Beach Exploration in Fuerteventura, Canary Islands
At the end of September, I decided I desperately needed some sunshine, so I started looking for cheap deals. Up popped Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands, with reasonably-priced flights. Yes, that will do!
Fuerteventura is probably the least touristy of the canary islands- or it feels that way – because the main tourist areas are located in a few places around the country and the rest is still large areas of unspoilt, natural, volcanic beauty. This is especially true of the West coast, which is largely undeveloped.
It is only a 4 hour flight and is on the same timezone as the UK. The average temperature was 26 degrees centigrade in late September/ early October – Bliss! My local host told me that September to December are generally the best months for warm weather, as January can be cooler and July can be very windy.
I decided to use the bus service to get around as that gave me a good opportunity to look at the scenery and decide where I would like to explore further. The buses run regularly around the island and is reliable. As in Tenerife, you can purchase a Bono card, which gives you a discount on the fares. This is a plastic rechargeable one, which I think is a better idea than the paper ones we had in Tenerife.
I was staying in Puerto Rosario, which is the capital and is on the East Coast, north of the airport. It is quite a central place for exploring the whole island in both directions.
Beaches to Suit Everyone
Fuerteventura has several different types of beaches around the island and there really is something for everyone.
Morro Jable and Jandia
I really enjoyed the bus journey from Puerto Rosario to Morro Jable on the South East Coast because it goes inland and takes in a lot of the centre of the island. It was a 2 hour journey and I loved it. I stopped at the Faro de Matorral (Matorral Lighthouse) at a place called Jandia, which is right in the centre of the miles of sandy beaches.
This area of the island seems to be particularly attractive to German visitors, although everyone is welcome.
I found this area to be the one of the hottest, with the least wind. It was the place where I managed to get the most sunburn in the shortest period of time! Mind you, this area is in a direct line with North Africa.
This was a beach where there was a lot of nudity and semi-nudity. No-one seemed to mind what state of dress or undress anyone else was in. There was plenty of space. Although there were quite a few people on the beach, it did not feel crowded. The beaches were clean.
The water was warm and it was beautiful. As with many beaches around islands, particularly volcanic islands, the water is quite shallow near the beach and can suddenly drop in depth, so the advice is always to make sure that you can stand up in the water. The currents can be strong and the wind can suddenly change.
The water was sparkling with the sunshine on it and it warmed me through every cell of my body. I sat in the water for ages, just looking up at the mountains in the distance.
I am not normally a beach person and it is rare for me to sit still for so long, but I was captivated by the beauty of these majestic mountains rising out of the sea.
There are toilet facilities near the bus stop entrance and a small beach café, although I did draw the line at paying €8.88 for an ice-cream! (Especially with the GBP at almost 1 to 1 with the Euro.)
Corralejo Sand Dunes
Corralejo, on the North East Coast is completely different. It has miles and miles of sand dunes, which run parallel to the main beach. It is an unusual landscape and is more reminiscent of an African desert. The sand in the dunes is very light and soft. I found it quite hard to walk on the sand as my feet kept slipping and sinking into the sand. I tried to walk barefoot but I actually found it easier to walk with my trainers on my feet.
The beach itself is great for swimming and it is one of the areas which is a haven for surfers. The waves are not as rough as they are on the west coast, so there were a mixture of swimmers and surfers in the water.
There seemed to be more of a mixture of people here, including plenty of Brits. There was also a fair bit of nudity and semi-nudity, although that was more where people were sunbathing on the sunloungers and under the sunshades than in the water.
El Cotillo – West Coast Surfer’s Paradise
Cotillo is on the North West Coast of Fuerteventura and directly faces the strong winds of the Atlantic Ocean. As such, there are huge, crashing waves on the sandy beaches, which make it a paradise for surfers and kitesurfers. It is not so brilliant for swimming and there are limited areas where it is considered safe to swim, although I did see some brave souls venturing into the water.
El Cotillo is a small port, with two very different worlds on either side of its sheltered harbour. On the one side are miles of sandy beaches, separated by headlands, which stretch out as far as the eye can see. This is where all the surfers and kite surfers play.
I felt most at home here and sat on the top of the cliffs for hours, just gazing out to sea. I would happily come back here and stay for another visit. I have to say, there is something incredibly therapeutic about watching waves crashing onto rocks and the spray flying up into the air. I liked Cotillo so much that I came here on two separate days. I felt totally at peace and thoroughly nourished here.
I found a little café right by the water’s edge and sat here, enjoying my thé con leche (tea with milk) – well what else am I going to drink on a hot, sunny day in the Canary Islands?
On the other side of the harbour are volcanic pools, which gently merge into the sea. The water here is shallow, crystal clear and light blue in colour. The beaches contain lots of circles of volcanic stones, which have been built into wind-breaks, which are very useful for leaving your clothes when you dip in the water.
There was very little nudity here.
Caleta de Fuste – Brit Beaches
The last area is La Caleta, which is about 15 minutes south of the airport. This area seems to attract the largest number of British people, both for holidays and to live on the island. There is a large shopping centre, which is open on Sundays, as well as miles of holiday apartments and houses.
The beaches here are not very big, with lots of little coves. The beaches have less sand and more shingle and pebbles. You can see a lot of British influence here, with structures that look like piers going from the beaches out into the water. I had a lovely lunch in a café in one of them.
The water is clear and clean and the beaches are sheltered. There is not much wind here.
I visited Caleta on the last day of my holiday, so I did not go in the water as I did not want to be carrying wet clothes onto the aeroplane.
Caleta is well geared up for families and children. As such, I did not see any nudity here.
Something for everyone.