Fuerteventura is one of the seven islands of the Canary archipelago, located in the Atlantic Ocean and 97 km from the northwest coast of Africa. The island has about 100,000 inhabitants and, given its large area, 1659 km², it is the least densely populated island of the five main islands of the Canary: less than 50 inhabitants per km². At Fuerteventura goats outnumber humans.
The capital city of the island is Puerto del Rosario with a population 30,000 inhabitants, nearly one third of the population of the island.
The island of Fuerteventura lives mainly from tourism.
Fuerteventura was once named in French “Fortaventure” name as the Norman conqueror Jean de Béthencourt gave the island.
The indigenous name of the island before its conquest in the fifteenth century, was Erbane with his two kingdoms “Jandía” and “Maxorata”.
The people of Fuerteventura are called “majoreros” or, in an archaic form, “mahoreros” name was once one gave the aborigines of the island, named after their semi-underground dwellings called “maho”.
Fuerteventura is an island of the archipelago of the Canary Islands between Lanzarote, northeast and Gran Canaria, in the southwest. This is the island of the archipelago closest to the African continent: it is distant only 92 km from Cape Juby, in the extreme south of Morocco.
Fuerteventura is separated from Lanzarote by the Strait of Bocaina, off a dozen kilometers and less than 40 m deep.
The island of Fuerteventura is an island of barren landscapes, dotted with extinct volcanoes and windmills, and coast dotted with huge white sand beaches. Inside the island herds of goats graze on desert areas; on the coast, vacationers enjoy constant winds to indulge in water sports.
With a car you can visit Fuerteventura in three days: one day for the north of the island, a second for the center and one for the south.
Visit of the north of Fuerteventura
Take the FV-20 road from Puerto del Rosario and head Casillas del Ángel, a farming village that lies along the main road; there will visit the Church of St. Anne. Shortly after Casillas del Ángel, turn right on the road FV-30, then 5 km further on the FV-207 road towards Tefía; a kilometer before the village there is one of the best museums created by the Cabildo de Fuerteventura: the Ethnographic Museum in La Alcogida, typical houses, completely restored, where you can see craftsmen at work and buy items crafts.
De La Oliva, one can make a foray to El Cotillo continuing on the FV-10 road El Cotillo is a charming seaside village, with narrow streets, a watchtower, the tower Tostón, and good restaurants of fish. Back to La Oliva, you take the FV-101 road up to Villaverde, a rather picturesque farming village where you can buy typical Canarian food; There you can also visit the Cueva del Llano, a volcanic gallery of more than 600 m in length.
After Villaverde continue on the road FV-101 to the resort of Corralejo; from the port of Corralejo you can take a boat to get to the island of Lobos, a volcanic island protected by a natural park. The return of the island to join the FV-1 road heading south; the road through the Natural Park of Corralejo, an area of impressive dunes, then moved to the capital.
From Ajuy return to Pájara headed for Tuineje, an agricultural town with curious Moorish-style houses. Continue south on the FV-20 road to find the FV-2 road, which used to return to the capital.
Visit of the south of Fuerteventura
Since Puerto del Rosario go to Morro del Jable via south FV-2 road that ends at the port of Morro del Jable. After the port is continued until a dirt road; this trail leads first to the western tip of the peninsula Jandía, the curious village of Puertito de la Cruz, where you can enjoy a fish stew. Starting again in the direction of Morro del Jable, making a round trip to Cofete taking, left a trail that leads to the north coast of the peninsula and the beach Cofete famous for its sunsets .
Take the same path to return to Morro del Jable and continue north on the FV-2 to the Playa de Sotavento, an ideal place for windsurfing and which hosts the world championships of windsurfing; VF-2 from a small road leads there. Resume north on the FV2 road, passing off the resort of Costa Calma.
Shortly after Costa Calma, leave FV-2 for turning west on the FV-605 road towards La Pared and stop to admire the coast. Continue along the FV-605, then turn right on the FV-618 to admire the Natural Monument Mountain Cardón. Continue along the FV-618 to reach the coastal road FV-2. A few kilometers further, turn right on the FV-4 towards Gran Tarajal; before entering Gran Tarajal, turn left along the road FV-512 to the fishing village of Las Playitas and continue to the lighthouse La Entallada.
Geologically, Fuerteventura is the oldest island of the Canary Islands. His training began there 20 million years ago by volcanic eruptions. However the majority of the island was formed there are 5 million years. Volcanic activity ceased there 4,000 or 5,000 years, erosion did its job. The highest point, Mount Jandía in the southwest, rises to 807 meters.
With an area of 1658 km², Fuerteventura is the second largest island of the Canary Islands after Tenerife; its length of Corralejo in the north to the tip of Jandía in the southwest, is about 100 km; its width does not exceed 30 km, with a minimum of 5 km in the isthmus of La Pared that connects the narrow peninsula of Jandía from the main island. It is on this peninsula that is the highest point in Fuerteventura, the Pico de la Zarza (“Peak of the Bramble”), whose summit is at 807 meters.
The perimeter of the island is 320 km of which 52 km are beaches of white or golden sand. The east coast has calm and windy beaches for the practice of windsurfing. The west coast of the island is steep and whipped by westerly winds that make swimming and water sports less pleasant.
The island has two very different areas:
the Maxorata, which is the largest region inhabited by the majority of the population;
The first inhabitants of Fuerteventura, the Majoreros, probably came from North Africa to the first millennium BC, because their language was very similar to that of the Berbers. These Mahoreros lived by fishing, shellfish harvesting and raising goats, which provided meat and milk with which they were cheese. The island was divided into two kingdoms: Maxorata north and Jandía in the south.
However Fuerteventura was known to other peoples: Phoenicians probably arrived about the eleventh century BC as the Carthaginian Hanno the Navigator during his trip to the Gulf of Guinea around 570 BC. King Juba II of Numidia in a description made in the first century BC by Pliny the Elder was used. The island was visited by the Greeks and Romans who named the Planaria, Herbania, et cetera.
In the fourteenth century, Genoese, Florentines, Venetians, Spaniards, Catalans, Majorcans, Andalusians, Basques and Portuguese approach the island.
In 1339, appears for the first time the name of Ventura High in a map of the cartographer Majorcan Angelino Dulcert.
In 1342, a Majorcan expedition landed on the island.
In 1404, the Norman Jean de Béthencourt and Gadifer de La Salle made the conquest of the island. The kings of the two kingdoms of the island, and Guize Ayose were baptized and took the name Louis (Luís) and Alfonso (Alfonso).
In 1424, the Norman lords swore allegiance to the crown of Castile and the island became Spanish.
Around 1450, the island has about 1,200 European inhabitants, concentrated around the capital Betancuria.
In 1476, the island is legally territorial lordship of Fuerteventura.
In 1593, the Barbary pirate Arráez occupied the island for six months, and burned the capital and its archives before retiring.
In the early seventeenth century, the Lordship of Fuerteventura is the possession of the house Arias y Saavedra.
In 1740, English privateers tried to take Fuerteventura, but after two battles that ended in failure, they were forced to withdraw.
In 1836, the feudal law exercised by the lords (señores) was abolished by the Cortes de Cádiz.
The island of Fuerteventura has always been a poor island - despite a fertile volcanic soil - mainly due to lack of rain water. However the island was in the past less arid than today, it was even the granary of the Canary Islands, as evidenced by the many windmills that dot the landscape. But poor management of land and overgrazing by goats led to the bare landscape that we see today. At times, especially in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, exceptional droughts have provoked terrible famine that caused the emigration of a large part of the population to the other Canary Islands and to Latin America. In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century the island enjoyed a certain prosperity with the export of samphire, the orseille, cochineal, and quicklime, which can still see the many ovens lime that served to produce.
Agriculture is limited to the cultivation of cereals (wheat, barley, maize), forage (alfalfa) and vegetables (tomato, onion, garlic, potatoes). Livestock is limited to goats which roam freely bare patches; the island produces goat cheese called “queso majorero”. Fishing is most favored, with the presence of a sea full of fish pit between Fuerteventura and the Moroccan coast, but there is no real fishing industry.
Since the 1970s the island’s economy is obviously based on tourism, thanks to its pleasant climate and its many beaches of fine golden sand or pebbles - that would be the number 152 ... - which were built of hotel facilities or vacation homes.
Fuerteventura has a very pleasant climate, but very dry. The lowest average winter temperature is 15 °C and higher is 21 °C. For summer, the lowest average temperature is 20 °C and the highest of about 30 °C. The average annual temperature is 22 °C. These warm temperatures are due to the sirocco, the wind levante, hot wind from the Sahara. The temperature of the sea water is between 19 and 21 °C.
The sunshine is 2800 hours per year. With less than 1000 m above sea level, the peak of Fuerteventura can not remember the clouds of the trade winds, and the annual rainfall is low: an average of 147 mm, the majority being of showers in winter. Fuerteventura is a very dry island with very little vegetation and very little water.
In addition, at any time of the year, may occur the phenomenon of calima. During it, the sand brought by sirocco depress the visibility to 200 m or less and cause a sharp rise in temperatures of over 10 degrees. This sand blown over the sea, has formed an isthmus, Istmo de la Pared, located between the formerly separate islands of Maxorata and Jandía.
These regular and moderate winds make Fuerteventura an ideal place to practice water sports: sailing, windsurfing and kite-surf.
Fuerteventura is very well connected to other islands from the ports of Puerto del Rosario, Morro del Jable and Corralejo. Links exist with the cities of Santa Cruz de Tenerife in Tenerife (12 hour crossing) from Morro del Jable; five times a day to Playa Blanca in Lanzarote from Corralejo, Arrecife in Lanzarote from Puerto del Rosario, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria Gran Canaria (7 hours crossing) from Puerto del Rosario and Morro del Jable, Santa Cruz de La Palmaà La Palma.
There are frequent buses between the airport and the main resorts, but it is more difficult to travel by bus to visit the interior of the island, because the buses are more then intended to villagers and tourists and are limited to a bus early in the morning with back in the late morning.