We live in Tejeguate (search for it!) on El Hierro and are a family of six, two parents and four children (2006–2012). Our ground is an ecologic regenerative agriculture project (permaculture garden, carbon farming), with many fruit trees in our growing future food-forest-garden.
We also have some animals [hens and ducks 🐔🐣🦆 (all of which have a name), bees 🐝🍯 (not named)], a yoga and gymnastics area which we call playground, because it also has a big climbing frame with swings and a trapeze. And we have a lot of plans and ideas to improve our infrastructure.
We live in wooden houses with two storeys made of Euro pallets and in traditional volcanic stone houses made with local materials (stones and reed, but no clay/adobe/mud and no straw, as we don't have that on our youngest and active volcanic island).
Our plan is to build more volcanic stone houses and finish and beautify the wooden houses for our guests (friends, helpers).
We prefer and then invite you to all meals (5 h daily work) if you’ll be a 𝗟𝗢𝗡𝗚𝗧𝗘𝗥𝗠 helper (minimum 𝗦𝗜𝗫 𝗪𝗘𝗘𝗞𝗦, better 𝗧𝗪𝗢 𝗠𝗢𝗡𝗧𝗛𝗦). Otherwise you’ll have to pay your own food (3 h daily work). We do make exceptions, especially for helpers with wood working skills.
We don’t offer payment.
We are NOT searching for help with the children.
DIY and building projects
Creating/ Cooking family meals
Help around the house
You will learn how to live self-sufficient with minimum resources, how to grow food ecologically, and you will enjoy the very natural and savage island of El Hierro, which is like being sent back in time 50 years (compared to the rest of Europe).
You will learn how we manage living in a big family with four children that are/(were) taught at home (homeschooled) and speak Spanish, German, English and French.
We parents are tourist guides (hiking and cycling) and can show you the island, and can give you a lot of good ideas for trips and special places.
This project could involve children. For more information see our guidelines and tips here.
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We are searching for motivated people, that like + respect our place and our way of living. But critics and ideas on how to improve are always welcome. 😀
Help needed for
• HOUSEHOLD / COOKING (with ingredients from our garden)
• working with wood (at least for oiling and maintaining)
• creative artists/interior designers/architects with ideas how to beautify our houses and surroundings with local materials and paintings.
Our idea is to improve the situation for our visitors: build small houses or huts made of natural volcanic stones (“Pajeros” = traditional form of buildings) or recycled wood. That means also build the roof and the interior (some furniture, doors, windows) and sand + oil the wooden parts.
• cooking (for a lot of people WITH our fruits and vegetables from the garden!),
• cleaning the dishes and kitchen + table,
• hang out the washing to dry,
• buy some stuff in the village (1 km walk, but go uphill 150 m!!),
• carry waste to the waste container.
• seed vegetables (or plant baby plants)
• plant trees (dig deep holes in our soil, which contains many stones and rocks!)
• care for trees (wash off greenflies)
• harvest fruits and vegetables (we tell you where and what)
• irrigate (give water) the garden and trees
Nice to have
And for the children it would be nice (but we don’t need anybody ONLY for that, this is only a bonus)
• to play the boardgame Go/Baduk (oldest board game, with very few and simple rules) or card games with them
• to do some artistic gymnastics (on the floor, parkour) and aerobatics (trapeze, aerial silk) or similar
• to do some language practice
This host offers a language exchange
It would be nice to practice French, Arabic, Russian or Turkish.
🚫🚬🚫 Smoking of tobacco is absolutely forbidden. No exceptions! We have had many bad experiences with smokers. If we find any signs of smoking you will have to leave immediately.
🚫🔥🚫 Open fire is absolutely forbidden (by law! it’ll get expensive if you disobey). Also NO FIRE IN THE HOUSES or tents. But we do make pizzas 🍕 and bread 🍞 with wooden fire in our vulcanic stone oven.
• in one of our cosy wooden cabins (a PRIVATE one for each helper)
• in your tent (← if we are full and you still want to come)
• you can bring your caravan or mobile home
• if you like: sleep under the open sky, for viewing the stars and planets and the milky way (we have almost no mosquitos)
At the moment we have a beautiful but simple composting toilet (arborloo). Our goal is to build a more comfortable one.
The shower for our helpers is open air (in a hidden place).
We produce our own electricity with our very powerful solar powered mini photovoltaic power plant (but ONLY during the day).
Food / Meals
If you help us the requested amount of time, you’ll get all meals for free. But no luxury like coffee, cacao, etc.
We mostly eat vegetarian, even quite a lot vegan. On some very special occasions we eat fish from a friend or from the fisher cooperative on El Hierro.
Most of our food comes from our ecological permaculture garden. But we also are still learning and improving. With time many things became better and we have better harvests. Many new ideas and experiments have lead to bigger fruits, less problems with plant diseases and we even found a solution for the strong wind we sometimes have in winter.
When we buy food, we try to buy regional and ecological food (preferably from El Hierro, or at least Canaries).
We have lunch together every day except for the weekends.
We have a bicycle that you can use. We have no car. Hitchhiking on El Hierro is very easy. The bus («guagua») is cheap, but only circulates 5 times a day. Or rent a motorcycle/motorscooter with two seats: 7 days for 11 €/day.
• 25 minutes to the coast, 35 for safe swimming (linear distance is 1000 meters)
• 60 minutes to the deep green and fresh rainforest
• 20 minutes to the closest convenience store/shop
• 55 minutes to a very good vegetarian restaurant (Joapira) and famous view point
• 20 minutes to the pizzeria (Pomodoro)
• 2,5 hours to the top of the valley with beautiful views (Mirador de Jinama)
Things to do
You will have time to
• hike or cycle through the wonderful landscape of this youngest and active volcanic island
• explore caves (many long and adventurous lava tubes)
• swim and dive (there are a lot of animals in the sea around El Hierro —they like it quiet!)
• and fly (paragliding) if you want.
More details about our island
El Hierro with an extension of 16 × 30 km is the smallest and youngest and therefore most active volcanic island of the Canaries (the island is still growing). As the island is the youngest, it has a lot of steep mountains and a very steep coast. You can take bathes in many of the natural swimming pools at the coast, that were formed by volcanic eruptions and erosion. There are also some fine sand beaches which you can reach by bus, hitchhiking or with rented car. With only 7000 real inhabitants (many more are registered due to cheap taxes and benefits) the island has a lot of untouched nature and quite wilderness with incredibly many beautiful hiking paths. We have wet green forests, and dry forests with enormous Canarian Pine trees and one of the last Juniper forests with many 500 years old Juniper trees (El Sabinar, the symbol of El Hierro). And in contrast to that we also have many recent lava fields of different kind (like on Hawaii, like on Lanzarote, like in Italy, like in Iceland): It is a small island, but it has everything that all the other big Canary Islands have, except for the alpine region (and it has almost no tourism, therefore also no shopping centers, almost no hotels, and only private parties etc.). The island also has one of the highest density of lava tubes and volcanic caves, many of them several kilometers long (6,5 km is the longest).
The Canary Islands are quite close to West Africa (Lanzarote is 90 km to Africa), but the island of El Hierro is the farthest from the African coast, with a distance of 400 km.
Temperatures in Tejeguate are: August 20–25 °C, February 15–20 °C (good sleeping bag and jacket required!!). And the whole year a soft breeze from north east (trade winds). In winter sometimes hot + dry strong winds and even heavy storms (Calima).
In winter **very often** cloudy and **sometimes** a bit of rain or better you call it drizzling because no plants can grow from it. If we have clouds AND wind, it can feel quite cold for us. You need a jacket.
In summer no clouds at all (it feels extremely hot in the direct African sun, bring your hat/sombrero!).
If you want to have exact weather data, search for «Peña de Tejeguate» or simply «Tejeguate» in your weather app, or at Yr.no
There are NO dangerous wild animals on the island. There are no foxes, no snakes, no ticks.
We really recommend (and eat quite a lot at home) the famous cheese of El Hierro: «Queso Herreño», which is a well balanced mixture of goat (=cabra), sheep (=oveja) and cow (=vaca) milk. This cheese has been produced since the 15th century. There are four kinds of it: ahumado, fresco, tierno, curado.
• The best known (and most exported) is the smoked (yellowish) «ahumado».
• There is also the fresh and tender (white) «tierno», matured for 15 days, which is used to make the Quesadilla Herreña.
• Then there is the cured «curado» and semi-dry «semi-curado» (either with a black edge that you cannot eat or with a red pepper edge), which tastes similar to Parmesan cheese – favorite of our children.
• The totally fresh and soft one «fresco» is not sold all the year, but my older son likes this one most.
And we also recommend and love the sweet pastries «Quesadilla» which are ONLY produced on Hierro – every village produces it's own Quesadilla, and all have a slightly different taste and it’s fans.
You should try also a very delicious coffee from only El Hierro, La Palma and Tenerife: «Barraquito especial». I can recommend you some places where they make the best and beautiful ones.
How to get here: You need to arrive to Tenerife (airport TFS or TFN) or Gran Canaria (airport LPA) with airplane or ship and from there use the ferry (2 h) or airplane (40 min + 1 h early arrival at the airport + security check) to El Hierro. Then with the bus to Frontera and then 30 minutes walk to Tejeguate.
• Ferry (boat, ship, ferry): www . navieraarmas . com
• Airplane: www . bintercanarias . com
• Bus: www . transhierro . com → Servicios → Transporte regular
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
We have one of the fastest internet connections in Europe: 300 Mbit/s symmetric optical fibre connection. That means you can download or upload a big video file of 1 Gigabyte (GB) in 26 seconds. Also we have 3000 Watts of solar power, so you can use and charge all your devices all day long (not night) as much as you want to. We have 802.11AC WiFi and Gigabit Ethernet connections. The electricity and WiFi is turned of during the night for a healthy sleeping time without radiation and light.
We have a big parking space, you can wash your car or camper (we have very high water pressure) and you can also clean it inside with our (solar power using) Dyson vacuum cleaner.
More than two
5 hours per day (or 3 h/day without food), 5 days per week
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