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Friday, 25 January 2019

Fuerteventura, Canary Islands, Spain

The island of Fuerteventura is the second largest of the Canary Islands, measuring more than 100 kilometres from its south-western to its north-eastern points.  It is, however, relatively sparsely populated, with fewer than 120,000 residents.  Fuerteventura's tourist industry is smaller than than on Lanzarote, Tenerife or Gran Canaria, nevertheless the island receives more than 2 million visitors a year.  I visited Fuerteventura in February 2018.

A network of bus services is provided by Tiadhe.

Unsurprisingly, with a smaller population and fewer tourists, the network is less intensive than on some of the other islands.  Nevertheless, there are six routes which provide regular connections around the island, with another twelve routes which run to a more limited timetable.

I found step-entrance, high-floor vehicles in use.  All had underfloor luggage compartments.

Some were standard-length with two axles...































... while others were longer, three-axle vehicles.

 

 
 






 



 

 




  

 

 





 





 


I did notice one shorter-length vehicle, on a service heading south from Puerto del Rosario, Fuerteventura's capital.

This is not the smallest vehicle in use.  In the south west of the island, a four-wheel drive minibus operates route 111 from the resort of Morro Jable, over dirt roads along the Jandía peninsula.

Fuerteventura's airport lies a short distance to the south of Puerto del Rosario.  There is no dedicated airport bus service.  However, bus route 03 provides a regular link from Puerto del Rosario to the airport, continuing southwards to the resorts along the Costa Caleta.  Routes 10 and 16 also provide occasional journeys between the city, the airport and Fuerteventura's southern resorts.

In Puerto del Rosario, nine of Tiadhe's routes converge on a bus station.  This is a few minutes walk from the city centre.











Principal services from the bus station are routes 01 to the resorts at the south of the island, route 03 to the airport and Costa Caleta, and route 06 which heads north to Corralejo.

Six of the less-frequent routes also start from Puerto del Rosario's bus station.





Despite the relative sparsity of the bus network, there are bus stations in other towns as well.

As an example, El Cotillo has a modern facility which caters for route 08 to Corralejo, generally departing hourly, and a handful of journeys on route 07 to Puerto del Rosario.

 


Corralejo has two bus stations.

One is served only by route 06 to and from Puerto del Rosario, generally with two buses per hour in each direction.



I found Corralejo's second bus station, at the terminus for routes 06 and 08, was somewhat run-down.  Buses pick up passengers in the street outside.  However a coach was making use of the parking facilities.


I have been unable to find an official map of Fuerteventura's bus services, so I have drawn one of my own:



Fares on Tiadhe's services are based on the distance travelled.  Single journey tickets can be bought from the driver when boarding.  There are no all-day or longer period tickets.  Fares can be paid in cash or by using a "Bono Transporte Fuerteventura" (BtF) smart card.  The BtF card, which was introduced in autumn 2018, provides a small discount.  Residents of Fuerteventura qualify for BtF cards offering more substantial discounts.

Basing fares on the distance travelled produces an unusual quirk on route 08, between Corralejo and El Cotillo.


Most buses operate via the town of La Oliva.  However, a couple of journeys take a more direct route, avoiding La Oliva.  Since the distance travelled on the direct journeys is less, the fare on these journeys is lower than on the buses taking the standard route through La Oliva.

I found the bus operating the direct journey displaying route number 811, rather than 08.

There is one public bus service on Fuerteventura which is not provided by Tiadhe.

Puerto del Rosario is a town of 30,000 inhabitants.

I found a single-deck bus providing an hourly service which loops its way around the town connecting the centre of the island capital with its residential districts.


The service runs from 07:00 until 22:00 on Mondays to Saturdays, with a more limited period of operation on Sundays and public holidays.  More information about Puerto del Rosario's local bus service is available on the town government's website in Spanish only.

Unlike buses in the Tiadhe fleet, this one is low-floor with step-free access.


Ferries link Fuerteventura with other islands.

Fuerteventura lies less than 15 kilometres from Lanzarote.  Three ferry companies compete on a route from Corralejo to Playas Blancas, on Lanzarote's southern coast.


Fred Olsen Express and Naviera Armas use large vessels, with a crossing time of around 25 minutes between the two islands.  Each operator has sailings every couple of hours or so.  They carry vehicles as well as foot passengers.


































Lanzarote forms the backdrop to these images (left and below) taken in Corralejo.





The third operator on the route from Corralejo to Playas Blancas is Lineas Romero.  They use a smaller vessel, carrying foot passengers only, with four sailings per day.  Their sailings take 45 minutes, but the fare is significantly cheaper than on the other two operators' ships.














Fred Olsen Express and Naviera Armas also operate inter-island ferry services from Morro Jable to Gran Canaria.  Naviera Armas also sail to Gran Canaria from Puerto del Rosario.

The small island of Los Lobos lies just off the east coast of Fuerteventura, close to Corralejo.  Los Lobos is uninhabited.  Small ferries operate from Corralejo to Los Lobos, taking day-trippers.


























At least two of the ferry operators use glass-bottomed boats for the crossing to Los Lobos.









Since early 2019, to manage the numbers of visitors arriving on Los Lobos, visitors are now required to apply for a permit before crossing to the island.

Fuerteventura is a port of call for cruise ships.

The dock at Puerto del Rosario is large enough to handle them.





The holiday industry provides plenty of work for coach operators.

Coaches of various sizes operate transfers between the airport and tourist accommodation on behalf of tour operators.  They also meet cruise ships in Puerto del Rosario.

 









 











In some resorts, including Corralejo, road trains provide tours of the town.

















Finally, as in resorts elsewhere on the Canary Islands, taxis are numerous and relatively cheap, at least in Fuerteventura's main holiday resorts.







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