The lesser visited cousin to the Big Mommas of Gran Canaria and Lanzarote, Fuerteventura is increasing in popularity with British (and German) tourists.
The lesser visited cousin to the Big Mommas of Gran Canaria and Lanzarote, Fuerteventura is increasing in popularity with British (and German) tourists. However, it has its’ own character, differentiating it from its’ neighbours, and there are a few things you should be aware of if you are to have any hope of navigating your way through the mountains, waves and, er, goats, that the island has to offer.
Book accommodation that is central to one of the main resorts, such as Corralejo. The large expanse of land between is uninhabitable, barren wasteland, similar to the infamous “lunar landscape” of neighbouring Lanzarote, and there are only a couple of arterial roads running across the island. So if you’re not somewhere lively to start with, the chances of you getting somewhere lively are minimal.
Avoid wearing dresses and skirts if you value your decency. The translation of “Fuerteventura” is “strong winds”, and whilst the Marilyn Monroe stunt worked for, er, Marilyn Monroe, it’s a lot less fetching when your buttocks are glowing a rather fetching shade of lobster after a long day at the beach. Playsuits make a great alternative to dresses for a night out on the town, but most places are quite casual, so shorts are fine.
Hug a goat
Perhaps not literally, but certainly embrace the four legged critters delights. The locals are very fond of them, almost elevating to a Godly position, so don’t mess with them. There is a 3000 Euro fine for running them over, so no matter how bad the food is at your hotel, it’s probably not worth it. If you stay within the urban areas, your chances of seeing goats (and the even more elusive camels) are scarce, but away from the resorts and up in the hills, they are plentiful.
We don’t mean to sound like your mum, but….Use sunscreen, even when it doesn’t feel warm. The near-constant breeze lowers the temperature, so you don’t feel yourself burning, but believe us, you will. Many swimming pools on the island are saltwater, which only increases the UV effect on your skin.
Plan your day
Everyday in the Canary Islands begins cloudy –still warm, but cloudy. By lunchtime, the clouds will disperse, revealing the brilliant Spanish sunshine. Therefore mornings are the perfect time to wander into town or go to the supermarket before the beating sun reigns supreme, leaving your afternoons free to veg out by the pool or at the beach.
Traders, both in the independent shops in town and at the markets are generally open to offers. Leather is plentiful, so it’s the perfect place to invest in a new purse, bag or belt. It has echoes of Camden Market in London, in that many shops stock the same products, so it’s worth shopping around if you’ve got your eye on a particular item. Fake designer items are common, with brands such as Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana and Gucci being the most commonly replicated. If a trader asks for 30 Euros for a bag initially, you can usually get them down to 12-15 Euros with a bit of work. Don’t feel bad, it’s the way of life over there, and what they lose from your sale, they’ll more than make up for by ripping off a less well-informed tourist later in the day.
The words “Donde esta XXX” (Where is XXX) are your friends. Take all signposts with a pinch of salt. If something is accompanied by a left-pointing arrow, don’t be so naive as to assume that to mean “Turn left now”. What is roughly translates as is “Ignore this left turning, amble on past this building, go straight over the roundabout, and take the third left, which actually looks more like an off road track than a tourist road”. Therefore it’s useful to be able to ask for directions, and whilst you are unlikely to understand the answer, local residents are used to lost tourists, and extensive hand gestures (some politer than others) tend to accompany directions.