Tenerife for digital nomads
Posted on 31/01/2022
20 minutes read
Tenerife for digital nomads
A year after having visited it far and wide and having had the opportunity to spend many more months traveling while working, I believe that this island is the best place I have visited so far to spend a period working in the meantime. The right mix of nature, tranquility, nightlife, sea, mountains, countless activities to do and a strong presence of a community of remote workers make stays in Tenerife inevitably full of emotions and impossible to spend getting bored.
If you can take the job with you and you haven't jumped here yet, it means that you are doing something wrong! Fortunately, you can fix and organize your next workation by reading this guide and immediately booking a low cost flight that will take you to a small paradise a stone's throw from Europe.
Table of contents
- Introduction to the island 🔗
- Best Places 🔗
- Accommodation 🔗
- Activities to do 🔗
- The community 🔗
- Places not to be missed 🔗
- Conclusions 🔗
Introduction to the island
But what is special about this large island nestled in the Atlantic Ocean that attracts so many people from all over Europe? Perhaps it will be what most people say is the best climate in the world? 🔗 Perhaps the abundance of completely different landscapes that characterize the island? Or the possibility of practicing a great deal of water and outdoor sports all year round? The answer is that all these, plus other reasons, make the idea of arriving here to spend a few weeks or even more in total relaxation particularly attractive!
One of the things that amazed me the most is the huge amount of microclimates that characterize this place: you go from the mild and dry climate of the south to the rainy and cool one of the north in about an hour by car. In the winter months it is not uncommon to see the highest volcano in Europe, Teide (3,718 meters), overlooking the island with its snow-capped peak and the thing is even stranger if in the meantime we are taking a bath in the warm waters of the ocean. Despite this, it is difficult to feel cold and a simple jacket will be enough for us to explore the island in peace. Personally I had no difficulty getting everything I need into a 40l backpack.
If kilometric beaches and the Teide National Park recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site were not enough, the presence of numerous small and large urbanizations make the exploration of the island interesting also from a cultural and historical point of view!
In the following we will analyze the various areas and we will understand how to move also based on what our objectives are.
From what has been said so far, it can be understood that the choice of the area in which to stay is fundamental and will also greatly affect the price we are going to pay. So let's try, using the map below, to understand how the island is divided so as to make a more thoughtful choice that will make us appreciate our stay in Tenerife even more.
Let's start from the location of the airports (yes there are 2 of them!):
- Tenerife South Airport (TFS), also known by its old name Reina Sofia Airport is the one most chosen by low cost airlines and is also the closest to the south of the island. From here it is easy to reach every area of Tenerife by moving by bus or by renting a car. Taxis are present but I don't feel like recommending them given the efficiency of public transport to reach the most popular areas;
- Tenerife North Airport (TFN), also known by its old name Los Rodeos Airport is the airport used most often by residents given the large number of flights departing for the other islands of the archipelago and to the Iberian Peninsula. The proximity of the airport to the ancient capital of the island, La Laguna, also makes it very convenient for students who come here to attend university.
Staying on the transport theme, the one you see highlighted in magenta is the TF-1 highway which connects the whole island and is almost a complete ring. The last piece that will connect Puerto de la Cruz to Santiago del Teide is still under construction! Using this road you can easily reach every corner of the island and the limit is 120 km/h. Ah, don't forget that there is no toll so you can use it as much as you want!
Finally, let's move on to describe the various areas:
- The southern area is where the climate is milder and almost completely dry. This is the area that goes from Costa Adeje to El Medano and is generally the most touristic area. Here I met most of people who work remotely and who in their free time have fun riding the waves of the ocean on a surfboard, drinking a nice cocktail overlooking the sea at the end of work, or enjoying the long hours of light. on one of the countless beaches present. The costs are affected by the massive presence of tourists and therefore are a bit higher but in my opinion it is the best area of the island;
- The north coast, between Buenavista del Norte and Puerto de la Cruz is a slightly cooler area as it is exposed to the elements that are not blocked by the Teide as in the case of the south. Here I felt much more the Canarian vibe, getting lost in the alleys of historic urbanizations such as Orotava or eating good Canarian food in one of the numerous Guachinche, typical places that serve local cuisine and that they are scattered all over the north. The area is very popular with northern European tourists but is also full of residents and is therefore perfect for those looking for a true cantatto with the territory and who, why not, want to spend a little less on the cost of accommodation. In addition Puerto de la Cruz is a city full of experiences to do and still has beautiful vacation spots as well as marine pools, museums and monuments of interest;
- The area surrounding the capital, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, is the greenest and rainiest part. Walking in the Anaga Rural Park, you soon forget that you are at the same latitude as the Sahara desert due to the dense vegetation! Moving along the coast it is possible to spend a beautiful day in one of the most photographed beaches of the island: playa de Las Teresitas. In this area there are the two urban centers of La Laguna and Santa Cruz which are real cities with all the services you could wish for. The costs are clearly lower and since there are a lot of students attending the university, it is easy to have intercultural exchanges and meet people from all over Europe;
- The coast between Granadilla de Abona and Santa Cruz is the one that I know a little less and that I have partially visited, but I know that there are some urbanizations that are very popular with northern Europeans looking for tranquility given the proximity to the sea and the distance from the most touristic centers. Also noteworthy is the village of Candelaria, a small port very popular with residents and which is characterized by the presence of a large cathedral "protected" by the 9 statues of the Guanches, representatives for the precisely the kings who ruled the ancient kingdoms into which the island was divided before the Spanish rule.
The question that now arises is: which one to choose? If you have read carefully the answer is quite obvious and it depends entirely on your interests. I have chosen to spend most of the time in the south given the always favorable climate and the ease of networking but you might be more attracted to the more authentic Tenerife in the north! Certainly, whatever choice you make will lead you to experience the island in a different and very personal way.
We have covered far and wide the areas where you can stay but we have not said much about the choice of accommodation. You are here to work as well as to spend a nice holiday and this means guiding your choice also based on the internet coverage and the services that could make you comfortable during a working day. Maybe you are more of the hostel type who prefer to spend a little less on accommodation and work more often from a coworking or a bar, or you prefer a more equipped and larger accommodation that allows you to find the tranquility and concentration you need. Whatever your needs are, you won't have big problems finding the one that's right for you!
The platforms I prefer for research are mainly two: Facebook and AirBnB. The latter offers a wide choice and goes from single rooms to entire apartments moreover, in one of the latest updates of the platform a very interesting feature has been introduced called "Verified Wifi", which allows host to show the actual internet connection speed of the accommodation you are selecting. On Facebook there are numerous groups for finding accommodation and some are frequented exclusively by compatriots resident or not on the island who can facilitate our search and direct us towards solutions that will also save us a little. The warning is that here clearly there is no protection provided by a platform like AirBnB and therefore you have to pay some extra attention to any scams or misconduct on the part of hosts.
The costs are extremely variable and depend mainly on 3 factors: the area, the period and the type of accommodation. In the period of February 2020, I managed to stay a month taking around 350 euros for a room in a shared apartment but I know of others who hopefully have up to 1000 euros per month for apartments or rooms in very central and touristic areas. With a little research, you will surely find what is right for you.
Activities to do
At this point you have understood how the island is structured and you are able to find accommodation that meets your needs. You are now ready to enjoy your time in Tenerife by filling it with activities of your interest! I will try to compile a list of the best activities to do while later I will bring you back the places not to be missed and that you absolutely must visit during your stay.
Here is the list:
- Try surfing. Coming to this island without trying to enjoy the ocean waves would be a waste! Schools and instructors who allow introductory lessons to this sport abound and you will have no difficulty in finding them.
- Driving a jet ski (jetsky). Not everyone knows that in Italy and in many other places it is necessary to have a category A boat license to drive a jet ski. On the contrary, it is possible to drive on the island even if you do not have a driving license and therefore it is an opportunity not to be missed!
- Have lunch in a Guachinche for a taste of real Canarian cuisine. Here you will not find food from Michelin-starred restaurants but large portions cooked by residents that will make you savor the history of this island.
- Explore the island from another perspective, perhaps paddling while sitting on a Kayak. Let's say that it is an alternative way to enjoy the coast and the view from the sea that can be faced even by those who are not very trained and that can offer unexpected surprises such as navigation in the company of some dolphins that I had the pleasure of try out. Surely the structures for renting a kayak are numerous and I have identified a couple that offer a good compromise between prices and the beauty of the coast. The first is Kayaking Atlantis 🔗 which organizes group outings while the second does not have a real website and it can only be found by going to the place in person. In particular, the business that rents the Kayaks is located in front of the restaurant Bodegon Pepe y Lola 🔗 of the small port of El Puertito and does not offer organized excursions but only the kayak rental service.
- Trekking, trekking and more trekking. The number of paths, sections and barranchi (dried river beds or canyons formed by erosion) that can be traveled alone or in company are innumerable. Lovers will find bread for their teeth while the less experienced will certainly be able to train and discover the island one step at a time. Note that some trails require special authorization to be followed and I refer you to this site 🔗 to read some more information about it. Given the large amount of paths present, if the time you have available is short, you will find yourself in the situation of having to choose which ones to go and I would like to recommend the following: Barranco del Infierno (easy difficulty, time 2-3 hours), Masca's Gorges (high difficulty, time 7 hours) and the ascent of Teide (medium/high difficulty, time 6-7 hours). Note: for the latter too, requires authorization 🔗 since the Teide area is protected.
I could go on for hours given the amount of experiences you can live in Tenerife but I just bring you some other ideas that you can use to plan your holiday without going into too much detail: quad bike ride, whale watching, paragliding, visit to parks fun like Siam Park and much, much more! Even just organizing it will be quite fun even before you leave 😁
Here are some photos I took during the activities I did in Tenerife!
What does it mean to come to this island as remote workers? Can we expect to "network" as in other destinations more frequented by this category of people? Probably before the appearance of the covid the answer to these questions would have been a bit different as the community on this island was a little less developed than in neighboring Fuerteventura and Gran Canaria. At the moment it is difficult to walk along the Las Americas waterfront without meeting someone with a PC in front of them intent on writing code, doing some calls or doing other types of work. Walking through the streets of El Medano, on the other hand, the language we will hear most is English and not Spanish as we might imagine. Even in slightly less conventional places like Puerto de Santiago near the monumental mountains of Los Gigantes, I was able to meet people who had decided to stay there for their workation.
One of the things that struck me most is the ease I had in interacting with the community and the tools that helped me were basically two:
- the Facebook group Tenerife Remote Workers & Digital Nomads which has 18,000 users and is teeming with opportunities to meet other people and to network. Here I managed to organize a small group adventure to Masca, a small village which we will discuss shortly, which was extremely fun and intense;
- the dedicated Slack group which can be accessed by following this link 🔗 and filling in the dedicated form. Inside there are numerous separate channels where anyone can find activities, events and meetings to meet with other digital nomads. Obviously you can also be the one to propose activities and organize events and you will probably have a good following if the proposed activity is valid!
These two sources are quite international and allow you to get to know the most disparate people from every corner of Europe, but if you prefer to spend time with other Italians you will have no difficulty in doing so. There are numerous groups on the various social networks to agree but simply spend some time in the Los Cristianos area to start wondering if you are abroad or in some neighborhood of an Italian seaside city given the large amount of compatriots!
I conclude this part by talking about one thing that I have not been able to take part in and which I regret enough: they often organize "tandem" sessions of cultural exchange and in order to learn/improve their Spanish. In the Slack group that I have just recommended, there is a dedicated channel to take part in the various sessions and I advise you not to miss this opportunity!
Places not to be missed
We end the guide with the list of places that in my opinion are essential in drawing up the list of things to do in Tenerife. But keep in mind one important thing, a month is absolutely not enough to visit everything , much less a couple of weeks so my advice is to choose the places to visit and the activities to do according to your preferences or, at best, extend the length of your stay here.
Here is the list of must-see places in no particular order of importance:
- Teide National Park. A must visit given the uniqueness of this place! When you start to climb you will hardly feel like you are in Tenerife as the landscapes will change very quickly and the vast lava flows left by the imposing volcano will force you to make frequent stops to be able to appreciate them more closely. When you are at the top, the lunar landscape that you will find in front of you will leave even the least impressionable breathless;
- Masca, a small mountain village nestled in the mountains of the Parco Rurale del Teno , will hardly disappoint you. I admit that the road to reach this place is not really suitable for occasional drivers given its dangerousness and for this reason I recommend that you rely on public transport if you don't feel like it. Once there, the dense vegetation and the contrasts of colors will make you completely forget the nearby beaches and the confusion of tourist urbanizations;
- Coming from the south, just before taking the road that leads to Masca, we find Los Gigantes, a small port overlooking the Ocean from which it is possible to enjoy spectacular views of the impressive mountains of the same name that have their 600 and more meters high plunge into the sea. At the same time, some of the island's most interesting organized excursions depart from here, such as whale watching;
- By completely changing the area, a few kilometers from the capital we find one of the most beautiful beaches and that you will surely find among the first results when looking for information about the island. I'm clearly talking about Playa de Las Teresitas, a piece of coast surrounded by hills and carpeted with tall palm trees where you can spread your towel on fine sand coming straight from the Sahara desert (they are I was very disappointed when I learned that it was imported manually and that it wasn't natural, but that doesn't make the beach itself any less beautiful);
- Returning to the south you absolutely cannot miss the coast between Los Cristianos and Costa Adeje which is probably the most touristic area of the island and which offers, in addition to a large number of clubs, restaurants and activities to do, also a another beach that really impressed me and where I went back several times: Playa de Las Vistas;
- El Medano and the nearby Montaña Roja. The first is a small seaside town, just minutes from the southern airport famous for water sports. Here I have seen a large number of people dabbling in sports such as kite surfing and wind surfing and this already suggests that the constant in this area will be the wind. For non-lovers there are many other less windy places to spend the days! Monaña Roja, on the other hand, is the first thing you will see in Tenerife when landing at the southern airport. It is a small hill of volcanic origin with a characteristic red color and I advise you not only to visit it for the view it can offer once climbed (beware of the wind which can be very insistent on the area) but also because it offers truly spectacular sunsets;
- The Parco Rural de Anaga is the northernmost area of Tenerife. Rich in flora and fauna, it is UNESCO heritage since 2015 and is an extremely beautiful place from a naturalistic point of view. It extends for about 15,000 hectares and it is possible to meet real living fossils such as the Laurisilva forests, ancient patches of vegetation that date back to more than 40 million years ago and which have survived to the present day. ;
- La Orotava, one of the places with more history and art that can be found in the Canaries. Here you can visit churches of historical importance, squares and very beautiful buildings from an artistic point of view and at the same time enjoy the view of the Teide peak on one side and the sea on the other. I recommend, arm yourself with comfortable shoes because the city is built on a slope and the ups and downs will be felt already after a few minutes of walking!
Below I leave you some photos of the places mentioned above.
Would you recommend a working period in Tenerife? Definitely yes, the possibilities are endless and as I said in the introduction this island has been one of the destinations that I have most preferred in my recent travels!
What are you waiting for to book your trip?