Coliving Spain 2022: #4 Maraya – An oasis for remote workers in Tenerife North

Remote work comes with many benefits, but the biggest impact on society is that it showed you don’t have to sacrifice your hedonistic side to be productive.

Going remote is spreading quickly, and it is not a shock. Seeing your acquaintances traveling while working makes everybody think: Why would I wait for a vacation to see the world?. And people are right. With most jobs being online these days, there isn’t a reason you would sit in an office if that is not what makes you productive.

While working remotely, people have more freedom to choose how to create a life-work balance that suits them, and coworking and coliving places exist to make that easier.

With that exact philosophy, five friends, Ben, Domi, Lucca, Alex, and David, united around their love for surfing, nature, balance, and Tenerife, decided to create a coworking space made for a perfect workation. And that’s how Maraya was born.

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Supporting the island’s philosophy

Tenerife might be one of the best places to find this balance, to slow down from the fast-paced world, and find your inner peace in nature and by the water.

But Maraya’s house complements this lifestyle and what the island has to offer even more.

Their story is quite unique, and the creation of Maraya is a story itself. Today, we’re safe to say that this is, by far, the best place for somebody looking for a month-long workation escape.

Coworking in Tenerife North
A perfect representation of a workation in Maraya

With impeccably designed outdoor spaces, dozens of areas to work, chill, or hang out, and an energy that flows through the whole property, it will inspire you to be in the moment and pamper yourself a bit.

How to get to Maraya Coliving

Maraya is in the small town of Candelaria in the north of Tenerife, a region known for beautiful landscapes, and black volcanic beaches.

The town is only 20 minutes by car from the capital Santa Cruz de Tenerife, 30 minutes from the Tenerife North airport, and 40 minutes from Tenerife South airport.

To get to Maraya from the north airport, you can either take a taxi for about 35 euros, a bus, or have Maraya staff pick you up for 30 euros.

The bus is the cheapest option, but it is also the longest. You will have to change one bus and it takes about an hour altogether. Still, it’s not bad at all, and Maraya’s team will pick you up at the bus station.

Candelaria and the neighborhood

In Candelaria, there is simply everything you need, a small mall, supermarket, barbershop, etc. Since Maraya’s house is a bit out of the city center, it will take about 20 minutes on foot to the town or just 5 minutes by car. Either way, it’s pretty close.

Candelaria, Tenerife North
A walk from Maraya to Candelaria

The closest shop is 10 minutes walking distance, but it’s a small one, so to go for bigger purchases it’s better to go to the town. Maraya has two cars that colivers can borrow, and they often carpool to the supermarkets, beaches, etc.

The neighborhood is super quiet and very pleasant to be in, so being close to the bigger town and cities kind of makes it a perfect nook.

How it all started

Preparing the house, the yard, and the garden was a process itself. Of course, every house renovation takes time and energy, but in Maraya’s case, they took it as a project on its own and poured their souls into these renovations.

Imagine five friends taking on this huge project on a super fun island, inviting a bunch of friends to help out, and just experimenting on the way.

The complete renovations took nine months, and about 30 people gave their contributions. In Maraya’s official video, there’s a special thanks to all the folks who helped build it.

These renovations gathered an awesome group of people and created new relationships, friendships, and even love. The whole building team was super international, and you could say it kind of set foot on what Maraya’s community will be.

When we say they put their souls into it, we don’t only mean their focus, sweat, and hard work. We mean that every corner of the house has a story of its own, and represents a special moment, a memory.

Outdoor coworking area
Outdoor space in Maraya’s garden for working and chilling out

Typically, building a coliving, a hostel, a hotel, or anything like it, renovations are only one step towards the goal. What you can feel in Maraya is that working on the house was a goal itself.

It’s kind of comparable to building a home. The process is completely different when you’re building and decorating a rental versus doing this for your home.

The coziness of a home becomes when people leave their personalities on every step, and it’s something that creates an energy that no rental can ever compete with.

Well, Maraya has this exact energy, and you can truly feel it the first step you take onto the property.

The rooms

The house has nine rooms, eight private and one dorm, with four shared and two en-suite bathrooms. Every room has a unique theme, a vibe followed by its name. They did descriptions of each of the rooms on their website, but, interestingly, the names and themes were not planned at first.

Coliving room
One of the rooms showing Maraya’s style

As Ben explains, they were deciding whether they should name the rooms or not because they were struggling a bit to come up with names naturally and didn’t want to force it Then, one day, David came from Germany with a collection of artwork. It was a bunch of pictures with all kinds of different vibes.

So, they sat down and decided to categorize the artwork according to the themes and overall feelings they gave; and that is how they ended up attributing the themes to the rooms.

Even though the whole property has a focal design, something that I would describe as a mix between retro and boho, the subtle decor is what gives each room a unique personality.

A tribute to the Canaries

Every room has a unique story, and we suggest asking the founders about your room when you book it. The stories, inspiration, and work behind it are what will make it special.

San Borondon Island

For example, the room San Borondon is named after a legend of a mystical island that appears and disappears throughout the years. Not only that some people claim to have seen the island but there are also representations of it on some maps. Although many people have sailed west to try and discover it, up to today, it’s only a legend.

So the room San Borondon was not supposed to be a room at all. It was planned for the house to have eight rooms, but one day, Domi’s parents came to visit, and while receiving a tour, they noticed that this space would make an amazing room. With ocean views, it would be a waste not to use it.

The guys agreed, and, inspired by the story of an island that appears and disappears, they named it San Borondon. Also, being the only room overlooking the ocean, it was only logical to name it after a legendary surfing wave that carries the same name as the island.

Room 1968

Another room that honors the islands’ culture is the dormitory, or the room 1968.

This six-bed mixed dormitory is equipped with locally custom-made bunk beds, made from a special type of wood found on the Canaries. The shared space evokes the period when community and communal exploration were at their prime – the late 60s, but also gives privacy and provides a cozy space for people to make their own nests.

All beds have an in-build storage space, a cozy lamp, and curtains made from traditional Canarian festive costume material that give you privacy.

The garden

The garden is another typical Canarian thing Maraya incorporated, and it actually had a significant role in their property choice.

They were already thinking how it would be cool to have a garden with their own produce that they and the colivers could use, and this property just had an amazing garden space. It needed work, of course, like everything else, but it was also something that the guys enjoyed doing.

Permaculture garden in a coliving place
Maraya’s garden with huts where their volunteers live

During the construction of the property, many locals came just to see the garden and share their tips on how to care for it, what to plant, what not to plant, etc.

One of the biggest influences on their decisions came from a permaculture veteran, a lovely Cuban named Sergio who helped the team understand how to sustainably grow fruits and veggies. Sergio passed away recently, so having this amazing garden today that feeds Maraya’s community is something like a tribute to this genius man.

The central area

The outside kitchen, which is also the main kitchen, is truly the focal point of the house and the community.

Coliving house in Tenerife
A view of Maraya’s central area

The fully equipped kitchen with cozy yellow lights, speakers, a big table, and right next to the pool is what everything is centered around.

This is the place where all 20-25 people gather around four nights a week for a family dinner, every day for breakfast, or just to have a coffee together and hang out.

As Ben says, it is a place that you come to if you want to hang out and find someone to speak to. Just go there and sit down, and someone will join in minutes.

Maraya’s Community

Maraya’s community is pretty big. Normally, between 20 and 25 people are co-living at a time. A portion of that number goes on Maraya’s volunteers, some awesome people who help the place run and keep the community engaged.

Coliving team of Maraya coliving
Maraya’s team

In the one week that we were there, there were a few switches, a few people going, and a few coming, so I would say we met between 25 and 30 people in total.

Of course, you cannot connect with everyone, especially if you only spend a few days together, but normally, there will be at least 10 people with whom you would spend at least a week or two so you can make some workation friends.

Colivers

Most people that come are indeed working remotely and mostly stay 3-4 weeks.

During the workweek, the atmosphere is quite tranquil because most people work on their laptops, and in the afternoon hours, people are ready to disconnect. And that’s something that most colivers here have in common.

Most evenings, people often gather around the ping pong table, have some drinks and play a few games. It’s something that is shown to connect the community.

Maybe a bit different to other colivings is the fact that other than individuals, many people come as couples or friends. It might be more suitable given the number of colivers, so when you come with two friends or a partner, you won’t disrupt the group dynamics which can happen if there are only 6 people.

Volunteers

The other part of the community is the volunteers. Their presence definitely gives a special energy to the place. They also represent something like a constant in the place. There will always be at least one of them outside, happy to have a conversation, help you out, share a laugh, etc.

Community building and activities

Because Maraya’s community is big, and there are sometimes people coming with their friends, for some people it might be hard to connect with others because it might seem that everyone has a group.

Because of that, but also for the ultimate workation experience, Maraya’s team organizes activities that help people connect, strengthen their relationships, and just help the colivers have a fun and relaxing time.

Working 8 hours in today’s world, then relaxing with, again, your computer, made it hard for some people to think of ways of relaxing without phones or laptops, and Maraya does a great job helping.

The way they stay organized and inform their colivers about the activities are slack channels, but also a weekly schedule with activity names and staff members who will manage it.

Weekly schedule in a coliving place
Outdoor kitchen with a weekly schedule

Every week, a new weekly schedule is put in the kitchen area where everyone can see it, and the weekends are left so the group can decide together, the guests can propose, or the team will decide on them later in the week.

Some activities are in the house and some are outside like a road trip to a nearby town, a picnic on the beach, a hike, or similar.

Besides these unique group activities, there are also free yoga classes 5 days a week, and sometimes on the weekends.

Unfortunately, we couldn’t make time to join the sessions for the one week we were in Maraya, but others have told us it is quite nice. They do it on the rooftop so it’s super nice in the early mornings as a way to start a day, or in the evenings before dinner as a way to slow down.

Here are some of the activities that were scheduled during our time in Maraya:

Group ping pong

While ping pong is something colivers play with or without it being organized, having a dedicated ping pong night is also very relaxing.

There are some games that you can play as a group, like standing in the circle around the table and playing until you drop the ball. The last man standing is the winner. Instead of playing two people at a time, or two doubles, everybody can join and experience the vibe. It can get pretty funny and competitive in a good way.

Coliving activities
Colivers rocking ping pong!

As previously mentioned, ping pong is such a simple activity that has shown so many benefits for the after-work relaxation, group bonding, for shy people to loosen up a bit, and just as a good activity before going to bed.

It’s probably because it is an activity that disconnects your mind from the screen, your work, and your problems, and connects you to the moment letting your mind have a rest.

That is probably one of the reasons that many companies also have ping pong tables in their leisure rooms, and that a lot of people in Maraya also chose to play a few games on their lunch breaks.

Backyard bonfire

One other community-building activity that we had was a bonfire. One of the volunteers made a bonfire and we all sat in the circle around it just chilling and listening to music.

For the staff, it was quite a special night because two of their members (one was David, one of the founders), were leaving Maraya. It was a very intimate atmosphere and relaxing, as well. There’s something special in sitting and just listening to the fire crackling, looking at the flames, and warming up against it.

Activities in coliving in Tenerife North
Tobi preparing the bonfire 🙂

In Maraya, the activities are mostly like that – organized but very casual. The point is to relax and disconnect, enjoy the moment and have a good rest for the next day. Everybody harvests the energy differently, so Maraya tries to spread-out activities throughout the week that can answer different needs. a

Someone needs a silent sit-down next to the warmth, and someone enjoys an active game of ping pong. For someone, that will be a hike, and for another person, a session of team-building games.

We’re all different, and with that many people, finding a balance can be challenging. But, that’s why Maraya has many volunteers that all bring some unique energy and can offer different activities to the colivers.

Team building on the rooftop

Team buildings, or as Juli, one of the lovely volunteers, likes to call them – community buildings are a great activity for people to get to know each other, loosen up a bit, and work together.

One night after dinner, a bunch of us got up on the roof and Juli led the community-building with some super fun activities that made us feel like kids again and help us get to know each other.

Chilean board game night

As we said, it’s best if the activities that are happening in a week have some uniqueness to them so that people can join the activities that really match their energies, and that suits them.

Boardgame night was one of the activities for people who like to relax by switching their brain effort to a fun game, try to compete and win, and just experience a bit of that board-gaming adrenaline before going to sleep.

On one quiet Thursday night, another volunteer, Ramiro, decided that he would teach us a game that is very often played in his home country – a game called Cachos. It turns out that many countries have their version of the game and in English, it is known as Liar’s dice.

Board games in a coliving
Cachos night with Ramiro and the guys

If you know about Liar’s dice, then you might guess that the quiet night became a bit crazy and that it was very tense until the end who will take the winning title.

This game was truly super-fun and for me, it was the perfect activity to end the night with. There are also other board games available in Maraya, like Bang! and Catan, and many others. There’s plenty of room for board gaming, and if you have your own with you – you can show it to the other colivers.

It could be a nice way to show other countries’ traditions (like the one with Ramiro), or simply share a game that you love. If people love it, it will be a nice memory to remember you by.

Day trips

As a part of their activities, the Maraya team often organizes day trips to nearby beaches, restaurants, towns, or other places on the island that are great for experiencing things like diving, snorkeling, watching the sunset, etc.

Of course, going to a restaurant or on a surfing trip will not be completely free, but you do get a free local recommendation which is something of enormous value in a touristic place.

The guys have gone through the island the whole length and breadth, so they have some true recommendations of places they love and are willing to share them with you.

It’s a great way to explore the island and avoid tourist traps that are everywhere, especially in the south.

Get inspired for coworking

Maraya is truly a place that can inspire you to dive into this world of remote work and coworking as it gives just the support you need for it as a newbie.

Coworking space in Tenerife North
A view from the Aquarium, Maraya’s central indoor office with 270° views

For example, having breakfast every morning, and a fresh healthy dinner four nights a week is something many people said saves their time, helps them stay organized, and lifts the pressure off them.

Sundays through Wednesdays, everyone knows that around 8 or 9 PM everyone will gather around the kitchen table and enjoy a nice home-cooked meal prepared by the staff.

Also, if you have a flexible working schedule, breakfasts and dinners can help you stay organized.

During the day, most people will work, but what the team noticed is that after working hours, almost nobody talks about work. And that’s exactly what Maraya wanted to accomplish. They wanted to give people space to work uninterruptedly whenever they need, many spaces around the site to work from and get inspired by, but then, after the work is over, to help people disconnect from it, and connect with themselves, others, etc. And they managed to do it.

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