Covering an area of 26sqm, the bits and pieces of sands sparkle like diamonds in a vast expanse of dunes. The dramatic rise and fall of hills extend all the way to several beaches. As impressive as Maspalomas in Gran Canaria is, it pales in comparison to Corralejo Natural Park, the pride of Fuerteventura. The dunes of Corralejo is the largest of its kind in the Canaries.
Standing atop the sand hills, the tranquility of the space and fresh air from the sea engulfs guests. From this vantage point, the stunning view of the vastness of the ocean includes the neighboring islands of Lanzarote and Isla de Lobos.
An Overview of Corralejo
Once upon a time, there was almost nothing in this fishing village but a few low-income families. But the irresistible beauty of Fuerteventura’s northern coast would soon come under attack. Tourists started arriving in from 1970 to 1980, the development of Corralejo began.
The efforts of conservationists and the government soon led to the establishment of the Natural Park in 1982. It could not have come at a better time as the transformation of the sleepy fishing village intensified. Today, Corralejo is the largest town in the municipality of La Oliva.
Although the village is vastly different from the old days, remnants of the past remain to this day. The commercial hub of Corralejo is on the main street that leads to the music square. Here, guests could shop, dine or spend the night in bars.
Further along is the old harbor where some of the old houses remain. It is also here where guests could eat fresh seafood from the waters around the town.
Things to Do in Corralejo Natural Park
Tourists flock to Corralejo Natural Park due to the enormous expanse of dunes. The breathtaking landscape shifts every moment as the wind shapes the hills. Situated on the northeastern coast of Fuerteventura, the golden sands are a stark contrast to the dark blue color of the ocean. Watching their little kids climb the hills and slide down should fill the hearts of parents with immense happiness.
Most of the activities in the park, outside of the dunes are on the fringes. To the east, a stretch of coastline known as Grandes Playas comprises seven beaches.
Closer to Corralejo, El Medano, El Viejo, El Bajo Negro are the most visited beaches. Due to its large area, these beaches do not feel cramped. On some parts, the calm waters make for a great spot for families with children. On others, the high waves offer great opportunities for surfers to catch the big one.
As expected, several shops are offering different water sports activities. Among the most exciting activities are windsurfing and kitesurfing. For those who want to explore the underwater world, there are also scuba diving schools that offer certifications. Certified divers could also explore the nearby pristine dive sites, as well as those around Isla de Lobos.
Towards the middle part of the coastline away from Corralejo, KM22 is a designated naturist beach. Guest with no qualms about taking it all off should find the nudist beach a welcome attraction. Be warned, though. It is not uncommon for nudists to walk around in other beaches.
While the east of the protected nature reserve offers a view of the deep blue sea, the striking red colors of Montana Roja flanks the western side. This 314 -meters tall mountain is easy to hike. Of concern would be getting back to the base due to the loose stones and slippery slopes. Besides the spectacular view from atop, this mountain is also the habitat of endemic birds such as Hubaria Canaria and plants.
How to Get There
Located some 31 kilometers away from Corralejo, El Matorral Airport in the capital city of Puerto del Rosario services inter-island and international inbound and outbound flights including that of the British Airways.
From the airport, several companies offer car hires. By European standards, rates are inexpensive and an excellent way to explore the island. Not only could guests drive to Corralejo National Park, but they could also visit off the road destinations in Fuerteventura. Driving to the park should take around 30 minutes via the FV-1 main road.
Within Fuerteventura, public bus (also called Guaguas) is a convenient way of traveling, and it is also cheap. For instance, Puerto del Rosario to Corralejo and vice versa costs only €3.40.
The Unreal Natural Park Experience
In the middle of the dunes, time and space seem to warp as one finds it hard to distinguish between Fuerteventura and the Sahara Desert. The emptiness of space over an expanse of dunes makes for stunning photography. Although images could capture colors, it could never capture the experience of being there.
From the bustling and colorful town of Corralejo, it takes 30 minutes to walk to the natural park. Away from the noises, the sound of waves creates a surreal sensation that is forever etched in the memories of everyone who has ever visited.
Beyond the dunes to the east, the seven beaches that make up Grande Playas offer all kinds activities. On the west, hiking on Montana Roja is as thrilling as catching the waves in the open sea.
Out here in what might seem like being in the middle of nowhere, one could connect with nature in ways no other destinations could. A visit to Fuerteventura will never be complete until one sets foot in the Corralejo National Park.