Puerto del Rosario: a lively, dynamic capital
A stay in Fuerteventura wouldn’t be complete without visiting its capital, Puerto del Rosario. The city has been the capital of Fuerteventura since 1860, when it replaced the town of Betancuria. Since then, it has gradually grown to become the main city on the island, home to the island’s different institutions, as well as the airport and the port, the main routes of entry for people and goods.
Despite being a relatively modern city, its origins can be traced back to a hamlet known at the time as Puerto Cabras. Construction of the port in the late eighteenth century brought about the emergence of various populated areas, which became municipalities in the early nineteenth century. These days, Puerto del Rosario is a dynamic capital with around 40,000 inhabitants that stands out for its cultural activities, festivals and beaches.
What to see in Puerto del Rosario
After a few days of beach and relaxation in Fuerteventura, perhaps it’s time to start pounding those city streets. Fortunately, getting to Puerto del Rosario from any point on the island is quite simple, so, if the weather doesn’t look too good, if there’s a haziness in the air, or you would simply like to do something else, the island’s capital city awaits.
The first thing to do to get a feel for the city is to take a stroll along Calle Primero de Mayo, its main pedestrianised thoroughfare where shops, restaurants and terraces are a meeting point for both locals and tourists. From there you can start your journey on to different places of interest in the city.
Places of interest in Puerto del Rosario
- Church of Nuestra Señora del Rosario. Situated on Calle Primero de Mayo, this is the main parish church in the city. Although construction work began in the nineteenth century, it wasn’t until 1931 when the current church was finished. It has been declared an Asset of Cultural Interest.
- Unamuno House-Museum. Housed within the former Hotel Fuerteventura, where Miguel de Unamuno lived during his time in exile on the island in 1924 under the dictatorship of Primo de Rivera, the residence reflects how life was at the time thanks to objects, images and texts charting the Bilbao-born writer’s relationship with Fuerteventura.
- Juan Ismael Art Centre. The island’s main cultural reference, the centre hosts different exhibitions and conference cycles.
- Lime kilns. The presence of limestone on the island led to the construction of various lime kilns, many of which still remain today. Limestone began to be exported, chiefly between 1940 and 1970, to the other islands in the archipelago, and so Puerto del Rosario became known as the Puerto de la Cal, or the Port of Lime. The Visitors’ Centre of the Lime Kilns of El Charco is worth a visit to get a better understanding of the importance of this economic activity for the island.
- La Alcogida Eco-Museum. Situated in the village of Tefía, this eco-museum shows how traditional life once was on the island. Visitors can see examples of traditional architecture and participate in activities related to agriculture, livestock and crafts. It’s also a great place to buy gofio (a Canarian flour made from roasted grains), bread and other traditional items.
- Sculpture Park. This open-air complex is home to over 50 sculptures originating, in part, from the International Sculpture Symposium, which takes place every year in Puerto del Rosario.
- Palacio de Formación y Congresos. This modern building, situated right on the seaside promenade, houses the city’s main congresses and events. It boasts an auditorium with capacity for 1,500 people.
Beaches in Puerto del Rosario
Like the rest of the island, the beaches of Puerto del Rosario stand out for their great surfing conditions. The capital boasts various strips of sand stretching along its coastline, some of which are situated within the city centre. Be sure not to miss the following:
- Playa Blanca beach, Puerto del Rosario. The city’s main beach is less than two kilometres to the south, close to the airport, and can be reached by foot along the seaside promenade. It spans 500 metres in length, is not developed and is a great place to go surfing and kiteboarding.
- Playa Chica beach. Situated at the end of Calle Primero de Mayo, close to the Palacio de Congresos, this is the most central beach of them all. It spans around 120 metres in length.
- Playa de las Caletillas beach. The city’s southernmost beach, it is situated past the airport and boasts a wild, almost isolated strip of sand with nothing in its immediate surroundings. It’s a perfect hidden place in which to lose yourself, do some surfing or watch the airplanes pass overhead.
- Puerto Lajas. This black sand beach is around six kilometres to the north of Puerto del Rosario in one of the area’s most well-established fishing villages.
- Playa de Jarugo beach. Located within the municipality of Puerto del Rosario, this beach is nevertheless found on the island’s western coast, around 20 kilometres from the capital. It is one of Fuerteventura’s wildest beaches, with white sand and strong waves. Although it can be reached easily from Tindaya, it is situated in an area separate from the hustle and bustle and has no facilities, making it a perfect place to disconnect. The beach is small, spanning around 230 metres only.
- Playa del Puertito de los Molinos beach. Also on the western coast, to the south of Jarugo beach, it is located in a tiny fishing village of the same name nestled on the sand amid rocky cliffs. It even has some caves right on the oceanfront, which can be accessed at low tide. The place is utterly charming and perfect for a day out at the beach eating fresh fish and watching the sunset. Puertito de los Molinos also makes a perfect destination for a hike.
Restaurants in Puerto del Rosario
Puerto del Rosario has managed to preserve its local spirit and has eschewed the tourist-oriented options found in other parts of the island. This makes it a perfect place to sample the authentic cuisine of Fuerteventura and the Canary Islands. Among the many restaurants and taverns dotted around the city centre are:
- La Jaira. Serving unique dishes and Canary Islands cuisine all under the same roof, this is a lovely restaurant for sampling local food.
- Restaurante Playa Chica. A great place to eat fresh fish right on the beachfront.
- El Bounty del Muelle. Situated in the port area, this restaurant serves excellent fish with impeccable presentation.
- Tasca El Perenquén. Perfect for taking a break along the way, it serves delicious small bites and Canarian dishes with views of the Atlantic.
Other plans: karting in Puerto del Rosario
If travelling with children, karting is a must-do, as what child doesn’t love to go karting? Gran Karting de Fuerteventura is situated on the outskirts of Puerto del Rosario and boasts a 1,000-metre track and good tarmac and is wide enough for adult races. They also have two-seater karts so you can accompany your child.
Enjoying a day out karting is a great way to spend the afternoon, as it also boasts a children’s play area and a terrace from where you can take in the sunset.
Need more ideas for planning your holidays in Fuerteventura? Then check out our Fuerteventura guide!