in the south.  Let's not argue. It's never warm enough for some, though, contrary to our dog who refuses to walk on pavement in Tenerife South in summer.

Warm and welcoming Puerto de la Cruz locals

Friendly surroundings can save a marriage. Even living in Tenerife for some months of the year will help. Note that amazing true story when you scroll down. 

Tenerife carnival retirees

It's about the foreign semi expat with Alzheimer's. He and his charming wife were received with warm welcome  by a Spanish Puerto Cruz Day Center where much fun is to be had by all sorts of events.

My friend Guenther will always say that health, food and fun count most when we get older. Mind that ice cream is my favorite idea of food fun. This dessert which is made with natural yogurt which is depicted below beats it all.

Clicking the photo with the listed ice cream ingredients takes you to the marvelous Cafe de Paris in Tenerife North. Mind that Euro 7,50 in 2019 was not expensive for good food quality and the cafe's breath taking surroundings.

Living in Tenerife with its healthy local produce

There, fresh vegetables and fruit with many subtropical varieties almost grow by your doorstep. Find Grapes, Oranges, Lemons,  Mangos, Kiwis and even Lichees. The local Papaya is rich in vitamin A.  Potatoes are legendary with as many as 300 varieties. Fresh fish is caught by the island's own fisheries. Wine is grown and sold for every budget. Often,  it doesn't cost you more than a glass of mineral water.
Dairy products excel with excellent, locally made cheese. Above all, all is sold at affordable prices. Health shops are in all major Tenerife towns and cater for special diets for all who are living in Tenerife. Even pets with food allergies are catered for.

By the way, a big steak of prime imported meat will set you back anything from Euro 20 to Euro 35 in a good restaurant in 2019.

El Aderno chocolates and sweets for diabetics or the weight conscious are not only bought in Buenavista del Norte. 

Bread for the most discerning taste

Well, not as large a choice as in a German bakery in Frankfurt/Main with hundreds of different types, but not bad at all by Puerto de la Cruz here. There at the Baeckerei El Molino de Pan, white bread is the bottom of the range and the top is BioBody a high fiber and protein loaf for sportsmen and the most health conscious. Not cheap,  but unbeatable value.

Not to forget anti-Gluten types, Spelt, Sourdough bread, you name it. Indeed, things to buy in Tenerife are most surprising.

Living in Tenerife with less Value added tax

This tax is called I.G.I.C in Tenerife and is 6,5% again in 2019. 
The same tax is called IVA on mainland Spain and is 21%. Therefore, it's much cheaper to buy new property or land on the Canary Islands, to give only one example. However, food isn't always cheaper in Teneirfe when it has been brought in from overseas.

Basic costs of living in Tenerife 2009 without property rental

  • Telephone landline: about €15/month
  • Cheapest Wifi without calls: €18/month
  • 3GB Internet and 100min free national mobile and landline calls for your smartphone in Tenerife with a program called HITS
  • A normal ISP may cost between €18 and €45 roughly. Mind contract limits by
  • The best Internet connections in many Tenerife towns now are with so called Fibra Optica that is provided in my area by the provider Orange which renders it super fast
  • There is also a so-called Tarifa Plana Telephone/Internet service which is very cheap but fluctuates
  • Minimum electricity costs: €20/per lowest option to €60 a month month with minimal taxes less than 1% since 2019
  • The cheapest basic electricity charge is € 9,03 and 1kWh at €0,11248 domestic (the latter being subject to frequent change)
  • Municipal tab water: About €6,50/month
  • Trash collection: About €6,50/month
  • Wealth tax was removed on Tenerife Island in  2009 which isn't cast in stone
  • Inheritance tax may now be avoided by donating property in time

Municipal property taxes are very low compared to Great Britain, for example, but rates are different with all Tenerife municipalities. For a property worth €50000, you may expect to pay tax of roughly €85/year. Best check with a specialist


The best shoe and fashion shopping while living in Tenerife

Seasonal sales (Ofertas) are best times for early bargain catching when you live in Tenerife. Above all C&A for bigger sizes and mind all the Indesit group outlets like Masimo Dusi, Bershka, Zara and you name it.

Other optional living costs Tenerife

Petrol (called Gaz in USA) has always been a very cheap factor of living in Tenerife. It has been in the region of €1,10 in 2019 but goes up and down a little.
Car insurances are not so cheap, though, but cheaper than in most European countries.

Interesting partial health insurance

A very good value for money hospital insurance was offered by DKV (seguro de salud) in Spain, a little while ago. It was for as little as € 53 a month (in 2013) even when you are 65 years old already. Of course, doctor visits for preventing and general check-ups are not covered. That's the least expense. Isn't it?

Living in one of countless caves in Tenerife

This is highly dangerous near the ocean where waves and powerful currents are unpredictable. Besides, you won't be able to get a Titsa bus Resident card, as displayed below. Why? Cave dwelling is illegal in Tenerife and you better present a permanent rental contract to get the needed empadronamiento certificate from the relevant townhall.

Public Titsa bus and Tranvia transport

A real revolution of Tenerife transport changes have been introduced in February 2019. The Bono Residente Canarias for bus and Tranvia travel on Tenerife is part of it, as depicted beside. Click the photo to learn about the card for the elderly above age 65 that is even cheaper. Now, the Titsa resident-card costs only Euro 30.

Not to forget many more Titsa fare reductions for children, students, large families and,  you name it.

Examples of grocery prices 2019

  • A hot grilled take away chicken at Alcampo Hypermarkt La Orotava went up from € 3.95 to  € 4,99 compared to a few years ago (now with Sulphuric additives etc)
  • 1 kg carrots fresh from € 0,69 to € 1,90
  • 1 kg Kiwis for € 1,95 has not changed over the years
  • 1 lattice 0,15 Cents (before Christmas) was really special, a few years ago which may only happen at my local greengrocer
  • 1 liter bottle sunflower oil sets you back € 0,99 to € 1,90 at Mercadona Puerto de la Cruz supermarkets as well as at Alcampo Hypermarkets.
  • 1 liter fat free calcium enriched milk costs about 61 cents at most supermarkets
  • 1 kg fresh fish from € 7,50 to € 10,50  for a Dorada, while I find Mercadona of Tenerife North the cheapest
  • € 3,25 for a generous portion of take away noodles with chicken and vegetables at my local Chinese shop not possible any more, as it closed its doors

Value added tax the IGIC in the Canary Islands stands at 6,5%.
I simply picked some articles where I found 1 item or a kg price in my last shopping list.

There are all sorts of delicious looking,  mind blowing Sushi dishes at Alcampo Orotava of its Hypermarkets.  Mind, there is an excellent Sushi restaurant in the neighborhood of La Villa Alampo of La Orotava.

Municipal markets are not always your cheapest Tenerife shopping options

Always look out for farmer shops, such as the Tienda Agrokinesis in the open commercial Zone of Longuera of Realejos  or its shop El Agricultor the farmer where bananas cost Euro 0,85 in May 2019 with many other options for cheap, but fresh produce. It's prices are fluctuating depending on seasons and the farmers that supply directly.

Many  Tenerife eating places  are cheap compared to those in Northern Europe.  Their entertainment is often for free.  Tenerife carnival, which is not only thought after by the large Tenerife gay community is,  of course,  tops for all who retire on the island. The people in my Carnival picture above are likely on retirement living in Tenerife.  Often, such expats like Julia from the UK  become prototypes for making the best of living on Tenerife.

Operations in Tenerife and health care

Some retirees,  I know,  had successful operations in Tenerife.

They were refunded by their overseas health care, as they have the European Blue Card.

By the way, Spanish public health centers are not only in all towns, but often in every suburb and village.

How much medicine is paid by local health services?

A friend of mine just told me she has to pay about 40% of expensive medicine out of her own pocket, the rest is paid thanks to her blue card. This applies above all to expensive, prescribed high blood pressure medicine, which she needs, she said.
Please, find out from your overseas medical aid organization or social security,  how to go about getting the blue card which entitles you fully to European sharing of health care.  You can even use it while on a short holiday, if need be.
  You can also apply for the form (106?):
  by writing to:
  Pension Service
  Medical Benefits
  Tyneview Park
  New Castle Upon Tyne
  England NE 98 1BA

The free Tenerife Green Document with strings attached

We call the Tenerife European resident document the Green one for most of its color. Once, you are living in Tenerife more than three months,  you should apply for it at your local police station, which must be your nearest Policia Nacional.  You need to bring a document which states that you live in Tenerife which is called documento de empadronamiento. Obtain that at the town hall where you live. For example, use Europe's resident permit (or try the normal NIE certificate) together with your passport including a photo copy of it to travel from Los Cristianos for €18 to La Gomera by ferry. ( mind that price is subject to change) I consider this price to travel to the neighboring island as dirt cheap. Before, a proper "Residencia permit" was required to enjoy to live in Tenerife.
The Residencia, also often called Tarjeta de Residencia (residence card) is a hassle to get. However, the 'green document' also obliges you to declare income tax. If you don't have earnings, you will not get any written order from the  Tenerife "Receiver of revenue" called Hacienda to declare any. This means 'playing with fire',  which could make you a tax dodger. You can never say you didn't know. People living in Spain are obliged to inform themselves, alwaysBy the way, I eventually found out that the green Residence permit is only temporary and is to be replaced by a proper Tarjeta de Residencia. However, you won't get it when your income is too low and or when you don't have a full government medical insurance that entitles you to have a blue card, unless your private health insurance is in par.

Day center for the elderly Puerto de la CruzElderly day center Puerto de la Cruz

Tenerife helps a foreign Alzheimer's ill person

The other day I stumbled upon a German friend called Barbara. She spends all winters in Tenerife together with her sweet  husband who has Alzheimer'Some retirees,  I know,  had operations in Tenerife. They were refunded by their overseas health care, as they have the European Blue Card.. Most of them had successful Tenerife medical care. Spanish public health centers are not only in all towns, but often in every suburb and village.s disease. You may imagine that you don't have many options for socializing in such a situation.

We used to meet at a Cultural reunion in La Paz but,  that is closed now.
Barbara looked further and she told me literally that she found a fantastic solution for fun with the locals, where her husband is welcome too. A so-called Centro de dia para Mayores del Puerto de la Cruz (day center for elderly of Puerto Cruz) admitted Barbara and her hubby with open arms. Eventually, some members even had custom clothes made for Barbara and her husband. Now, both can take part in folk dances. It's pleasing Barbara's hubby very much, too. So much to the warm and welcoming locals of Tenerife North. Sometimes, they all dance in other locations on the island. Much fun, indeed... 

Changing banks in Tenerife may cause hassles while living in Tenerife

It's easy but, usually means almost endless problems if you had stop orders in the financial institution which you left. It can take more than half a year until all your stop orders work again, never mind being able to close the previous account. If you close it too early it could mean your vital supplies like electricity could be cut without warning.

Problems with a free bank account while living in Tenerife

All banks I know have strict criteria now to grant commission free bank accounts. Don't worry... The Dutch ING bank in Santa Cruz the Tenerife capital is different. It requires a steady deposit of Euro 2000 and is otherwise very welcoming. No need to live in Santa Cruz, by the way.

Walking in Tenerife

Pensioners  fancy walking very much, while living in Tenerife.  Even Tenerife towns lend themselves well to it, provided their hills are not too steep for those with mobility problems. Mind that the hub of Puerto Cruz is now wheelchair friendly in most parts... By the way, this town is the starting point during the Tenerife walking festival in May. (21-25th of May in 2019)  

Tenerife Clubs for everything are to be found for those who are living in Tenerife. Some are for sports, others for games like bingo and other types of socializing. You name it, you'll find it. Tanssisaluuna is a Finnish club in  North Tenerife,  which caters not only for Scandinavians but, welcomes all who are not so young. It's  in the oldest Tenerife resort Puerto Cruz to the left opposite the bus station.(Now in Calle Ingram corner Calle Iriarte)
Note, the  Marina Los Gigantes is popular for Tenerife living...
Find more information about advantages of living on the biggest of all Canary Islands called Tenerife by clicking here

Number of inhabitants living in Tenerife in 2013

Their number has shrunk below the 900000 mark, as many of the unemployed left the island. 

Not able to read and write

I saw the following a while ago in the German Tenerife newspaper Wochenspiegel:
450000 out of this figure are analphabets and still sign with a cross. Why so many? School attendance for Spanish children has only become obligation since General Franco's death after  1975.
Lately, even foreigners from as far as Finland,  Ukraine and  Russia have opted for living in Tenerife and still do so, also, at an advanced age.

Crime in Tenerife and no-go-areas

Don't leave visible values in cars is self understanding. Pickpockets are around above all in the high season winter months where most tourists are. Mind in that context "get me that item I cannot reach" in supermarkets. By the way, it's generally not worth it to report to the police. The pickpockets in Tenerife are usually under 18 years old and cannot be detained by law. Besides, their gang leaders generally won't allow them to stay once caught out. Also, you have no case at the National Police if less than a cash value of Euro 450 has been taken from you. Maybe more by now. 

Known no-go-areas in Tenerife

A friend of mine had important Cancer treatment at the University Hospital in La Laguna, a few years ago. She had to stay at a place very close to the clinic, as she was not living in Tenerife at the time. She was warned by her landlord not to go out in her neighborhood at night, as it may be prone to crime, then. This danger is also known at the University Hospital. There is a tunnel that leads to the freeway TF5 in this neighborhood. It also has a bad name.

Why do so many come to live in Tenerife?

There are always frequent affordable Tenerife flights for the home sick on retirement to escape.

Tenerife country-in BodegaTenerife Bodega

Many of the singles who are living in Tenerife on their own, such as a Canadian lady who earns a living in Tenerife as a webmaster love eating out.

They say that they could never cook that cheap and good as some Bodegas or small Taverns on the island. Young people also often think so.

Why use up all your finances while living in Tenerife?

It's still possible to live wisely and very well in Tenerife.
Get your own place in a safe environment which is comfortable,  easy and practical to maintain. Find the perfect choice by a cozy apartment by Puerto Cruz. Unfortunately, it's let out until middle of March of 2020.

By the way, the best investment in Tenerife is not only
property investment but investing in a healthy life style by living there. 

Living in Tenerife in traditional houses, as seen during a Realejo Alto Festival of open doors

Check out attractions on the island of Mount Teide to spice up your life on the island
Health in Tenerife which is not always guarantied to care for 

From living in Tenerife back to retirement advice

which is a comprehensive, practical guide with additional links to expat stories

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