Fuerteventura South Island Tour
The wide expanses of sand, blue seas and warm climate make the southern area of Fuerteventura an ideal place for both relaxation and watersports. The fabulous beaches of the south are the main attraction for holiday makers, and the east coast here is lined with plenty of obliging hotels and resorts. The jagged ridge of mountains, which run down the southern peninsular provide protection from prevailing winds, creating a windward (west) and leeward (east) side.
Pájara is a town and municipality in the western hills of the south. One of the oldest towns on Fuerteventura it has many interesting historical features and good colonial architecture.
The Church of our Lady Regla (Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de Regla), in the centre of town was built some time around 1687. It is believed that the pink sandstone carvings around the doorway are Aztec inspired. Inside there are two large ornate baroque altars worth seeing. There are also several highly decorative retablos (devotional paintings) that can be illuminated with a coin.
The leafy plaza around the church is a local meeting place, with several good bars and restaurants. The traditional donkey drawn water wheel, in the centre of the square, can be seen in action during the town fiesta (Fiesta de Nuestra Señora de Regla), in August, which lasts a full 15 days.
The municipality or Pajara is the largest in the Canary Islands. It receives more than its fare share of year-round sunshine and higher than average temperatures compared to the rest of the island.
Ajuy Caves & Volcanic Beach
Ajuy is a small fishing village on the west coast, known for its black volcanic sands and interesting cave formations. The area was declared a natural monument in 1994 and is situated in the municipality of Pajara.
Below the village is a sweep of beautiful black sand, backed by jagged volcanic rocks. The sea here is not suitable for swimming due to the dangerous waves and strong currents. However, the beach is a nice place to relax and there are a couple of small seafood restaurants in the village serving locally caught fish.
The main attraction for visitor are the caves (Cuevas de Ajuy), which have been formed in the cliffs by constant wind and sea erosion over the centuries. To reach the caves you will need to traverse a rugged coastal path accessed from the north of beach. The path is quite rocky so wear appropriate footwear. Also don't forget to bring a camera, as there are several spectacular viewing points along the way to the caves.
The area is of great paleontological and archeological significance and some of the oldest artifacts on the island have been found here, including many interesting marine fossils. The cliffs were once an important source of limestone and also syenite rock used for cobblestones, which can still be seen in use on the streets of several Canarian towns.
Ajuy can be reached by car along the FV-621, and there is free parking near the beach. The beach and caves are also a popular stop on many south island day tours.
This small village with an ancient Moorish appearance is located at the southern heart of the island. The largest town in the municipality is Gran Tarajal, on the south coast. It is noted for its delicious goat's cheese and tomatoes, which are grown in fincas all around the town. The altarpiece of the parish church has paintings of the Battle of Tamacita (1740), when the locals defeated English pirates. An event is that commemorated annually on 13th October.
The second largest town on the island and port is located just 30 mins from the airport. Gran Tarajal lies in tamarisk country, from whence it got its name (tarajal = tamarisk). It is a typical Spanish town bounded by hills on three sides, giving shelter from the cooling trade winds. There is a large safe beach and a pleasant marina.
A coastal town located at the southeast of the island. Like many of the resorts of Fuerteventura it began life as a humble fishing community, although it has not grown too large, and retains much of its a heritage and charm. It has a fine promenade and beach. Nearby is La Entallada Lighthouse.
Situated in a wide valley lined with palm trees and edged with a sheltered sweeping cove of fine black sands. For those wishing to stay it has a wide range of modern hotels and facilities. The beach is backed by a long wide promenade.
A modern resort-town of 1970s origin, located towards the south on the narrowest part of the island. Built around a small village it enjoys a cooler micro-climate brought by the prevailing northwesterly winds. It comprises a strip of seaward facing hotel complexes fronted by impressive golden beaches backed by a green corridor, affording a pleasant area for walks. The warm sunshine and clear calm waters provide an enjoyable relaxing holiday experience. The town marks the start of a 7 mile (12km) stretch of unbroken sandy beach that is popular with windsurfers and other watersports enthusiasts.
Weekly markets are held on Sunday and Wednesday.
Towards the far south the island narrows at the Pared Isthmus, before widening again to form the Jandía Peninsula. The peninsula was originally a separate island but constant sand drifts have gradually filled the land in between. Jandía boasts over 30 miles (50km) of white sandy beaches and is home to a wildlife park.
Jandia National Park and Beach
Fuerteventura's tallest peak, the 2,648ft (807m) high Pico de la Zarza extinct volcano is located here. Local fiestas include 16th Jul at Morro Jable and the last Saturday in Jul at La Pared de Jandía.
Along the eastern shore is Playa de Sotavento (leeward beach) which boasts 17 miles (28km) of golden sands. The coast here is protected from the worst of the prevailing winds making this area a windsurfers' and kitesurfers' paradise. The World Windsurfing Championships are held here annually. South of Sotavento is the Jandía Playa resort and further down to Morro del Jable.
Once a humble fishing village it has grown to become an important tourist destination, popular with north Europeans. As the main town, it has a pleasant promenade, bars and restaurants and a sheltered harbour.
Fred Olsen Ferry Waiting in Morro Jable Harbour
The town has now grown so much it has now merged with nearby Jandía, which together create one of the largest resort areas on the island. This popular coastal area has a fine promenade, two plazas, a park and a large pedestrian thoroughfare. Visitors will find a comprehensive range of accommodation, and good sport and leisure services. To the west of the town is a lovely little harbour with a turtle nursery.
A large purpose built tourist resort with spectacular beaches, plus first class accommodation and hotels. The resort has a wide variety of bars, restaurants, a golf course and a medical centre. Weekly markets are held on Monday and Thursday. Excellent retail facilities are available at the three level 'Cosmo' shopping centre, towards the south end of the resort.
Jandía National Park
A protected nature reserve that covers a large section of the peninsular. It mainly comprises a barren mountainous expanse, strewn with volcanic rocks and spiky cactus. Its edges gently slope down to the sea, terminated by fine white sandy beaches. There is so little vegetation here that even the goats struggle to survive.
This beautiful conservation nature reserve covers over 800000 m2 of parkland with botanical gardens providing shelter and protection for thousands of exotic animals. There are regular live shows and performances where you can observe sea lions, birds of prey and reptiles. Open daily. Free shuttle busses pick up at various resorts around the island.
Located in an isolated spot on the south west coast is the small village of Cofete; set in an arid barren landscape, surrounded by grey rugged mountains.
During the 1930s a german engineer called 'Gustav Winter' built an unusual dwelling here - now called the Villa Winter. The area is steeped in mystery and plenty of rumours abound about what went on here during the second world war. According to unsubstantiated local lore, German submarine crews used to sneak ashore here during World War II for rest and recreation.
Below the town is the broad golden sandy sweep of Playa de Cofete and Playa de Barlovento, which are extremely beautiful but very windy, with dangerous undercurrents - not suitable for swimmers.