Living (and working) beside the Atlantic Ocean is the dream of the vast majority of people, although there is a growing tendency among remote workers and visitors to settle in quiet areas, outside of the traditional tourist resorts. As well as sunshine and beaches, the islands have some very interesting options for enjoying the rural environment as a totally viable alternative for remote workers.
Choosing rural accommodation
Rural tourism is a widespread phenomenon, even among the inhabitants of the Canary Islands themselves – they travel to neighbouring islands to discover the wealth of scenery and variety of ecosystems on the Canarian archipelago. As a result, there is a wide range of rural tourism establishments, in wonderful natural settings, which can be rented by the day or week, or for longer periods too.
The typical Canarian farm constructions can be recognised by their simple yet robust architecture, their tiled roofs and the use of exposed stone and wood, especially Canary Island pine.
One of the highlights of rural houses is the views they afford. Some overlook imposing ravines, others seek out the refuge of the forest or the pine grove, and we can also find some with places for contemplating the magical arid, volcanic landscape characteristic of the easternmost islands.
One very frequent and singular kind of accommodation found in rural areas is the so-called cave house, a tradition that goes back to the cave-dwelling era. Artificial cave constructions, dug out of the volcanic tuff by the early inhabitants of the islands. Nowadays, staying in a cave house is a way of coming closer to the indigenous Canarian world without foregoing any commodities, as they are usually spacious and fully equipped. With the peculiarity that caves are cool in summer, and conserve heat very well in winter.
The cave houses of Artenara, a village in the centre of the island of Gran Canaria, belong to one of the most extensive, best-preserved settlements on the island. Some of them have been turned into holiday homes.
Commitment to the rural environment
It’s a global trend: remote workers are fast becoming protagonists of the resettlement of places traditionally intended as holiday resorts (villages, hamlets …) or doomed to becoming depopulated in the future.
Moving the workspace to the rural environment, where contact with nature, peace and quiet or being able to integrate into the local population in a more authentic way is more feasible, has meant villages such as Icod de los Vinos, in the northwest of Tenerife, or Antigua, on the island of Fuerteventura, have experienced a significant growth in their remote worker numbers, with interesting initiatives like Pueblos Remotos, designed to invigorate different rural zones on the archipelago through small communities of remote workers who contribute their knowledge, time and resources in order to generate a positive impact on them.
The Internet is no longer a problem
One of the main barriers to remote working in a rural setting is the lack of availability of a good Internet connection, an indispensable everyday tool for the remote worker. The Canary Islands currently have one of the best broadbands in Europe, a competitive advantage which puts the archipelago in pole position for teleworking.
Even in most of the islands’ rural areas, one can enjoy a good connection thanks to the satellites that offer quality connectivity from anywhere on the archipelago.
Benefits of teleworking in rural areas
Remote working from a rural environment on the islands offers numerous advantages:
With 40% of the islands a protected natural space, and 7 Biosphere Reserves, the Canary Islands have one of the most valuable natural ecosystems in the world, where you can find peace and tranquillity in total communion with nature.
A little paradise in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean with incredible landscapes waiting to be discovered inland. An archipelago that encompasses 4 national parks: the Parque Nacional de Timanfaya (on Lanzarote), the Parque Nacional del Teide (on the island of Tenerife), Caldera de Taburiente (on La Palma) and the Parque Nacional de Garajonay (on La Gomera), as well as ancient woods and villages brimming over with charm.
Integrating into the environment
Socialising and integrating into the environment and the local population is something remote workers have a great appreciation for. Generally speaking, the islanders have a friendly, welcoming personality, perhaps even more so in rural environments, where the contact is more genuine, enabling one to establish important ties and learn from the wisdom and values of the local inhabitants.
Generating a positive impact
Because teleworking from a village benefits everyone: it has a very positive impact on the locals, who see their spaces revitalised, improving their income and developing new forms of subsistence for normally depopulated areas, thus helping to close the gap between rural and urban areas. An exchange where everyone wins.
Living out an experience
Living and working in a rural environment allows remote workers to escape their routine and find a relaxed, peaceful atmosphere far from big cities. Connecting with nature, finding a better balance between work and leisure, or spending time in a different setting offers them the opportunity to live out a unique experience.
Rural areas are a real alternative for the future of teleworking. A sustainable option to combat depopulation, presenting a new scenario in which it is possible to build collaborative spaces in unexpected places, generating more authentic connections with local actors and enjoying the advantages of remote working from a natural setting whilst generating a highly positive impact on villages and rural environments.