Remote Working in Fuerteventura

More and more people are now able to work remotely from home or further afield, with many exploring the possibility of working remotely from Fuerteventura. The quality-of-life benefits are obvious thanks to the enviable climate, access to beaches and lower cost of living when compared to major cities. However, there are a few things that you should bear in mind when planning a temporary spell remote working in Fuerteventura.

Internet Connectivity

In general, houses and apartments in Fuerteventura’s larger towns have access to an excellent infrastructure with fibre optic connections offering speeds of up to 600 Mbps symmetrical – though typically most people contract 300 Mbps connections. As you might expect, this is not the same in some smaller villages and rural areas where Internet access can be poor.

Surprisingly, Internet access in hotel and aparthotel complexes is usually not very good: many complexes still charge extra for WiFi, and those that include it for free may offer patchy coverage from an inadequate connection shared amongst too many users.

5G coverage has recently been rolled out on the island, and prices for prepaid mobile data have finally become more competitive – at the time of writing, prepaid monthly mobile packages offering 70 – 75GB of data are available for €20 per month.

Rental Agreements

Rentals are covered by complex regulations in the Canary Islands that divide rental accommodation into three categories: Long-term, seasonal and Holiday lettings.

Long-term contracts last for more than a year, and where the property usually becomes the primary home of the renter.

Seasonal or temporary contracts covers properties where the property is not the primary residence of the renter, and where the rental period is less than a year.

Finally, Holiday lettings (Viviendas Vacacionales) are properties advertised through tourist channels (websites etc.) for tourists to rent for their holidays (usually less than a month).

In practice, remote workers will only have access to the Holiday Let category of property unless they decide to become resident on the island. Long-term rentals typically do not include internet access, require two months’ deposit and are not normally agreed remotely. There is also very little on offer as seasonal accommodation on the island, though this may change as remote working continues to grow in popularity. However, since there are some very big tax incentives for property owners to rent out their properties as long-term rentals, don’t expect to see a significant discount over a holiday let.

At present, AirBnB is probably the best channel to go through, since you could negotiate an extension directly with the owner (subject to availability). Though it may be possible to negotiate with some of the aparthotel complexes as well. My advice would be to book a week or two in a Holiday Let in advance, and then try to negotiate a monthly rate once you are here on the island.

Legal/Tax considerations

Firstly, I am not a lawyer or tax advisor, so please get proper legal advice! However I will explain the situation as I understand it:

Fiscal Residency

If you spend 184 days in a calendar year in Spain, then you become fiscally resident in Spain – and therefore liable to pay tax on your worldwide income in Spain as well as make social security contributions. Social Security contributions are quite costly, with a minimum contribution of €286 per month.

EU Citizens (plus Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Liechtenstein)

EU citizens can move freely to live and work in Spain, however if you are staying for more than 90 days, then you must register with the authorities and obtain a temporary residence certificate. Note that there is a difference between temporary residence and fiscal residence – someone can be a temporary resident in Spain, but remain fiscally resident elsewhere as long as they spend 184 days of that calendar year in the other country (and meet any other requirements).

Non-EU Citizens

Non-EU citizens can spend up to 90 days from a 180 day period inside the Schengen area (which includes most of Europe). To stay longer they will need a Visa. Note that this precludes the possibility of doing short visa-runs to another country:
For example: If a remote worker from outside the EU spends a period of 90 consecutive days inside the Schengen area, they would then need to spend 90 days outside the Schengen area before re-entering.

Co-working

If you prefer to be in a Co-working environment, then there are several co-working spaces in the North of Fuerteventura and Puerto del Rosario – at the time of writing, I know of none in the South. The majority of co-working spaces are in Corralejo, with rates of around €35 per week – the place in Lajaraes seems to be charging more than double that, so Corralejo is probably the best bet for competitive rates.

Where to stay in Fuerteventura?

Many people are surprised at both the long distance between North and South (it takes over 2 hours to drive from Corralejo to Morro Jable) and variety of climates on the island.

I will briefly summarise the pros and cons of the main coastal towns that are likely to attract remote workers below:

Corralejo
If you are looking for vibrant nightlife, busy cafes, access to surf, and a generally young and vibrant place, then Corralejo is your best bet. It also has the highest concentration of remote workers, with co-working spaces, and a cafe and food culture that caters to that market. On the downside, the weather in the winter is cooler than in the South, and it can often be cloudy in the mornings.

El Cotillo
Located on the North-west Coast, El Cotillo has changed in the last 20 years from a quiet surfing/fishing village to a more developed resort. There is less hustle and bustle here than in Corralejo, however the weather can be pretty rugged in the winter since it is on the wild Atlantic side of the island.

Puerto del Rosario
This is the capital of the island, and is a lot less touristy than the resort towns that make up the rest of this list. On the plus side, long-term accommodation prices are lower here, however most remote workers are unlikely to have access to that market. There are some co-working spaces, it has the best public transport links to the rest of the island and it is located close to the airport. There isn’t much of an international/digi-nomad scene here, so you will definitely feel like you are living in Spain (speaking Spanish will help if you plan on staying here).

Caleta de Fuste
Caleta de Fuste is a purpose-built tourist town located just south of the airport. It caters (or catered) to a largely British clientele, with British pubs, supermarkets etc. There isn’t much of a digi-nomad scene, however this area has a lot of holiday-let accommodation, so it may be a good bet for anyone who wants a small villa with a private pool for a month or two. There are also two golf courses here, so if that’s your bag….

Costa Calma
Costa Calma is another purpose-built resort town composed mainly of large hotels along the front-line of the beach. The geography of the island means that this area can get very windy, and the climate is much cooler than nearby towns. Fortunately, due to a large pine and palm tree plantation, as well as the large buildings, the beach is somewhat sheltered from those string winds. There isn’t much of a town centre in Costa Calma, and facilities for remote workers are non-existent. However, if you are into Wind or Kite Surfing, then this may be the place for you (the world-class Sotavento lagoon is located just south of Costa Calma), and there is plenty of reasonably-priced accommodation.

Morro Jable
Morro Jable is located at the Southern tip of the island, and has the warmest weather in the winter as well as the sunniest climate. It also has arguably the best urban beach on the island (playa de la Cebada) – which is sheltered from the prevailing winds and is a great location for snorkeling and bathing. The ‘old town’ has pedestrianised streets with cafes, bars and restaurants, however it does not offer the same vibrant nightlife as Corralejo.