Fuerteventura is located between Lanzarote and Gran Canaria. It coversan area of 1658 km2. It is the oldest out of all the islands that make up thethe Canary Islands. It also has the smallest population with approximately 70,000inhabitants - Puerto del Rosario has the largest population of 24,175 inhabitantswhile Betancuria has just 708.
Climate: It is an arid island withvery little vegetation and it is always windy. The average annual temperatureis around 20ºC.
Fuerteventura can be divided into2 different areas: la Maxorata, this is the largest area where most of the island'sinhabitants live and the Península de Jandía, which is an arid,sandy area. Fuerteventura used to live from agriculture and cattle raising. Thereis no fishing industry. The agricultural area is located inland in Betancuria.The island's ports (Puerto del Rosario, Tarajal, Corralejo and Morro Jable) arealways very busy.
However, tourism is now the biggest earner for the islandgiven that it has 152 beaches where tourists can go diving, do watersports orjust relax. Fuerteventura has some very good hotels with excellent facilities.
A great way to see the island is to hire a car or go on a organizedcoach tour. The island is very easy to get around by road. The airport, calledEl Matorral, is located 4 Kms from Puerto del Rosario. It is an internationalairport with flights to destinations all over the world. It also connects to theother Canary Islands : La Gomera, El Hierro, La Palma, Lanzarote, Gran Canaria,Tenerife and Funchal. Fuerteventura's ports are always busy. You can get to theother islands by ferry - Puerto del Rosario, Morrojable and Corralejo have ferriesto Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Playa Blanca and Arrecife (in Lanzarote), Las Palmasde Gran Canaria and Santa Cruz de La Palma.
Fuerteventura is divided into6 districts: La Oliva, Betancuria, Antigua, Puerto del Rosario, Pájaraand Tuineje. Los Lobos is a tiny island opposite La Oliva.
History of Fuerteventura
Fuerteventura was conquered in 1404 bythe French. Jean de Bethencourt and Gadifer de la Salle were responsible for creatingthe island's capital city Betancuria, located inland. On their arrival and occupationof Fuerteventura they discovered it was divided into 2 different kingdoms: Maxorataand Jandía.
They built a Franciscan convent which was dedicated toevangelizing the people known as 'los guanches'. In fact the Gaunche kings Guizeand Ayose were baptized with the Christian names Luís and Alfonso.
Inthe 15th century the island was conquered by the Spanish and became part of thekingdom of Castilla. From the 19th century onwards the islands were fully integratedas part of Spain.
Puerto del Rosario the capital
Thisis an area that crosses the island from east to west. Puerto del Rosario wasbuilt in 1797 and was first given the name Puerto de Cabras, because the goatshepherds brought their goats here to graze. It kept this name until 1956 whenit changed to its present name, Puerto del Rosario.
It became thecapital of the island in the 19th century due to the boom in activity in its portthat went hand in hand with an ever increasing population. All the island's administrativeheadquarters, government buildings and commercial organisations were establishedhere in order to take advantage of the boom in economic activity. Nowadays, ithas 24,180 inhabitants. Its port and airport are usually very busy.
Things to see in Fuerteventura
- Iglesia de Nuestra Señoradel Rosario.
- Biblioteca Municipal (municipal library -C/ Ramiro de Maetzu nº 1,Tel: 928 850 848) It has lots of different sections.Well organised.
- Parque Escultórico (Sculpture park): This consists of 50 sculptures by different artists in different styles placedall over the city.
- Parks and green areas: There are many parksall over the city.
- Casa Museo Miguel de Unamuno (c/ Virgen delRosario, 9, Puerto del Rosario): This is where this famous writer lived in exile.
Fiestas in Fuerteventura
- ElCarnaval de Canarias: click here for more information. These are the mostimportant fiestas on the Canary Islands. This year's carnaval in Puerto del Rosariorecreated the world of the ancient civilizations in its many processions and streetparties.
- San Juan: This fiesta takes place on the night ofthe 23rd June to celebrate the summer equinox. Fiestas are organised on the beacheswith music, dancing, bonfires and fireworks.
- Virgen de la Peña: These fiestas take place during the 2nd week in Septemeber. Everybody goeson a procession to the Ermita de la Vega del Río Palmas. Hand made artsand crafts are sold, people party and pray...
- Virgen del Carmen:16th July. The patron saint of Puerto del Rosario.
Nature reserves in Fuerteventura
Fuerteventura has lots of nature reservesaimed at conserving the islands endemic species of plants and animals.
- Parque Natural de las Dunas de Corralejo y el Islote de Lobos: Thisis the island's most important nature reserve, made up of the following areas:
- Islote de los Lobos: This small island is located opposite LaOliva. For centuries it was home to a large colony of seals. Now it is a protectednatural area. The highest point on the island is la Caldera, a mountian 127 metresabove sea level.
- Parque Natural de las Dunas de Corralejo: Thisis located to the north of the island in la Oliva. It's an area with hardly anyvegetation. The beaches here have golden sand and are very pretty. There are lotsof mountains here: Tindaya, Malpaís de Las Arenas, Malpaís de Rayuyo,Malpaís de los Arrabalos, la zona de la Caldera de Jacomar and la MontañaRoja (312 mts). The best beaches to visit are: el Puerto de la Peña andlas playas levantadas.
- Parque Rural de Betancuria: Thisis located in Betancuria and Puerto del Rosario. The highest mountain here isBetancuria (742 mts) and the La Atalaya peak (724 mts). This is a predominantlyagricultural area with distinct mountain ranges.
- Parque Natural deJandía: This is located in Pájara. It's highest peak is la Zarza(807 mts).el Cardón de Jandía (a type of cactus) grows here. Thearea around el Arco de Cofete is very pretty.
- Vallebrón:Located in La Oliva and Puerto del Rosario. The highest point here is the Mudamountain (698 mts). This is an important place because a small, ancient gaunchecemetery was discovered here.
- Malpaís Grande: Located inla Antigua and Tuineje. Its highest point is la Caldera de los Arrabales (243mts). From here you can visit the gaunche settlement known as Atalayita.
- MonumentoNatural Malpaís de La Arena: This is located in La Oliva. the highestpoint is the Arena volcano (420 mts). The rock formations here date back 10,000years.
- Monumento Natural Montaña de Tindaya: Alsolocated in La Oliva. Mount Tindaya (401 mts) is the highest point. Its peak isbelieved to have been a special place for the gaunches because ancient drawingshave been found here.
- Monumento Natural Cuchillo de Vigán:Located in Tuineje and la Antigua. Its highest point is the Vigán mountain(462 mts). It has distinctive pointed rock formations called 'cuchillos' consisitingof volcanic rock eroded over the centuries.
- Monumento NaturalMontaña de Cardón: Located in Pájara. Its highest pointis the Cardón mountain (691 mts) The sides of the mountain are coveredin thick vegetation typical to the island known locally as 'jorjado'.
- MonumentoNatural de Ajuí: Located in Pájara this is the oldest placeon the island . Some rocks consist of fossilized marine sediment. Dates back tobefore the other islands in the Canaries had been formed or even the continentsof America or Africa.
- Monumento Natural Caldera de Gairía:Located in Tuineje and la Antigua. You can see the fossilized remains of plantshere.
- Playa del Matorral: Although this beach is visited by a lotof tourists it remains unspoilt. There are lots of the island's protected speciesof plants here.
Hotels in Fuerteventura
- Elba Palace Golf Fuerteventura in Antigua- seedetails and book online
- H10 Tindaya in Costa Calma - seedetails and book online
- Occidental Gran Fuerteventura in - seedetails and book online.
Beaches in Fuerteventura
Fuerteventura has some truely beautifulbeaches, most of which are unspoilt, natural areas. Here is a list of some ofthe best beaches:
- Playa de Sotavento-Jandía: In Pájara.Morro Jable is the nearest port where you can go on boat trips, get surfing ordiving classes...This beach is over a kilometre long and about 30 metres wide.It has fine, golden sand and crystal clear waters. You can hire a sunbed or sunshade. Nudist. There is a carpark.
- Calas del Puertito. This isa nudist beach on the small island - Isla de Lobos opposite La Oliva. The nearestport is Corralejo where there are daily boat trips to the island which is completelyunspoilt and uninhabited. The beach here has golden sand and measures just 140by 20 metres.
- El Cofete: In Pájara. Morro Jable is the nearestport (see above). This beach measures almost 1.5 kilometres by 60 metres. It isan unspoilt beach with fine, golden sand. It is usually very windy with big waves.You can hire sunbeds or sun shades here. Nudist.
- Playa El Dormidero: In La Oliva. The nearest port is Corralejo. This is a small beach with fine, goldensand measuring 440 by 30 mteres. Sunbeds and sun shades on hire...
- Playade El Viejo: In La Oliva. This beachhas fine, golden sand. The beach measures 1 km by 50 metres. Quite windy, thewaves here are moderate.
- Playa Morro de Potala; In Pájara.The nearest port is Morro Jable. This is a quiet, tiny beach 300 by 25 metres.Nudist. Fine, golden sand. Moderate waves.
- Playa Janubio:In Puerto del Rosario. This beach measures 230by 40 metres. It is a natural, unspoilt beach with coarse black sand. Usuallyvery windy with big waves. Sun beds and sun shades on hire. Esquinza andAguila beaches are nearby with calmer sea.
- Playa El Algibe- La Cueva:In Puerto del Rosario. This beach is
1.210by 30 metres. It is a natural, unspoilt beach. Not many people. The beachhas fine, golden sand. It is usually very windy with big waves.
- PlayaEl Bajo Negro: In La Oliva. The nearest port isCorralejo. This beach is 500by 45 metres. This is an unspoilt natural beach with fine, golden sand,windy with moderate waves. There is a beach bar, restaurant and hotel here. Sunbedsand sun shades on hire.
- Playa Majanicho: In La OLiva. The nearestport is Corralejo. This beach is just 150 by 20 metres. A quiet beachwith fine, golden sand and calm sea.
Sports on Fuerteventura
Fuerteventura is an ideal place for doing allkinds of sports, especially water sports, because of its climate. There arelots of places where you can get classes in diving, wind surfing, surfing. Youcan also go on organized boat trips.
Here is a list of the best placesto go:
- Fishing: Puerto de Corralejo.
- Windsurfing : Pájara, Corralejo.
- Diving: Pájara, Antigua,Corralejo, Gran Tarajal and Morro Jable.
- Surfing: Corralejoand Jandía.
- Ala Delta: la Antigua.
- Golf:FuerteventuraGolf Club: (Golf Club km 11, 35610 Caleta del Fuste, Tel: 928 16 00 34)Antigua: This golf course has 18 holes - par 72. There is a hotel within the grounds.Click here for more information and reservations: ElbaPalace Golf Fuerteventura*****. There are 2 other hotels 3 Kms away: GeranioSuites Hotel***** and HotelElba Sara ****
Oasis Jandía Golf Club (Barranco de Vinamar-La Mancha, s/n) in Jandía.
- Trekking inFuerteventura: The Camino Real is a very popular place to hike - itis the path the island's conquerers took when they arrived.
- Jetski:Available for hire in Corralejo.
- Motorbikes, Mountain Bikes, Tennis,...Availableall over the island.
Other popular sports on the island are thosewith roots in the Gaunche culture such as:Juego del Palo, Juego de la Lata,la Pina, Pelotamano, Levantamiento del Arado, Tángana, Bola Canaria....
Shopping in Fuerteventura
There are lots of handmade goods on sale. Commonthings to buy are: Different types of cheese, hand embriodered table cloths, woollenblankets, things made from wicker, musical instruments (violins, guitars), claypottery, straw hats, ...
Villages and Places to visit in Fuerteventura
This is by far the prettiest town on the island. It is located on a plain between mountains in an area with volcanic remains with brightly coloured stones. It is situated above a crater of a volcano that has been dormant for many years. It only has 709 inhabitants.
Betancuria was the capital of the island from 1404 when it was founded by the French. It remained the capital until the 19th century.
Things to see:
- IglesiaCatedral de Santa María: This was built in the 15th century, Norman,Gothic style architecture. It was partially destroyed in 1620 and was rebuilt- this is the building that can be seen today. Its 17th century altarpiece, panelledceiling, the choir stalls and the baptistry are particularly interesting.
- Museode Arte Sacro: Religious art.
- Museo Arqueológico yEtnográfico (c/ Roberto Roldán, s/n, Tel: 928 87 82 41): Thishouses archeological finds from all over the island.
- Casa Santa María:This is a craft centre where you can see how things are made and also buy handmadearts and crafts.
- Ermita de la Vega de Río Palmas: A smallchapel located on the outskirts and houses a statue of the Virgen de la Peña,the patron saint of the island.
- Ermita de San Diego de Alcalá: A small chapel.
- Ermita de Santa Inés: A small chapellocated in the Santa Inés valley.
Thishas occupied a very important place in the island's history. Following the conqueringof Fuerteventura by the Castellanos the Spanish military command made a base here.It used to be a mainly agricultural area which supplied most of the island.
Nowit is an important tourist centre with infrastructure to support it (there arelots of hotels around Corralejo). It is also a natural area withprotected beaches which are surrounded by sand dunes. It is predominantly a fishingvillage and its small harbour is always full of life. You can find lots of typicalrestaurants around the harbour area serving local food. There are also diving,wind surfing and sailing schools as well as organised boat trips to the IslaLobos. There are many hotels and apartments in the area. Its unspoilt beachesare excellent with white sands and crystal clear water.
- Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de laCandelaria.
- Casa de los Coroneles: This is a large mansionwith pretty balconies built by the Spanish military command in the 15th century.
- Centro de Arte Canario Casa Mane: This is a exhibition of contemporaryart (consisting of paintings and sculptures) by artists from the Canary Islands.
- Casa del Capellán: This is the house where the villagepriest lived. It is a stone house with pretty balconies decorated with flowers.
- Ermita de Puerto Escondido: Located in la Oliva.
- Centrode Arte Canario: A small art gallery.
- Museo La Casa de la Cilla: An interesting museum.
- Unamuno Monument
Thisarea covers 250 km2 and has around 3000 inhabitants. It is the oldest city onthe island, founded at the beginning of the 18th century. It is a very flat, ruralarea with windmills and many typical farmhouses. Popular for rural tourism. Italso has an interesting coastline and Caleta de Fustes, is one of thebusiest tourist areas on the island. Hotel chains with excellent facilities attractlarge numbers of tourists.
Things to see:
- Iglesia de Santa Cruz de los Caldos: Built in 1785.
- Iglesiade Nuestra Señora de la Antigua
- Pueblo Majorero: Thisis a tourist resort located in Caleta de Fustes, where there are lots of shops,hotels, bars, restaurants...
Thisis where the Jandía Natural Park is located. This town began toevolve in the 16th century. The town hall was built in 1711.
This iswhere most of the island's beaches are together with most of the islands hotels.This area is the least populated area in Fuerteventura. Tourism is the main sourceof income here. Things to see: Costa Calma, Puerto de Morro Jable,the fishing harbour where there are boat trips and facilities for water sports.Barlovento, is a very windy, dry area with subtropical marine life. In sotaventoyou have the Jandía beaches which are a paradise for divers due to thevaried marine life. Its beaches are unspoilt, with fine golden sand and crystalclear water.
Things to see:
- Iglesiade Nuestra Señora de Regla: Built in 1711.
- Ermita de SanAntonio: Located in Toto. Built in the 18th century.
Tuinejecovers 276 km2 and has 12,900 inhabitants. It is located in the southwest of Fuerteventura.Its main source of income is agriculture and cattle raising. The best beachesare Las Playitas, Gran Tarajal, Giniginamar and Tarajalejo. They are characterisedby their fine black sand and stones and calm sea despite the fact that they areoften very windy. There are hotels, restaurants, beach bars and some promenadesnear and around the beaches.
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