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The weather is almost always warm and sunny on the Canary Islands. There isn't much difference between the seasons, even in winter you can sunbathe and swim outside. On Fuerteventura there is often a strong wind blowing, so the heat is bearable. The sun is powerful and even when it's cloudy your skin can get burned. From November till February it rains a little more often than during the rest of the year. Always take a sweater and a light jacket with you, because at night it can cool down. Weather statistics can give you an idea of how the weather can be like, but don't rely on them completely, they show only an average of the weather conditions.
|Day temperature °C||Night temperature°C||Days with rain|
GMT: like in London, UK.
Spanish is the official language on Fuerteventura. Most of the visitors are Germans, so in tourist areas you are often approached in German, but in restaurants and shops they speak a little English too. However, if you take the effort to speak a few words Spanish, the inhabitants are pleasantly surprised. Because speaking a bit the local language, can make things easier, I've made a short list of some Spanish words and expressions, see 'Spanish Words'. In bookshops you can find cheap phrase books, which can be helpful in different situations. Great language site at www.travlang.com.
The easiest way to get to Fuerteventura is by plane. From Brussels or Amsterdam it takes about 4h30 to get there. Most of the flights to the island are charter flights. Scheduled flights leave only from certain cities in Spain. The small modern airport is situated near the capital Puerto del Rosario. Construction works for a new airport in the south of the island have been started, but it will take a few years before it will be finished.
Bus transfers to the holiday resorts : to Caleta de Fuste +- 15 minutes, to Corralejo +- 45 minutes, to Jandía or Morro Jable +- 1h40. The drive to the south of the island seems to take very long, because the roads are winding and the bus has to stop at several hotels to drop people off, this is something you'd better know in advance. By car or by taxi you move a lot faster, but the drive will always take more than one hour.
On the island
Tiadhe is the bus company for public transport. They don't drive very frequently, don't serve every village and aren't very punctual. There are no trams or trains on the island.
The best way to explore the island at your own pace, is by (rented) car. In the tourist areas and at the airport there are several car rental companies. Travel agencies usually recommend well-known firms like Hertz or Avis. Spanish companies like Dominguez, Soto or Cicar are also reliable and a bit cheaper. Compare prices and ask if the insurance or taxes are included or not. Rates aren't very high, and the longer you hire a car, the cheaper it gets by day. The car rental companies don't allow you to drive on sandy roads with an ordinary car. Of course you can take the risk of driving on unpaved roads, but in that case you'd better hope that your car doesn't break down, or that you don't have an accident, because otherwise you're in big trouble. With a jeep you can drive off-road, but it costs almost double to rent.
The mayor roads are very good. There are asphalt roads and several categories of sandy tracks. There is no highway, but the main road connecting north with south is a good one with one lane in every direction (maximum speed 90km/h). The roads lead trough the mountains and are winding, but the mayor roads are wide enough to let two cars pass. Drive slowly on narrow roads with hairpin bends, and honk when you can't see oncoming cars behind the corner. Maximum speed in built-up areas is 50 km/h, on main roads 90km/h .
Buy a good map, this makes traveling easier.
There are only gas stations in larger villages, so it's best to fill the tank in time.
When you want to turn left off the main road, you are forced to drive to the right first, and then you have to cross the road. The trough traffic doesn't get obstructed like that.
The island isn't very big. From one side of the island (Morro Jable) to the other side (Corralejo) is only 135 km, a little less than two hours by car. Don't underestimate distances, when driving in the mountains and on sandy tracks, because you have to drive very slowly sometimes.
In the tourist areas there are enough taxis and there is at least one taxi stand. Rates aren't very high. Keep an eye on the meter and ask in advance what the ride is going to cost. Ask at the hotel reception how much taxi drivers may charge you for a certain distance.
By bike or motorbike
You can hire a mountainbike or motorbike in the tourist villages. Cycling doesn't seem very attractive to me, because you'll drive most of the time in the mountains, on narrow roads, near ravines and you'll have to pedal against strong winds. It will be a challenge for experienced bikers.
You can sail by boat along the coast or to the nearby islands, like Lobos or Lanzarote. All kinds of boat trips are organized, you can go watching the dolphins or go on a a pirate trip.
Guided excursions by bus
This is the most expensive and least independent way to get around the island. Some people don't seem to be bothered by being driven around with a group of other tourists, and even like it when everything is arranged for them. These tours can be booked in your hotel, at a travel agency or with a host(ess) of your tour operator.
Fuerteventura has got few accommodation for low budget travelers. It's best to look for a cheap room in older villages like Puerto del Rosario, Corralejo or Morro Jable. In the new holiday resorts you'll find mainly large, modern hotels. There are no campgrounds, but wild camping is allowed in some places. Most visitors will book a hotel and flight at a travel agency. Read the brochures and hotel descriptions of the tour operators thoroughly, so that you'll know more or less what to expect.
As most visitors book a stay with half or full board, many people don't eat out of their hotel. The hotels try to keep their guests inside and to let them consume as much as possible with them. If you want to keep your meal budget low, buy something to eat in a supermarket and have a picnic on the beach or on your terrace. For an ordinary sandwich you pay in a restaurant ten times more than when you buy some bread and cheese in a shop. A hotel room with a refrigerator is very handy, so you can keep your drinks cool and you can even store some food. In the inland you can have a Spanish meal in a local restaurant, but in the holiday resorts it's hard to find a typical restaurant. Most restaurants serve the same common international dishes, but at reasonable prices. Tapas (small snacks) are the specialty of Spain. Tap water is not safe to drink on Fuerteventura! (see Health)
Making an international phone call from Fuerteventura : dial 00 (international code), followed by the country code, the city code and the subscriber's number. Calling from a phone booth is the cheapest way, and you can pay with coins or phone cards, sold in tobacco stores or supermarkets.
Making a telephone call from abroad to Fuerteventura : dial the international code, then 34 for Spain, 928 at the beginning of the number is the code for Fuerteventura.
Stamps are sold in shops where they sell postcards or at post offices. Except the official Spanish post (correos), there are other companies like Swiss Post who send your mail. In some shops or in hotels you'll find cardboard boxes in which you can deposit your mail.
Money and bank
The Spanish monetary unit is Euro () .
Check out this money converting site : http://www.xe.net/ucc/ .
Banks have limited opening hours : from Monday till Friday from 8.30 am. - 2 p.m, and on Saturdays till 2 p.m.
Exchange offices ( cambios ) stay open much longer. Compare the rates, because they can vary. Credit cards, Eurochecks or travellerchecks are mostly accepted.
There isn't much crime on
Fuerteventura. Like everywhere in the world where tourists gather , you've got to look out
for pickpockets and it's best not to leave anything valuable visible in the car. Rent a
safe in your hotelroom, and keep your valuables and most of your money there. Be on the
alert for people who want to sell you timeshare holidays, and for guys who play tricks
with cards or balls, who want you to bet money: don't do it, because you'll always lose.
The rough sea can be dangerous, especially at the west coast it's too risky to swim or surf.
There are some more local holidays and festivities, but these are the most important ones.
January 1 and 6
April 18 Eastern
December 6, 8, 25
Shops are open on weekdays from 9 a.m. till 1 p.m and from 5 p.m. till 8 p.m., on saturdays often till 1 p.m., and closed on sundays. In the tourist areas most shops are open till 9 or 10 p.m., a few also on sundays (supermarkets for a few hours), but during siesta from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. everything is closed. There are several shopping centres (centro commercial), but some include only four or five shops. There are many perfumeries, electronics stores, souvenir shops and clothes shops. Watch out when you want to buy electronic devices, prices are usually not indicated in the shop window, and the shop assistants always tell you at frist prices that are too high : try to haggle. It's best to know how much you should have to pay for the device in your own country. If the price for e.g. a camera is ridiculusly low, don't trust the deal. When you watch out and check the appliance you want to buy carefully, you can buy good stuff at low prices.
The beautiful beaches and hotels with animation for children are great for kids. Not all the beaches are safe enough to go in the water. Protect you kids again the sun. There are no famous attractions for children on the island, but there is a zoo in La Lajita where they can ride on a camel.
The Spanish organisation for disabaled persons: Organización Impulsora de Discapacitados can provide information about special facilities. On their (Spanish) website you can find their addresses : http://www.oid.es .
The most important thing is not to go
on holiday without a travel/ medical insurance. Health care on Fuerteventura is OK, there
is a modern hospital in Puerto del Rosario. In the tourist areas there are medical
services with doctors who speak English and German. They are located in the shopping area
and easy to find. Pharmacies (farmacía) sell a lot of medication without prescription,
Tap water is not safe to drink ! It is sea water that has undergone a series of chemical treatments, so even for tea or coffee it's best to use bottled water. Brushing your teeth with it is no problem. The better hotels even use bottled water to cook, if you want to be sure, just ask them. Hygiene standards are high in the hotels, because there are many German guests staying there and they are very strict about hygiene.
Don't eat meat or fish that isn't well cooked, and avoid (perishable) food that hasn't been kept cool. Don't underestimate the power of the sun, even when it's cloudy, you can still burn. Protect your head and body, don't stay in the sun for too long and drink enough water.
Tourism on Fuerteventura started later than on the other Canary Islands, like Tenerife or Gran Canaria, and you can notice that. The majority of the visitors are Germans (in Jandía even up to 90%). Although the landscape is in some places disturbed by concrete skeletons of what will become hotels, there is still a lot of empty space. At the moment there are only four tourist centers : Corralejo, Caleta de Fustes, Costa Calma and Jandiá Playa with Morro Jable. Here there are shops, amusement halls, restaurants and bars, in short, everything one expects the average tourist likes during his holiday, but on a limited scale. Corralejo and Jandía Playa are the busiest, Costa Calma is very quiet, has few facilities, but it looks nicer. In the inland you don't notice much of the tourism, you can really see how daily life goes on. I had the impression that most tourists seem to prefer to stay on the beach, and don't take the effort to get to know the island. I'm afraid that in ten years time the island won't be so quiet anymore, but until then, you can still enjoy the wonderful lonely beaches.
Tourist office at the airport : Aeropuerto de Fuerteventura, Puerto del Rosario.
Spanish tourist office: www.tourspain.es
All kinds of information: http://www.fuerteventurainfo.com
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