The rural park of Betancuria in Fuerteventura
|Rural Park Betancuria is a natural area that protects the coastal range of Betancuria (Macizo de Betancuria) in the west of the island of Fuerteventura. The Massif of Betancuria is one of the most spectacular outcrops of the island base of Fuerteventura.|
The protected area was first declared in 1984 Natural Park (Parque Natural de Betancuria), then re-classified as rural in 1994 Park (Parque Rural de Betancuria) where conservation values can coexist with traditional uses. The Park is also declared a Special Protection Area for birds (Zona de especial protección para las aves, ZEPA).
The landscape, with its dramatic coloring, is made up of rows of hills with rounded peaks, which descend in steep slope to the bottom of the ravines. The park is characterized by a mosaic of dry meadows and scrubland with remarkable plant species such as leafy King Juba (Euphorbia regis-jubae) (tabaiba salvaje), the silky asterisk (Asteriscus sericeus), the Caralluma burchardii and fungus, truffle desert, Terfezia pinoyii. These species are mixed with some other non-native species such as the American agave (Agave americana), the prickly pear (Opuntia ficus-indica), and the tree tobacco (Nicotiana glauca), named locally mimo.
|The Rural Park Betancuria is for the most part located in the municipality of Betancuria in the center-west of the island of Fuerteventura; 91% of the territory of Betancuria are part of the Park. Northern Rural Park is located in the municipality of Puerto del Rosario; other parties in the municipalities of Antigua, of Pájara and Tuineje.|
The total area of the park is 16,000 hectares. The highest mountains are the Montaña de la Atalaya (724 m), the Gran Montaña (708 m), the Morro de la Cruz (676 m), the Morro Janana (670 m), the Morro Velosa (669 m) the Montaña de Teteguno (645 m) and Pico de la Muda (600 m).
Inside the Rural Park Betancuria is the Natural Monument of Ajuy.
The resident population in the Park is less than 1000 inhabitants, distributed between Betancuria, Vega de Río Palmas, Valle de Santa Inés, Ajuy, Puerto de la Peña and hamlets.
|The viewpoint of Morro Velosa (Mirador de Morro Velosa)|
|From La Oliva to Puerto del Rosario or Antigua, after the village of Valle de Santa Inés and before arriving at Betancuria by road FV-30, we can make a stop at the Belvedere of Morro Velosa; on the left of the road FV-30 from Llanos de la Concepción, a small road winds up tight on the slopes of the volcano Tegú to the lookout at an altitude of 669 meters; several rest areas along the road, with views of the west coast of Fuerteventura.|
On the belvedere there is a building with a restaurant and a temporary exhibition center organized by the Chapter (Cabildo) of Fuerteventura and on environment. The building was designed by the famous and ubiquitous artist of Lanzarote, César Manrique and directed by his niece, the architect Blanca Cabrera. The artist’s influence is recognized in the search for the harmonious integration of the building into the surrounding nature, with materials, shapes and colors similar to the landscape of the island. Once past the gate, one discovers a garden exclusively Canarian plant species; inside the large windows allow building to admire the scenery while taking a drink.
From this viewpoint we can contemplate - towards the west - the Rural Park Betancuria; if we look north, you can see to the coastal village of El Cotillo, while the view to the south-east to discover the city of Antigua, about 3 km, and to the south, volcanoes near the village of Tiscamanita. The earth tones of these arid landscapes and a little moon are marked only by a few green and white spots representing cultures and centuries-old villages struggling to survive amid these disadvantaged lands by lack of water. On the terrace of the panels - in Spanish - comment on the surrounding landscape. One can enjoy the geological richness of the area, notice the exposed bedrock and volcanic flows due to the eruptions that occurred until a 20 million years.
Visiting hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 10 am to 18 pm.
(The gazebo and access road were often closed in recent years, even the official opening hours)
Phone: 00 34 928 176 586
|The viewpoint of Corrales de Guize (Mirador de Ayose y Guise)|
|Shortly after passing the road up to the viewpoint of Morro Velosa encountered the viewpoint Corrales de Guize (“the pen Guize”); developed on both sides of the road, it allows great views of both the northern half of Fuerteventura as the Valley of Betancuria.|
This belvedere is named "Belvedere Ayose and Guise” because of the two statues of the last kings of Fuerteventura, two enemy brothers who ruled over both parts of the island before the conquest of Fuerteventura by the Norman Jean de Béthencourt and Gadifer de La Salle at the end of 1402 year. King Guise, or Guize, ruled the northern part of the island, named Maxorata, while his brother Ayose or Ayoze, ruled the southern part Jandía. The two kingdoms were separated by a wall of defense; it was long believed that this boundary was located in the present village of La Pared (“The Wall”); but it seems it was probably further north, at the location of the gazebo, a line that would run from Puerto de la Peña, near Ajuy, to the Barranco de la Torre, south of Salinas del Carmen. If the provision of the statues is in line with the situation of kingdoms, the statue right, north, would be that of Guise, and the statue left the south that of Ayose...
The two kingdoms - weakened by continual fratricidal struggles in the years before the conquest - not opposed little resistance to the Norman conquerors, only inflicting few defeats at the start of the invasion. After their surrender, Guise and Ayose were baptized, as well as their subjects, and were given Christian names: Guise became Luís and Ayose became Alfonso, and they swore allegiance to their new lords. Until the seventeenth century, it appointed two advisers, one for the party of Guise and another by the part of Ayose, who were representatives of the interests of indigenous peoples before the Chapter of Fuerteventura.
These bronze statues were about 4.5 meters high and 1.5 meters wide, and are the work of sculptor Emiliano Hernández; the two kings are represented with their “scepter”. In 2008, these two statues were originally to be installed on the site Annex Congress Palace in the capital, Puerto del Rosario, but it was thought best to place them in an emblematic place, the border between the two former indigenous kingdoms. The statues are a gift from the company public works OHL.
The gazebo has become a required stop for tourists, and it became a ritual to be photographed in front of the statues, so much as a hand of a statue is polished by thousands of hands that input.
|The lookout Escarpment Rochers (Mirador del Risco de las Peñitas)|
|The belvedere Risco de las Peñitas is on the border between the municipalities of Betancuria and Pájara.|
From this viewpoint we can see - on the left - the “Dam Small Rocks” (Presa de Las Peñitas). The Embalse de Las Peñitas was built for agricultural purposes between 1939 and 1943; since, soil erosion has clogged the tank and increasing salinity of its waters caused the decline of the agricultural use of the dam.
The dam of the reservoir area has now become a haven for many plant and animal species. We meet typical Canarian plants such as: maritime wolfberry (Lycium intricatum) (espino de mar), the “cuernúa” (Caralluma burchardii), the milk thistle (Silybum marianum) (cardo mariano), the “jorja” or “jorjao” (Asteriscus sericeus), the “verode” (Kleinia neriifolia synonymus Senecio kleinia), the “esparraguera or espina blanca” (Asparagus pastorianus) and lichens such as the genus Ramalina and gender Xanthoria.
The observable avifauna includes: the hoopoe (Upupa epops) (tabobo or abubilla), the blue tit (Cyanistes caeruleus) (herrerillo común), the gray shrike (Lanius excubitor) (alcaudón real), the githagine finch (Bucanetes githagineus) (camachuelo trompetero), the raven (Corvus corax) (cuervo común), the kestrel (Falco tinnunculus) (cernícalo vulgar), the buzzard (Buteo buteo insularum) and sometimes the Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus).
Beyond the dam, left Las Peñitas, one can observe the Valley Fénduca (Valle de Fénduca) which results in the “Ravine Not Bad” (Barranco de Mal Paso); on the banks of the ravine Mal Paso are still examples of traditional agriculture. The Barranco de Mal Paso opens later in the Barranco de Ajuy, leading to the ocean.
Further, we see the Atalayeta de la Vieja and the Teton Mountain (Montaña de la Teta), with 246 m, the last meters is a basalt flow, remains one of the three great volcanoes of the first phase rash; following this ravine we find the palm of “Mother Water” (Madre del Agua).
At the center of the landscape - facing the gazebo - stands “escarpment of the Little Rocks” (Risco de las Peñitas), plutonic rock syenite.
On the right lies the Valley and the Orchard of St. John’s Wort (Valle y Huerto de los Granadillos); in this valley outcrop of igneous rocks (gabbro and syenite) and volcanic rocks (trachyte). One can also see the remains of many terraces that were for agricultural use.