Canary Islands Guide - Fuerteventura Island
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Fuerteventura
By Lucy Corne

There are only two things that bring people to Fuerteventura – sea and sand. The second largest island boasts the longest coastline and has no fewer than 150 beaches lining its shores. In fact over 20 per cent of the island is beach, so you can guarantee a fine time tanning and bathing. The island is also known for its superlative windsurfing opportunities and beginners are catered for as well as pros.

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Fuerteventura the sunny island

With all this golden sand on offer, it will come as no surprise that the island’s economy pretty much revolves around tourism. In truth, once you get away from the coast there isn’t a great deal going on. With the island’s highest point at 807m, hiking is considerably less adventurous (though also less tiring) than on other islands. No, Fuerteventura is really a place to come for relaxation, tranquility and a perfect tan.

The island is known for one other thing, at least locally: goats. There are actually more goats than people on Fuerteventura and the various goats’ cheeses on offer are heavenly. Good places to sample them are the Centro de Artesanía in Antigua and Casa de Santa María in Betancuria.

View of Beach Sotavento with the second photo showing bicyclist dealing with goats
Top photo - Beach Sotavento. Photo below - goats on Fuerteventura Island

Puerto del Rosario and the Centre
The capital was once called Puerto de Cabras (Port of Goats) but some wise official noted that the name wasn’t as appealing as it could be and it was changed to Puerto del Rosario in 1956. Today the capital doesn’t have too much to keep tourists’ attention. There is one decent museum, the former home of local poet Miguel Unamuno, and the city is something of an open air art gallery, with sculptures dotted around on street corners and roundabouts. Also check out the harbour area, with its narrow alleyways and typical Canarian architecture. One thing that the capital is good for is food. It’s the best place on the island for eating out, with plenty of tasty tapas bars specialising in dishes using local ingredients.

Moving inland from the capital you reach Tefía. The town is small but it has Fuerteventura’s best museum, the Ecomuseo de la Alcogida. The museum is actually a collection of eight buildings, each highlighting a different aspect of traditional Canarian culture including farming and typical handicrafts. Staff dressed in costume from the early 20th century give demonstrations of carpentry, cheese making and spinning among other things and there is a good souvenir shop on site. You can continue your education into all things Canarian a little further south in Betancuria, a former capital of the island. It’s a tiny place but has four good museums offering peeks into local culture.

The Museo de Arte Sacro (Museum of Religious Art) is probably the least interesting of the four, though the 17th century Iglesia de Santa María is worth peeking inside. More interesting to tourists is Casa de Santa María, not so much a museum as a functioning workshop where you can watch artisans at work and sample freshly made Canarian produce, including wine, mojo and cheese. Just out of town is the Museo Arqueológico de Betancuria (Arcaeological Museum), which has examples of aboriginal pottery and information on the culture of the pre-Hispanic residents of Fuerteventura. The Centro Insular de Artesanía next door gives a little background to the handicrafts that you can buy in town.

Continue: Fuerteventura, page 2 - Morro Jable and the South
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Canary Island photographs provided by Lucy Corne.
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