A one-time fishing village on the northern end of Fuerteventura, Corralejo is now a busy little tourist trap, with scores of restaurants, a street full of shops selling ticky-tacky, and a small fleet of glass-bottomed boats and charter yachts. It is also the port for the ferries which run between Fuerteventura and its sister island, Lanzarote. This makes it easy for an approaching vessel to find the place: you just follow the big boats!
Although it is easy to find, the approach to Corralejo can be quite exciting, especially if the wind is strong. The channel between the two islands is a wind acceleration zone, and with a force seven pumping through it the waves quickly pile up and become quite alarming. Just to make matters even more entertaining, Corralejo is tucked in amongst a set of reefs. There are reefs to the east and west of the port, and there are reefs to the north extending from the off-lying Isla de Lobos.
If your only chart is a large scale one, showing the whole archipelago, then you should keep at least half a mile off the coast of Fuerteventura and not consider coming any nearer until you are north-east of the port entrance. People surf on the reefs immediately behind the sea wall…
The passage between Fuerteventura and Isla de los Lobos is best avoided when the wind is blowing strongly along the channel. In these conditions, the waves roll and break right in the middle of that reef-fringed passage. Great fun for kitesurfing enthusiasts and windsurfers, but not for keel boats.
The ferries berth behind a big sea wall, and this wall also shelters the harbour. There is a small and very crowded marina. It did not seem to us that there would be space on the pontoons for a visiting yacht, but there is room to anchor. Just be careful to keep well clear of the wall and of the space at the seaward end of the wall, where the ferries turn. In theory, one has to pay – but of the boats anchored here during our visit only one had been nabbed by the harbourmaster.
Corralejo would be a good harbour, were it not for the fact that the holding is terrible. (A thin layer of sand covers a sheet of rock.) Pretty much everybody who comes here does a certain amount of dragging when the wind blows, and it would obviously not be a good place to leave the boat unattended for the whole day.
There is a wifi internet service which covers the port in a somewhat intermittent fashion. It is called Canary Net Oasis. Payment can be made online and varies according to how much time you want to buy. The hourly rate is pretty steep, but we paid 20 € for a week, and we found that we could run three machines at the same time from the same connection.
Going alongside to take water was not possible during our visit to Corralejo, and nor did we find an accessible tap. Doubtless, if one were in dire need one could creep into the marina with a couple of jerrycans… but this mission would carry the risk of coming face to face with the aforementioned harbourmaster.
One of our best finds was a hotel which has no objection to letting outsiders loose in the laundry room. Follow the main road, lined with shops and restaurants, until you eventually come to a place called Tony Romas. Turning right here you will find yourself outside the Hotel Bahía Lobos. The laundry room is between Tony’s and the hotel, but the tokens to operate the machine are sold in the hotel’s reception. One token, for one load, costs 4 €. Meanwhile, the laundrette at the other end of town wanted 70 € to wash and dry two loads….
For cheap phone calls to the UK, try Whereabouts, an English-owned internet café in amongst a group of English restaurants. It’s just beyond the furthest limit of the seafront promenade, behind a sandy beach.
For the best kitesurfing in the archipelago visit Flag Beach, which is half an hour’s walk along the shore and just around the corner.
IF YOU VISIT CORRALEJO AND YOU FIND THIS INFORMATION TO BE OUT OF DATE, OR OTHERWISE INCORRECT, PLEASE LET US KNOW.
(There are several other anchorages in Fuerteventura which we have not had time to visit, and nor have we explored Lanzarote.)