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Pájara

Sand-dunes, ravines and stunning beaches stretch along the entire length of Pájara, Fuerteventura’s largest municipality, which is also the site of the island’s highest point: the Pico de la Zarza peak which stands at 817 metres above sea level. For convenience, we can divide this district into two areas: the north, where the town of Pájara, the municipality’s capital, is located; and the south: the area corresponding to the Jandía Peninsula, which was once an island, and which is now joined to Fuerteventura by the sandy isthmus of La Pared. The island’s main tourist centres, such as Costa Calma and Morro Jable are situated in the southernmost part of the municipality.

But before we move on to the area’s superb beaches, let us take a look at the capital and its Iglesia de la Virgen de Regla. This church first surprises us with the decoration around its entrance, which includes iconographic elements such as snakes, suns, moons, birds and lions, apparently inspired by Aztec art. This has led historians to formulate differing hypotheses in an attempt to explain such an astonishing influence. Otherwise, this is a church with two naves separated by a series of semicircular arches supported by Doric columns, beneath an attractive coffered wood ceiling. Also of interest are the Baroque altarpieces which occupy the front of both naves.

Another fascinating attraction located in the north of the municipality, a ten-minute drive from Pájara, is the Ajuy Natural Monument, a protected area where oceanic deposits and the fossils of extinct marine animals can be seen.

But the main reason behind Pájara’s status as a flagship tourist destination is its impressive coastline, which has beaches to suit all tastes, ranging from the small La Pared beach, located in the town of the same name, to the extensive, virtually empty beaches of Barlovento and Cofete, both on the west coast.

The east-coast beaches are more crowded with bathers, which is logical, given their proximity to the main tourist resorts. The Costa Calma beaches are especially pleasant, thanks to their fine sands and clear, shallow waters. The outstanding beach here is Sotavento, which provides superb conditions for sports such as windsurfing. Proof of this is the fact that since 1986 it has been the location for the Freestyle Wind-surfing Grand Slam. Further south, on the oceanfront of the fishing town of Morro Jable, is the Playa del Matorral, an equally attractive beach with white sands and crystal-clear waters. It is, moreover, one of the island’s sites of scientific interest, as it is actually a salt marsh, in other words a place which is periodically flooded by the tides, and therefore home to certain plants that tolerate salt water. It is, in addition, a nesting-site for certain birds, including the Canary Islands stonechat.

Those who love secluded landscapes could end this tour of the municipality of Pájara at the Punta Jandía lighthouse, one of those enchanting spots located at the end of a promontory jutting out into the Atlantic. And if you do venture to explore the most southerly point of the island, don’t miss the opportunity to take a look around El Puertito, and try what is reputed to be the finest fish in Fuerteventura.

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