South Fuerteventura has some of the best and longest beaches in Canary Islands. Most of the beaches and tourist infrastructure are on the east/southeast coast – the resorts are (from north to south) Costa Calma, Esquinzo, and Morro Jable. The west/northwest coast is much more rugged and undeveloped (great for walking and solitude) – the only resort on that side (and a very small one) is La Pared.
Costa Calma, Esquinzo, Morro Jable, and La Pared are basically the four choices you have when selecting a place to stay in south Fuerteventura. Each has different character and would be suitable to a different kind of visitor. Let’s look at them in more detail; but to understand their differences you should first understand a bit of south Fuerteventura geography.
Jandia Peninsula and Flat vs. Hilly Parts
If you have never been to Fuerteventura and have only seen the island on a map, you have probably noticed the slightly curved peninsula running from the main body of the island in the south. This peninsula is called Jandia and the narrowest point where it starts, called the Pared Isthmus, is only 4.5 km coast to coast. Almost exactly at this narrowest point is Costa Calma (east coast) and the much smaller La Pared (west coast). The vast area between the two coasts is like a small desert – it is relatively flat and covered with sand and rocks. There are walking paths and you can easily walk from one coast to the other. In fact, the whole of south Fuerteventura is a paradise for walkers – both along the endless beaches and inland.
Further to the southwest the Jandia peninsula becomes hillier and eventually rises to the highest mountain range of the entire island, with the highest mountain Pico de la Zarza at 807 metres of altitude. Almost exactly under this mountain on the southeast coast lies the resort Morro Jable. Esquinzo is just a few kilometres to the northeast (between Costa Calma and Morro Jable, much closer to the latter).
Character of Different Resorts and Beaches
Why the lengthy geography lesson? The location of the individual towns determines the character of the beaches and the entire resorts.
The longest, widest, and relatively flattest beaches are in Costa Calma and stretch many (20+) kilometres towards Esquinzo and Morro Jable. Costa Calma is entirely purpose built. There is nothing else going on than the hotels and the beaches – no “local” life. If you have been to Tenerife, Costa Calma may look a bit like Playa de las Americas and Costa Adeje, but much much much quieter. There are good restaurants and a little tourist entertainment, but nothing close to the bars and clubs of south Tenerife. Costa Calma (and the whole of south Fuerteventura) is also quieter than Corralejo in north Fuerteventura. Depending on what you expect from your holiday, this can be either a good thing or a bad thing – just keep that in mind.
Costa Calma is the biggest of the Jandia resorts and some parts of it are quite far from the coast. The walk from your hotel to the beach can be as much as 20 minutes, so keep that in mind when selecting a place to stay. In the past the main road from the airport to Morro Jable was running through the middle of Costa Calma, but that has now been fixed with a new motorway bypass.
Overall, among all the Jandia towns, Costa Calma wins on infrastructure and convenience. It is also the most family friendly resort. On the other hand, if you want at least a bit of “local” feel, try Morro Jable instead – its western end has a small port and some local life besides the tourism.
Morro Jable and Esquinzo
These two resorts, being on the more mountainous section of the peninsula, are hillier than Costa Calma. Some hotels can be quite a climb from the beach, although distance-wise these towns are not that spread out towards the inlands as Costa Calma is (because there are steep mountains). Esquinzo in particular is very steep, whichever street from the coast you take – keep that in mind if walking uphill is a problem.
Morro Jable has a much wider and flatter coastal section. The beach there is very long and wide, with an iconic lighthouse in the middle (the southernmost tip of Fuerteventura), and separated from the town by a strip of natural reserve, which you need to pass through to get to the beach (it is not long – some 100-200 metres of pleasant walk). The beaches in Esquinzo are much narrower than in Morro Jable or Costa Calma, because the cliffs often start just a few metres from the shoreline. This is not to say that Esquinzo beaches are worse than the other places, just different. They offer amazing views and enless walks in ever changing scenery.
All of south Fuerteventura is naturist friendly. There are sections of the beaches which you will find more so than others, but all of the towns do have such sections nearby.
I have left La Pared to the end, because it is the smallest and the most different from the other three resorts. Being on the west coast, it often has stronger wind and bigger waves (Costa Calma on the other side tends to have much calmer waters, hence its name). La Pared is therefore popular with surfers. It feels very small and remote, and also lacks the comfort and wide choice of services. There just two restaurants (Bahia La Pared and El Camello) and accommodation options are also much more limited compared to the east coast. It does have some stunning beaches and views though – it depends what kind of holiday you are looking for.
These are the four resorts in south Fuerteventura. There is no “best”, as people’s needs and tastes are different. The basic takeaways:
- There are beautiful beaches in all of them.
- Avoid Esquinzo if you have problem walking uphill / up stairs. The frontline hotels in Costa Calma or Morro Jable are best for ease of access to the beach. At the same time, some hotels in Costa Calma (behind the old main road) are quite far from the coast.
- Avoid La Pared if you want services and infrastructure, or if you come with children. Costa Calma is best for these things, followed by Morro Jable. If you want real nightlife, go to Corralejo, or Tenerife – no such thing in south Fuerte.