Family friendly Fuerteventura

[ Wednesday, 4th July 2007 ]

The island of Fuerteventura is the second biggest of the Canaries (the biggest is Tenerife). It’s the least populated as most of the land is stone and rock. The north of the island is very volcanic, though it’s safe as the last eruption was 7,000 years ago. It’s an island with holidays that appeal to various types of holidaymakers.. It’s not the place to go if you are a real party person, though the resort of Caleta de Fuste is livelier than Corralejo. It’s great for families as there are plenty of good apartments on offer, most with separate children’s swimming pools and often with facilities that include crazy golf and playground.
It’s easy to get around the main areas by bus, but car hire is not too expensive. You can get good deals for three, five or seven-day hire. Driving isn’t a problem once you get used to driving on the other side of the road – roundabouts can be tricky at first. Don’t forget your driving licence.

Staying healthy on holiday
That well-known travelling tummy bug is very easy to avoid on this island. All you need to do is take a few precautions and you’ll be fine.
· Buy bottled water to drink. Tap water is fine for brushing teeth and boiling for tea, but drinking it straight is not a good idea. Make ice cubes from bottled water as well. Bottled water is extremely cheap, especially buying in bulk – it comes in 5-litre containers. Buy some smaller bottles as well so you can decant from the large container for carrying with you. If you have a very sensitive stomach, avoid ice in drinks bought in bars and restaurants, but normally it seems to be fine.
· Wash all fruit before you eat it. Not under the tap, from the bottled water. The same applies to salad ingredients. Don’t worry too much about eating salads when out and about.
· Alcohol is pretty cheap, especially wine. Bars don’t always measure the spirits so you can drink more than you intended.

Not too much sun
· If you go on holiday during the summer, the sun is both hotter and stronger. Everyone, but especially children, needs to be well protected. Babies and young children need a very high factor sunscreen or a total sunblock. They should wear a hat as well to keep the sun away from their heads. This also apples to men who may be thinning a bit on top! Apply sunscreen every couple of hours, particularly if you’re swimming, though you can buy waterproof creams.
· Sunburn not only causes immediate problems, but also can have long-lasting effects. Just one bout of very bad burning may be a cause of skin cancer in later life.
· Avoid the midday sun. The sun is at its hottest between about 11am and 3pm. If you are out and about, cover arms and legs with light clothes. If you’re sitting on the beach or at the pool, use the umbrellas to get the shade.
· Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes.
· The sun can burn even on a cloudy day – it can often be worse than when shining. Put on the sunscreen every day, no matter what the weather.

Eating out
· All restaurants are family-friendly, during the day and evening. The Spanish eat very late so there are children around most of the time. Obviously, the food in some places will be more suited to children. Menus are clearly on display outside all eating-places so you can have a good look before you go in.
· As you walk around checking out the places, someone trying to entice you into their particular establishment will regularly approach you. These are just doing their job so don’t ignore them – just a smile and ‘no thanks’ usually works.
· Take advantage of all the wonderful local fish as it’s on just about every menu. Sea bass, sea bream, tuna, swordfish and shark as well as calamaris are all delicious and fresh.
· The same goes for the local cheese, though the goat’s cheese is an island speciality.
· Try the Canarian spuds. These are baby potatoes, cooked in the skin with salt and served with a mojo sauce. This is a hot, spicy sauce that is a regular feature of Spanish cuisine.

Blue Flag beaches
· Beaches are mainly safe and clean. The main ones have lifeguards at various points. There are plenty of Blue Flag beaches, though these can change from one year to the next. Head to the beaches down south – Morro Jable, Costa Calma or Matorral. The famous Dunas de Corralejo is now a National Park and is one of the best places to go. There are miles of desert-like sand dunes, blue safe sea and small café-bars for lunch. If you have children you may not want to venture too far down as it eventually becomes a naturist area! However, if this is your thing, you will have to get up very, very early in the morning to beat the Germans for those precious secluded spots!

What to do
· If you are interested in water sports, this is a great place to go. You can surf, windsurf, dive, kiteboard surfing and go deep-sea fishing. Irishman Wesley Brunker owns the Abyss Dive Centre in Corralejo. Catlanza runs catamaran trips where you can swim and jet ski It’s also Irish owned - the McSorley family also have bars and restaurants in Lanzarote. . Saturday morning trips are specially for families
· Other sports include hiking and biking in the mountains, off-road motor biking and golf.
· Oasis Park in La Lajita is a child’s paradise. Check out the 450 camels, including the most adorable babies; be kissed by a sea lion; hold a baby crocodile, have your photo taken with a parrot. Or go on a camel safari, see the children’s farm and let the kids loose in the playground.
· There are plenty of family bars that provide evening entertainment. Try Rosie O’Grady’s Irish bar and restaurant, Festers Sports Bar or The Venue Family Bar.

· If you really like a decent cuppa, bring your own tea bags
· Travel light – summer months are warm; winter months you’ll need a jacket. Casual clothes are fine.
· Bill-paying mobile phones work otherwise check before you go. Bring an adapter with the charger as local electrical sockets are two-pin.
· There are plenty of pharmacies (farmacia) for first aid items, suncreams etc. For something more serious, try the Clinica on the main streets.

Please click here to view all Holiday Homes Direct properties in Fuerteventura

Jeanne Quigley, The Farmers Journal