Last minute summer holidays in the Canary Islands
The Canary Islands. I always thought they were named after birds. They are not. They are named after Canaria – Latin for dogs.
Apparently there were loads of them running around the various islands years ago when Roman explorers first landed.
These days you are more likely to see cats, goats or a camel caravan loaded with tourists and the occasional Hoopoe.
“You’re brave to leave it so late,” said the lady on the other end of the Jet2 phone when we called to book a vacation two days before we wanted to fly.
“We like to live on the edge”, we said.
Beautiful wide sandy beach in Morro Jable, Jandia peninsula in Fuerteventura, Spain
In truth, we had procrastinated for weeks on where to go and completed a virtual tour of the nearby world before indulging in a beach vacation on an island in the sun.
The photos from Corralejo, in the north of the island, were beautiful. The resort looked good too. The weather forecast was brilliant and it was within the price range.
But what about the “Brits Abroad lager louts” and the airport and general travel chaos we had heard about?
With flights from Bristol booked, we bought new trunks and packed our bags, and a few days later were sitting on hard seats in the airport departure lounge several hours before the opening of check-in, because we believed what we had read. travel chaos.
There were none.
In what seemed like a short time and completely hassle free we were off.
Correljo is an hour’s transfer from Feurteventura airport, through a lunar-like volcanic landscape dotted with the concrete skeletons of unfinished holiday resorts.
We were at the H10 Ocean Dunas hotel.
We were soon in the tiled, air-conditioned hotel lobby, booked in with beaming smiles, and soon in our fabulous bedroom – with its cool cotton king-size bed, balcony overlooking the garden, bathroom with a great shower and air conditioning – bliss.
First we went straight for a swim in the kidney shaped salt water pool before walking around to explore the beach, restaurant and shops.
We had booked half board, so at 7.30pm we sat down for starters from the buffet table, an a la carte dish, and then a waist-boosting dessert buffet. Wow, it’s gonna be a week.
The staff at Ocean Dunas are awesome. Smiles as wide as the Atlantic Ocean from everyone and “holas” all around. They are so happy to see the return of tourists to their island.
The local beer, Tropical, is excellent and the wines from Tenerife and Lanzarote are dangerously delicious. The cocktails served at the hotel are also more gourmet.
Breakfast was similar to dinner in that there was a buffet that ran the length of the restaurant with traditional fruit and meat, cereals and juices and on another table dishes hot. We started at one end and completed the full trail, every morning. Shameless.
Corralejo is dotted with hotels packed with European visitors, many from the UK, but just as many from other mainland European countries like France, Italy, Germany and Holland.
Discovery of the volcanoes of Lanzarote. Photo: David Barnes
The town of Corralejo is really charming. The restaurants and bars are casual and the beaches are family friendly. And the wide variety of shops and boutiques, narrow alleyways and intriguing passageways.
Being so close to Lanzarote we took a boat trip there one day to a place where my school geography school trip went in 1975 to see the volcanoes but which I must have missed. Wanted to visit from – it was spectacular but do it by coach or you could be stuck in a traffic jam for hours when visiting the national park.
Even closer is the island of Lobos which, apart from a few sandy beaches – on which the locals pile up – is windswept and frankly a little desolate. But it’s a nice circular walk well marked and flat, unless like us you decide to climb the 127m old volcano. We climbed the steep path through the howling wind to the precarious summit to be rewarded with magnificent views.
At the southern end of Fuerteventura is another resort – Morro Jable.
We had almost booked to stay there so we hopped on a local bus and headed south to take a look at what we might have enjoyed.
Morro Jable, Feutreventura. Photo: David Barnes
In case it took the best part of three hours each way but we were able to get a feel for what the island is like, desert, pristine sand dunes, empty beaches with dusty scrubland and at rocky outcrops. We also experienced the town’s simply awesome beach and got to meet some ‘real’ locals.
The sunshine was almost constant. And the wind was constant too, which was not a problem as it served to cool the temperatures. But, be aware that sitting exposed on the beach in the sun with the cool breeze licking your back can be dangerous. Will I ever learn? Sunburn! But lotion drops with aloe vera – a staple made in the Canary Islands – are the perfect antidote.
Due to the winds, the island is a paradise for water sports of all kinds. The harbor is full of yachts you can charter and tanned athletes cling to all sorts of wind-powered craft to leap across the azure waters.
I don’t think we really are, because if you’re flexible about where you want to go, it makes economic sense, if you can, to wait until the last minute to get the best deal.
We had such a great time that a little birdie tells me we’ll book again, but not until the very last minute because in terms of guts that’s the right way to be.
- We booked a week half board at the adults only H10 Ocean Dunas for the first week of July from Bristol with Jet 2. Prices vary but we got a great last minute deal.