Hotels in Fuerteventura, Canary Islands
You don't have to have advanced Castilian to guess what adventure awaits you in Fuerteventura, the second largest of the Canary Islands, an autonomous Spanish archipelago more than a thousand kilometres off the southwest coast of the Iberian peninsula but only within striking distance of the African continent; Fuerteventura itself is only 100 kilometres northwest of North Africa where its earliest inhabitants originated.
If you guess, rightly, that you will be in for a "great adventure" (via a corruption of French "forte aventure"), then pack more than just sunblock and bikinis and venture out of climate-controlled hotels in Fuerteventura, Canary Islands and into the heart of this volcanic island sculpted and warmed by the winds from Sahara.
Where to stay in Fuerteventura
Geographically, Fuerteventura is the oldest of the Canarias, formed by intense volcanic activity 20 million years ago. Not surprisingly, black volcanic beaches like those found in Ajuy or El Junquillo break the monotony of miles-long pristine white sand like those found in Barlovento. On the southeast coast lies the seemingly infinite sandy shores of Playa de Sotavento de Jandia and a smattering of beach view apartments in Fuerteventura from Costa Calma to Morro del Jable.
While clothing-optional sunbathing and swimming is an accepted part of Fuerteventura's beach tourism – Fuerteventura has 150 beaches spanning 75 kilometres, with some beaches like Cofete completely deserted – there are plenty other outdoor distractions for the highly active. After all, Fuerteventura can be roughly translated to “strong winds,” which refer to the ‘calima’ blowing from the Sahara. Not surprisingly, international windsurfing and kitesurfing championships are held regularly at Playa de Sotavento in the town of Pajara where Hotel Fuerteventura Princess is located, while conditions on Corralejo and El Cotillo in the north and west shores are suitable for almost year-round surfing.
The concentration of beach resorts in Fuerteventura is in Corralejo and Caleta de Fuste which was purposely built to accommodate tourists who started coming in in mid-1960s. Both resort communities have a wide selection of budget and 5 star hotels in Fuerteventura.
What to do in Fuerteventura, Spain
As the entire island was declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 2009, wildlife excursions into 48,000 hectares of lavascapes and volcanic mountains, including an uninhabited islet specially set aside for birds, are worth looking into. If you miss the annual turtle release in Cofete, you could catch them swimming in abundance in Caleta’s surrounding waters along with playful dolphins and marlins.
Being close to Africa, some parts of the island closely resemble the semi-arid conditions found in the continent. Opt to stay in one of the villas in Fuerteventura, Spain or the more upmarket Suite Hotel Atlantis Fuerteventura Resort, a buggy-ride distance from the sand dunes of Corralejo. Visit the Mountain of Tindaya sacred to the Mahoreros, the island’s pre-Spanish natives, or immerse yourself in Fuerteventura’s colonial past at 600-year-old Betancuria to the west. As fishing remains the island’s significant economic driver, feast on fresh grouper or mussels and limpets, or if you go inland, goat meat. Bring home with you thick and aromatic goat milk curdled to make “majorero,” one of two Canarian cheeses with a protected denomination of origin.