The vast expance of sand dunes and long beaches in Fuerteventura makes the place an ideal destination for sport and beach lovers like me
If you are looking for an exotic holiday destination that offers every amenity but is a bit off the beaten track, Fuerteventura is a real gem. It is part of the Canary Islands, a Spanish archipelago off the western coast of North Africa. For many people, Fuerteventura is little more than a windy desert just 100 km from Morocco. It is the second largest of the Canary Islands, and its strange contours come from various volcanic episodes taken place seven thousand years ago. It is relatively flat and spartan which means its appeal really, is in its beaches. Windsurfing is a serious business in this island, and many international competitions are held annually. A paradise for surfers indeed! Where there is wind and sand, it is no surprise to find dunes, one of the few topographical features that poke above this simmering sand pit and water sports Mecca.
Corralejo is the city where I picked to stay as it is considered to be the principle tourist resort on the island’s northern tip from where excursions to the neighbouring Island of Lobos and Lanzarote can be made. One of the highlights of the city is the Campanario Square. Every Sunday morning a handicraft bazaar takes place.There are restaurants and cafes in the area with live music. The view from the Campanario Tower is astonishing. The whole town spreads to all four sides beneath.
Heading towards the main street and shopping area I find large supermarkets, smaller ones, bars and cafes right by the beach. The town’s beach is picturesque with a number of restaurants overlooking the bay, and in a short distance, the harbour and at the background the Island of Lobos (2 miles) off shore.
Getting Around - Car Hire in Corralejo
Hiring a car in Corralejo is like everything else affordable, and really is a must if you plan on exploring the island (www.car-hire-centre.co.uk). Driving is on the right-hand side of the road, and many petrol stations offer manned service – look around before filling the tank yourself.
Police are rigorous in the application of traffic laws, so make sure wearing a seat belt, carry your passport and driving license all the times, do not speed and definitely do not drink and drive.
Fuerteventura Grand Tour (Cost 35 euros) This is the best way to explore the island if you don't have a car.
Zoo Oasis Park (Cost 41 euros). An unforgettable day in this natural paradise. It offers entertaining shows, a walk through the Botanical Gardens, and Camel Safari.
Lanzarote short south tour (Cost 47 euros) only on Tuesday and Saturday. The ferry leaves Corralejo at 10am and returns at 3pm, or 7pm. You have the chance to see two islands in one holiday, do some shopping and see the sights offered.
Exploring the Island by car
If you have a car, departing from Corralejo, you will head along the main road towards the south of the island, passing LA OLIVA to stop at the sacred mountain called ‘TINDAYA”. Next up is a traditional local farm where you have the chance to savour the famous local goat cheese and see the goats in their natural habitat. Visit the former capital of BETANCURIA where time seems to stand still! Explore the city, buy some souvenirs or simply chill out with a drink. A short drive through Betacuria you reach PAJARA, a real green oasis at the foot of the mountains. Visit the tiny Nuestra Senora de la Regla church, with her unique aztek portal. Right outside the town visit the ALOE VERA factory. Finally drive to the south of the island, with its breathtaking views of the world famous beaches between JANDIA and COSTA CALMA. The view is quite simply breathtaking.
Corralejo has several beaches. The small sandy Town Beach, by the port, is handy for keeping the children occupied while parents eat or shop. From here a narrow sandy strip, Playa Galera, follows the bay for some 500m (545 yards) around a small headland to the main beach, Grandes Playas. This is a fabulous broad long soft white stretch of sand reaching for over 7km (4.5 miles). Flag Beach is the place for kite surfing and wind surfing. Opposite, on the other side of the coastal road, is the Parque Natural de las Dunas, virgin white sand dunes covering an area of 27 sq km (10.4 sq miles). Because of the tide however both children and adults should be alert as it can prove to be dangerous even on days with no wind. Most of the people on these beaches are either sunbathing or walking and I can say, this really surprised me.
Where to stay
Aloe Club Resort 2*, Avenida Pedro y Guy Vandaele. I can highly recommend it. The local bus to carry people to the beach stops outside the hotel and this was one of the reasons I booked it. Food was excellent, and the rooms really huge.
I can also recommend another hotel where some friends were staying, and this is Oasis Village 3* hotel, opposite Campanario square. The rooms were huge and it was among exotic gardens. Food was satisfactory. The coach that goes to Oasis Park picks people from this hotel. If money is not a problem, another alternative is to pamper yourself at the spa of the five-star hotel KEMPINSKI ATLANTIS BAHIA (Avenide Grandes Playas) where they use the very latest technologies in health and beauty care. Or choose from one of their three gourmet restaurants offering the finest Japanese, Spanish and Italian cuisine.
Ignore the international style restaurants and fast-food joints on the Avenida Nuestra Señora del Carmen and search out the characterful little restaurants around the port and old town, many serving good quality Spanish and Canarian food.
Bus Station Information: http://www.fuerteventura.com/Ferry/index.shtml For those who don't plan hiring a car, there is always an alternative.
Corralejo Beaches: http://www.fuerteventura.com/Corralejo/corralejo-beaches.shtml