Fuerteventura used to be the least-developed of the Canary Islands, however over the past decade or so its stretches of golden sand, sparkling seas (perfect for windsurfing, kiteboarding, surfing and diving as well as just basking) and near-guaranteed sun has put it firmly on the tourist radar.
However, this island is trying hard to preserve its natural environment as it welcomes greater numbers of sun-starved tourists on Fuerteventura flights. Unesco announced in 2009 that Fuerteventura was to be made a Biosphere Reserve, a designation that will protect the west coast, interior and some of the Jandia peninsula in the south.
Morro Jable, a resort town in the south, is home to the Sodabe Turtle Reserve, which is working to reintroduce loggerhead turtles to the island. The Mediterranean monk seal is also in the process of being reintroduced to Los Lobos, a small island nearby.
Twenty-something visitors, water sports enthusiasts and families can enjoy their getaways secure in the knowledge that this is no artificial resort island.
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- On the northern part of the island is the village of La Oliva, once home to military governors. Visit Casa des Coroneles, a restored townhouse then walk over to the church in the middle of the village where you’ll find a Juan de Miranda Baroque-style painting.
- Spend the day at the La Lajita Oasis Park located in the town of La Lajita. Among the many attractions is the Camel Safari where kids (and adults) can take a trip to the top of the mountain and the Botanical Gardens, one of the biggest in Europe.
- Take a trip back in time by visiting Tefia. This small village to the south of La Oliva is home to Fuerteventura’s peasant lodgings and Ecomuseo de la Alcogida, an open-air museum which has been modeled on an old Canarian village. Throughout the museum’s seven houses are exhibitions of traditional farm work including carpentry and cheese making. The museum also holds educational workshops demonstrating how pottery, weaving and stone cutting were done in the past.
- Some of the best beaches in Europe are in Fuerteventura. Jandia in the south is best known for its flat beaches while Corralejo in the north is blessed with curvaceous sand dunes. Don’t be surprised if you see people walking around in their birthday suits instead of bathing suits, nudism is widely accepted on the island.
- Most of the island’s lively cafes, restaurants and shops are scattered around the harbour in Puerto del Rosario. While there, take a break from shopping and pop into the home of exiled poet Miguel de Unamuno.
- The aloe vera plant is Fuerteventura’s most important product and high-quality moisturising products are sold all over the Canary Islands.