Fuerteventura unfolds not only as an island of stunning beaches, but as a motorcycle paradise where off-road routes lead through volcanic landscapes, historic fishing villages and secret corners that only local guides can reveal.  It is a journey that combines the feeling of "nothingness" with the majesty of each mountain range and coastline, transforming the apparent barrenness of the island into a masterpiece of nature.

Summer vacation: A time for adventure

With the arrival of summer comes vacation time and with it, the need for disconnecting, resting, partying, and why not, also for adventure.  If there’s one thing we know in Europe, it’s that the Canary Islands offer us a bit of everything we seek when we leave work for a few days and put on our swimsuits.  But if you’re also part of the great off-road motorcycle family, I have good news.  Don’t hang up your boots on your vacation.

If you’re reading this article, it’s because you’re familiar with the benefits of off-road motorcycles.  The versatility to go on enduro rides in tight areas or cover vast stretches of land for kilometers of landscapes, far from civilization.  You and I know what I’m talking about.

 

Fuerteventura: Discover a motorcycle paradise

Renting an off-road motorcycle and letting a local guide lead the way is a great idea here and anywhere else, but today the star is one of the most spectacular islands on the outskirts of the European Union.  The Spanish island of Fuerteventura.

Fuerteventura is the second largest island of the Canary Islands, behind Tenerife.  It’s the oldest and has the most kilometers of sandy beaches throughout the archipelago, not to mention its natural parks of dunes and mountains in a volcanic environment, with rivers of petrified lava, leaving you in awe.

 

My journey begins: from inland to the coast

Javier Orme, a local guide, arranged to meet me early in the morning without requiring an excessive early wake-up, stepping away from the rush and work routines of the old continent, to sync with the island’s rhythm.  From the island’s interior, we headed to refuel at a gas station near the capital, Puerto del Rosario, on the eastern coast of the island.  My first experience on the loose gravel and rocky paths wasn’t entirely comfortable.  I hadn’t quite adapted to the Honda CRF Rally 250cc that would accompany me throughout the day.  The first valley between arid mountains of intense ochre color made me realize the geological moment and place I was in, letting my mind and body relax and start enjoying the motorcycle and the landscape that had puzzled me so much.

Arriving at the coast brought me back to a more familiar setting.  Riding parallel to the ocean has an indescribable charm.  There’s no better suspension trainer than that vast blue expanse that makes you feel like you’re flying, floating, and flowing in perfect harmony with your motorcycle.  The earthy terrain with just enough sand for perfect rear tire grip and stability in the front also helped, why  deny it!

 

Along fishing trails and historic villages

Heading north and always on a winding fishermen’s trail, we were thoroughly entertained.  A small descent, followed by a right-hand turn and then a left, some rocks, a bit of sand, a little more dirt, some camel grass, down to go up again, and up to go down again… a smile was firmly planted on my face that was hard to erase.  I can assure you that.

The first village at the foot of this rugged coastline took us away from the schoolyard fun we were having.  Puerto Lajas is a small town that has resisted the onslaught of large hotels to host a more local tourism, with a beautiful beach of pebbles and black sand, where the lifeguard stations stand out in a lovely yellow Husqvarna.  Next, after a bit, more playful throttle action on our CRFs, we came upon another village, El Jablito, which, while keeping its dirt streets and natural fishing port, seemed to have sidestepped the passing years, in the purest Majorero style.

 

Volcanic landscapes and the secrets of the island

From this village, we headed inland on moderately fast tracks and through valleys flanked by mountains that transported me back to the Cretaceous period.  The island’s lack of vegetation seemed to have frozen the time at the very moment of its creation… until we reached a freshly paved road, an unmistakable sign of contemporary civilization.  The reason for this was more than justified with the spectacular views that included the Corralejo dunes; Lobos Island; El Cotillo, and various mountains formations vying for dominance with volcanic majesty.  The moment was worth it, and the route was proving to be highly entertaining.

I was gradually getting a feel for the CRF, enjoying more and more with each kilometer, thanks to its smooth response to the throttle and its manageable weight, which allowed me to continue savoring the landscape and the trails without major surprises.  This motorcycle is definitely designed for long journeys, with its ergonomics and user-friendly characteristics sparing the rider from physical demands.  A great choice!

It didn’t take long to head back west when I was surprised by a group of unique plants, with large leaves at their base and long stems reaching the sky.  I eventually discovered that these were Agave plants, known as “Pitera” or “Henequén” on the island, which dominated the landscape in a military formation, stealing the spotlight from the usual low shrubs.

We continued on fast tracks with our eyes fixed on the western coast, leaving behind the iconic Tindaya mountain.  Before I knew it, we were riding through a vast expanse of rocks, where only the path we were riding on and the vastness of the Atlantic Ocean on the horizon were distinguishable.  The sensation of “nothingness” is incredible.  If there’s something truly awe-inspiring about Fuerteventura, it’s this: the scarcity of elements, flora, or fauna that turn each mountain, plant, bird, or geological formation into a devotional masterpiece.

Cliffs made their presence now, imposing a stop along the way.  At the foot of Tebeto Beach, Javier showed me the uniqueness of that ravine with plants and pools of intense green, clinging to life in their small ecosystem.  We continued southward and, once again, rode with the sea by our side.  From the privileged position that the cliffs provided, we discovered each and every corner of this fantastic coastline, until the next mandatory stop.

We were at Jarubio Beach.  I’d say it’s a must-visit, and the number of surfers riding waves at that moment was a testament to that.  Besides its merits for surfing, the cliff that embraces it and the dunes that preside over its entrance make this beach truly special, if your weakness is unique, wild, fine sandy beaches.

We left the coast and with it, the “nothingness.”  We continued along a path that seemed to close off a peculiar rocky formation, whose origin I would soon discover.  A steep slope on a typical 4×4 route led us to the top of a hill to enjoy some truly special views.  From there, we could make out the recent beaches we had stopped at and part of the route we had taken to reach them. Javier took a moment to explain everything I was seeing.  With his arm outstretched and his index finger pointing ahead, he indicated the crater of a volcano and traced the path that the lava had taken with the frustrated determination to reach the sea at the very same Jarubio Beach.  We had just ridden parallel to that tongue of stone that had been lava at some point.  I was fascinated, while Javier continued to shed light on the almost yellowish-green tone of the petrified magma.  The culprit was a colonizing lichen, which, unbeknownst to me at that time, would be a part of the rest of my vacation.

 

The end of the tour and the fascination of Fuerteventura

We descended the hill to head back home.  The tour was coming to the end, but not before passing by the monument to Miguel de Unamuno, testing the CRF 250’s capabilities on a broken path, and climbing a lookout point from which we could see both coasts of the island, east and west, in a single twist of our shoulders.  Spectacular!

The tour had not only been fun but also enriching.  I had armed myself with tools to continue enjoying the following vacation days.  That seemingly anecdotal information about the lichens would lead me to discover many more volcanic eruptions throughout the rest of the week.  The coastal route from one side to the other, tracing our steps from those vantage points and with all the information that Javier shared at each stop, made me fully grasp the real dimensions of the north of this incredible island, making it a bit more my own.

They say that you arrive in Fuerteventura crying and you leave crying due to opposing emotions, and its uniqueness is so exceptional that it’s impossible to remain indifferent, eventually succumbing to its charms.

Source and photos: Pablo Pillado, Maria Rua

 

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  • Motorradtouren Deutschland: Auf 40 Touren von den Alpen bis an die Nordsee kurven über Mittelgebirge und Alpenpässe und cruisen auf Ferienstraßen
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