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A Day On Lobos Island

This secluded spot in the middle of the Atlantic, which owes its name to a colony of monk seals (“sea wolves”) that once dwelt here, is synonymous with the triumph of nature. Lobos Island is a small volcanic islet located 2 kilometres off northern Fuerteventura, opposite the coast of Africa. It is part of the protected Corralejo Dunes Nature Reserve, covering just 5 square kilometres and with a 14-kilometre-long coastline, uninhabited by man and teeming with plant life which is unique to this spot – some 130 species of indigenous flora have been recorded. It is also a refuge for free-roaming migratory birds and a destination for explorers who trek along its arid footpaths, dive in the crystal-clear waters or simply plonk themselves down on the white sands of the island’s beaches.

Lobos Island can be reached by ferries which sail from the port of Corralejo. You have several options – mini-cruises, express ferries, etc. – so the best thing is to roll up and check out all the available facilities. El Majorero plies the official route, sailing at 10 a.m. and returning at 6 p.m. Be warned that their timetable changes in the winter months. To spend a pleasant day on Lobos Island, you are advised to take along sun cream, a cap, comfortable footwear, binoculars, food and water and, above all, to observe the signposts. As it is a Protected Nature Reserve, it is important to follow the indications.

I’m of the opinion that the best way to discover a place is by hiking around it, so I recommend taking the circular route, which stretches for eight kilometres. Your goal is the Martiño Lighthouse, dating from 1865. There is only one restaurant on Lobos Island so that, if you want to eat there, you have to book as soon as you reach the island. I assure you that, after a four-hour hike under the sun, the taste of fried fish or paella – the only two dishes they serve – is out of this world.

The route starts at the jetty and you take the footpath in the direction of El Puertito, an erstwhile fisherman’s cottage with a few masonry shelters. Here you will find the beach hut known as the Chiringuito Antoñito el Farero, named after the last inhabitant of the island. You then proceed along the coastal fork towards Las Lagunitas, a protected area of considerable natural value with its agaves and migratory birds, until you come to the Faro Martiño lighthouse, which affords stunning, 360° panoramic views. You will come across a memorial plaque of the writer, Josefina Pla, who was born on the island. After reaching the end of the trail, you make the return journey along the inland route. If you still have the energy to walk a bit further, there is a path forking off on the right that goes up to the old, 127-metre-high La Caldera volcano. Bear in mind that the approach route is short and steep, but the climb is highly rewarding as the summit provides spectacular views of Fuerteventura and Lanzarote.

On your return, stop at the wonderful La Concha beach, with its fine white sand and crystal-clear, calm waters, on account of the reefs that check the fury of the sea. Ideal for having a dip and sunbathing. But, beware – the sun can be torrid and there is no shade on the beach. If you decide to spend the day at the seaside, best take a sunshade along. The same footpath leads to the jetty – where you got off the boat a few hours ago and which is also the site of the Centro de Interpretación. From there, it takes you to the beach bar with its dining room literally on the beach – a picture postcard setting to mark the end of your day in paradise!

Book your Vueling to Fuerteventura and be sure to head for Lobos Island.

Text and images by Teresa Vallbona

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