Wanting to escape the sad Belgian winter, we decided - very last minute - to fly to Fuerteventura for a week, hoping for some sunshine. (Our initial plan to travel to a beach resort in Egypt fell because we wanted more than just the beach and we don't want to drive in Egypt).
We have visited the other Canary Islands in the past, but not Fuerte (as the island is called over there). The islands are very different from each other, but Fuerte is known as the windy island and for its beautiful beaches. It is the southernmost island and is much flatter than the other islands, the highest peak being only 807 m. Fuerte is long and narrow, about 100 km long and 25 km max. width. Large parts are national park and the island is - as the other islands - partly volcanic.
Our hotel was on the Jandía peninsula in the far south: white fine sandy beaches, clear blue ocean. Perfect for a weeks stay!
The landscape is barren wilderness all over the island, and desolate once away from the tourist resorts. Vegetation is almost unexistant. When driving on the dirt roads it sometimes felt as we were on the moon. Barren but beautiful nonetheless, with mountains in many different colours, from almost white to black.
There's not much in terms of cultural heritage, but the windmills along the Ruta de los Molinos in the centre of the island were nice and so were the small towns of La Oliva and Betancuria (former capital).
We have been to beach resorts in Hurghada, Sharm el Sheikh and Marsa Alam at least a dozen times. My husband used to be a scuba diver and at only 5 hrs away, it was our perfect winter getaway. We are older now and want to explore rather than sit on a beach/pool all the time. And my husband quit scuba diving a few years ago.
I had seen photos of the barrenness of Fuerteventura before, but your photos bring it home even more. A lot of it looks like it could be used to simulate the surface of Mars. It looks like humankind really had to fight hard to plant a bit of vegetation in the towns.
Some friends went to Fuerteventura last year for some hiking and she described it to me as very dry but interesting. I'm glad to see your photos but see that it's not a place for me, I prefer greenery.
It's not all barren wildness. There's a lot of lush vegetation in the tourist towns and on hotel grounds. Lanes lined with palmtrees, colourful bougainvilla, oleander, ... and a parrot or two. And a thousand ardillos!!
And then there were the beaches. In the south (Jandía Peninsula) the beaches were of white fine sand, almost like in the Carribean. In the north, near Corralejo, are the sanddunes, looking like a (small) desert. It's a pretty vast area (24km²) of golden 'walking' dunes. I'm a big fan of deserts, so we spent quite some time walking on and running off the dunes, making videos of the 'walking' sand (there was a lot of wind that day) and enjoying the scenery. Then further south on the island are the grey-black volcano beaches. Some pictures ... Everywhere on the island is a good surf, so we saw a lot of bodyborders, kite surfers, etc.
Even to a non-beachy person like me, your pictures are breath-takingly beautiful, Amboseli. I knew nothing about any of this, so really appreciate this report.
Is there arable land on the other Canaries? And what went on in Fuerteventura before it became a vacation destination? I know there have been people on the Canary Islands for eons, but can't imagine how they lived outside of fishing.
bixaorellana The other islands, except Lanzarote, are greener. We have seen citrus, sugar cane, banana and pineapple plantations on Tenerife, Gran Canaria and Lanzarote. All islands are of volcanic origin, so extremey fertile in se. In Fuerteventura fishing has always been the main industry before it became a holiday destination. On the other islands fishing and farming.