Just 97 kilometres from Africa, in the Atlantic, is the jewel of the Canary Islands when it comes to heavenly beaches. The ‘jewel’ designation isn’t at all objective, so the other residents of the Canaries should not be offended. Besides, I didn’t say it; these three residents did. Two of them are Fuerteventura natives and the third is an Italian, Canarian by adoption. The beaches are the great attraction of this island: Cofete in the south, El Cotillo to the north, and at one point some 40 kilometres of uninterrupted white sand. But there’s more. The dunes at Corralejo and Majanicho; an average mean temperature of 21ºC and, above all, a permanent absence of stress. Surfing, fishing, cycling… This island is the quintessence of voluntary isolation. Ignoring the world is obligatory here.
ABEL JIMÉNEZ. 27 years old
He studied Business Administration and Finance, although his smile says that his future is in movies (in the role of the leading man). While it’s hard to find hustle and bustle anywhere on this island, this young man from Corralejo smiles when he talks about the La Carpa celebrations, on Costa Calma. For three weeks at the end of July, sand, surf and international music come together in the southern part of the island. “There’s a fabulous atmosphere, with people from all over the world in cars, caravans, tents or apartments. Famous DJs come, and so do the best surfers in the world.” But this kind of relaxation isn’t the norm in Fuerteventura. Activity is usually concentrated in the summer months, especially in Corralejo and Puerto del Rosario. “Except in summer, it’s true that there’s a certain lack of entertainment on the island,” he admits. “But this is compensated for by the quality of the beaches, especially El Cotillo and Corralejo. And if you want to get away from it all, go to Cofete.”
PEDRÍN GOMAR. 36 years old
“I’m like the fish: meant for the water.” Pedrín works in his family’s transport business. By day he is surrounded by stone, machinery and lots of heat. But if it were up to him, he’d be soaking day and night. “I’ve travelled, I’ve seen lots of pretty things, but what I like is my beach at Fuerteventura,” says Pedrín. He lives in Gran Tarajal, in the southern part of the island, and this is his radius of action. “I recommend Cofete, without any doubt. Although you’ve got to be careful if the weather is bad because it can be dangerous. And for pitching a tent, La Jaqueta. We go there with friends to grill chops.” Pedrín spends practically all his free time in maritime activities. This young man with the spirit of a fish enjoys jet skiing with friends or cooking a good piece of red tuna that a fisherman friend gives him. But that’s not the only underwater delicacy: “I recommend a grilled mackerel, it’s as tender as butter.”
ORAZIO LEZI. 56 years old
Canarians are familiar with the name Orazio Lezi. For years this Italian from Perugia appeared on a cooking programme on the Canary Islands television channel. He’s a chef and a good one. He’s been in the Canary Islands for 23 years and in Fuerteventura for a year and a half. He’s adapting to the calm of his new home –before this he lived in Santa Cruz de Tenerife– and to do that there’s nothing better than sport. “I’ve bought a mountain bike,” says Orazio. “I haven’t ridden a bike since I was little, and now I’m really into it.” The chef admits that Fuerteventura is a paradise for beach lovers, but he’s not one of them. Luckily, the island offers all kind of sports. “There are people who go running, who do surfing, etc. I ride my bike on trails, which is more fun than on a highway.” I ask him for a few culinary recommendations. “Fuerteventura is known the world over for its cheese. And I’ve been surprised by the cured goat meat.” Great, take note.