After several weeks since we came back, I finally ended writing this guide for your next trip to Fuerteventura! This is based on my own experience and filled with some little tips no-one tells you about before you take your flight there.
I hope it’ll clear some of your doubts and quest for answers, if you already decided to visit the island, and it’ll make Fuerteventura your next travel destination if you haven’t decided yet!
In this first part you’ll learn more about this beautiful island, how we got there and everything you need to know before you paddle toward the lineup.
Fuerteventura is one of the Canary Islands, in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Africa. It is part of Spain, but lies just 100 km from the coast of Morocco, with whom similarities can be found on the whole island. Not just the barren nature and the desert landscapes make you feel like in some Middle Eastern movie, but also the architecture and the laid back atmosphere make you think you’re far away from home (instead of just a 3 hour flight, if you’re from Southern Europe). I loved the relaxed vibe and the warm smile of the locals.
The weather is warm all year long, with the best period being late spring (April-May). High season is from December to February, with temperature being slightly cooler, around 20°C, with chilly nights. On the contrary, summer gets quite hot with temperatures often surpassing 30°C. The wind though makes it definitely bearable.
We went in late May/beginning of June and the temperature shifted between 23°C and 27°C with wind. As soon as the wind dropped off, we started sweating! Beware the nights though. They get quite cooler and you’d need a sweater or a light jacket to enjoy your nights out (I brought a scarf too).
The island is divided into six municipalities: La Oliva and Puerto del Rosario (where there’s the airport), which form the Mancomunidad de Municipios del Centro-Norte de Fuerteventura, and Antigua, Betancuria, Pájara and Tuineje, which form the Mancomunidad de Municipios del Centro-Sur de Fuerteventura. On the very North, the main villages are Corralejo (the biggest and more touristic one), El Cotillo (great for chilling close to the beach), Lajares (a little rural village) and La Oliva (one of the six municipalities). Almost half of Fuerteventura permanent residents come from other countries, due to the development of tourism during the 1980s. There is a huuuuge Italian community on the island and the main spoken languages are Spanish, English and Italian!
HOW TO GET THERE
By plane. Andrea and I had a look at some flights comparison websites and found out that from Biarritz the cheapest and easier way to get to Fuerteventura was from Bilbao. Vueling offered a cheap and direct 3 hours flight. Since the bus line Biarritz-Bilbao travel was too long and the timing didn’t match ours, we decided to go to Spain by car (1 hour and an half drive) and park in one of the airport parking lots, which is between 55 and 65 euros for a week.
We took the hand baggage only formula, but then added one big bag (23 kilos max) for the two of us for wetsuits, shoes, surf gear, etc… We didn’t bring our boards! We thought that for a week we’d have rented them. It’s easier to travel and we didn’t really know about the waves we’d have found and the general surf forecast.
RENT A CAR
We knew Fuerteventura wasn’t a huge island, but still we wanted to visit it as much as we could and be independent from public transports and taxis. So we chose to rent a car.
Once you arrive on the island, you have the chance to rent one directly there. In Corralejo, for example, you can find lots of rent-a-car places.
We wanted to be sure, though, not to have bad surprises and we decided to choose our car directly from here, renting from a reliable website and agency. Once we had our flight booked, Vueling suggested we rented a car from their partner website. And so we did. The website compared all the available cars and we chose a 4 door Polo. We needed a 4 door in order to install the soft surfboard roof racks (that a friend of mine kindly lent me – thanks Oriane!).
If you want to surf bigger boards, I suggest you bring one of those roof racks! They don’t cost much and are easy to carry around during your travels.
WHERE TO SURF
Being an island, Fuerteventura offers many spots all along its coastline. Depending on the swell, you choose the spot that gets hit the best way. If the swell’s too big though, you move over to the other coast and look for some sheltered spots. One issue we encountered was the strong wind. After a while you get used to it and thank for it when the hot weather is unbearable. However it gets quite annoying while surfing. The windiest time in Fuerteventura is in the summer, between April and September, when a big high pressure stays over the Atlantic and a low over the Sahara. So, apparently we went in the wrong season. I suggest you try to go between October and March. The water though was 20°C and crystal-clear! We were so happy to dust off our 3.2 mm spring suit and pretend we were in the Caribbeans. Many spots are on rocks or reefs, so if you feel like you can wear surf booties before paddling out in there.
The North Shore of Fuerteventura offers amazing high rated spots, such as Generoso, La Derecha, El Hierro (better for surfing with a shortboard most of the times), La Caleta or Majanicho (you can surf with a longboard too). All of them are rocky or on reef. The landscape is amazing and you’re totally surrounded by barren nature, white sand and rocky desert. You can join these spots by driving on an off road. We were a little worried for our rented car, but in the end we succeeded without any damage!
On this side of the island, you can also find beautiful deserted little bays or caletas and have a swim in crystal-clear water. So, if the surf is a little too much for you, you can still enjoy the stunning environment (that’s what I did). It is my very favorite place in Fuerteventura!
On the North-East coast you can find other nice surf spots such as Flag Beach, La Entubadera or El Burro. There we surfed peeling waves very close to the shore. Even if they’re pretty much white sand beaches, beware the rocks and the reef of the ocean floor!
The North-West coast of the island is reachable both from the North Shore’s off road or from the state roads that cross the island from one coast to the other, passing through amazing little rural villages. The village of El Cotillo offers some beachbreaks, such as El Cotillo, that apparently close out most of the time, or Esquinzo.
Unfortunately we didn’t have the time to go South, but if you have the chance, you can go surf Shipwrecks, a beachbreak in Playa de Garcey (on the West coast), where it lies the wreck of the American Star ship. You can’t drive along the Western coastline though, because there are no roads!! When the swells hit strongly from North or from West, you can find some sheltered spots on the South coast. Costa Calma is the resorts paradise and the place to be if you want just to relax and sunbathe. However, during the consistent swells period people told us you can find some nice longboard waves there.
As I previously told you, we didn’t bring our boards. We first rented them in the Protest surf shop in Corralejo, then we went to Home Grown, a little surf shop owned my some Italian expats. The prices for one day are around 10 euros more or less in every surf shop and in both of ones we went to, the people were nice and easygoing. We rented some mid-length NSPs, just to be sure to be able to surf almost everywhere. If you want to rent a “real” surfboard, you can join Joyas Surf in Lajares. I don’t really know the prices though, but it’s obvious it’ll be a little more expensive.
Overall we didn’t expect the surf was that consistent and that the spots demanded a certain level of surfing. Rocks, reef, wind, and strong current need to be analyzed before paddling toward the lineup. So don’t be afraid to ask or let somebody take you to the right spot for your surf level, in order to enjoy your sessions on the island!
In a few days I’ll be posting the second part of this Fuerteventura travel guide! Stay tuned if you want to learn more about the places you must see, my favorite meals to try and lots of smart tips that will turn a simple holiday into an amazing adventure!
Racconto di SurfRagette , scritto da Marta Tomasini.
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