Canary island has so much to offer
RHIANNON MCDOWALL visits a newly-opened resort on Fuerteventura
IF you fell asleep on the plane to Fuerteventura and woke up on arrival, you’d be forgiven for thinking you had landed on the moon.
The landscape is so barren and black it looks as if any sort of life would struggle to thrive.
With miles and miles of charcoal landscape punctuated only by the man-made golf courses in the hotel resorts, you couldn’t be further from the rolling green hills of England.
But give it a day, go to the beach, eat tapas and drink sangria on the veranda, and you will discover that there is plenty of life on this Spanish island, and it’s actually quite wonderful.
Like all the Canary Islands, Fuerteventura was formed out of a series of underwater volcanic eruptions, which explains the charred landscape and looming dark mountains.
But as the days turn to nights, and dusk turns to dawn, thousands more colours are revealed to create a magical place like no other.
Not to mention the stunning beaches, all-year-round sunshine and cloudless blue skies.
I took a trip to Fuerteventura with Pierre & Vacances and stayed at their newly-opened Origo Mare resort to the north of the island.
It’s perfect for all types of holiday makers, with an adult-only pool, à la carte restaurant and spa for those who want a relaxing holiday, and a fabulous kids’ water park with wave pool, mini golf and tennis courts for those who prefer a little more activity on their jollies.
It’s laid out like a holiday village, so it’s particularly great for families. Five cul-de-sacs of apartments each have their own pool, and there’s a shop so you can cook for yourself if you’re on more of a budget.
While the resort has plenty to offer, I would recommend getting a hire car for the duration of your stay as it’s 50km from the airport and the nearest town is too far to walk. Even though it is bike-friendly, it’s a little too far if you want a night on the town.
The resort is based in the north of the island, between El Cotillo and Corralejo. Corralejo has miles and miles of perfect beaches, and like any area the further you go away from the town, the quieter they get.
Fuerteventura translates as ‘strong winds’ and this transpires when you hit the beach, the water is warm and the beaches are beautiful, but the waves are very strong – great for big kids and surfers, but the smaller lagoons are perhaps more suitable for those with younger children.
The most impressive beach near to the resort is in the National Park – Las Dunas de Corralejo – beautiful sand dunes created from wind blown across from the Sahara creating the perfect backdrop to an afternoon on the beach.
Corralejo itself is typically touristy with plenty of restaurants to cater for British needs and markets selling thousands of trinkets.
From Corralejo we took a ferry to Isla de Lobos, which is considered one of the most important nature reserves off shore, with beautiful isolated beaches away from crowds.
We also spent the day in La Oliva, a rustic village that used to be the capital of the island and is steeped in history. The Ruta de los Coroneles – a character-led tour around the town – is a particularly fun and entertaining way to learn its history and a highlight of our trip. It takes in the Colonel’s house – he originally presided over the entire village – and the Canarian Arts Centre, which is also a great way to see some local art.
Cotillo Beach is also worth a visit, a typical fisherman’s village it has a little more character than Corraljo and has plenty of activities for kids and families. Here we enjoyed horse riding and a snorkelling session
If you get the time, or if you can drag yourself away from the beach, it’s also worth making the trek up the old volcanoes. The walk is a bit of a challenge but suitable for most abilities, but the spectacular views and thrill of looking into the void of an old volcano makes it worth it.
And if you take some food up with you, you will almost definitely get to see the native barbary squirrels, who are very tame and willing to pose for photographs in return for food.
Fuerteventura has so much to offer it’s the perfect destination whether you are looking for a fun family getaway, some bargain winter sun or a bit of culture, and the Origo Mare is a perfect place to start.
●● The Origo Mare resort in Fuerteventura