The locals' guide to... Fuerteventura

It might look like something out of the Sahara Desert, but there's nothing dry about this Canary Island with its European party feel and goat-loving locals... And for more information you can purchase a Lonely Planet Spain guide.

Fuerteventura

How do I get away from large tour groups wearing matching caps?

Tourists swarm to the coast like wasps around an open bottle of lemonade at a picnic. If you want to avoid their annoying buzz for a day or two head inland to small villages such as La Oliva, Antigua and Betancuria where you'll get a glimpse of what life was like before the masses on cheap holidays to Fuerteventura invaded. Unfortunately quite a few others have cottoned on to this. Betancuria is a case in point - plan your visits outside lunchtime hours when the bus tours turn up for their midday feeds.

Where do the locals party?

Join the Majoreros - that's not a Spanish dance troupe, it's another name for the locals - who gravitate towards the bars and clubs of the capital city Puerto del Rosario, on the east coast. Two hotspots in particular attract the in-crowd: Calle 54 and Mafasca. Lobster-skinned lager louts rarely venture this far away from their Fuerteventura hotels. The Brits tend to stick to the beach resorts in the north while the Germans hang on to the south coast.

Restaurants without an 'all-you-can-eat tourist buffet'?

Slip on your favourite driving gloves, hire a car, point it towards the interior and accelerate. You'll soon come across pretty villages and tasty food. A great example is El Horno in Villaverde, where meat is grilled on an open barbecue. Alternatively cruise along to the northern resort of Corralejo and take a seat at the superb fish restaurant Gregorio El Pescador, run by two brothers. The more sun-tanned of the two catches all the fish while his paler sibling stays in and cooks them.

The locals' absolutely secret number one tip : Few people go on a Fuerteventura holiday without sampling the adrenalin-fuelled water sports on offer. Hone your skills at the Quiksilver Surf School where experts offer a year-round surf camp and surf courses for all levels.

A quick guide to where the locals hang out

Fuerteventura

The beach: With 50km of white, sandy beaches, it's hard to choose one over another. For something really dramatic, though, try the kitesurfing mecca of El Cotillo, with its cliffs and huge, crashing waves.

The breakfast: Café de Viena in Corralejo will fill you up with a full Spanish.

The flicks: The multi-screen cinema in Caleta de Fuste often shows original English versions of top films, should you need celluloid sustenance on your Fuerteventura holiday.

The trip: For a bit of variety, take a ferry from Corralejo across to Lanzarote. Sail with your hire car and head for the interior.

The gallery: Fuerteventura isn't renowned for its high culture. One possible exception is the Casa de los Coroneles modern art museum in La Oliva.

The cocktail: Try the Piña Coladas at Waikiki in Corralejo, and enjoy the party atmosphere that comes with them.

The view: Just north of Betancuria is a high lookout called Mirador Morro Velosa from where you can observe the island's bizarre lunar landscape.

The place for people watching: Flag Beach, in the sand dunes near Corralejo, attracts some of the best kitesurfers and windsurfers on the island. They know it too.

Why not try? Subcat submarine

Details:

Calle 54, Calle Secundino Alonso s/n, Puerto del Rosario, www.calle54fuerteventura.com; Mafasca, Calle La Cruz 21, Puerto del Rosario, +34 928 855267; El Horno, Carretera General 91, Villaverde, +34 928 868671; Gregorio El Pescador, Calle de la Iglesia 11, Corralejo, +34 928 866227; Quiksilver Surf School, Calle Palangre 4, Corralejo, +34 928 867307, www.quiksilver-surfschool.com; Café de Viena, Passage opposite Hotel Hoplaco, Corralejo, +34 928 536016; Yelmo Cineplex, Centro Comercial Atlántico, Carretera Del Sur, Km. 11, Caleta de Fuste, +34 928 163711, www.yelmocineplex.es/fuerteventura.html; Casa de los Coroneles, La Oliva, +34 928 861904; Waikiki Beach Club, Calle Aristídes Hernández Morán 11, Corralejo, +34 928 535647, www.waikikibeachclub.es; Flag Beach Windsurf Centre, General Linares 31, Corralejo, +34 928 866389, www.flagbeach.com; Playa Park Club, Calle Lanzarote 4, Corralejo;

hotels - already got ideas where you would like to go?
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Can I drink the water?

The eight essential questions you'll need answering

Which local animal is likely to hospitalise me?

If you fancy spending time in the sea, watch out for stingrays - this is the beastie that took out Steve Irwin.

Which native liquor will make me think I am attractive?

Native Fuerteventurans are very fond of Ron Miel, a dark syrupy rum with honey in it. It'll rot your teeth before it does your liver.

How can I avoid a beating by the local hard nuts?

Don't worry the goats - the locals are scarily protective of them. They are more numerous than the island's human inhabitants and crucially supply milk, meat for the stews and cheese.

Will I get lost?

Fuerteventura is 100km long, with lots of dusty flatlands and very few landmarks. So investing in a map is a very good idea.

Will I find myself?

Head for the nudist beaches. Here you are guaranteed to find both yourself and a lot more besides.

Should I take an umbrella?

Only to shield yourself from the fierce sun. The breeze makes it seem much less hot than it really is.

What should I order in a restaurant to impress the locals?

Fuerteventurans simply can't understand why tourists don't want to eat goat. You will make friends if you order the Puchero Canario goat stew.

Can I drink the water?

In coastal areas tap water is desalinated and tastes awful. It won't make you sick, but the bottled variety tastes a lot nicer.

 
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