Your guide to Fuerteventura
Fuerteventura is found in the blue waters of the Atlantic just 60 miles from the western edges of the Sahara Desert. The closest of the Canary Islands to Africa, Fuerteventura lies at the same latitude as Mexico and Florida, and as such is the lucky recipient of 3,00 hours of sunshine per year. Combine this wonderful weather with a coastline that draws in the crowds with more than 150 beautiful beaches, as well as a stunning volcanic interior and you have one of the finest destinations for a holiday no matter the season.
Image by edwin.hoek, used under Creative Commons license (CC BY SA 2.0)
Fuerteventura is an ever-popular hub for holiday makers as the island provides anyone who stays there with a rewarding holiday. With the resort town of Corralejo at the northern tip of the island and Morro Jable at the southern one; the otherworldly landscapes inland; tranquil sheltered coves; and plenty of windy shores ideal for watersports, the island packs a lot into its small size.
Despite being the second largest of the Canaries (after Tenerife) it is only the fourth largest in terms of population size. This gives the island a less developed feel compared to the smaller and more populous island of Lanzarote, which is only a 15-minute boat ride to the north, and you’re more than likely to find a stretch of white sandy beach all to yourself.
Image by sebaso, used under Creative Commons license (CC BY SA 2.0)
For such a relatively compact island, there’s a lot of variety when it comes to Fuerteventura’s resorts. The most well-known resort town on the island is in the north at Corralejo. It is also the largest, and is replete with villas and self-catering accommodation perfect for any visitor. The area around the harbour is home to several seafood restaurants serving the freshest fish, and is a popular haunt for locals and tourists alike. If it’s shopping you’re after, head to Las Palmeras, the main retail hub in the area. Located there are shops selling everything from fashion to gifts for friends and family back home.
Along the eastern coastline down from Corralejo are several small resorts as well as secluded bays with calm waters just right for a swim. The main beaches in the area include Flag Beach, Glass Beach and the beach at Corralejo town. They’re all clean, safe and family-friendly.
Venture further inland past the sandy shores and shiny hotels and you’ll encounter a miniature extension of the nearby Sahara, with the sand dunes and desert vistas. This area comprises the Corralejo Nature Reserve and feels a world away from the nearby coast.
Past Corralejo and across the waters to the east you’ll find the Isla de Lobos. Lying between Fuerteventura and Lanzarote, the island makes a refreshing day trip for holidaymakers. Hop across the narrow channel and learn about the flora and fauna of the Canaries at this peaceful and picturesque protected wildlife preserve. The island’s main beach at Caleta de la Rasca boasts some of the clearest waters in all the Canaries. There’s also a small restaurant nearby to round off an excursion.
A charming small fishing village, El Cotillo is one of the best places in Fuerteventura to call in at to experience real Canarian life. With a number of quality eateries, the reputation of the village for good food is growing, making it one of the best on the island for anyone who savours mealtimes as much as they do relaxation.
Thanks to its position on the west coast, the area around El Cotillo spoils watersports enthusiasts with superlative conditions for surfing and wind surfing anywhere on the island. This is especially true at local beaches Playa del Castillo and Playa del Águila. The area is also markedly less developed than other parts of Fuerteventura, proffering a pleasing blend of things to do and peace and quiet.
Located on the sandy isthmus known as Istmo de la Pared that separates the main part of Fuerteventura with the mountainous Jandía peninsula, Costa Calma is blessed with some of the finest beaches and bluest seas on the island. Originally known as the small village of Cañada Del Rio, the resort was developed to have as minimal an impact on the surrounding landscape as possible. Costa Calma rewards you with a long, well-kept beach that leads into the gently lapping waters. With a range of villas to choose from, the area is growing in popularity as is the list of facilities available.
The resort also benefits from being right next door to the Jandía National Park that makes up the rest of the peninsula. The park contains Fuerteventura’s highest mountain, Mount Jandia, and presents lots of opportunities for hikes through its dramatic landscape.
Caleta de Fuste
Lying a short 10-minute drive from the airport on the east coast is Caleta de Fuste. This purpose-built resort town is one of the most genteel on the island and is infused with a delightfully laid back vibe, though it doesn’t lack quality bars and restaurants or other amenities either. The resort’s scenic cove is in fact man-made, not that you would be able to tell when you see its flawless setting on the shore.
Golfing in Fuerteventura
There are more golf courses in Fuerteventura than you can shake a club at, with the sport being one of the favourite pastimes of visitors and locals alike. The Fuerteventura Golf Club is one of the best, which can be attributed to its well-maintained 18 holes and beautiful ocean views. This course in Caleta de Fuste is ideally situated right next door to some of the best holiday rentals on the island. It’s also a former host of the Spanish Open, so you can be assured of its quality.
Las Playitas another sublime golf club. This scenic course has several waterways, transforming into a challenging green for any golfer regardless of their handicap. There is also a superb 9-hole course in Corralejo which is surrounded by holiday rentals, a viable and enticing option if you’re looking for a golfing holiday.
Things to do for kids
There’s no shortage of great bars, delicious restaurants and mellow beaches for grownups to have the perfect break on the island, but Fuerteventura comes into its own with its child-friendly and family-friendly activities.
With lots of things to keep kids of all ages entertained, you’ll have no worries about the little ones getting bored. Take them to Crazy Golf at the Baku Waterpark in Corralejo, or just let them run wild in the waterpark itself. If they fancy something a little faster paced, then there’s go karting available in the island’s capital, Puerto del Rosario. There’s also a horse riding school for equestrian-minded children. Alternatively, just let them have fun on one of the long beaches on the island.
Fuerteventura is well known as one of the best destinations out there for watersports. The coastline is varied, with peaceful bays for easy relaxation and more blustery stretches that serve up some fantastic waves. It’s no coincidence that the island has been home of the Windsurfing World Championship for the past 30 years!
The consistent wind speeds on the island create excellent conditions for windsurfing, surfing, and paragliding. With equipment hire available in most of the towns and resorts, you can make your holiday as you like.
Thanks to the crystal-clear waters surrounding the island is also a handy place to try your hand at some snorkelling or scuba diving. The diverse marine life of the Canaries is even more impressive up close, and exploring the environment in the warm waters is immensely invigorating. There are PADI instructors in Caleta de Fuste and Corralejo, and snorkelling equipment is available for hire across Fuerteventura.
The northern trade winds in the seas around Fuerteventura provide fine conditions for sailing as well, and by taking a sailing trip you have the chance to see the marine mammals that live in the waters. There are yachts available for chartering from the harbour in Corralejo.
No matter what type of holiday you want, you are likely to find it on this inviting Canary Island. If you’ve never been to Fuerteventura before, then it’s time to start planning your adventure!
By Arianne Fabrice, a travel journalist who specialises in the popular resort destinations in and around Europe. Having worked for some of Paris’ premium travel mags, she’s recently moved into English-language publications.