Gran Canaria is currently a popular digital nomad destination. A digital nomad is a remote worker who has also figured out how to work on his or her computer, and travel around the world. They typically stay in each place for a couple of months. Many of them have their own online businesses, are freelancers, or work for a company as a remote worker. All they need is a laptop and an internet connection.
A great digital nomad destination must have a few important things to attract workers. Gran Canaria has all of them:
1) Location: Although the cheaper and more popular places are located in southeast Asia, Gran Canaria is only 4-5 hours away by plane from most European cities. Getting to places like Thailand, if you’re based in Europe, can take almost a whole day.
2) Very affordable tickets: If you search a little, you can get cheap tickets, sometimes even lower than 20 euros from the UK, or central Europe. It is three weeks before the departure date, that some airlines like Ryanair, realize that the plane is empty and needs to be filled up.
3) Safety: Gran Canaria is a safe place to work, and live in.
4) Internet: Reliable broadband internet is available throughout the island, and in all the co-working centers. Pre-paid 4G SIM cards can be bought in shops, at affordable prices. Even a growing number of resorts think of this, for those who want to work at night.
5) City beach: Las Canteras is a great city beach. Without the beach, the island wouldn't be such a great digital nomad destination. Nomads can work, and go to the beach almost at the same time.
6) Co-working spaces: Some of these are located within a few minutes-walk of Las Canteras beach, and are managed by helpful English-speaking internet entrepreneurs. They offer business-plan guidance, and also organize activities for their guests.
7) Events: There is a big event held in September, every year, called “Nomad City” This is an event where there are activities, talks, and workshops for everyone interested in the digital nomad workstyle. After Nomad City, a cruise for digital nomads, leaves from the harbor. During Nomad Cruise, like-minded digital nomads share their views among themselves, and there are also plenty of learning activities. Famous digital nomads, like Jimmy Naraine, also choose Gran Canaria to give special personalized courses to students.
8) Eating out: Gran Canaria has great places to eat out. Whether you’re a vegan or eat everything, there are modern cafes and restaurants, from where you can work remotely, and no one will disturb you. A couple of these cafes are becoming very popular among the digital nomad community. If you’re addicted to “tapas”, then you’ve come to the right place. Sitting on the promenades of the different beaches and sipping a cool beer is priceless.
9) Weather: What to mention about the weather? It’s great. Little bit chilly during December to March, but the rest of the year it is really pleasant.
10) Community: The digital nomad community members tell each other about their good and bad experiences. Las Palmas de Gran Canaria is getting popular because most of them are happy. They also love to share advice among themselves, about improving and helping each other’s businesses. This is when partnerships are born.
11) Affordable food: With three course meals available at around ten euros, anyone can eat out in Las Palmas. Coffee and snacks that you have at co-working spaces are generally included in the weekly price.
12) City: If you choose a co-working space in the center of the capital city, then everything is a short walk away, making it the ideal digital nomad destination. Whether you want to go to the beach, or go shopping, it is all nearby. The island has so much to do, that you probably won’t be able to do all of it, in a month.
13) Education: Las Palmas de Gran Canaria has world class teachers. Whether you want to improve your Spanish, or learn yoga, you can find a teacher just about for anything. Digital nomads also give classes themselves, to improve each other’s skills.
14) Friendly locals: Got lost? Not a problem. Stop the first person you see and he/she will be glad to help you out.
15) Healthcare: Don’t forget to bring the European Health Card when you come to Gran Canaria. Public hospitals are better than those in many other countries. There are also plenty of private options, where you don’t have to wait long.
16) Visa: Since Gran Canaria is part of Spain, most Europeans don’t require an entry visa, and can stay for up to 3 months, without having to ask for an extension.
17) Travel hub: Use Gran Canaria as a stepping stone to get to know the other islands. If you want to stay long, and have a residence permit, trips to the other islands have huge discounts on the ticket prices (75% off!!!). That works out to about 9 euros each way, by plane to some of the other islands. Direct flights to African nations are also available.
18) Nightlife: Nomads of all ages can find fun places for each of them. There are bars for thirty-year-olds, forty-year-olds, etc.
19) Accommodation: Hotels, hostels, and apartments are always available for people who want to stay long-term. Some of them, will give you a 3-month deal price. If you can’t afford one, then there is always the option of a shared apartment, with other digital nomads. Also, many co-working centers will arrange a room for you, at an affordable price. Individual rooms, available through vacation rental sites, are another option that is really getting popular.
20) Sports: Gran Canaria is an ideal place to practice all kinds of sports, especially water sports. In Las Palmas, you can rent bicycles, and move around in the bike lanes. Surfing is another popular sport, and there are plenty of popular surf schools near the beach. If you want to learn from windsurfing world-champions, you will need to head down south, to the Pozo Izquierdo beach. Hikes and other excursions are organized daily, for those who want to explore the center of the island.
21) Melting pot: Whether you’re red, green, white, yellow, brown, black, etc., you’re welcome here. There are currently residents of over a hundred nationalities living in harmony, on the island.
22) Facilities: The island has a reliable public transportation system (buses, taxis, etc.) that allow anyone to move around conveniently.
23) Business incentives: The local government is keen to help entrepreneurs that want to settle on the island. Their main goal is to help move away from tourism-related business, so that the economy is diversified, i.e. not to put all the eggs in the same basket. That's why promoting it outside as a leading digital nomad destination, is important.
24) Shopping: On a holiday, locals are either on the beaches or inside shopping centers. There are loads of malls (and more on the way). World-class malls like Las Arenas or Atlantico, with hundreds of shops in each one and free parking spaces, are the best places for your shopping.
25) Geopolitics: Gran Canarians couldn't care less about politics. The saying here is "live, and let live, and enjoy life like there is no tomorrow!"·
Chris, a Freelancer who travels round the world, was on the island in September 2017, and made a couple of videos about his experience, in this digital nomad destination.