Category Archives: Canary Islands

About Fuerteventura

Fuerteventura
Fuerteventura

The volcanic island of Fuerteventura (Spanish for “strong fortune”) is the second-largest of the Canary Islands (after Tenerife). Located about 100 km. off the North African coast, Fuerteventura is the second largest of the Canary Islands – blessed with having the longest white sand beaches within that archipelago.

The Spaniards first settled in Fuerteventura during the early 1400s. However, since the island (along with other nearby Canary Islands) are geographically distant from mainland Spain and the Spanish crown in Madrid, Fuerteventura was subject to occasional pirate attacks, including one launched by North African Berbers in 1593 (who went as far inland as the capital), and the English in 1740 (which attempted but failed to take the Fuerteventura town of Tuineje), among others. No doubt, this and other Canary Islands were a port of call for successive waves of Spaniards en route to settle in the Americas – including Mexico and South America, and Cuba & Puerto Rico (when the two destinations were the last of Spain’s Latin American colonies in the 19th century).

With pirate attacks no longer being an issue by the 19th century, life at Fuerteventura became uneventful. Still, successive decades translated into limited commercial growth on the island (to commercial sea traffic). This remained the case well into the 20th century, until the Spanish government decided to build an airport at El Mattoral (just south of Puerto del Rosario — the island’s main town) in the late 1960s. With a functioning international airport, the Spanish authorities were able to tap into global commercial air travel as a solution to the island’s limited economic opportunities — with tourism being its engine of growth (especially from colder Northern European countries like the UK and Germany). As a result, the local population currently stands at 113,275 inhabitants, while 2.25 million tourists visited Fuerteventura in 2018 (according to surveyor Statista.com). That number is still modest, next to Gran Canaria (4.5 million visitors) and Tenerife (5.95 million visitors) in 2018.

Fuerteventura’s arid landscape meant that agriculture would always be a challenge, severely limiting the island’s population growth. Still, it made sense for Fuerteventura to turn to tourism for its economy, because the island is blessed with eternal Spring & Summer temperatures (meaning that it never goes below 15 degrees Celsius during the winter, nor rising above 30 degrees Celsius during the Summer). Its position in the sea means that trade winds usually keep hot Saharan winds away from Fuerteventura.

As a result, Fuerteventura is a great spot for windsurfers (especially those visiting Playa de Sotavento – on the southeast part of the island), along with Corralejo (a tourist enclave on the island’s north coast), and Costa Calma (which is not far from Sotavento). Other water activities pursued by visitors include traditional surfing, kite surfing and diving. Occasional windsurfing and kite surfing competitions are held at Fuerteventura, which literally puts it on the map among water sports enthusiasts.

Calle O’Daly

Calle O’Daly
Calle O’Daly

Calle O’Daly (Santa Cruz de la Palma) – this is one of the main commercial strips in not only the town of Santa Cruz, but the entire island. Unlike the more developed Canarian islands of Tenerife and Gran Canaria, there is a lack of major shopping malls in Palma island (most likely due to the island’s relatively small population). For that reason, major stores like Benetton and Mango (as well as other retailers) can be found on this street.

Acropark

Acropark
Acropark

Acropark (Hoya del Rehielo, Breña Baja) – this is an adventure park that is set within nature. Between the trees within the park, wooden platforms at different heights are all interconnected through steel cables, flying foxes, postmans bridges, swingbridges, rope ladders and nets.

The trees form trails that provide varying levels of difficulty to suit everyone’s abilities. Trails usually take between 40-90 minutes, depending on each person’s level of fitness. For those who enjoy nature and are after some fun outdoor activities, Acropark is the place to be. Hours: 10:00 am – 6:00 pm (Fridays to Sundays and public holidays only). See its website for more info including updated pricing: http://acropark.es

Bar Arepera El Encuentro

Bar Arepera El Encuentro
Bar Arepera El Encuentro

Bar Arepera El Encuentro (Calle Anselmo Pérez de Brito, 87, 38700 Santa Cruz de la Palma) – this eatery specializes in the popular Venezuelan snack food arepas (as well as other meals from that country, such as the ‘Enchapa’ — corn-maize pancake with fillings). This restaurant shows the island’s connection to Venezuela. There are two other “Bar Arepera” eateries at Avenida Marítima 22 and O’Daly 7 within Santa Cruz.

Ayuntamiento

Ayuntamiento
Ayuntamiento

Ayuntamiento (Plaza España, Santa Cruz de la Palma) – located near one of the main streets of Santa Cruz (Calle O’Daly), this local government building is marveled by visitors, since it’s a fine representation of Renaissance era architecture on the island (rebuilt in 1559 during the reign of King Felipe II, after it was destroyed by French pirates). Free admission: Hours: 8:00 am – 3:00 pm (daily)(Sept. 16 – June 14); 8:00 am – 2:00 pm (daily)(June 15 – Sept. 15).

About La Palma

La Palma
La Palma

The volcanic island of La Palma is part of the Canary Islands (off the northwest coast of Africa). It’s the fifth largest of these islands, the furthest into the Atlantic Ocean, and a modestly-sizes population of just 86,000 residents. Like the rest of the Canary Islands, La Palma was settled by the Spaniards by the 15th century (the island reputedly named after one of the first conquistadors to have arrived there).

Spain’s domination over much of the Americas starting in the 16th century made the Canary Islands a vital stopping point for ships en route to that country’s colonies and other parts of the Americas. Sugar and other agricultural goods became staple products grown in La Palma and neighboring Canary Islands. The prosperity of the Canaries attracted famous pirates and corsairs of the time, particularly the French Jambe de Bois (Peg-Leg) who sacked the port city of Santa Cruz de La Palma in 1553. Most of the older buildings that can now be seen in Santa Cruz date from the subsequent rebuilding of the city. In 1585 Santa Cruz was attacked by an armada of 24 ships commanded by the English pirate Francis Drake, resulting in the destruction of the harbor fort.

From that point on, with Spanish rule over the Canary Islands uninterrupted throughout the centuries, La Palma’s economy survived on the production of various goods (in accordance to periodic market demands) – from wine to cotton, tobacco, silk, etc. Economic hardship during the latter part of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century resulted in high levels of emigration — Cuba being the preferred destination up to the 1930s, and Venezuela afterwards. To this day, many Canarians retain strong family links with Cuba and Venezuela.

The Canarian economy continued to be dominated by agriculture until the early 1960s. Trade liberalization introduced by the Franco regime from 1960 onwards allowed an economic revival, based on bananas, annual exports of which exceed 130 million kilograms, plus other produce, forestry and tobacco. Most important of all was the growth of the tourist industry, from 73,240 tourists in 1960 to over 2 million tourists in 1975. To this day, tourism is a major part of the Canarian economy (including La Palma’s) – making up 32% of the islands’ GDP. The relative underdevelopment of La Palma island is an ideal destination for eco-tourists who are impressed with its natural beauty.

Buda

Buda
Buda

Buda (Marina Puerto Calero, Puerto Calero) — The atmosphere in the Buda is very relaxing. It is a bar that appeals to those generally between the ages of 35-40 years and usually tends to be tourists staying in Puerto Calero or in the nearby tourist resort of Puerto Del Carmen. The relaxation becomes fun and debauchery during the nights of Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The back room usually serves as the dance floor however it does not have a cocktail bar as does the Cuatro Luna’s and we do feel that it should be taken into regards. It remarkably achieves much appeal in all areas. Here´s why… It has a good choice of liquors (at a good price too) and has a brief but selective list of champagnes and wines. Generally, the background music will be that of disco, chill out, mixed pop, rock etc….

Aeronautical Museum

Aeronautical Museum
Aeronautical Museum

Aeronautical Museum (Av. De la Playa Honda 163, Lanzarote Airport) – this museum (located near a one-time wing of the island’s airport) traces the early years of aviation in Lanzarote (French seaplanes being the first aircraft to reach this island in 1919). Visitors will be surprised to see that the Graf Zeppelin airship used to pass over Lanzarote to drop off mail by parachute on its voyage to America. Still, the first airport wasn’t built in Lanzarote until the 1940s.

When tourism started growing in Lanzarote in the 1970s, the island’s present-day airport was moved elsewhere to accommodate the passenger traffic that existed ever since. Lots of memorabilia from the airport is on display including pilots log books and old machinery. There were two boards listing the years where individual photographs were pinned depicting historical images and magic moments like the visits from Concorde. Admission: free. Hours: 10:00 am – 2:00 pm (Monday-Saturday).