Glorious beaches, camels and nudity at Jandia, Fuerteventura

by Barry O Leary

Whether you’re looking for a romantic couple holiday, family break, or fancy getting an all over tan, then Jandia is the perfect Fuerteventura destination

Jandia covers the southwest peninsula of Fuerteventura, only an hour or so from the airport. Years ago, the sea separated Jandia from Fuerteventura, but huge deposits of sand have joined the two and created some of the best beaches in Europe.

On the bus trip down from the airport I was surprised at how bare and dry the island was. When we reached Jandia, the rocky hills turned in to giant sand dunes with tiny white crosses on top. It was just a taster of the amazing views to come.

Esquinzo

This is a delightful spot hidden away from the touristy areas with a few all inclusive hotels dotted along the beach. They have to be all inclusive because there are only a couple of restaurants, try Marabú (Fuente de Hija 2, Esquinzo 928 544098; www.marabu-online.com) for some typical Spanish dishes, including Jamon Serrano, Gazpacho, and Chipirones.

Most hotels offer gyms, kids clubs, evening entertainment, tennis and other sports. The beach is long enough so that you can have your own space, or if you prefer, pay €9 for 2 sun beds with an umbrella for the day. There are a couple of bars and restaurants on the beach and also a windsurfing and catamaran club (Catamaran Robinson Club: 928 168000).

I stayed at Ambar Beach, which I’d definitely recommend. We paid €800 for 12 nights, including the flights (from Spain), and could see the turquoise sea from our double room. The three tropical pools are set out so you can lay back and sunbathe while glancing at the sea. The food was great too. Breakfast: cereal, toast, pate, ham, cheese, and greasy fry ups (not that great). Lunch and dinner: healthy salads, meat or fish dishes, pasta and pizza as well as paella most days. Desserts: fruit, ice cream, yogurts and occasionally chocolate cake.

The entertainment was a mixed bag. The best was a lively circus show, while the worst a dull snake show.

There isn’t much else to do in Esquinzo apart from hang around the hotel and lounge on the beach, but it’s only a ten minute bus, or €6 taxi ride, to Morro Jable.

Morro Jable

Known as Jandia to the locals, Morro Jable is the ‘livelier’ part of the South. The beach runs for 3km and you can stroll along the promenade and take photos of the lighthouse and a giant skeleton statue of a swordfish. There is also a port towards the end where you can catch ferries to Las Palmas in Gran Canary (about €40 each way), or Tenerife (about €45 each way).

There are numerous souvenir shops, decent jewellery stores and a few Diesel type clothes shops, try Hodge Podge (www.hodge-podge.de/eshop/index.html) a trendy surf shop. The restaurants and bars are mainly geared up for the German tourists but all the menus are in English. If you fancy a British pub then try the Boot and Ball just opposite the lighthouse. It has the usual British menus as well as several screens for sports. There are a couple of discos along the main street if you fancy a boogie too.

There are a few hotels along this strip. Hotel Faro Jandia, just in front of the lighthouse is four stars and has excellent views out over the sea.

Los Gorriones - The Sparrows

Officially Sotavento beach runs 15km south from Costa Calma, but one of the best places to visit it is from Los Gorriones - The Sparrows.

“Sotavento was voted one of the best beaches in Europe. The tide changes the beach every day so there is always a different view and it’s always marvellous,” said our hotel receptionist. Stay at the luxurious Meliá Gorriones for an ideal spot.

It’s a lovely beach, but you have to be careful. When we arrived the tide was out and the beach looked enormous. We trawled over the wet sand and plonked down near the sea front, but within an hour the sea had covered the whole beach leaving only a small area for lots of people, so we hid in one of the beach bars and watched the kite surfers crash into each other.

It’s a great place, but check the tide times.

Costa Calma

Costa Calma was my least favourite spot. Sotavento starts here, but the beach is as pebbly as Brighton and nowhere near as pleasant as the rest of the south.

There were a few larger supermarkets if you need to stock up on essentials, and also about ten restaurants including a Mexican and Italian. The best part of Costa Calma was Posada San Borondon (Plaza Cirilo López, 928 541 428). They have authentic tapas dishes from all over Spain, chorizo in a wine sauce, traditional lentils, and meatballs in a thick tomato sauce. Every evening there is live Spanish music too.

Costa Calma is probably the liveliest place at night, there are a few bars and even a club El Divino, which is supposed to be like the one in Ibiza but it closes at 3am.

Things to do

Oasis Adventure Park

Jandia is mainly a beach resort, but if you fancy an active day then you can try this adventure park in La Lajita. This is a great day out for the family or couples with over 250 species of animals, including elephants, monkeys, giraffes, crocodiles, and zebras, and over 100 different types of birds. The park is set in a tropical location and there is a massive botanical garden with 7000 varieties of plants. It’s one of the best kept zoos I’ve ever visited.

For €10 you can go on a 35 minute group camel safari, which peaks at the top of a hill with amazing views of the sea. Pick the front camel to avoid lethal backside fumes.

Sea Lion, Reptile, Parrot, and Birds of Prey shows are great entertainment. There are a couple of restaurants on site with a wide selection of economic and expensive food.

On the door it’s €18.00 for adults, half price for children between 3-11, and under 3 are free. There is a free bus from most of the hotels in Jandia.

Pico de Zarza

Pico de Zarza is the highest peak on the island at 807 metres. You can hike to the top from Morro Jable and there are various companies that offer guided hikes or you can go alone, but take plenty of water, sun cream and wear a hat because there is no cover.

Others

Scuba diving, kite and windsurfing, quad bikes, golf, and even submarine trips are all possible at Jandia.

Hot Tips

Jandia is about 80% German and the rest are Italian, French and Spanish, there aren’t many British, which is why I probably enjoyed it so much.
 

Be prepared for nudity on the beach. At all the beaches I’ve mentioned above, you will find a few people with their bits out trying to get an all over tan, but maybe that’s an extra incentive for you?

Getting Around

It’s best to hire a car if you want to see all of Jandia. If not then there are several bus routes that can take you to all the destinations I’ve mentioned. They are reliable and reasonably priced.

When to go

Fuerteventura means strong winds, so the island is always windy, hence the amount of surfing. The island is dead from December to February, but it starts picking up in March. The best time to go is between July and October.

Jandia is a marvellous part of the world. There is a reason why several of the beaches have been given the blue flag for excellent conditions. It's a destination that everyone should visit.