A family holiday to Fuerteventura in August, showed what a fantastic destination and great value it could be all year round.
Fuerteventura’s climate is fantastic – glorious sunshine and hot in mid-summer, but with a constant breeze never stifling or uncomfortable. Couple this with absolutely stunning beaches, plenty of activities and great value for money and I can totally recommend Fuerteventura for beach holidays and as an all-year holiday destination. The Origo Mare Holiday Village is perfectly positioned, mid-way between the resorts of Corralejo and El Cotillo in the North of the island and would be perfect for a late September or October half-term break. Do it!
My only caveat is that unless you’re a geologist, the scenery away from the beaches isn’t what you’ll be writing home about. North Fuerteventura is a rubble-spotter’s delight! There are over 360 indigenous types of volcanic rubble and grit, ranging from house-sized boulders to tiny fragments which creep just perfectly into your flip-flops to jab you in the gap next to your little toe. (Do like my kids and sing along to Taylor Swift’s ‘Trouble’ – “I knew you were rubble when I booked in – rubble, rubble, rubble!”). Unfortunately no official guide to Fuerteventura’s rubble seems to exist, so if you fancy cataloging it during your stay, you would be doing mankind a service.
Origo Mare Holiday Village
The Origo Mare Holiday Village is a really pleasant and friendly resort. Even in the height of August it had an un-crowded, laid back feel. No mad rush to breakfast or fighting over loungers by the pool. The Crater pool complex is great for families with regular wave sessions, a great splash pool for small ones … and completing the climbing wall poolside path will become an obsession. The Oasis Pools near the villas are more peaceful and always had plenty of places available. The adult-only central pool is similarly quiet, with the benefit of a cooling drink within a few feet.
Guests were a nice mix of British, French, German, Dutch and Spanish and English was spoken pretty much by everyone. The very friendly animations team were international, including some Brits, and seemed to do lots with the children in kids clubs and some great activities for everyone at the pools and in the evenings. Other on-site and off-site activities can be booked at the ‘Radio Mare’ cabin, positioned next to the really excellent mini-golf course. WiFi access is currently limited to the main reception and restaurant area – which makes for very quiet mealtimes if you have teenagers with you (you’ll never see them so keen to get up and out to breakfast!).
The Holiday Village has very flexible catering options – ranging from self-catering up to all-inclusive. We pre-booked the breakfast buffet plus meal cards which allowed us to choose the lunchtime or evening inclusive buffet 3 times during the week. This really suited us as we wanted to try the other restaurants on-site and to eat out. We ate twice at the on-site Chimborazo restaurant, which is not part of the all-inclusive or meal card deals. This featured great quality food, a quiet setting and great service. It cost us no more than the standard buffet restaurant, especially as we were given complimentary first drinks, after dinner liquors and a free bottle of Cava to take away! Our meals out in Correlejo and El Cotillo were also great quality and value for money.
Nearby towns offer plenty of variety:
Corralejo is Fuerteventura’s largest resort, famous for its many kilometres of amazing white sand beaches and mini-Sahara-like dunes to the south. These were great fun to explore, with access directly from the road. It’s also the jumping off point for boat trips around nearby Los Lobos island, as well as regular ferry crossings to Lanzarote. The town itself has good quality clothing and souvenir shops and plenty of good bars and restaurants along the seafront and main road. It’s lively and good fun without being brash. You can make direct arrangements with the many surf schools or dune buggy tours here too. There’s also an impressive waterpark on the edge of town towards Origo Mare.
We came to Corralejo to stock up at the fairly large, and extremely good value Mercadona supermarket on the Origo Mare side of town. We also spent an evening checking out the shops and eating in a great spot overlooking the town beach. But our most memorable trip was to take a catamaran trip around Los Lobos island. We sailed with Fuerte-Charter on a four hour trip from 3pm which included a circuit of the island, a speedboat ride into its only village and plenty of time anchored just offshore for swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, paddle boarding and just soaking up the sun with a glass of beer, wine or fizz.
There are a number of operators offering similar trips, for pretty much the same prices (booking via the Radio Mare cabin at Origo Mare may save a little and include transport to and from the port – probably not a bad idea if you want to take full advantage of the drinks on board!).
I really liked El Cotillo, 20 mins from Origo Mare on the West coast of the island. It feels like Cornwall crossed with a Clint Eastwood Western setting. The town itself has nothing like the amenities of Corralejo, but just to the South is 3 kilometres of beautiful golden, windswept perfect surfing beach. As with anywhere on the island, plenty of kite surfers whizz across the water, but this is the place the true surfers come. Book a course with a surf school, or just get some kit like we did from the hire shop by the track to the beach, and crash around in the breakers pretending you know what you’re doing. Great fun, in the gently shelving and very welcomely warm water.
El Cotillo also provided the culinary highlight of the holiday with an amazing Tenderloin Steak, and four other great dishes, at the Sottovento Italian restaurant we chanced across on the seafront on opposite side of town from the surfing beach – I could drive you there but can’t really think how to describe the directions, sorry. Anyway, I’ll give some sort of prize to anyone who succeeds with the world’s longest and most illegible WiFi code at the restaurant. We failed after an hour combining every known letter and numeral from all Western alphabets!
We visited El Cotillo another time for some more beach fun and drove up to the Toston lighthouse, beyond Sottovento. Another slightly Cornish feeling place. The museum of traditional fishing there may not float everyone’s trawler but the weird stone formations and what must be Europe’s largest gathering of camper fans were certainly noteworthy!
Larajes is the closest town to Origo Mare, with a SuperDino supermarket much better stocked than the on-resort shop and a number of small bars and restaurants with a far more local and authentic feel. We drove back through here quite late from El Cotillo and it had a great atmosphere – tables and people on the street in front of the rustic bars, with plenty of chatter and Spanish music. We intended to come back for a full evening out but ran out of time.
Our Top Tips:
– Pack light and hire pool towels at the resort for only a few Euros each, refreshed daily. Superior villas also have washing machines, so you can wash rather than take.
– Stock up at the great value supermarkets in Corallejo or Larajes
– North Fuerteventura beaches are absolutely stunning but lack both shade and amenities or refreshments. Go prepared with shelter from sun and wind and with plenty of water and food.
– Make most of the Breakfast buffet, which can sustain you well into the day – especially if you take a few ‘unfinished’ items with you!
– Although using airport transfers and the free resort shuttles to Corallejo and El Cotillo is fine, having a car was a real benefit for us. If you want car hire for just a few days, this can be arranged directly at Origo Mare, from the lobby desk..
– Check out whether they’re still being as generous with the drinks at the Chimborazo restaurant – it could be great value if so!
All photos copyright of Firefly Holidays, but go on … use or share them if you like!