Jandía - The Southern Tip of the Island Fuerteventura
The southern tip of the island Fuerteventura (called Jandía) is a big, almost deserted and barely inhabitated area. Except the coastal line, where there are some famous holiday resorts, the whole peninsula is a national park area. The bathing resorts of Jandía are clearly dominated by the german tourists; it is almost a miracle to meet there a person who speaks a different language than german.
The peninsula Jandía is a paradise for sun seeking people and bathing lovers. There are numerous endlessly seeming golden sandbeaches that run shallowly into the water, thus an ideal bathing paradise for families with children and for those who are a little afraid fron the sea. But also divers get their money worth here; the underwater-world is unique and diversified. And the surfers enjoy the good winds that are permanently dominating in some parts of the peninsula.
In the south, there is the highest mountain of the island, the 807 m heighted Pico de Jandía. In the following, we make a small round trip through the peninsula; We start in the bathing resort Costa Palma and drive then down the east coast up to the bathing resort Morro Jable. From then, we drive up to the southern tip of the island, the Punta de Jandía, and from there a piece up the west coast up to Cofete. The stretch is not very long measured in kilometres, but as from Morro Jable one drives on pistes, one gets only slowly gets ahead and by this way, the exploration of the southern tip of the island turns into something between a half- and a full day excursion. There is to mention that with a normal car one can easily drive on those pistes, but the average speed is of only approximately 20-30 km/h.
Our tour starts at the bathing resort Costa Calma. Those who continue the tour further in northern direction will somewhen drive through Costa Calma and will probably have a break there. It is really beautiful to drive into this place; one drives through an avenue that is densely surrounded with palms and one hardly notices that one left this place again. What happened here? Did we take a detour, have we missed the place?
Costa Calma is a typical bathing resort that does not have any centre and a main road the way we know it. The main road is certainly gorgeously arranged with palms and at the sea side, one also discovers some accesses to hotels and some shopping centres, but that's it. Thus, there is no boardwalk we one can cozily have a coffee and there is no centre where one can have a walk. The best is just to drive through, looking a little to the right and the left and maybe guesses that there are thousands of tourists in the numerous hotel and appartment complexes who miss what is going on in the rest of the island.
Risco del Paso
Shortly after Costa Calma, the main road on which we drive runs a little more into the heartland. From time to time, it is possible to look down from the road into the sea; but one hardly believes that the following kilometres pass one of the most beautiful beach sections of Fuerteventura. At the south of Costa Calma there is Playa Barca and further into the south there is the adjacent Playa de Sotavento de Jandía. What is special here? From the main road, we take a small branch off down to Risco del Paso and after a short while on a curvy road we arrive at a big parking area right at the beach. Here, there is also a small restaurant and a surf school.
The special thing is that now, one is at the southern end of the lagoon. From here, a spit extends for several kilometres up (actually, there are two) - a gorgeous bathing paradise and a huge playground for children. The lagoon is only knee-deep, thus one can easily wade through it in order to expand one's stuff on the spit. It is a funny feeling to lay on such a small sand dune and at the left and the right side there is seawater. But Risco del Paso offers more than a spit located at the front of the beach: there are some massive sand dunes behind the long beach; those who leave their footsteps here can see them still after hours.
During the week, it is possible to spend here some lonely hours; on the week ends, many local people meet here for bathing. There is a permanent breeze, this area is a perfect place for windsurfers; And there are a lot of them. Of course, a beach walk should not be missing. But a walk on the spit and/or on the slightly muddy sand of the lagoon is much more fun. Depending on the tide, there is either more land or more water for having a walk. Of course, one has to take care on one's towel during a long hiking tour, as it could be under water after some hours when the tide gets high.
During our further trip from Risco del Paso up to Morro Jable, we repeatedely enjoy the view over a hilly landscape down to the beach and to the sea. After half an hour we finally arrive to the bathing resort Jandía Playa. We soon notice that we arrived at the biggest touristical centre of the island. Here, the hotels and appartment complexes string together. From the sixties and the following years, Jandía was literally built over night, but there were barely some uniform building plans. Still today it is visible that the main purpose was to get as much beds as possible in the smallest possible space.
But despite of this, there is a gorgeously arranged main street in Jandía on which left side there is the long extended beach area and at the right side bars and restaurants, shops and tourist shops string together as is they were never ending pearl necklace. On this main street the tourist gets anything needed during ther holiday. Here, the evenings are full of life, this is practically the party mile of Jandía.
Those who live in an hotel at the hillside will have a nice view to the sea and the beach. But oftenly, in order to get to the beach, one has to cross the road and a wide salt meadow. But then one finds a gorgeous, long extended beach that is also ideal for kids as it goes shallowly into the seas.
It is a matter of opinion if one likes the place Jandía or not. While some feel good in such a classical tourist resort, others might not be able to relax in such an artificial building coulisse. By driving a piece further, one gets to Morro Jable. Jandía and Morro Jable belong together, thus they practically form a double place. But it is noticeable that both places belong together due to the permanent building convoy. In fact, both places are so opposed that it could not be in a more blunty way.
After one barely left the tourist mile of Jandía Playa, one already arrives into a nice small harbour city. By walking alongside the nice boardwalk one could think that the mass tourism did not arrive there yet. In fact, the old fishing district in the proximity of the beach is mainly still in its orifginal status; only behind it, the hotel complexes start to wiggle up the hillsides. From further above, the harbour is also nicely to look at, where either small fishing boats as also car drivers to Teneriffa and Cran Canaria park.
Morro Jable is a gorgeous small city with a cozy boardwalk and of course also a dream beach that extends over a length of 4 km up to Jandía. In the proximity of the beach there are also some cozy locals with prices that still do not have a tourist level yet. In some tapa-bars there are so many local people that one feels really like a stranger as a german tourist. And this in Fuerteventura!
Puerto de la Cruz, Punta de Jandía, Punta Pesebre
Now we come to the peak of our southern island tour as now it gets adventurous. In Morro Jable, the urbanized area stops; in order to get further into souther direction, we have to continue driving on the unpaved road. There are approximately 20 km left up to the village Puerto de la Cruz. With an off-road-car one does this stretch easily in a short period of time. But is is not a problem to drive this piste with a normal rented car, but one only slowly gets ahead, as the road holes and bumps repeatedely stop one. But one does not need to feel disturbed if during the drive, the jeeps flash just like that.
The trip to the southern tip of the island is so interesting that one does not have to drive fast as here, a completely different picture of landscape than in the rest of the island is offered. The mountains are high, spiky and pronged, not so flat and ground off as the hills in the rest of the island. During the drive, one passes some sheeds an old plantages, but most of the time, one does not see anything but mountains, sea and the piste.
Those who now expect an excelent city in Puerto de la Cruz, as the name probably suggests, will be disappointed. The small settlement of houses and caravans is only inhabitated in the summer time and seems from the exterior so small and square that one striaght away decides not to stop here but continues up to the light house at the Punta de Jandía. From here, we enjoy a fascinating view alongside the coast up to back to Morro Jable, from which the piste started.
From Punta de Jandía, we drive a few kilometres alongside the coast to the north and repeatedely enjoy the fascinating views down the cliffsides. We partly see some small beaches but partly also some roughly beating waves beating against the cliffs. We finally get to Punta Pesebre, the other key point in the south of the island. We also find here a small light house that works with solar energy. The light house is not interesting to us, as we enjoy a fascinating panorama view to the west coast of the island. We look to the beaches of Cofete, where our tour continues, and of course also upwards to the highest mountain of the island, the 807 m heighted Pico de Jandía.
For those who experienced the piste drive to the southern tip of the island to be harmless and not adventurous at all, I recommend the trip to Cofete. At a little more than half of the way from Morro Jable to Puerto de la Cruz there is a small branch off where it goes over a pass to the other side of the mountains to Cofete. This piste is narrow and covered with a lot of holes that have to be cleverly avoided. The piste wiggles on numerous serpentines up the hill until one gets to a fascinating view point, the Mirador de Barlovento. Here, one has to stop and simply let the breathtaking views play themselfes out for 30 minutes. One looks up to the peaks of the island, and down to the endlessly seeming sandbeach of Cofete. In the background, one sees the sand plane El Jable, that falls into the sea as if it was a big glacier.
The beach is our destination, and this is why we drive to the other side of the view point down the serpentine road again. It is very narow and extremely curvy, one can only slowly get ahead; the road of a length of 8 km takes quite a time. But we repeatedely have a stop in order to enjoy the fantastic views. Once arrived at the bottom, the piste gets better and we finally arrive at the small place Cofete. This is actually not a place but here is mainly only a small local where one can get some local fish specialities at not very cheap prices. We enjoyed the food, and after this long driving on the piste this was a welcomed break.
But we have a small or a big break by driving completely down to the beach Playa de Cofete. This long sand beach is ideal for those beach lovers who feel disturbed if another towel is spread within a radius of 50 m. What I am trying to say is: on this huge beach, one really finds some quietness, here, one can extend one's towel and really feel like being on a lonely beach. Also from here, there are beautiful views up to the mountains, to the "Sand Glacier" El Jable at the front and to the Villa Winter that is located at the hillside.
Here, our tour through the south of the island also ends. We enjoy the stay on this gorgeous lonely beach and of course do not forget that we have still an exhausting trip on the piste of 20 km to do. Once arrived back in Costa Calma, we feel like having made hundreds of kilometres by car, as we spent a lot of hours in it. But it isn't; as on those stony pistes, the trip takes a long time, but one does only few kilometres.
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Copyright: Patrick Wagner, www.tourist-guide.biz