Advantages: Beautiful landcapes, beaches. lots to do.
Disadvantages: hotel issues!
I have just returned from a fortnight long holiday on the gorgeous sunny island of Fuerteventura – one of the Canary Islands. I travelled with my 2 children ages 10 and 7yrs old, and we all had a wonderful time. I will try to do some justice to this beautiful island in this review.
I travelled there on an all inclusive package deal from Thomas Cook at the end of June, and stayed at a 3* hotel – The Hotel Costa Caleta (which I will review at a later date)
During my time there the weather was around 38-42 degrees most days and was only slightly breezy most days. As you can imagine this got a little bit too hot at times and you really had to get yourself out of the heat by jumping in the pools. I would advise plenty of suncream and plenty of non alcohol fluids!
We actually had a sun care advisor who advised against using a factor higher than 25, and to use one which had the main ingredient of aloe vera. Apparently higher factors have been known to contain alcohol and other ingredients which can react with the Canarian sunshine causing blistering, sunburn and prickly heat. Also using a good Aloe Vera after sun was advised, I followed this advice and was glad to say neither my children nor I burned during the holiday.
As you can see by the hotel name, the resort I stayed at was Caleta de Fuste (also named Castillo or Caleta) This is on the west side of the island and is only about a 10min transfer from the airport in Puerto del Rosario. For the purpose of this review I will refer to this resort as Caleta.
Caleta is a resort which is mainly made up of hotels, apartments and holiday homes and is definitely a tourist town. It has it’s own manmade beach with quite nice sands (not too hot to walk in either which was nice) the beach is horseshoe shaped and is safe for swimming in. There are various watersports available at the harbour at the end of the beach, including diving too. There is also the option to go out in a glass bottomed boat to do some whale, shark watching! I didn’t get around to doing this on this occasion but definitely something I will do in future.
There are many bars, restaurants and tourist type shops along the main part of Caleta, including to my delight a Scottish bar (The Flower of Scotland) and a Scottish café (The Scotch Corner) which sold traditional Scots, English and Irish Breakfasts and meals. You can get many different types of food along the way here too, including Chinese, Indian, Mexican to name a few. If we weren’t staying all inclusive I’m sure we would have tried them all out…we did try the Scotch corner and also a Chinese Buffet restaurant, both of which were lovely, and made a welcome change from the hotel food.
As I was travelling alone with my children, bars and nightclubs weren’t top of my priorities, but after meeting up with people from my hotel we did go on a couple of occasions to some of the bars, including the aforementioned Flower of Scotland, which hosts a quiz and karaoke every evening. (I won a bottle of champagne in a music quiz one night)
Things to do in and around Fuerteventura are numerous. Personally I didn’t have enough time (or money) to do all of the things I would have liked to on this visit.
I did manage to visit Coralejo on the North of the Island (around 40mins by bus from Caleta) to the Water park – Baku. This was a good day out for the children but beware as there are height restrictions for some of the slides and this was a little disappointing for my daughter as she wanted to go on some of the bigger rides but was unable to as she was a couple of inches short of the minimum. There is however plenty of other things for the smaller ones, including a lazy river which you go around in a tyre ring, you can hire these rings yourself or simply wait at the bottom of the slides for them to come down (I would recommend waiting on the rings as it can work out a bit expensive to hire them) There’s also a baby pool for under 5’s. And if you want to get out of the water for a while you can also visit the Animal Experience – where you can swim with Sea lions for 30 euros, and see lots of other animals too, including some flamingos and farm animals. This is included in the entry price so worth a look.
Prices are 30euros for adults and 18euros for children but I paid for it as an excursion through my holiday rep with bus link included for a reduced fee.
Still in Coralejo there are opportunities to visit the island of Los Lobos. Again I can’t comment on this as I didn’t get around to this excursion, but you can go over on the boat, spend a few hours on the uninhabited island, relaxing, taking photos etc Los Lobos is a nature reserve and is only a small 6miles² apparently a beautiful place to spot unusual birds and plants.
Another trip to take from Coralejo and one that I DID manage to take was the ferry crossing into Lanzarote! Boarding the Fred Olsen ferry at the harbour in Coralejo and arriving in the Playa Blanca in Lanzarote took only 20 minutes, and the journey across the gorgeous aqua waters was worth it alone! On first arrival to Lanzarote all you can see is white houses everywhere as it is Lanzarote law that all buildings are white with either green or brown doors! You can also visit the active volcano on the island which we didn’t do on this occasion. We took a bus (around 30mins transfer) into the more modern town of Puerto del Carmen for a bit of Duty free shopping and relaxation and a short visit to my friend’s holiday villa in the resort too.
Coralejo also boasts a fine harbour and lots of watersports activities too. It also boasts one of the most gorgeous white sandy beaches on the island, sand blows in from the Sahara desert in Africa creating natural white sand dunes, thus is called the mini Sahara! When we passed this beach on the bus at around 10am in the morning it was totally deserted, and even by around 6pm on our return past it, there still wasn’t a lot of people around, except those windsurfing, kitesurfing and people flying kites, I imagine that is because even though the beach is gorgeous the water is quite unsafe for swimming as it has quite strong currents as the wind does tend to get quite strong on this part of the island.
One of the best parts of our holiday was the trip to the South of Fuerteventura to the wonderful La Lajita Oasis Park. There are animals from all over the world here and is well worth a visit if it’s the only thing you do on the island. I booked the trip through my rep and was picked up at my resort and driven through to the Zoo, throughout the day you have a guide (ours was a wonderful French man called David) who will advise you on things to see, and take you through the park so that you see all the best parts, you are given some free time to explore on your own then taken to see a Parrot show, a Sea lion show, A reptile show, and a bird of prey show too….you are then given an experience of a lifetime….a camel safari ride! This was a wonderful trek up a small hill riding the camels…part of me was thinking this was very cruel to the poor animals having to heave all of us up and down that hill for 20minutes, but the selfish part of me loved every minute of it. On top of that we were also given a buffet lunch which was lovely too. For myself and 2 children I paid around 90 euros for the trip which included the bus from Caleta to La Lajita. (about 30-40minutes journey)
Some of the animals you can expect to see are Giraffes (including some very cute babies, Chimpanzees, Zebras, Cheetahs, to name a few! All in all a wonderful day out and the animals are kept in as natural environment as possible, and have all (we were assured) been born and reared in captivity.
Back to Caleta again and there is a small hill called Chipmunk Mountain where once upon a time a large colony of Chipmunks lived and people could go right up to them with handfuls of nuts and feed them, but as there is currently building work going on there the little munks have emigrated temporarily (or not) down to the other side of the harbour, where the probably get more visitors! We didn’t manage to see any during our stay but were assured they were there. Another thing to take note of is the wonderful sand sculptures which grace the beach of Caleta, these are simply stunning creations which the artists have worked on for days sometimes weeks….and are definitely worth throwing a few cents down for the obvious hard work that has gone into them! If you throw some money to the artists they allow you to take photographs of their work, although I did see some people take photos without donating anything.
There are numerous play parks for the children dotted around the town and also a great crazy golf course for around 3-4euros per person. So I don’t think anyone would be lost for something to do when visiting this wonderful island. Any questions please feel free to ask, although I am far from being an expert on the island but I definitely will return one day to do the things I didn’t get around to.
All in all we had a wonderful two weeks on this island and only had one or two disappointments during our time there but that is an issue with the hotel we stayed at and will be reviewed at a later date.
I would recommend this resort for a family holiday, not one for someone looking for a lively resort perhaps…as it can be pretty quiet – I didn’t see any actual nightclubs for dancing etc just plenty of bars with entertainment…karaoke, live etc.