Is Gran Canaria the island of your dreams? Somewhere you’d like to relocate to? If so, you’re going to enjoy our latest Gran Canaria Locals interview, with Jo and Marcel Hendrickx.
The Gran Canaria Local family have been based on Gran Canaria since 2004. We live in the north of the island’s Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. Whilst our latest hot-seat occupants, Jo and Marcel Hendrickx, have set up home in south Gran Canaria.
1. ¡Hola, Jo and Marcel! Where are you based on Gran Canaria and what attracted you to this particular area?
Prior to moving to the island we did a lot of research and and flew out a couple of times to view different types of properties in different areas. It was only then that we finally decided on Ayagaures. We’re in the process of renovating a small house here.
What we love about it is the land, the fruit trees, the surrounding scenery and the tranquility. We’re about 20-25 minutes from Maspalomas, so we’re close enough to access all the facilities but far away enough to feel like we’ve really escaped to the countryside which is the balance we were looking for. Additionally, as we both work from home, we really needed to ensure that we had good internet and mobile coverage which means we don’t have to leave the views when we need to get our work done.
2. What tips would you give people relocating to the island?
It might sound boring, but even if you speak a good level of Spanish we’d still recommend finding a trusted professional to help you get all your papers in order. By that we mean your residencia, registering with local authorities, understanding how the social security works, and getting your tax status right. If you have friends or acquaintances here ask them who they work with, if not, take the time to find the right person and think about how you want to communicate with them – by phone, by email, face to face.
We like to see people in person so have chosen to work with a guy based in Playa del Inglés as we can get to his office a lot more easily than getting into Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. Despite being competent at Spanish we also chose an English-speaking person. We might be fluent in many topics, but we’re certainly not in tax terminology!
3. If you were to liken Gran Canaria to an ice cream, which one would you compare it to and why?
It’s got to be a mango, purely because where we live now we’ve enjoyed hundreds of mangoes this summer from our garden to the point that we needed to make ice-lollies, jam and chutney to use some of them up. Even then we were still giving so many away. Mangoes have become synonomous with Gran Canaria for us and next year ,when we’re a bit more organised, we’ll have an ice-cream maker to make our own!
4. What are some of your favourite island hobbies?
Due to our work and travel schedules, we’ve not yet managed to get started on hobbies, apart from looking after our fruit trees, We’re hoping to find some ‘beginner’ walking groups so that we can start to enjoy the mountain scenery even more. Also, we’d like to try our hand at e-biking as we’ve found a route that goes right past our house which includes a tapas stop!
5. Finally, Jo and Marcel, what do you do workwise on Gran Canaria?
Marcel is a Health and Safety Executive for Jet2Holidays and covers the four main Canary Islands and mainland Spain. This keeps him super busy and is enabling him to build a great network of local contacts. Jo’s self-employed and have two main businesses, one is in network marketing with Forever Living Products which gives her the flexibility to work from home with teams in multiple destinations and build a global customer base looking for high-quality but reasonably-priced aloe vera products.
The other is an auditing company called Global Spirit which takes her around the world assessing animal attractions in line with industry-established welfare standards. Our ultimate goal however is to also have a rural retreat business here in Gran Canaria. That way we can use our collective skills in tourism and hospitality to give visitors a fabulous holiday in this little piece of paradise.
Our own refurbishment of a rural property is giving us a bit of a practice to get it right and we’ve found a great team of builders who are quality driven but reasonably priced. From there we’d like to branch out and look at more projects. This will enable us to build a small portfolio of properties which will attract tourists looking to experience some of the more traditional areas of the island.
Is Gran Canaria your home island? Or have you gone native here like us? If so and you’re keen to take part in this series, drop us a line.