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 Matthew Hirtes

Go Expat In… Moving to La Palma

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The Canaries enjoy great weather pretty much all year round, and in this “Moving to La Palma” article, Matthew Hirtes extols even more virtues of this emerald off the northwest coast of Africa.

Santa CruzSeeing’s believing on La Palma with vistas made even clearer because of the clean and serene sky. There’s no light pollution here. One of the reasons it’s considered the Canary Island’s prettiest isle. Which, given the competition, is really saying something.

At 33% of the population, the Canary Islands have the third-highest unemployment figures in the whole of the EU. Traditionally, the smaller Canaries such as La Palma were places you emigrated from rather than to. With most job-seeking Canarians ending up in the likes of Gran Canaria or Tenerife.

In and out
La Palma airport (SPC) is a Mini-Me version of the airports you’ll find on the larger Canary Islands. It’s located in Breña Baja and Villa de Mazo. A mere 8km to the north, you’ll discover the capital of Santa Cruz de la Palma.

Given its size, a mere 18,000 people live in SC de la Palma, there are no international schools on the island. The state primaries and schools here are highly thought of. Although the whole educational system can be frustratingly old school at times, with an emphasis on learning by rote rather than expressing yourself creatively.

Shop until you drop…
You’ll find the cost of living on Las Palma to be less substantially different from what you were used to in your home country. It’s true buying petrol and eating out are less expensive. However, these savings are offset by the larger price tags on imported goods such as clothing and nappies.

Property types
Santa Cruz de la Palma’s home to apartment blocks with flats which are more substantial than you’d imagine. Out of town, you’ll find small hamlets with bigger properties. Quite a few of these include a swimming pool.

Market watch
One-three bedroom apartments, €40.000-€200.000. Detached Villas, €200.000-€700.000.

In Praise Of

“From volcanic deserts in the south to the tropical rain forests in the north, La Palma has everything, It’s like having all the islands rolled into one. So many hidden gems, that I am still finding new places even after 7 years here.” Theresa Davis (EcoGeek Web and Print Design)

“My favourite thing about La Palma’s the amazing views. On a clear day, you can see Tenerife from the Roque de Los Muchachos – which is 140 miles away. And on a clear night, you can see the Andromeda galaxy – which is 2,000,000 light years away.” Sheila Crosby (La Palma Island)

• Are you an expat in La Palma? What do you like/dislike about it? Let us know below.

About your questions…

Sorry – but we do not offer relocation advice on an individual basis through Spain Buddy. There are a number of relocation experts who are better placed to advise you on your new life in sunny Spain.

13 Responses to Go Expat In… Moving to La Palma

  1. Dr M E Piper April 27, 2015 at 5:40 pm

    We were hoping to retire to La Palma ,avoiding the noise, inefficiency and health issues related to wind farms.Is anywhere free of these things?
    Yours, Mary

  2. Sheila April 27, 2015 at 10:09 pm

    There are wind farms dotted around La Palma, but I think the biggest installation is 6 of them in one place. I’m not sure what kind of wind farms you’re used to, but I can only hear the ones here if I’m within about 0.5 km of them. If I’m standing right underneath one, they do sometimes sound very creepy. I’m not aware of any other health problems associated with them.

  3. Abena October 15, 2016 at 2:58 am

    Thanks for this article. Interesting in particular to hear about the schools. I wonder if there are any established homeschooling networks on the island, especially in the north.

  4. Elle Draper
    Elle Draper October 17, 2016 at 11:51 am

    Homeschooling is still not legal in Spain I’m afraid x

  5. Richard and Pat Bamford October 26, 2016 at 12:49 am

    My wife and I have just moved to Los Norias, La Palma, and we need to learn Spanish.
    Can you help us please with any tutors ?

  6. Elle Draper
    Elle Draper October 27, 2016 at 10:04 am

    Hello Richard and Pat – congratulations on your move!

    We don’t know of any local tutors unfortunately. A couple of things you could try though.
    1. Ask around on any La Palma or Canary Island groups on Facebook
    2. Consider finding a tutor who provides lessons from Skype (you’ll need a decent internet connection for video chat). That’s what I do and it’s working well… although my tutor is now full for the next few months.
    3. Contact Sheila whose link is at the end of the article (click the words “La Palma” next to her name). She lives in La Palma and may be able to recommend someone
    4. Go to your local Ayuntamiento. They may know someone. But Google how to ask in Spanish first and write it down. Write down (in Spanish) that you want to learn Spanish and if they can help. Most town halls will know someone they can phoen who may know, even if they don’t know a tutor themselves.

    Good luck!

  7. Abena December 2, 2016 at 10:26 pm

    Thanks for replying to people’s queries and sharing your insights.


    Seems homeschooling is a grey area, and I do know of people on La Palma doing it now. I wonder how it would apply to immigrants who have never been part of the schooling system. Guess we’ll find out!

  8. K. December 23, 2016 at 1:25 pm

    Yes it is.
    It is not illegal in Spain. A lot of families actually homeschool and are being left alone. Sometimes a family is sued for a short amount of time, but it has been a long time since they did that.

  9. Harry January 8, 2017 at 9:54 pm

    Moved To Tenerife now over a year and loving it, Started a new business so I guess semi retired

  10. AHM October 31, 2017 at 8:14 am

    I’m considering a move to La Palma and as a keen gardener, am interested in whether I can bring some plants with me. Does anyone have any information about whether this is possible? I’ve been unable to find relevant resources for such things.

  11. Elle Draper
    Elle Draper November 3, 2017 at 11:16 am

    Hi AHM. I would speak direct to customs so you don’t put the current ecostructure at any risk.
    In the meantime – have you seen this article? http://www.spainbuddy.com/list-of-prohibited-plants-to-bring-into-spain/
    E x

  12. Justin November 16, 2017 at 4:09 pm

    Visiting La Palma in two days. Can’t wait, looks great. Hopefully looking at ways we could move over some time next year.

  13. AHM November 21, 2017 at 12:30 pm

    Thanks Elle. This is my concern. I just need to find some contact details for them now!

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