If your looking for warm sandy beaches, clear blue seas and year-round sunshine then Fuerteventura has all this to offer and much more.
Fuerteventura is the second largest of the Canary Islands after Tenerife. Located off the coast of North Africa, on the same latitude as Florida and Mexico, it is 62 miles (100km) long and 19 miles (31km) at its widest point. The tallest peak is Mount Jandia (Pico de la Zarza), at 2,648ft (807m) above sea level.
Like all the islands in the Canarian archipelago, Fuerteventura originated from the result of volcanic activity, where eruptions raised the level of the sea bed and subsequently pushed the land up above the sea. The remains of several volcano like formations can be found all around the island. Fortunately there hasn't been a murmur from these ancient eroded volcanoes for many thousands of years. More dramatic volcanic formations can also be found on the neighbouring islands of Lanzarote and Tenerife.
The island's attractions lie in the beauty of its bare and arid landscape. The coast is lined almost along its entire length by enticing beaches of white sand or low lying volcanic rocks and lagoons. These fine white sands have blown across from the African Sahara, borne on the strong winds that give the island its name, creating an attractive coastline of exquisite beauty.
Towns and Resorts
The major tourist resorts are located along the eastern coast, where both the sea and winds are much calmer. A number of towns can be found inland but most central settlements are just small villages. All of the island is generally warm and sunny but the north is windier and slightly cooler. Popular resort towns in the north include:
Situated on the breezy northern tip of the island, Corralejo is large but pleasant tourist town with a working fishing harbour. A large number package hotels and apartment complexes cater for all tastes and requirements.
The heart of the Corralejo centres along its bustling high street and square with various shops, bars and restaurants. It has a more lively nightlife than most other resorts on the island.
Although the fine white sandy beach in town is not that large, vast golden beaches and mountainous dunes stretch to the south for many miles. The coastal waters here are popular with wind and kite surfers. Read more...
Caleta de Fuste
A popular, fast-growing resort that receives vast numbers of package tourists every year, due to its closeness to the airport. A vast array of hotels and apartments have been built here recently, with more going up each year. There's a good sweep of golden sands with safe shallow bathing. Also a small marina, shopping complex, several lively bars and plenty of good eating places.
Along the seafront an 18th-century fortified dark stone round tower called El Castillo (the castle) guards a pleasant marina and beach complex, with restaurants, bars and watersports facilities. Read more...
Fuerteventura's Best Beaches
Information and Culture
Fuerteventura provides a pleasant warm climate throughout the year. During the winter, temperatures average around 22°C (72°F) to 15°C (59°F), and during the summer from around 28°C (82°F) to 20°C (68°F). There is very little rainfall, at just 6in (14cm) per year, most of which falls during the winter months.
History of Fuerteventura
Due to its lack of natural resource the island was sparsely inhabited until around 500 years ago. It is believed the very first settlers on the island were of North African origin, considering its proximity to the African coast. It was later utilized as an outpost by Phoenician traders for production of purple dies. Yet again later by Moorish peoples. It was not until the 15th century that the Norman Jean de Bethancourt took a serious interest and established the island's first capital at Bentancuria, defeating the indigenous inhabitants called the Majoreros (or Mahos). These stone-age forefathers are the subject of many heroic tales. A monument to two Maho tribal leaders (Guize and Ayose) can be seen at the Morro Velosa viewpoint in Bentancuria Rural Park.
During the days of the Majoreros, the island was divided into two kingdoms. The smaller southerly realm was called Jandia (which is still the present-day name for the southern peninsula) and the larger northern region of Maxorata.
In ancient times Fuerteventura was called Herbania (land of plants) due to its lush vegetation. However, very little lushness remains today and what does grow in the arid soil is usually stripped bare by the wild goats. Occasional oases do exist amid the bare mountain ranges, where you can find groves of palm trees, aloe vera plantations and potato farms. Goats are now a mainstay of animal husbandry and the local goat's cheese is highly rated.
In the 1970s the north of the island developed for tourism and a decade later the south.
The climate of Fuerteventura provides ideal growing conditions for the Aloe Vera plant. There are a number of commercial plantations on the island, many offering factory tours plus samples of the end product. Various products and derivatives, including creams and lotions can be found for sale in many shops. If you wish to purchase some look out for local products with quality ingredients and a high percentage of Aloe. Don't be duped by the cheap stuff, available for sale in many of the tourist shops on the high streets. Genuine vendors should allow you to try a sample before purchase.
The Canary island's are a stop-off point for marine turtles on their journey from America to Africa. There are four main species that visit the islands: the Leatherback, Green Sea Turtle, Hawksbill and the Loggerhead. The latter being the most common. They can reach a size of 3ft (1 meter) across and weigh more than 220lb (100kg). All species of Marine Turtle are on the endangered species list and their coastal nesting sights are protected by law.
The Calima is a dusty sandy wind that sweeps in from North Africa and effects the local agriculture by covering it with fine dust blocking out light and affecting photosynthesis and crop yields. It also affects the local population, especially those suffering with asthma. When it happens visibility is reduced and the neighbouring island of Lanzarote is blotted out from view. The most intense sand storms happen in January and February.
As part of Spain, Fuerteventura enjoys many traditional summer festivals and fiestas. For example, on the third Sunday in September everyone goes in pilgrimage to the hermitage of the Virgen de la Peña, at Vega del Rio de Palmas, near Betancuría.
Museums to Visit in Fuerteventura
The island has much culture and ancient heritage. Most of the large towns and some smaller villages have a cultural museum, where visitors can learn about local history and customs and the past lives of the indigenous population.