Hey forum! I’m gonna do something a bit different this time. From time to time I write guides on how to handle specific issues on Fiverr, like ranking your gig, dealing with difficult buyers, or how to improve your grammar. All useful stuff, but I thought the time was right for something that deals with the outside world (sort of).
I know many freelancers, especially in northern Europe and the big cities, are just tired of restrictions, cold weather, high taxes and cups of coffee that costs more than you make in an hour (I’m looking at you, Norway!).
Let’s dive right into what I consider the paradise of freelancing: The Canary Islands.
I bet you didn’t see that coming, did you? I mean – it’s a holiday resort! Well… Exactly! How about working from the pool? Having your morning coffee at the beach?
The Canary Islands has become a hotspot for digital nomads and freelancers. Especially in Las Palmas, where you’ll not only find beautiful sandy beaches and summer all year around, but also a ton of coworking spaces, networking events and beautiful nature just a 30 minute drive from a true metropolitan area.
If you love summer, you’ll love Las Palmas on the island of Gran Canaria. It’s actually known for having “the best climate in the world” (but take this with a grain of salt, it was invented by the tourist board!). But it sure is great.
You get a mean temperature of around 22-25 degrees depending on the season, and if you think it’s a bit chilly in Las Palmas one day, the dunes of Maspalomas (an actual miniatyre desert!) is just a 30 minute drive away with the biggest tourist resort on the island next to it. So are the lovely beaches of the tourist areas a bit further west.
Just watch out if you have asthma: the climate will be perfect for you most of the time, but when we get a calima (suspended dust from the Sahara desert that comes around about 20 times a year) you’ll struggle to go outside. Just keep that in mind.
Cost of living
Las Palmas and the Canary Islands in general is very affordable. A studio apartment will set you back 500 USD a month in the city centre. A cup of coffee is 2 USD, but if you pick the right coworking space you’ll probably get as much caffeine you can drink nearly free.
The taxes are also low compared to other destinations in Europe. The Canary Islands don’t have VAT (value added tax). In most European countries you’ll have to fork out 20% or more in VAT for anything you buy.
The Canary Islands is what’s called a “special zone”. No VAT! However, we have our own sales tax called IGIC, ranging from 3% to 7% depending on the goods/service. Alcohol and luxury goods have a slightly higher IGIG, but a bottle of wine at the supermarket (a not so good wine, but drinkable) will set you back 5 euros. If you’re not picky you can get bottles of wine for 2-3 euros.
It’s cheap, easy, and good, like in most European cities. The city is currently building a brand new (and very fascinating) hybrid between a tram and a bus as well. If you wanna take the bike you can rent one for 5-6 euros per day. The city of Las Palmas is very walkable as well!
Where to live
I’d recommend looking into AirBNB for shorter stays, and try finding areas close to the centre of town. If you can afford it, areas close to Las Canteras beach and the Santa Catalina park are nice. If you’re looking for longer term rentals, check out the app Fotocasa.
Las Canteras is next to the beach. Has shops, coworking spaces and anything else you need close by.
Vegueta: Old town area in the south of the city, about 15 minutes from Las Canteras. The area is known for their tapas night every week, and restaurants, bars and cafes line up flavorful dishes in the street.
Or what about living and working from the pool at a hotel? Playa del Sol in Playa del Inglés has specialized in digital nomads during the pandemic, and will let cold Europeans get some sun and heat by the pool while they work.
Where to work:
Working at cafes might be popular in some European cities, but this is rather rare in the Canary Islands. It might be because people tend to go out more for a break from work than actual work and to socialize. Your new workplace (if it’s not the beach) should be one of the great coworking spaces in Las Palmas.
Here are a few:
There are many social events (at least when restrictions allow it), both arranged by the coworking spaces and other groups.
Look into MeetUp. They host a bunch of events for digital nomads.
You’ve also got Facebook Groups like Gran Canaria Digital Nomads to stay connected with other likeminded people and to get help and advice.
If you want summer all 12 months of the year, great beaches, nature and weather, but don’t want to leave Europe, Gran Canaria or one of the other Canary Islands might be for you! It’s not as cheap as some cities in Asia, but the low cost of living compared to many other European countries makes it affordable and attractive for many digital nomads!
And what can beat working from the pool, right?
PS. Just thought I’d mention the island government actually love digital nomads. They even made an ad to attract more of them!