El Cotillo beaches have been voted the 4th best beaches in Europe by Tripadvisor in a recent survey.
With such a wonderful selection that is hardly surprising I suppose. There are the beaches to the south of the village which have amazing watersports opportunities for surfers, wind-surfers and kite boarders. It is a lovely natural beach with white sand and a walk along it and back is a great way to spend an hour. By contrast, the lovely relaxing lagoon beaches exist to the north where smaller beaches provide great places to sunbathe (with or without clothes) and completely safe swimming for all. Who couldn’t love them?
A walk in the dry river beds, Lajares, Fuerteventura
A walk in the dry river beds, Lajares, Fuerteventura – The Adventures of Oscar and Jenson
Oscar and Jenson’s favourite walk is in the river beds near Lajares which are dry for 99% of the year. We often meet Brian, a friend, with his dogs, Marley (a Husky) and Johno. They are Oscar and Jenson’s best friends.
The dry river beds are a wonderful place to explore. They are located just outside the village of Lajares, on the road to El Cotillo, and cover an area of many square miles. They have been sculptured by rain, when we have some, and the wind. Because they are comprised of sand and soft, sandy soil they erode very easily and are therefore constantly changing.
Shattered Dreams – Villa Charlotte, Aguas Verdes, Fuerteventura
This villa is a very sad sight and represents a family’s shattered dreams. It is in a wonderful position with amazing coastal views but that may have been its downfall. It was lived in, and probably built by, an English family, possibly from the Liverpool area. It may be that, although they had planning permission to build the villa initially, the planning permission was subsequently taken away. Unfortunately this happens here when different mayors or other politicians are elected and they change decisions that their predecessors have made.
When it was first abandoned it was virtually complete but over the past few years it has been looted, the windows have been stolen and it has fallen further into disrepair. There are still signs of the family that lived there, particularly some of the children’s books and toys, which makes it all the more sad to see.
There are two more villas next door. One was almost completed (Villa Sean) but the other one only reached the shell stage.
If anyone knows any of the history of Villa Charlotte please either leave a comment or send me a message.
It isn’t that often I find something negative to say about living here but the internet access in Fuerteventura is an exception.
I needed to upload my next video to Youtube last night. After compressing the file to be as small as possible it ended up as a 400Mb file. I started the upload to Youtube and it said it would take 6 hours. I left it to run and then, 4 hours later, I checked it. It had uploaded only 12% and it said it would take another 20 hours to finish uploading! I have had to stop it and need to think again. There must be a way to get a faster service.
In the UK I would be getting around 200mbs download and at least 20mbs upload speeds. Here, for much more than I would be paying in the UK, I get around 4.5 to 5.5mbs download and 0.15mbs upload speeds. It is positively stone age. In fact, I think Fred Flintstone got better speeds than that in Bedrock.
Oh for fast internet access again. Is that too much to ask for in this day and age? Wake up Fuerteventura – this is the 21st century.
Update on internet access in Fuerteventura
May 2018: Miracles may, just possibly, happen. We are on a waiting list to have fibre optic internet installed. We will have 50mbps initially at a cost of 39.95€ per month and can increase that to 300mbps afterwards for an additional 5€ per month.
I have heard there is a delay (so no surprise there then) and I will believe it when I see it quite frankly. If it is then I will have to eat my words that we will get fibre optic internet access in Fuerteventura when Hell freezes over!
I didn’t intend my first real post about life here to be negative but this dog just happened into my life on Tuesday night so that set the scene for the first in the “What’s it like to live here” series entitled the local attitude to dogs.
Many dogs here spend their entire lives on a chain a couple of metres long, if they are lucky with a make-shift kennel for shade. It is no life for any creature, least of all a dog. But they are not the only dogs that have a bad life – hunting dogs do too.
On Sunday the hunting season started here. Many locals keep hunting dogs in make-shift pens on their properties where they are neglected for most of the year, apart from being given occasional food, and if they are lucky, some water. Most are Podencos like the one in the photo. Anyway, on Sunday, before dawn, we could hear numerous trucks going past the house with excited, barking dogs in the back. This would be the first time many have been outside their pens in months so it is no wonder they were excited. As soon as it got light we could hear the shotguns being fired all around the area, and this went on all day. Those “brave” local hunters, armed only with 12-bore shotguns, were going head-to-head with the vicious, man-eating rabbits of Fuerteventura. Anyway, don’t get me started on the morons that go hunting.
Some dogs inevitably are afraid of the guns and run off. I think that is probably what happened in this particular case as on Tuesday night we heard a dog barking, obviously very unhappy, for 4 or 5 hours. That in itself isn’t unusual unfortunately. About midnight I decided to go for a walk to try and track down where the dog was, as, not only was it upsetting for Sue and I to hear, but it was also upsetting Oscar, one of our dogs. Walking a couple of hundred metres I came to an empty building plot and using my torch I could see the dog right in the middle amongst some bushes. On seeing me he started slowly coming towards me, very frightened and distressed. I could see he was a young Podenco and gently encouraged him to come to me. I stroked him and then, as he allowed me to pick him up, I carried him back to my house.
Sue and I gave him two bowls of food as he was starving and some water. There was nothing we could do at that time of night other than take him in. Sue went to bed, and took our two dogs with her, while I spent the night on the settee in the lounge with the Podenco. Eventually, around 5am, he settled down and we both got a few hours sleep. In the morning I put him in the car and went up the road to the perrera (dog pound) in La Oliva. There was no-one there so I went to the town hall opposite to ask if someone could book the dog in. I was told “No, it’s not possible today”. Very helpful, I don’t think. Fortunately we have links to the charity, Fuerteventura Dog Rescue, who volunteer at the perrera so I rang one of the organisers who kindly got another volunteer to come down and book the dog in.
While I was there a local man arrived with a Podenco in his car. Apparently he had three dogs and gave this one to a friend to hunt with. He took it hunting on Sunday but it wouldn’t hunt so he gave it back. The man now wanted to just dump it at the perrera as he didn’t want it. I suspect if the perrera had been closed he would have just tied it up outside and left it. That happens all the time unfortunately. Some even throw their dogs over the fence into the exercise yard and the fence must be 2.5 metres high (see the picture below).
So, that is one of the major things I do not like about living here – the local attitude to dogs. Of course that is not the case with everyone but it is very common. Fuerteventura Dog Rescue do what they can to educate but the “it is only a dog” attitude is very strong here. That is why there are so many strays as few locals get their dogs sterilised – many believing it is “against nature”. Why spend money on a dog? But when they have puppies these ignorant idiots just dump them in rubbish bins or leave them in a box outside the dog pound. They are someone else’s problem then!
I hope things change but I can’t see it happening any time soon. Thank goodness for organisations like Fuerteventura Dog Rescue and the brilliant volunteers that make a difference to the stray dogs.
The dog is now called Romeo and is in pre-adoption with an Italian couple who will adopt him as soon as 21 days has past since I took him to the perrera. I am really pleased that he will now have a proper life.
Romeo has now been formally adopted and this is a picture of him with his new owner. What a lovely ending.
One of my hobbies is landscape photography, and in particular taking sunset seascapes during the “Golden Hour”. I do this mainly in the winter here as during the summer there is little, or no, cloud to make the photographs interesting.
While I am at the coast taking photographs I often shoot a few minutes of video. This video features various scenes taken around sunset on beaches and rocks on the west coast of Fuerteventura. It includes El Cotillo (the cliffs outside the harbour, Surfer’s Beach, Steps Beach), Tindaya Beach and Ajay.
The annual firework display at the El Cotillo, Fuerteventura Fiesta 2015. Each year, after they walk the statue of the Virgin of the Safe Voyage back from the El Cotillo church to the El Roque church, where it spends the rest of the year, a firework display takes place. They are set off in the Old Harbour but we decided to watch from the cliffs outside the New Harbour. We waited for over two hours as, in typical Canarian fashion, they were later than expected.
As this was the end of the fiesta, it meant that many of the ex-pat residents could think about moving back to the village. El Cotillo changes dramatically during the fiesta. For 50 weeks of the year it is a quiet, laid back place but during the fiesta it is like hell on earth for most of the time. Some of it is nice, such as the traditional music night, the Virgin of the Safe Voyage Ceremony and the fireworks, but it seems to have been hijacked in recent years by teenagers from all over the island. Incredibly loud live music starts around 11pm and goes on until 6am or later. Unless you are a very heavy sleeper, it is impossible to sleep while it is on. So many people take a holiday during the fiesta and go back to the UK, Germany or wherever, or even over to Lanzarote, to get away from it.
“Virgin of the Safe Voyage” Ceremony in El Cotillo Fiesta
On Sunday 16th August 2015 the annual ceremony of the “Virgin of the safe voyage” was held in El Cotillo, Fuerteventura. The statue of the Virgin of the Safe Voyage is paraded from the church to the Old Harbour. Once it arrives it is taken on a short cruise in a fishing boat, followed by a flotilla. The statue is then paraded back to the church.
This year the sea was deemed too rough to leave from the Old Harbour so the statue was paraded from the old harbour to the New Harbour instead. It was then taken on a little trip out of the harbour, out to sea, and back. Then 10 minutes later it was brought back and taken through the streets again back to the church.
This is the channel trailer for my Youtube Channel – JP in Fuerteventura. On this website I will include updates on new videos I have posted to Youtube together with any other news or information relevant to Fuerteventura.
I shall include videos and articles on:
Places in Fuerteventura
Life on Fuerteventura
Retirement in the sun
Photography, particularly landscape photography
My dogs: “The Adventures of Oscar and Jenson”
Please let me know if there are any videos you would like me to produce or give information on a particular aspect of living here in Fuerteventura, or retiring to the sun in general.