Estepona announces the building of a new hospital

Marbella has often been seen as the centre of the Costa del Sol and had the lion’s share of facilities, including the main hospital for the region. However, this is changing, with towns such as Estepona on the Western Costa del Sol developing amazing amenities, restaurants and shopping to rival Marbella.

Estepona has pretty streets, lots of charm and great wide beaches. It already has some lovely shopping on the pedestrianised Calle Mar and scattered around the town, with lots of the big brands, plus independent shops. There are also plans to build a shopping centre and cinema right in the centre, which be a big boost for the area.

The latest development is that a new hospital has finally been given the official go ahead and they are starting the tendering process. This is a great result for the residents of the western Costa del Sol who have had a 40km journey to the nearest public hospital. This impressive modern hospital will be built within two years and will have A&E, surgical wing, areas for women and children and much more.

This final piece of the puzzle will add to the already great changes that Estepona has seen over the last five years. Its Old Town has been transformed with coloured pots and lovely squares to explore, everything is clean, neat, tidy and very welcoming. They have added huge murals around the town, as well as a new botanical garden which has a wonderful collection of orchids, not to mention a huge indoor waterfall, and it’s a joy to stroll down the long sea front promenade.

The restaurants and bars are excellent, with a great atmosphere in the beachfront restaurants, in the pretty squares or streets with cafes and restaurants spilling out onto the pavement. The area is becoming very desirable, yet prices for long term rentals in Estepona are still significantly below those of Marbella, so it’s an excellent option if you’re looking to relocate to the Costa del Sol.

We have a great value two bedroom long term rental apartment which is just ten minutes from the centre of Estepona and a short stroll to a golf and country club. The luxury commercial centre of Laguna Village with its excellent restaurants is nearby too. You can get two bedrooms, two bathrooms, two terraces, a large lounge and dining area, a well equipped kitchen, and access to a shared garden and pool for just 550€ per month.

If you would like to live in Estepona, but aren’t ready to buy, long term rental is an excellent choice. Please contact us to find out more.   

Valentine’s Activities on the Costa del Sol

Valentine’s Activities on the Costa del Sol

It’s February, so all thoughts turn to romance and celebrating the love of your life, but if you’re in a new country it can be hard to know what to do and where to go. Never fear, we’re here to help to make living on the Costa del Sol fantastic, so we’ve picked some top activities for families, couples and singles to help you have a great day no matter what!

This year Valentine’s falls on a Tuesday, so many places are running special romantic meal deals for the week of the 10th to the 19th of February. This includes 2 weekends, as well as a whole week, so it’s much more flexible than normal.

For the big spenders or those who want to make this year one to remember

If you’re thinking of popping the question, or you’re celebrating a milestone anniversary, how about two nights in a luxury hotel, with pampering, amazing food and stunning surroundings?

The most historic and iconic Costa del Sol hotel has to be the Marbella Club, and they are offering an amazing package including champagne buffet breakfasts, a gourmet dinner, spa treatment and unlimited golf for the Valentine’s period.  Find out more

A little further along the coast is the Kempinski Hotel Bahia, the only 5* Grande Luxe hotel in the Estepona area. They are also doing a wonderful Valentine’s package, including luxurious accommodation, a romantic 5-course dinner, champagne in your room and use of the spa and fitness centre, which would be a very special way to say I love you.

For Love birds

The Beach House is a lovely restaurant right on the beach in Elviria, with great food and a lovely atmosphere. They are holding a special Masquerade Dinner & Dance on Valentine’s Day itself, including a 5 course menu and champagne cocktail.

The Urban Villa is a stunning boutique hotel in the hills behind Marbella, with breath taking views. They have created a lovely four course menu including marinated salmon with a pink pepper and dill dressing, confit cod and mascarpone with red fruits, which is 35€ per person including a half bottle of wine.

The Kempinski Hotel Bahia has a special couple’s Valentine’s spa treatment in their amazing Aqua Suite, with 2 treatment beds and a private Jacuzzi. The therapists will pamper you with an exquisite 50-minute massage and then you will sip champagne in the Jacuzzi together, for a relaxing and totally romantic treat.

For the singles & newbies

Social group Marbella Buddies are putting on a fun event on the 11th which is a NON Valentine’s Dinner, where you can meet new people, enjoy a great meal and dance to a DJ, without needing to have that special someone, or know anyone at all!

Spectrum Love are holding a special event on Monday the 13th of February at Laguna Village near Estepona for people looking for that special someone. It’s amazing value, for 15€ including dinner, gifts and activities to help you meet new people, have a great evening and maybe find love!

For the families

This is a tricky day for those with kids – you either need to splurge on a babysitter (if you can find one) so you can go out, try to do something at home when the kids are finally in bed or just forget about it all together! Mundo Mania family entertainment centre in Cancelada have come up with a solution and are putting on a special after school event, where the kids can play in the soft play and be entertained with face painters, a magician and games. Meanwhile, adults can sample the special set menus in their lovely café area and spend some quality time with their other half. Perfect! Find out more

We hope you have a great Valentine’s Day, no matter what you’re planning! If you want any advice about living here or finding that perfect Costa del Sol Long Term Rental please get in touch. We love life here and have all got years of experience with helping people to relocate, find a great home and make the most of living here, so get in touch and see how we can help. 

Living and Working on the Costa del Sol in 2017

Living and Working on the Costa del Sol

If you’re dreaming of relocating to the Costa del Sol in 2017, go ahead and take the plunge – January is a great time to start putting a plan into action and it looks like 2017 is going to be a great year for Spain. The economy is expected to grow well above the Eurozone average, an impressive 2.5% in 2017. Growth forecasts also include the creation of 500,000 new jobs, and there are schemes to support people to set up their own businesses and thrive.

There’s plenty of support out there for new businesses and a great place to start is to visit one of the CADE offices on the Costa del Sol. CADE is a government funded organisation which offers help for entrepreneurs, from helping with business planning, funding and grants. The CADE Marbella office is set up with foreigners in mind, the staff speak many languages and can help you through the first stages of setting up a business here in Spain.

Another great way to start is to visit some of the networking meetings which take place along the coast. These meetings bring you into contact with fellow business people, allow you to meet new clients, build partnerships and also to pick established entrepreneur’s brains and find out what the reality of running a business on the Costa del Sol really is. We believe that Andalucia is a great place to work but it does have some unique challenges, so do your research, reach out to other entrepreneurs and seek help from organisations such as CADE.

One of the exciting new trends for entrepreneurs which makes starting a new business easier is coworking – shared office spaces which offer new businesses an affordable way to start up, with great facilities and opportunities for development, training and networking. A few coworking spaces opened in Malaga in 2016, and a new coworking brand is launching in Marbella next month. Our//Space Marbella promises to give new businesses an inspirational and highly designed work space, amazing facilities and lots of added benefits such as fitness, training and development sessions, as well as regular social events and networking. They are launching with a free 30-day trial, so anyone can see what coworking can do for them. Coworking will be a growing trend on the Costa del Sol in 2017 which will really help new businesses flourish.

To get yourself settled on the Costa del Sol and make life in the sun work for you, we’d suggest taking it slow and steady and not over-committing yourself. Start by finding a long term rental property, as these are very affordable and flexible, so you can change locations or property types depending on the needs of your new business and cash flow. Think carefully about your location, as well as your budget when choosing the best property. If your business will involve foreign travel, or be linked to the UK, then a location close to Malaga airport such as Benalmadena is a great option. This two bedroom Benalmadena long term rental apartment close to the marina could be a perfect base.

We have plenty of information about living in Spain on our website, and our experienced long term rental specialists are here to help find you the perfect property, and offer advice on locations depending on your needs. Let 2017 be the year that you make your dream of relocating to the Costa del Sol come true – we’re here to help!

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays

From all the team at HomeCareontheWeb, HolidayRentalontheWeb and HomeRentalontheWeb, we would like to wish you a very Happy Holidays and a wonderful 2017.

As this is the time for giving, we’re delighted to be supporting a local homeless project by buying socks and boxer shorts to give them and baking some delicious treats for their Christmas lunch. We are also helping the A.C.E Animal charity, buying food for the animals to make sure they have a very Merry Christmas too.

This has been a great year for our company and we hope we can help you next year if you want to rent out your property and have it managed, or find a brilliant holiday home or long term rental on the Costa del Sol.

We will be open throughout the festive period Monday to Friday except the Bank Holidays on the 26th of December, and the 2nd and the 6th of January.

¡Felices Fiestas – Happy Holidays!

Gardening Tips for the Costa del Sol

Gardening Tips for the Costa del Sol

We are so lucky to live on the Costa del Sol, as the amazing climate means that, with a little bit of attention and careful watering, you can have a beautiful and productive garden. Even a sunny terrace or patio can be pepped up with pots with herbs, flowers and fruit trees and they really help to keep things cooler as well. If you’re renting long term and still want to create some lovely green areas, by using pots you can just pick them up and move them with you if you decide to change your property.

Back in July we spoke about the joy of growing your own and we’d really recommend it if you can. If you have kids, they will love getting involved in planting things and watching them grow. We’d recommend growing cucumbers from seed, they are so quick to grow and bear fruit that they are perfect for little ones to get involved in and start taking an interest in eating the fruits of your labour too. We’d also recommend strawberry plants and cut and come again lettuce which are really easy to grow, delicious and encourage kids to eat more healthily.

Having plants and flowers not only gives us lots of joy and delicious produce, but also provides homes and food sources for insects, bees and birds. The RSPB recently gave some excellent advice about other ways that we can help birds and butterflies and coax them into our gardens to put on a show for us.

  • Butterflies love to eat mashed banana, so put a little container around chest height amongst the garden foliage to attract beautiful butterflies and give them an energy boost.
  • Attract the birds with a birdbath and/or bird feeder and offer up nuts, seeds, dried fruit and oats so they can come and have a wash and a snack.
  • You can also buy or make insect homes, which will attract insects that can help control pests in the garden, which can save us a fortune in pesticides and are a lot better for the environment of course.

There’s loads of great information and ideas in the give nature a home page on the RSPB website.

If you want a long term rental on the Costa del Sol with a garden, or a south facing patio which you can turn into a lovely green space then let us know. We have a great range of villas, townhouses and apartments with outdoor space to bring you into contact with nature.

Integrating into life on the Costa del Sol

Costa del Sol Integration

If you’re renting long term on the Costa del Sol, or own a property here, then you want to fit in and integrate into the community. This is important if you plan to build a life here for yourself and your family.

Now of course, one reason why we love the Costa del Sol is how international it is, and there are plenty of strong foreign communities which will welcome you with open arms while you find your feet. However, if you really want to call the place home and get all the benefits of living in Spain, then we recommend doing your best to fully integrate into the Spanish community as well.

One of the best ways to do this is learning the lingo and back in January, we gave you some great tips on how to learn Spanish and have loads of posts with useful Spanish phrases and vocabulary so check it out. So if you’ve been meaning to start learning, get yourself into a class, or start learning online – there’s no time like the present!

However, it’s important to note that integration doesn’t start and stop with the language, it’s about your attitude to the area and your willingness to get stuck in. If you have a young child, take the plunge and put them in the local Spanish primary school, you will give them the gift of being bilingual and understanding this wonderful place like a native and they can help you lots as they grow up! Don’t get us wrong, this isn’t easy if your Spanish isn’t strong, but it gives you a great motivation to learn, and an opportunity to meet lots of people and start a social circle in Spanish, plus it really is an amazing thing to do for your child.

If you don’t have a child, another great way is to join the local municipal gym and do exercise classes. It’s the cheapest way to get fit and you will start to recognise faces and say hello to people in your neighbourhood, without needing to speak to them too much until you’re ready. This is a great starting point for integration, as a few friendly faces go a long way.

Another top tip is to keep an eye on your posters in your local Town Hall offices, or Facebook pages. These will tell you what’s going on, which is not always easy to know when you first move. Ask your foreign residents office to put you on their mailing list too, so you’re informed. Once you know, you can join in with the great community events and start to become a real part of your area.

This can all feel a little bit scary at first, and integration doesn’t happen overnight, but little by little you will start to feel accepted and comfortable in your community and once this happens you will stay the course and really call the Costa del Sol home. We have lots of useful information on living in Spain on our website to help you get started and a great range of Costa del Sol long term rentals so we can help you make life here a reality. Please let us know if we can help!

Andalucia is a great place to work

Andalucia is a great place to work

Relocating to the Costa del Sol is a dream for many, and Andalucia is the third most popular place for those from abroad to work in Spain. Living and working on the Costa del Sol offers amazing lifestyle benefits for expats such as great climate, more relaxed way of life, access to amazing sports facilities and a brilliant family life. According to a report from the Ministry of Employment and Social Security released in August, at the end of July there were 189,802 non-Spanish workers paying into the system, a nearly 5% increase compared to last year.

The increase is no surprise, as the economic outlook continues to improve in Spain, the real estate market is starting to really boom again and this is driving employment and positivity in many different fields. There has been a marked increase of job opportunities being advertised, particularly in the real estate and hospitality sectors. If you’re interested in checking out job opportunities and researching into working on the Costa del Sol, read our article about working on the Costa del Sol, where we have links to papers which have good job sections, forums and recruitment agencies to make things easier.

However, be prepared for a shock when you look at salaries, they could be a lot lower than you’re used to at home. Don’t just look at the salary figures though, work out what your living costs will be and then see what you will have in your pocket at the end of the month, you may be surprised just how well off you feel, even taking a drop in salary. It’s also amazing what a great life you can have here and spend very little; this is definitely not just a numbers game!

We are passionate believers in the quality of life on the Costa del Sol and help thousands of people each year to relocate by offering them affordable long term rental properties and plenty of advice and on the ground expertise. We have all lived here for a long time and so have probably been through what you’re going through and we love it here. Check out our 7 reasons why expats love the Costa del Sol we hope it will inspire you to take the plunge.

It’s a good idea to try before you buy and rent long term before putting a foot on the property ladder. This enables you to try a few different areas and be flexible enough to chop and change if job opportunities or schools take you to a new area. With long term rentals starting at just 400€ per month here and the rental market in the UK being so strong, you can probably rent out your current property and rake in a tidy profit compared to renting here. This not only gives you some income, it also makes the move less daunting, as you still have a property back home and can always go back if your situation changes.

We have lots of great information about living in Spain on our website, including the vital things to know about healthcare, education and learning the language, so please have a browse. If you like the sound of life here, get in touch with us and find out how we can help make it happen!

Advice for going Back to School on the Costa del Sol

Back To School

It’s September and those of us lucky enough to live on the Costa del Sol can enjoy beautiful sunny days and warm nights, without the crowds – it’s one of our favourite times of year. However, it is also the time when reality returns, the kids head back to school and work begins again in earnest, so we wanted to give you some advice to manage the back to school rush.

The International Schools head back earlier, starting around the 1st or 5th of September, but the Spanish schools take longer to return, with most starting around the 12th of September.

If your child goes to a Spanish school, or will be starting this year, don’t be alarmed not to have received any information. It’s quite normal to wait until the beginning of September to know anything at all, something which causes a lot of nerves for international parents. The teachers arrive back at the beginning of the month and then a few days later you can expect to see pieces of paper outside the school gates telling you things like start times, parents’ meetings and book lists. The book shop closest to the school, may already know what books are required, so go and ask them if you want to get ahead of the game. It’s also a good idea to find your school’s AMPA (PTA) on Facebook, as they often post the important information so you don’t have to be at the gates every day.

For parents of 3 year olds starting Spanish school for the first time, you need to be prepared for shorter hours for the first week at least. They try to ease the kids in gently with just a few hours the first day, increasing it gradually over the first week. Some schools take this even further into the first month, which is tough for working parents, but works well for children who have never been away from home before. Make sure you ask as soon as you can so you can make arrangements.

There will normally be a parents’ meeting the week before the start of school, or a few days ahead of the start date. This is an important meeting as you will meet the teacher, be given book lists and information about what the children will be studying that term. The date and time for this will normally be posted in front of the school, so keep your eye out from the beginning of September.

At this meeting they will also tell you how much money you need to pay for materials for the year if you have younger kids, normally between 20 and 50€. You will be informed about a bank account to pay this into and this money enables the teachers to do their projects, decorate the classrooms and generally make the year more interesting for the kids.

Ask if there is a class What’s App group and make sure they have your number, as this is an excellent source of information throughout the year, even if your Spanish isn’t that great. There are often days which spring up when the kids have to dress up, or bring something in and if your child isn’t very good at giving you the bits of paper they come home with, this is a very important resource!

Reach out to the class representatives and any other non-Spanish parents and try to make connections, even if it’s just to say that your Spanish isn’t very good. If you show yourself to be approachable, you will have better chance of making friends, as well as getting people that you can ask if you’re not sure about anything.

This is a stressful and expensive time of year for parents, especially if it’s a new school, but don’t worry, you and your kids will soon get into the swing of things. Just know that most parents haven’t got a clue what’s going on either, so you can be clueless together. Ask your child and hopefully they will help you though it!

Have a great term! You can find more useful information about healthcare, language learning and education on the Costa del Sol on our website and we can help you settle in to your new life here, providing quality long term rental properties and lots of practical advice from experts who have been through it all themselves.

Schools on the Costa del Sol

Schools in Marbella

Here in Spain we are in our final month of the very long school summer holidays, which begin around the 20th of June and end around the 10th of September and preparations for the new school term are beginning, so we thought it would be a good time to look at the education options for international families living on the Costa del Sol.

The first one is the Spanish state system, which is a free and a great idea for young children to allow them to become bilingual and really embrace the culture of their adopted countries. People often worry that the children won’t be able to cope with the change or the language, but our experience is that children under the age of 6 are super-flexible and take everything in their stride, between 6 and 8 more is required of them at school so they may need some extra help, but can still do it with support. Older than that it is tricky f them, but not impossible if you are all committed.

Please note that the normal admissions period for the September start is between the 1st and the 31st of March each year, so if you wish your kids to start next September you need to get prepared early! Here’s the Junta de Andalucia Education website with all the information you need. If you need your child to start mid school year, it is possible, but it depends on available places, so you’ll have to go and visit your local schools and find out the options.

When you’re making a decision, what we would suggest is that you consider yourself as a parent and how you would cope with the education system in a foreign language first, as this tends to be more of an issue than the kids. You need to have a pretty good level of Spanish, or be committed to developing the language fast in order to be able to handle it. If you can manage it, your kids will be able to, and for both parents and kids, it’s a brilliant way to integrate yourself into the community.

If your Spanish isn’t at a high enough level, you have older children, or your move to Spain may be temporary then the international school system would be better for you and there are loads of really great options here. There are over 20 international schools here which follow different curriculums including UK, German, Swedish and the International Baccalaureate. There are also a number of bi-lingual schools, which can be an excellent option if you want to make sure your child develops Spanish.

Here’s a list of some of the best known International Schools on the Costa del Sol and we’re lucky in that here the costs of private education are a lot lower than in the UK or elsewhere, so it can be an affordable option. As there are so many options, we’d suggest touring the schools closest to you, arranging meetings with the head and then putting your child in for a trial day with your favourites. This will give the whole family the most information possible and allow you to make the right decision for you. These schools are very flexible with when you start at the school and the applications process is shorter and less complicated than the state system and of course you are doing it in your native language, so it’s a lot easier. However, now that the economy is improving, the international schools have all seen a big increase in admissions, so there may not be spaces in all, so be prepared.

The Costa del Sol is a wonderful place for bringing up a family, with a wonderful lifestyle, great access to sports and outdoor activities, the chance to learn a new language and grow up in a place where they love kids. If you want to try out the lifestyle for a year and see how the family settles in, then renting long term on the Costa del Sol and trying an International School for an academic year is a great option.

We are here to help you find the perfect long term rental property and support you with our local knowledge. Browse our website for information on living in Spain as well as information about renting long term and of course an excellent selection of long term rental properties on the Costa del Sol, or contact us for any advice or information you need to make the move.

Growing your own on the Costa del Sol

Growing your own on the Costa del Sol

Southern Spain is a paradise for keen gardeners, with an amazing climate in which almost anything will grow! You can grow your own fruit, veg and herbs, even if you just have a window box or a terrace, but obviously you’ll have some limitations in terms of what you can have.

There’s an ever increasing interest from people around the Costa del Sol to grow their own, and so organizations and Town Halls are responding by providing allotments for the community.

Arboretum Foundation has launched a new project for Marbella, 70 more organic urban allotments which will encourage sustainable development and bring together the community. This will take the total up to 100 allotments in total, which have been snapped up by keen gardeners in the area.

In May, work began in Casares Costa to create 200 100m2 plots for residents of the area. These plots are particularly designed for retired, unemployed or low income families or individuals to help them to put food on the table.

There are similar projects running in Mijas and in addition to allotments provided by the Town Hall and community groups, it is often possible to rent small pieces of land to grow your own. Speak to your local Town Hall or community group to find out what the options are in your area. If you draw a blank, then why not speak to the owners in your community and find out if they’d be up for creating a community garden in your urbanisation. It’s a great way to bring everyone together and to produce delicious, seasonal, organic fruit and veg.

If you love gardening, tell us when you’re searching for your long term rental and we’ll try and find you a property with a garden, or land. Most villas have decent gardens, many of which have fruit trees and with the permission from the landlord you can create a small veg patch. It’s also amazing what you can grow in pots on a sunny terrace; salad leaves, tomatoes, chillies, cucumber and more can all be very productive in pots if they are well looked after.

If space is important to you, then look further inland around Istan, Ojen and Coin for properties with large plots. Please tell us when you start your search, as we may have to cast our net a little wider than normal if you want a plot to cultivate. However, if you want to make sure that the work you do doesn’t get lost when you move, then an allotment can be a great choice which can keep your long term rental search more flexible and give you more options for locations and property types.

Take a look at our Costa del Sol long term rental properties on our website, or drop us an email with your requirements and we’ll try and find you that perfect place.