La Palma, a peaceful oasis for creative nomads?
What about spending some time during gray and colder months in a small oasis lost somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean?
La Palma is not Las Palmas or Palma de Mallorca!
La Palma is one of the 7 Canary Islands in Spain, located in the Atlantic Ocean not that far from the coast of Morocco. Together with La Gomera and El Hierro, La Palma is one of the green islands “Isla Verde” of the Spanish Canarian archipelago. Forget mainstream destinations like Tenerife or Gran Canaria, La Palma is a small (708 km2, 81 000 inhabitants) mostly agricultural island away from the touristic crowds. Its nickname of “La Isla Bonita” gives a pretty accurate idea of the landscapes and the atmosphere on the island.
The island is divided in two by a huge volcanic crater, volcanoes and a series of peaks. The east coast has a humid tempered climate with some lush green forests (Laurel forest), while the west coast has a sunny, dry and year-round pleasant weather with temperatures between 20–24C. Roque De Los Muchachos, the highest peak, culminates at 2423 meters and is located only 17km from the Atlantic Ocean. Nothing is flat in La Palma and any walk can prove to be punishing. There are as many microclimates on the island as there are small villages due to the dramatic differences of elevation and the volcanic landscapes. A small world has been compacted on a tiny island. You will find bananas, avocados and mangos around Tazacorte and Los Llanos and less than 30km away in the north, you are in a garden of grapes, figs, almonds, apples and pears below the pine forest.
Why specifically for creative and not simply digital nomads?
The perfect place for a writing or creative retreat isn’t exactly a networking hub! When you are looking to create, design and develop, you value a calm environment and appreciate being away from solicitations and sources of interruptions. La Palma, by her small size and her remote location, is the place to be if you need to focus and dig deeply into your craft. Let’s be clear, nobody is there to entertain you and we are not exactly talking about the best place for networking, selling and communicating. Don’t expect meet-ups to encounter fellow nomads. Each day is a blank canvas to image and create upon. Don’t expect to speak a lot in English or to meet people from all over the world, but you can easily immerse yourself in the local community and practice your Spanish skills.
La Palma is a true getaway for creative nomads, authors, painters, designers, photographers, especially if your project requires quiet time, inspiration from nature and your full engagement.
Why La Palma?
As a freelance, you make a living proportionate to your working hours. You may have a great benefit to stay in a place with a moderate cost of living, while enjoying a simple and good quality of life. Your time is your most valuable ressource. It may feel good, if for once you don’t need to rush continuously and that you can allocate time on more personal projects.
The day-to-day cost of living is still moderate compare to the touristic islands, the Spanish peninsula or the rest of Europe. Your morning caffeine shot (“cafe solo por favor ») costs less than 1€ (70 cents). A bottle of local wine costs about 5€. Local fruits and vegetables are very affordable. You can enjoy a festive dinner at a local restaurant for 15€ per person. The bus network (called Gua Gua) is very affordable with a trip from/to any location on the island for less than 2€.
La Palma is part of Spain and the European Community. Local currency is the Euro €. There are now direct flights from most European capitals, mostly from Spain and Germany but also from UK, The Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland…
Small happens to be beautiful and secure. It’s a very safe island including for women who like to travel or work alone. The insular slow and simple way of living makes it a friendly, relaxed and peaceful environment.
It’s a stargazing paradise, a whales and dolphins watching spot and an international destination for hiking and trail running. The astronomic observatories « Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos », the national park « Caldera de Taburiente » and the nomination of the whole island as UNESCO Biosphere Reserve contributed to keep the island protected from mass tourism and extensive urbanization.
Why staying on the west coast?
The west coast enjoys a year round pleasantly tempered sunny weather (20–24C). Tazacorte is the sunniest village in Spain and Europe. No need for heaters in the apartments or driers as your laundry sun dry on the rooftop in an hour or two.
This sunny side of the island, especially around Tazacorte and Los Llanos, is the perfect location to stay, live and work.
And from there, you can easily explore any part of the island by public transport (bus network) or by car.
Try, explore and see by yourself …
As any place of character it may not be exactly your cup of tea… so give it a try, come to explore during a short stay… You may well be surprised by what you are going to discover.
I discovered La Palma from my passion to explore and run outdoors. The small volcanic island is a true hotspot for trail-running, hiking and mountain biking. I loved it, kept exploring and settled here 5 years ago.
I work as a project manager freelance (“trabajador autónomo”) remotely from Tazacorte. I start to get a better understanding of the Spanish usages and rules for freelancers and solo-preneurs. Feel free to contact me with questions about working from La Palma. I happen to have explored most of the trails of the island so never be afraid to ask for a trail, a secret spot or some good addresses to stop by!