If you are planning to stock up in the Canary Islands this winter, or want to know about the best foods the Spanish supermarkets have to offer, then this article is for you. It explores popular places for provisioning near the marinas of Arrecife, Lanzarote, and Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, and is full of interesting tips and tricks to make food shopping for your passage as easy and stress-free as possible.
Preparing for an Atlantic crossing can be a daunting experience. Good passage provisioning makes the journey much more tenable, fun and pleasant for the crew, not to mention the designated chef!
Before we get into the nitty gritty, I would like to stress that there are no paid promotions and no commission on any of the places or products mentioned in this article. The aim of this post gives a subjective view, i.e my opinion, based on my 12 or so years of living in Spain and my experience as a full-time live-board, and my passion for “Good food from the galley”.
One of the nationwide Spanish supermarkets, Mercadona, offers a wide range of products but a limited variety of well-known international brands. Their home brand, however, “Hacendado”, is great for basics, and they have a keen interest in stocking gluten-free items. They also offer plant-based options, competitive prices for dried basics, and a selection of canned and jarred vegetables and legumes.
They will also deliver your shopping for a small fee. Shop as normal and then, once you are at the till, request delivery – which in Spanish is Entrega a domicilio por favor (en-tray-ga a domy-silly-o por favor).
You will need to provide an address una direccion (una dee-reck-thee-on) so give the marina address with your boat name nombre de barco (nom-bray day barko), berth/ pontoon details pantalan (pan-ta-lan), and a telephone number numero de telefono (noo-meh-row day telepho-no) and ID or passport number (numero de identificacion o pasaporte).
Delivery is usually the next day, and they will give you a designated time slot. You then pay for your shopping and delivery in the store before you leave.
As the regional supermarket for the Canary Islands, Hiperdino offers home-brand items, well-known brands, and international products. One advantage of Hiperdino is their Deli, meat, and fish counters, which reduce plastic packaging and offer better quality products. They also have a gluten-free range, a wider selection of plant-based products, and a great variety of fruit and vegetables.
Hiperdino offers a wide choice of alcohol and probably the widest selection of internationally known brands.
Delivery is available but not from all stores or on all days. You can check their web site for specific store delivery days and times.
Lidl and Aldi
These nationwide supermarkets are popular among cruisers due to their presence in multiple European countries. They offer a great selection of plant-based products, including tofu, cheese, nut and soy milk, dairy-free yoghurts, and margarine. While they do offer some gluten-free products, there’s no designated gluten-free area. They have competitive prices for dried basics and a good selection of canned and glass-jar vegetables and legumes.
Lidl and Aldi are my personal favourites for stocking up on chocolate and other such essential treats for night watches. While they don’t have deli, fish, or meat counters, they often have a good selection of organic fresh produce of good quality.
Niether of these stores offers delivery services.
Top tip: Lidl has an app which offers good discounts in-store, if you already have the app their loyalty programme is international so you can easily change to the Canary Islands in the settings.
Smaller supermarkets and specialty stores
For those looking for specialty items or fresher produce, there are a few smaller supermarkets worth mentioning.
If you’re in Arrecife, head to the market near the church on a Saturday morning and you’ll find Angela’s amazing fruit and vegetable stall. Her products come straight from the farm, ensuring freshness and quality. Plus, they are not cold-stored, making them perfect for long-lasting purchases. Don’t worry if you don’t speak much Spanish, a quick Google Translate message via WhatsApp and Angela will happily deliver to the marina, straight to your berth.
For all your Asian cooking needs, both Arrecife and Las Palmas have great supermarkets. They offer a wide range of Asian ingredients, including instant noodles, soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, rice wine vinegar, sushi rice and nori, wasabi, herbs and spices, and rice paper wraps.
Comercial Yu Fong
Commercial Yu Fong is in a convenient location, and just a short walk from Marina de Las Palmas. They offer a wide range of Asian ingredients and products. They also have fresh vegetables such as bok choy, kimchi, tofu, spring onions as well as frozen products too.
Suko Cash & Carry
Suko Cash & Carry works with local farmers and has an extensive range of Asian products. They are also extending their plant-based range all the time and it is a great place to stock up on those hard-to-source but delicious-to-have ingredients that make the difference when cooking Asian recipes.
Knowing where to provision in the Canary Islands is a huge help towards a happy crew and a successful Atlantic crossing. Mercadona, Hiperdino, Lidl, and Aldi are the main supermarkets here, each with its own advantages and offerings. Exploring smaller supermarkets and specialty stores can provide unique options for provisioning too. By planning ahead and stocking up on the necessary items, you can ensure a well-provisioned journey to the Caribbean.
Fair winds and happy shopping!