Another day – another interview with a coliving owner! This time we spoke to Laura, the owner of the first coliving in Lanzarote – Pitaya Coliving. Before jumping into this interview, make sure you also read our previous ones – or, do it afterward! 🙂
Located in the island’s capital, Arrecife, Pitaya Coliving is a unique coliving concept that ensures the best remote work experience.
With three separate but open-access units in a building, a spacious office space with a view of the city marina, and cozy rooms with the boho spirit, Pitaya is a perfect place for nature lovers’ next remote-work adventure.
Read our interview below to find out what Laura’s vision behind Pitaya is, and how she intends to connect remote workers with the beauties of the island while offering them a valuable and reliable work-life experience
Disclaimer: This piece of content may contain some affiliate links. If you decide to make a purchase or book through one of our links, we may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.
How it all started
“Remember to enjoy the freedom of being able to work from anywhere and the flexibility to adapt your work to your life rather than the other way around.”
1. Could you tell us about how you decided to open Pitaya Coliving and a little bit about the journey that led you to that decision?
– Back in 2018, I took a leave of absence to travel the world.
On that journey, I met many digital nomads who struggled to find hostels with good infrastructure to work from.
It was during my travels that I decided to leave the crazy city life of London upon my return, and open what, at the time I had in mind, was a Boutique Hostel. Within my place, I wanted to offer these Digital Nomads a safe space to stay and work. And so, the Boutique Hostel idea evolved into a specialized hostel for remote workers.
When I started researching the market, I discovered that the idea I had in my mind existed, and it was called Coliving. This is how it all started.
2. How would you describe the concept behind your place?
– I like to describe Pitaya as an ecosystem of specialized services for remote workers. Well, that sounds very serious, right?
It really is just a space where those seeking to work remotely, can find a good quality space to do so, and an authentic community that focuses on what the island has to offer. The idea is that nobody leaves Pitaya without getting to understand that they have been in an island full of art, nature, powerful energy, and unique landscapes.
3. Have you had the opportunity to stay in some other coliving spaces or any similar type of accommodation before you decided to open your own place?
– Not really! I was a remote worker myself and I got to travel loads for work, getting to understand what is necessary when you are away from home and you need to get work done, and also how lonely this can be.
However, I never really had the opportunity to stay in a Coliving before opening one myself. Now that I have experienced it at Pitaya, I am so looking forward to being a Coliver myself. And so next year I am booking a few colivings to go as a customer. Can’t wait!
4. Did you find inspiration in some other coliving spaces in Spain (or beyond) that influenced your approach to building your own space?
– Of course! I did a deep research about other coliving businesses in Spain and abroad and I got to know loads about what I found a very exciting sector.
Work-wise, it was clear what a remote worker needed. Community-wise, I have been a big fan of hostels all my life, having experienced many around the globe.
In the Canary Islands, the colivings that inspired me the most initially were Nine in Tenerife and Repeople in Gran Canaria. I have discovered many more since then that I truly admire, such as Maraya in Tenerife.
They all have something that makes them special, just like Pitaya. In my case, I do believe that the colivers and I get on well. I pretty much work on offering something I would like to receive from a Coliving myself. When you work this way, what you do is authentic, and you do it well.
5. You opened in April – only 6 months ago – what were some of the biggest challenges you came across in the first few months after you opened?
– It can be crazy scary opening a business such as Pitaya, where people rely on you for being able to work and live. You feel a big responsibility and so you want to have it all perfect from day one. This isn’t possible, and the community itself contributes towards putting things in order. Fear was a big challenge when I opened.
6. Only 4-5 months after opening, you decided to expand the coliving to one more apartment. Congrats! Can you share how and why this decision came to life and what changes have you noticed since you’ve expanded?
– Even though I opened the coliving in May 2022, the Pitaya ecosystem was born 6 months before that with Pitaya Festival, our regular event that connects the remote workers community with local life; I will talk about this more later.
Since then, I was looking for what would be home to Pitaya and shared this journey with everyone interested in Lanzarote as a temporary home.
By the time I opened with 6 rooms, I had many people following Pitaya, wanting to come to experience the Coliving. Since the beginning, I knew we needed more rooms. I, therefore, sought the expansion opportunity and made it happen.
Pitaya has changed very much since then. Managing 9 rooms is a completely different story than managing 6. It is so much more fun, and more of a challenge, of course. I am constantly working on improving the services and creating initiatives to manage a community that is constantly growing.
Customers with experience in other colivings play a big role in making the experience better. Collaboration is the key to success in life, but when it comes to a Coliving, it is a no-brainer.
Pitaya is growing each day thanks to the beautiful souls who add their expertise to the overall experience. This is also so much fun!
7. Is there something that you wished you knew before starting this project?
– I wish I knew how well it was going to work 🙂 I could have avoided the initial fears. However, even those moments of fear were necessary to get to where we are now. So, I guess the answer is, not really.
8. What is your relationship with other coliving spaces in the islands? Do you receive support or advice from some of them?
– My favorite part of this sector is that it is extremely collaborative. When I was working on getting Pitaya live, I reached out to many other professionals in the sector, who helped loads.
Now, I am making efforts to get to know the other coliving owners to share experiences and grow together. I am actually designing a collaboration process between us all in the Canary Islands.
9. What is the story behind you choosing Lanzarote as the location of Pitaya Coliving?
– For a long time, Lanzarote has been my happy place. I visited the island every year seeking peace, beauty, and happiness. My love for this island which adopted me two years ago is reflected in Pitaya. I am originally from Madrid.
On top of me personally choosing this island to live in, I got to appreciate the opportunity to open Pitaya here since there was no other Coliving on the island. We are still the only one, and we are actually looking forward to welcoming other colivings, joining forces, and making the community grow even more.
10. What are some advantages and disadvantages (for you as owner) of building a place in a remote island like Lanzarote?
– Opening a business that nobody has heard of before is exciting and scary at the same time, anywhere you go. When this happens in a small island like Lanzarote, difficulties multiply, but so does the excitement.
As the only coliving owner in Lanzarote, I feel responsible for raising awareness within the local community about the benefits for us all as residents of receiving remote workers. I personally love playing this role.
The community is smaller, but this is a great opportunity, as I get to shape the existing community to match Pitaya’s values.
I don’t really see any disadvantage, aside from the obvious challenge logistically speaking.
11. Which uniqueness do you think Pitaya offers compared to other similar places in the islands?
– As I hear from my clients, what makes a Coliving space unique is the person who runs the place. All of the Canary Island colivings offer something special: location, the house, the views, etc. But what really makes a difference, is the spirit and the energy that the owner spreads around the community.
I absolutely love running Pitaya, and that is simply reflected in the services I offer. I work hard in offering what I believe is the unique experience of staying at Pitaya, and this is to connect the coliving community with the local community.
Lanzarote has a lot to offer in terms of local art, culture, nature, and history. I aim to act as the bridge between the colivers and the magic the island has to offer.
“Hospitality is the key to new ideas, new friends, new possibilities. What we take into our lives changes us. Without new people and new ideas, we are imprisoned inside ourselves“
12. What type of management will you practice?
– External, I act as a community manager and I don’t live in the Coliving myself. I play an active role in the house, organizing and being part of the organized initiatives.
13. How much are you included in the community and daily activities of Pitaya Coliving?
– I am part of the daily life at Pitaya. I love sharing valuable time with my colivers. My clients are my ideal friends: interesting people who have traveled loads and have much to share, open-minded, community-driven, and an amazing bunch of people to share my time with.
I have set up initiatives where we all contribute towards the daily activities at Pitaya, such as the weekly planning session we run on Wednesdays. This to me is key to a great coliving experience.
14. What kind of activities are included for people who decide to stay at your place?
– As part of a stay at Pitaya, weekly yoga and breakfast are included. On top of this, we do family dinners, game nights, island routes I organize for the weekends, knowledge-sharing sessions, etc. We do many outdoor activities such as surfing, diving, hiking, etc.
In collaboration with local artists, I am currently creating the “Come meet my art” program, where we will have one workshop a month to learn different artistic skills.
15. Besides the coliving, Pitaya also has a festival. Can you tell us a bit more about this festival, the relationship it has with the coliving, how you manage it, and what value this has for your community?
– Pitaya Festival was born to showcase what the island of Lanzarote has to offer: Healthy life, amazing gastronomy, a huge variety of artwork, and loads of creativity.
Pitaya Festival is the first event in the island that was born to connect communities through gastronomy, well-being, Canarian art, and live music.
It takes place every other month in La Geria, the spectacular wine region on Lanzarote Island.
This project is a clear example that, when we join forces, we create uniqueness. Back in December 2021, a group of women entrepreneurs and myself identified the need to offer Lanzarote a unique space where the island’s values convey. And that was when the Pitaya project was born.
Pitaya Festival adds loads of value to the Coliving experience. Not just for the event itself, but for all the other collaborations that arise from it, which nourish the day-to-day life at the coliving.
“Live in the sunshine, swim in the sea, drink the wild air.“
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
16. It still might be too early to speak about the profile of people who usually come to Pitaya, but – so far, what are some of the things your colivers have had in common? Who is attracted to Pitaya and why?
– Oh no, it isn’t early at all, since we opened, we have had more than 70 beautiful human beings staying at Pitaya. The island of Lanzarote attracts a very special type of people, and this is reflected directly in Pitaya.
People come to this island to experience nature, outdoor sports, and in general practice a healthy lifestyle. The weather in Lanzarote is mild all year round, it is an eternal summer here. And so, people come seeking good weather too, of course.
The purpose of opening Pitaya was to pull together a group of interesting people who seeks to travel in a special way.
The value of this business for me personally is to be able to meet people from everywhere in the world, without having to travel it.
17. What is the ideal length of stay for colivers to fully emerge in the experience you have created?
– There is so much to see and do in Lanzarote, people are often surprised by how much an island this size has to offer.
Apart from the island itself, a coliving stay requires at least 4 weeks to fully immerse in the experience.
In the first week, you are getting used to the house and learning about the island and what you can do here, in the second one you start realizing you should have stayed longer 😉
I have loads of customers who come initially for a week or two, and they return for longer stays afterward.
18. Do you have some special offers/discounts? (For longer stays, group bookings, couples, off-season, etc.)
– We work on a weekly and monthly basis, offering different tariffs depending on the length of our stay.
About the Coliving Movement
”Because in the end, you won’t remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing your lawn. Climb that goddamn mountain.”
19. Do you think that coliving is only dedicated to a specific group of people such as freelancers, digital nomads, and remote workers, or do you think there is a possibility to gain popularity beyond that group of people?
– That really depends on what a Coliving business focuses its energy on. I strongly believe specialization is the key to offering a good experience.
My focus at the moment are remote workers and digital nomads that want to experience a more authentic, less stressful way of living.
20. Do you think coworking is a crucial component of coliving and why?
– 100%! There is no coliving without a professional, well-equipped coworking space.
One of my main objectives with Pitaya was to offer a professional space with a view. Our coworking has natural light and overlooks the sea and the historical town of Arrecife.
21. One of the main selling points of colivings is the possibility to meet new people, share experiences, and maybe even develop new partnerships. Is this something you also had in mind when opening your place?
– Yes, on top of this, my aim was to connect these people with the local community, as I mentioned before. The objective is that nobody leaves Pitaya without knowing more about the island they have lived in.
22. Lastly, how do you see Pitaya developing in the next few years? Do you have a vision of what it will grow into or some aspirations and goals that you’ve set for it?
– This question is very exciting. I see Pitaya being a happy place for many remote workers for years.
I will keep growing and improving, and developing initiatives such as Pitaya Festival, to connect the colivers to the local community.
It is now the time to stabilize the recent expansion, to continue growing in a healthy and sustainable way.
Secure yourself the best coliving experience
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Disclaimer: This article contains some affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, we can earn a small commission if you decide to make a purchase.