“This place captures you in a way that is hard to put into words. People feel at home here. People come here for a week and end up staying for years. There is something magical about it.”
28 years. Witch dutch passport and spanish background.
Worked as a Massage Therapist in Ecuador.
Get to know Rafael. "The Surfing Massagist of Guanarteme"
- Which was your reason to come to the island and how long are you here already?
I arrived in Las Palmas during the summer of 2017. Before going to Las Palmas I was working as a Massage Therapist in Ecuador. I found out that there was a school for Manual Therapy and Osteopathic Medicine in Las Palmas, which inspired me to come here. I wanted to be able to work and study simultaneously, and since I have a Dutch passport and a Spanish background, this was no problem here. It also coincided that already two or three people recommended me this place as somewhere for me to explore. “Friendly people, good weather, the surf and the ocean” they said. All true!
- What was your image of Gran Canaria before you arrived and how did it change during these years?
Honestly I had very little expectations. Not because I expected ‘little’ of it—simply because this is my philosophy of life. I like to be surprised and jump into the unknown.
In the end, life is what you make of it. The first two years I lived further away from the ocean and had a harder time finding my groove on the island. I now live 10 steps away from the beach (Canteras) and wouldn’t change this place for anything in the world. In these past 3 years that I have lived here, the international community has blossomed and grown exponentially which is really awesome. Travellers, Nomads, Expats—a great mix of beautiful people! This place captures you in a way that is hard to put into words. People feel at home here. People come here for a week and end up staying for years. There is something magical about it.
What do you love personally about living in Las Palmas?
For me Las Palmas equals Las Canteras! The water and I are best friends and being able to hear, see, feel the water on a daily basis is such a blessing. Whether surfing, swimming or doing mobility drills in the water, my feet touch the water everyday! Honestly I simply love the lifestyle here. I work and study hard every single day—yet, at the same time, I feel like I am on an endless Holiday and am surrounded by an incredible community of people. It’s amazing.
- What is your motivation and inspiration in this project? What keeps you moving forward in this project in these difficult times?
I do my work with a lot of love and passion. I believe in the power and necessity of Bodywork and Massage Therapy. I think they are vital tools that help the body and mind stay young and get back to alignment. It is also simply a beautiful way for two human beings to bond and share.
This project allows me to keep connecting with like-minded people from all around the world and giving both Spanish and non-Spanish ‘visitors’ the opportunity to work with a therapist in the area.
- Why did you choose to start a cooperation with Ventana Azul Hostel?
Our businesses are 20 meters apart. Life happens ☺
- How do you think that Ventana Azul guests can benefit from this cooperation?
See point 4. There are not many English-speaking therapists in the city. And hey, if we Surf a lot and live an active and adventurous lifestyle (or the complete opposite! Wink-wink Digital Nomads), most of us can probably benefit from a Massage treatment or two.
- Which Top 10 Places on Gran Canaria would you recommend to visit to any guest of the hostel?
El Confital, Vegueta Historic Centre, Playa Guayedra, Tejeda, Parque Natural Tamadaba, San Felipe (Vagabundo), Agaete.
- Which are your favourite outdoor activities on Gran Canaria and why is it the perfect place for these activities?
Trail running and hiking (infinite places of the island) Sprinting up and down the sand dunes in Maspalomas ☺I have many friends here that do bouldering and climbing, which should be really fun on the island. I have not tried myself due to injury prevention.Surfing, Volleyball @ Las Canteras, Slackline,
Swimming, snorkeling and paddle surfing at La Barra when its low tide! Gotta love it!The beautiful thing is that the island is small and you can group many different activities into a single week or even day! When the surf is comme ci comme ça, there are always different options to explore at a relatively close distance.
- If you would have to describe your life on Gran Canaria with 5 words only – which words would it be?