Fuerteventura, the second largest of Spain's Canary Islands, sits in the Atlantic Ocean 10 km (6 Miles) off the north coast of Africa. It's known primarily as a holiday destination due to its white-sand beaches and year-round warmth cooled by constant winds. The multitude of beaches that wrap around it is interrupted by cliffs and sheltered coves. It is popular for water sports, especially surfing, windsurfing and waterskiing.
The island's name is a compound word formed by the Spanish words for "strong" (fuerte) and "fortune" (ventura). Fuerteventura is the oldest island in the Canary Islands dating back 20 million years to a volcanic eruption from the Canary hotspot. However, the last volcanic activity in Fuerteventura occurred between 4,000 and 5,000 years ago.
Fuerteventura was chosen among 500 European destinations by the Quality Coast International Certification Program of the European Coastal and Marine Union as one of the most attractive tourist destinations for visitors interested in cultural heritage, environment, and sustainability.
Why should people stay in Fuerteventura
The weather in Fuerteventura is generally warm and sunny. Snowbirds can absorb some Vitamin D and be rid of those winter blues. The flights are cheap – easy to find a return for less than €150 (approx. $176, £135, $236 CAD, $246 AUD).
The island offers snowbirds an escape from their stressful and busy lives at home with its seemingly endless golden or minks colored sand beaches and plenty of space in the waves.
In order to balance out all the relaxation Fuerteventura has, it also has an amazing nightlife. Most of the parties and the best restaurants are found in the town of Corralejo, so snowbirds can go out for a late dinner of fresh local seafood, enjoy a glass or two of sangria, and then party the night away in any of the small bars or clubs are hidden down the winding alleys.
Climate in Fuerteventura is pleasant throughout the year; because of this, the island is referred to as the island of eternal spring. The sea regulates air temperature, diverting hot Sahara winds away from the island.
During the winter months, temperatures average can range from 22°C - 28°C (72°F - 82°F) whereas during the summer, temperatures can range from 20°F - 28°F (-7°C - -2°C) can be expected.
For more climate information visit Meteoblue
Fuerteventura is a relatively safe island, but as with all major tourist destinations, there are always reports of crimes against unsuspecting snowbirds .
Snowbirds should be aware, petty theft does still exist here, as it does nearly everywhere. Personal possessions should not be left unattended.
Communication, internet, and cellphone in Fuerteventura
As in the rest of Spain, in the Canary Islands, the official language is Spanish. However, there are many people who speak English, the second most spoken language, and many people also understand German. In almost all public establishments, such as stores, restaurants, hotels, etc., there is at least one person who speaks English or German.
As Fuerteventura is part of Spain, European residents can use their mobile phones without any problems (roam like home). For non-EU residents, it is advised to check the rates, and if needed buy a local sim card. For snowbirds arriving in Fuerteventura, the quickest way to get connected is via a prepaid SIM card. This can also give them time to settle in and determine how much they are able to use their mobile phone in accordance with their social and/or work life. Pay-as-you go options require a nominal fee for a SIM card usually €5 (approx. $5, £4, $7 CAD, $8 AUD) and a minimum of €10 (approx. $11, £9, $15 CAD, $16 AUD) in credit. Vouchers are also available for€20 (approx. $23, £18, $31 CAD, $32 AUD). When purchasing a SIM card, it has to be registered by law. Therefore, before mobile phone shops are permitted to sell a Spanish SIM card, snowbirds will have to present a photo ID in the form of a passport, national ID card, or driving license in Spain.
International telephone calls can be made from almost anywhere in the Canary Islands. Snowbirds should look out for the distinctive blue booths around and they will have the choice of using coins, phone cards (tarjetas telefónicas) and sometimes credit cards.
Snowbirds who have important or urgent mail, it is better they use one of the international courier companies instead.
There are a number of Internet cafés on the island and access costs around €2 (approx. $2.35, £1.8, $3.15 CAD, $3.29 AUD) per hour. If snowbirds are traveling with their laptop and need access to a phone connection, they should be wary of using hotel-room outlets – the PABX system could destroy their processor. Jacks like those used in the US are standard and make connecting a modem simple. Also, most hotels in Fuerteventura offer a wifi connection free of charge.
Wintersun Locations in Fuerteventura
- Corralejo: Located on the north side of Fuerteventura, Corralejo has the best atmosphere and nightlife of the island. You can find some great restaurants and it is close to Corralejo Natural Park and Corralejo Sand Dunes.
- El Cotillo: On the north-west of the island El Cotillo is known for its breathtaking beach.
- Puerto del Rosario: The biggest sport of Fuerteventura is the capital, Puerto del Rosario.
- Caleta de Fuste: Close to the airport and the capital Puerto del Rosario on the east side of the island. Relaxing location with all the amenities you normally need.
- Costa Calma: Located about 1 hour from the airport in the east of the island Costa Calma is a popular destination. You can find a long sandy beach, many hotels, resorts, and restaurants, but it is not as busy as Corralejo and Caleta de Fuste.
- Morro Jable: On the most southern part of Fuerteventura Morro Jable is an old fishing village. It has a nice long beach and takes about 75 min from the airport by car.
Things to see in Fuerteventura
Fuerteventura has notable places that are worthwhile visiting:
- The Beaches: Cofete beach, La Concha beach, El Cotillo, La Concha beach on the Isle of Lobos, Costa Calma beach
- Museum: The Antigua Windmill Craft Centre, The Salt Museum, The Atalayita Archeological Interpretation Centre
- Nature & Parks: Corralejo Natural Park
- Bookstore: The Central Library of the Island is located in Antigua's city centre, in the public university
- Dunes: Visit the famous sand dunes.
Activities in Fuerteventura in the winter
- Isla de Lobos: Visit the little island off Fuerteventura called Isla de Lobos.
- Go fishing in El Cotillo. It is a small fishing village in the north-west of the Island famous
- Camel riding
- Walking: Take a walk in the fine sand dunes of Parque Natural de Corralejo and El Jable.
- Diving: Two of the most useful points for diving are the coast of Playa del Matorral in the South and the zone between Lobos Island and Corralejo in the north.
- Swimming: There are many swimming pools on the island but the most obvious place to swim is in the open sea. There is an annual swim from Lobos Island to Fuerteventura, held every year since 1999.
- Take a walk through Betancuria: a walk through Betancuria gives snowbirds a glimpse of the previous way of life in Fuerteventura.
- Watch a wrestling match: The wrestling takes place in a ring of sand called the Terrero. Inside it, the two contestants try to knock each other over. Fuerteventura has 14 Terreros distributed through all the towns except Betancuria.
- Festival of Music: The festival usually takes place between January and February and is one winter visitors should not miss.
- Festival Internacional de Cometas/International Kite Festival: usually held in the second week of November.
- Festival of San Andrés: Snowbirds who are food and wine lovers will be thrilled with this festival. Traditionally served to celebrate Saint Andrés, this festival occurs towards the end of November, unveiling the new season's wine.
- Puerto del Rosario Carnival: usually takes place early February and as always, the event will consist of several days of partying, with music and activities throughout the day and night.
Shopping + Restaurants. Are they open in the winter?
Most shops and restaurants are open in the winter.
The cuisine is fairly basic due to the customs and climate conditions. They share this simplicity with the other Canary islands, and similarly to them, they use a large quantity of fish. There are huge numbers of restaurants along the marina on the island of Fuerteventura. Some of these include Cantante Cafe's, La Arroceria Restaurante Mahoh, Restaurante Avenida, La Playita, El Mirador, and El Andaluz amongst others.
Fuerteventura has many treats for shopaholics with an abundance of small, independent stores as well as larger shopping centers to choose from. The largest shopping center on the island is Las Rotondas, in Puerto del Rosario, Fuerteventura's capital. Dozens of shops are set out over four, refreshingly air-conditioned, floors. Outside of the center, amidst the capital's streets, many other stores can be uncovered on a stroll, often with frontages that do not fully show the size of what is within.
Outside of the capital, all of Fuerteventura's resorts offer shopping opportunities and supermarkets. In addition, Fuerteventura offers many intriguing local and craft markets like the markets that can be found in Corralejo, Caleta de Fuste, Morro Jable, and Costa Calma.
Fuerteventura Airport also is known as El Matorral Airport, is an airport serving the Spanish island of Fuerteventura. For snowbirds that do not want to hire a car, a pre-booked Airport transfer to their resort can be the most trouble-free and economical option.
Depending on where snowbirds are staying, public buses may be a good option for getting around the Island. Buses are known locally as Guaguas (pronounced Wah-wah) – a term that is also used in the Caribbean, but not in Mainland Spain. The public bus company on Fuerteventura is Tiadhe and it has an extensive public bus network. However many places (including Corralejo) do not have a direct connection to the airport. Passengers wanting to get to areas not connected directly to the airport must change buses in Puerto del Rosario.
Taxis are a very convenient way of getting around inside a resort of town, however, once your Taxi leaves its locality, fares mount up very quickly. For example; a taxi from one part of Corralejo to another typically costs around €3 (approx. $3.53, £2.7, $4.72 CAD, $4.93 AUD) or a little more at night, however a taxi from Corralejo to the airport will be around €50 (approx. $58, £45, $78 CAD, $82 AUD) and a taxi to Morro Jable can be as much as €150 (approx. $176, £135, $236 CAD, $246 AUD).
For car rentals, considering that a week's car hire costs as little as €110 (approx. $129, £99, $173 CAD, $180 AUD) the savings made getting to and from the airport alone makes hiring a car worthwhile. Not to mention the advantages of having a car while sightseeing the island.
Snowbirds will find a wide selection of clinics and hospitals offer high-quality medical care, both private and national. Thankfully, the Canary Islands are not renowned for any particular diseases and the worst snowbirds can get is a hangover from too much partying. It is however very important for snowbirds to be aware of the risks from sunburn, dehydration, or insect bites.
The local chemists (farmacias), recognizable by a green cross sign, will have just about anything you may require and there is always one open after hours in each area. The location of the duty chemist is indicated on every chemist's door.
The hospital are well equipped; some of them include:
- Fuerteventura General Hospital in Puerto del Rosario
- Fuerteventura General Hospital Virgen de la Peña
- Hospital Parque Fuerteventura
- Centro salud presidente juan negrín fuerteventura
- Dental Fuer
- Jandía Medical Center
- Medical Center · Morro Jable, Spain
- CEM Medical Specialties Center Jandía
There are many English-speaking doctors and dentists. The hotel will always be able to recommend one.
There are a fair number of resorts, hotels, short-let apartments available for rent in Fuerteventura. The houses are usually well equipped with basic amenities and furnished.
Some of the best and budget-friendly places to stay are Caleta de fuste, Costa de Antigua, Jandia Playa, Mahoh, Barcelo Castillo Beach Resort, Elba Palace Golf & Vital Hotel and the Avanti Boutique Hotel.
Accommodation prices range from €68 (approx. $79, £61, $107 CAD, $111 AUD) per night.