Last week I went away for a week with my younger brother and my Dad to one of the Canary Islands, 62 miles off the coast of Africa, Fuerteventura. Whilst we were away I turned 21 (Yay!), but more importantly – and the topic of this post – we went on a trip around the island.
Rather than 32+ people all piling onto a hot, sweaty coach, for this trip we were fortunate enough to be accompanied by three other people in a small mini bus. This meant that we had a better opportunity to chat and ask questions with the driver/tour guide, as well as having a more intimate and chilled out trip around the island. As you can tell from the pictures above, Fuerteventura itself is a very baron looking place, there isn’t much greenery around and the average rainfall in a year is just about a week (if they are lucky). Driving across the country was like being on another planet, surrounded by huge (the tallest being close to 900m) dormant volcanoes, and not a lot else – apart from the very last stop on the trip (more on that in a mo). With agriculture no longer being a part of every day life in Fuerteventura, and the majority of trees and plants only running along dried river beds, about 95% of the goods and products used on the island are imported – which I found pretty crazy!
The first stop on the trip was Montana De Tindaya, the Sacred Mountain. An over 80 million year old dormant volcano that has over 300 footprint carvings engraved on its side, left by the very first inhabitants of the island. Unfortunately we weren’t able to climb any of the volcanoes on this trip as a large number of them are nature reserves, or are not open to the public. Just next to the mountain, we stopped next to a cafe, so were able to grab a coffee before we set off on the rest of the trip.
The next stop was a visit to the statues of Guise and Ayose. When the Norman conquerors arrived in Fuerteventura in 1402 they found the island split into two kingdoms ruled by these two men. These statues were huge and atop a 400m mountain (a big hill), which had a wicked view across part of the island.
Continuing on from the viewpoint at the statues of Guise and Ayose, we followed the road down the mountain to a Goats cheese farm. It wasn’t the most exciting part of the trip but we did get a load of free samples of cheese, cactus jam and Honey Rum, so I can’t complain.
After finishing at the cheese factory we carried on down the mountain towards the former capital, and small town of Betancuria where we visited (or looked at from the outside) the cathedral. From here we continued southwards towards the west coast of the island where we got the opportunity to explore the caves in Ajuy, which were absolutely stunning.
We then drove towards Tuineje where we stopped for lunch at Casa Rural Tamasite. We were treated to Roast pork, cooked in a wood brining over, with Canary potatoes and mojo sauce. This was all served with tomatoes grown in Fuerteventura (they only really grown tomatoes and potatoes on the island nowadays) accompanied with bread and fresh olive oil. All the food was super tasty and washed down with beautiful red wine, served chilled which was surprisingly refreshing. After we finished lunch we were taken around the farm where we got to meet some donkeys, see the vineyard, and visit the wine cellar where we got to sample some white wine, some cactus liquor, pomegranate liquor, blackberry liquor and some muscatel wine – all of which were amazing.
Whilst we were in Tuineje we also visited a traditional windmill where they used to produce gofio flour – kind of like wholemeal flour but made from roasted grains – and got to try Gofio mixed with olive oil, sugar and water. On first appearance it looked really yummy, almost like a piece of fudge, but to my disappointment is had the most hideous floury texture and tasted pretty bland, with a similar flavour to shredded wheat.
After a relatively long day in the sun it was nice to pay a visit to an Aloe Vera farm. Here we were shown the stages of growth and how they make the numerous Aloe Vera products (some of these include; Aloe Vera drinks with and without pulp, anti ageing creams, sun creams, pain relief creams and gels for your skin). We were plied with shed loads of Aloe Vera samples, including raw Aloe Vera juice mixed with nectarine Juice which was pretty disgusting. Interestingly I found out that Aloe Vera isn’t actually in the same family as cactus, although it may look like it is, but it is actually in the same family as lilies and onions – hence why it has a similar taste to onions in its purest form.
The last stop on our trip were the sand dunes of Coralejo (pronounced Cora-leco), close to where we were staying. The only part of Fuerteventura that has a different landscape, created by sand that has been blown across from the Sahara in Africa. The dunes were absolutely beautiful and a brilliant way to end the trip.
I would definitely recommend a trip to Fuerteventura if you ever get the chance, I had a wicked time out there and would love to visit again!