So, on a last minute whim in October 2009 we decided to head to the sun, and after a four-hour 15 minute flight (booked through Budget Travel) we arrived on mountainous, sandy and windswept Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands, Spain. This blog recounts how we got on.
One of the most easterly Canary Islands, just south of Lanzarote, the island was declared a biosphere reserve by UNESCO in 2009 the year we were there, and it certainly has some spectacular scenery. The interior landscape is brutally beautiful – imagine the Irish Aran Islands – but with lots of sun instead of rain – while the long beaches and dunes are dusted with sand carried on the wind from the Sahara in the nearby African continent.
Our Hotel in Caleta de Fusta
We booked the hotel directly, the Barcelo Fuerteventura Thalasso Spa (now known as the Barcelo Fuerteventura Mar). It is located on the beachfront in the enclave of Caleta de Fuste. Only 7 km. from the airport and 15 km. from Puerto del Rosario, capital of Fuerteventura.
It is a very large hotel with 486 rooms which was very busy even in October. We chose a double sea view room all-inclusive – and were allocated no. 1236 - which was clean, modern and very comfortable – with a good sleep quality. There were nicely kept grounds and clean pools with plenty of sunbeds.
Overall it was very relaxing, except for several times a day very loud music blasted across the outside area. Given that the bulk of the clientele in October were in the older age range, people relaxing in the winter sun and listening to the breeze blowing gently through the trees, the din was generally not welcome. Or maybe I’m just showing my age! 😉
The hotel is well situated adjacent to a good beach, and within a few minute’s walk to a wide variety of restaurants, shops, mini supermarkets, bars and cafes. There are nice walks along the shoreline.
The hotel restaurant had the ambience of a large canteen because as I said it’s a very large hotel. It was very crowded and noisy at peak times. Tables close together and a constant flow of people going back and forth to the serveries. The food, particularly in the evening was excellent though and a credit to the catering staff. There is also a snack bar open between 1100-1700. More than a snack bar though with salads, cooked meals, pizzas, drinks and fruit etc. We didn’t go hungry!!
The first real experience of all-inclusive was at breakfast in the morning when we were faced by a huge buffet offering selections from all round the world, from churros to rye bread and Coco Pops to anchovies.
The bar was busy. Decent gins and beers etc. were included in All Inclusive. Service was ok most of the time. We enjoyed the buzz of the bar both during the day and in the evening after our dinner.
Above: Us relaxing at the hotel bar - Fuerteventura Oct 2009
There was evening entertainment which varied from a touch iffy to excellent. Don’t be expecting the West End or Broadway! 😊😂 But the entertainment team were energetic and good fun. We particularly liked the “Grease” show.
Above: "Grease" performed at the hotel - Fuerteventura Oct 2009
For adults, the spa is peaceful and relaxing, and the steam room and well-quipped gym were a welcome slice of tranquillity. The spa also offers a wide range of beauty treatments, from massages to facials, which need to be booked in advance.
There was also a sports pitch, mini golf course and table tennis to keep you active. We particularly liked the pool table!
It is easy to spend all your time in a hotel like the Barcelo and for the most part that is what we did! However, outside of the hotel the beautiful beach is a huge expanse of white sand, but between it and the promenade lies a strip of nature reserve which you are only permitted to cross on designated pathways. But we mostly spent our days dipping in the pool (Charlie) or basking in the sun (Me)! We found it to be a bit windy for sunbathing compared to the other Canary Islands even though the weather is very similar.
Things to do in Fuerteventura
If you have children you can take a day trip to the nearby Oasis Park (www.fuerteventuraoasispark.com). The park originally started out in 1985 as a plant nursery, but today is home to all the animals you’d want in an ark, from elephants and giraffes to monkeys and parrots. The park certainly seems to be like an oasis and adds a welcome shot of greenery and shade into the landscape. The park is big, but looked to be well laid out and easy to navigate, with animal food on sale throughout so you can feed the exhibits as well as view them. Highlights can include a camel ride and being able to feed the giraffes.
If you do decided to leave the hotel these are some ideas of things you can do in Fuerteventura:
Having tried it several times elsewhere, we’d certainly go for the all-inclusive option again, and while this hotel was really good we probably wouldn’t go back as it was just a tad too big for us. Fuerteventura wouldn’t be my favourite Canary Island on our brief first impression as it’s a bit too breezy. That said I have friends who love it…so maybe I should give it a second chance!
Bucket List Items Ticked Off in the above Blog 78
Number 57 - Travel - 7 Continents
Other Blog Posts
Blog 11 - Sydney, Australia
Blog 12 - Hong Kong, China
Blog 17 - Beijing, Xi'an & Shanghai, China
Blog 19 - California, USA
Blog 27 - Scotland
Blog 28 - Barbados
Blog 29 - Canada
Blog 30 - Alaska
Blog 31 - Everglades, Florida
Have you ever been to Fuerteventura? Tell me about your experience in the comments section below.
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My name is Mary and this is my bucket list blog ...having survived a near-death experience. I hope it encourages you to "live your best life". See how I'm completing my own bucket list items. And let me know how you're getting on with yours!