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Fuerteventura is referred to as “La Isla Tranquila” (the quite island) and it is true that the pace of life could not be slower. There is no industry and not much water which translates to little agriculture too. For centuries all this implied poor living conditions. Today, however, it translates into a slow pace of life and a real retreat which has made of Fuerteventura the island in the Canarian archipelago mostly associated with the Caribe
Fuerteventura travel guide - Contents
Where is La Fuerteventura?
From North to South it covers over 100 kilometers, which makes it the longest island in the archipelago.
Top attractions: The beaches of Fuerteventura
Fuerteventura does attract tourists due to its mountains or laurel forests. The main and almost unique attraction of the island is its wonderful beaches, some of which are amongst the best-rated beaches in Spain.
With more than 152 beaches to choose from you will definitely find a beach that suits you. Many of these beaches are totally unspoiled and the majority are beaches of golden sand (though some 25 kilometers of black sand can be found).
The best beaches in Fuerteventura re located in the Southern part of the island in the area known as the Jandia peninsula. Windsurfers and kitesurfers from all over the world gather here every year to enjoy excellent conditions. You will find excellent windsurfing schools and areas which are perfect for beginners.
Quick facts about Fuerteventura
Fuerteventura is the second largest island in the Canary islands after Tenerife. It has however the longest coastline with 340 kilometers. As a matter of fact, almost 23% of Fuerteventura´s surface is composed of beaches!
The highest peak in the island is at 807 meters (Pico de la Zarza).
Fuerteventura has never been a rich island. The arid soil has made agriculture a complex endeavor and farmers had to be very inventive and made use of underground streams to build irrigation tunnels. The lack of rain which was always a problem became the island´s best ally in recent times. The almost 100% guaranteed sunshine has brought extensive development of tourism and the island has the highest number of tourist beds per inhabitant amongst the Canary Islands.
Natural parks, Flora and fauna
Fuerteventura is not particularly famous due to its trees. You will find mostly low plants and bush vegetation. There are over ten endemic species, mainly salt-tolerating plants.
Fuerteventura is a great destination to enjoy bird-watching. Probably the best island to enjoy it and despite it is not in the top 5 of Spain´s top bird-watching locations, you can enjoy good sightings of endangered birds in the islands.
There are 13 natural protected areas and measures to protect the Canary Island Stonechat and the Houbara bustard.
The island is very rich in sea life, with more than 350 species of fish to be found.
Brief history of Fuerteventura
The Majoneros were the original inhabitants of Fuerteventura. Mahoh means “My country”. But Fuerteventura has also been known as Capraria due to the presence of a good number of goats. Today´s name, Fuerteventura, is probably related to an expedition which proved to be challenging. Fuerteventura in Spanish literally means the “strong adventure”.
The island was originally split into 2 kingdoms: Maxorata and Jandia, which were actually split by a low wall. Both kingdoms were used to fighting but this did not prevent their defeat against the Spanish conquerors, which defeated local kings in 1405, one of the earliest defeats in the history of the Canary Islands.
Unlike the island of Northern neighbor island of Lanzarote, Fuerteventura did not face many attacks from pirates. There was basically little to steal, and pirates knew this. An important part of the local population migrated to other islands seeking a better life and today most of population concentrates on the seaside where tourism has brought wealth and jobs. Its proximity to the African continent brings many boats to the island´s shores, with people looking for a better life and with the support of Mafias that treat people as cargo.
Maspalomas not only has a spectacular beach and unparalleled weather, but it is also surrounded by a sea of dunes, which makes the scenery and the experience all the more special.
You will also find a centuries-old lighthouse that beckoned in the first tourists to the area and is responsible for it becoming such a tourist destination.
Weather in Fuerteventura
The warm winds from the Sahara desert in Africa cause high evaporation and this does not help with one of the island´s top problems: lack of water. With over 2,800 yearly hours of sun light, Fuertventura boasts safe, summer-like weather all year round.
The average temperature is 25C and rainfall does not reach 100mm, which is the lowest in all the Canary islands.
Windsurf in Fuerteventura
There are two places in Spain that come up to everybody´s mind in Spain when the word windsurfing is mentioned: Tarifa in Cadíz (Andalucía) and Fuerteventura. As a matter of fact, windsurfing and kitesurfing are Fuerteventura´s two top attractions.
One good thing about Fuerteventura is that you will be able to enjoy windsurfing no matter what your level is. Pros traditionally go to Jandia (Playa de Sotavento, which name already gives an idea of what you will find there!) whilst Caleta de Fuste is a good place for beginners. Since there are so many kilometers of sandy beaches on the island, you will also be able to find less crowded spots to enjoy windsurfing or kitesurfing in El Cotillo, Corralejo, and Pozo Negro. Kitesurf in Spain has become increasingly popular and the original windsurf world championship of Fuerteventura today also hosts the kitesurf championship.
Best places to enjoy windsurfing and kitesurfing in Fuerteventura
- Caleta del Fuste: The sea is very calm in Caleta del Fuste and this makes it a perfect place for beginners. A day excursion to Caleta del Fuste is a good option since you will be able to combine a taster windsurfing course and a visit to the San Ventura castle (an impressive castle built to repel pirate attacks.
- Playa de Sotavento: There is 100% probability you will encounter wind in this 22 kilometers sandy beach located in Jandia. Playa de Sotavento is the island´s number one windsurfing spot, and one of the top places in the world to enjoy this activity. The world championship (part of the world circuit cup) is organized every month of July in Playa de Sotavento in Fuerteventura. You will also be able to enjoy kitesurfing and find courses for both wind and kite in Playa de Sotavento. This may not be however the best spot on some windy days for total beginners, but the lagoon on the same beach is perfect for both beginners and intermediate levels.
- Corralejo: Although this area is not as popular as Jandia for windsurfing, Corralejo offers great windsurfing opportunities and a few companies offer lessons and material hire. The beach is suitable for both intermediate and advanced surfers, but there is a lagoon some 20 minutes drive where beginners will also be able to enjoy windsurfing in Corralejo.
- El Cotillo: A rather les known area, El Cotillo is an interesting small town that boasts a golden sand beach which offers excellent windsurfing opportunities for advanced windsurfers. Not a place for beginners. Pleased also note that there are few services on the beach.
Best courses to learn windsurfing in Fuerteventura
On the beach close to Tarifa there is a sufficient amount of space for the different schools to establish their own cordoned-off area, necessary to avoid getting in the way of other swimmers. Courses in small groups (4 people max) including liability insurance ranges from 80 euros, for a basic course, to 350 euros for one week.
The walled area with its medieval castle gives a special charm to the city, where you can relax after a day of wind or kitesurfing and enjoy tapas in a unique setting with restaurants and small shops in the little streets of the old town.
Best courses to learn kitesurfing in Fuerteventura
Around Tarifa, you can participate in other outdoor activities to enjoy the scenery such as mountain biking
The world windsurfing and kitesurfing championships in Fuerteventura
The world windsurfing championship has taken place in Fuerteventura since 1985. It has always been organised in the Sotavento beach, in the Playa Barca, a part of Sotavento where the tidal lagoon is located.
The championship is organised in such way that ensures it can be enjoyed as a tourist attraction not just for windsurfer fans, but also for thew whole family. Training is offered around those days and equipment can be rented too.
The atmosphere around the days of the championship is fantastic, with many tourists arriving to watch the top professionals at work.
Playa de Sotavento has a lagoon with optimal conditions for practicing for both beginners and intermediate levels. The lagoon extends for over 4 kilometers and it is 200 meters wide, a huge space that provides ample opportunities to enjoy, practice and learn this sport.
Most international windsurfing and kitesurfing stars meet at Fuerteventura to participate in the championship every year.
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