For as long as I have been in travel, Fuerteventura has been nicknamed "Dirtyventura", but is that nickname deserved? In December, the week before Christmas, we headed out to Fuerteventura for a bit of winter sun and to escape the 10 inches of snow that had been dumped in my garden. Having spent some time in Fuerteventura in 2007 as a holiday rep I was keen to see if it had changed much.
An early morning start to Bristol Airport for our 9am flight and we treated ourselves to the Aspire Lounge pre-departure. Bristol can be a bit chaotic in the morning but today was pleasantly quiet. A spot of breakfast and the obligatory early morning beer and we were on our way. Flying Thomas Cook Airlines to Fuerteventura was a bit of a surprise. The legroom wasn't brilliant and both my partner and I felt a bit cramped in the seats. The way back was better as we were given extra legroom seats and it was well needed (I am 6" and my partner's 6"1). On arrival we were shown to our Shuttle Transfer and I remembered why I usually book private Transfers and why I will again in the future. The minibus was a fairy old one, with non-existent air-conditioning. A fellow passenger left their Kindle on the aircraft so we were delayed some 30 minutes whilst they retrieved it. We also called at another resort before getting to our hotel which was the last stop. So Private Transfers are definitely the way forward! The journey time from the airport to Jandia is around 1.5hrs.
Our hotel, Occidental Jandia Mar (formerly known as Barceló Jandia Mar) is located at the top of a very steep hill, rendering it completely unsuitable for those with walking difficulties. I'd recommend the Iberostar Jandia or Occidental Jandia Playa. It does, however, have fantastic views overlooking the phenomenal Jandia Beach. One thing Fuerteventura does well, is it's beaches. The two best beaches on the island are Correlejo & Jandia. The Occidental Jandia Mar is a nice hotel with two large pools, one of which is heated in the winter. It has a good spa, kids club, kids splash pool area, entertainment galore and two restaurants. The food here is very good, one of the nicest all inclusive hotels I've been to in the Canaries, after the H10 Rubicon Palace - nothing can beat that hotel. What was very lacking in this hotel was the service. They were clearly short staffed. Some days the pool bar would be open, some days it wouldn't. Generally there would only be a small handful of waiting staff in the restaurant and the bar you would expect waits of around 30 minutes to get served. Occidental offer an enhanced All Inclusive Package called O+. I'd avoid this package at all costs. at 19 euros per person, per night it's severely overpriced for what you get.
Jandia itself was very nice. You can stroll along the fantastic beach to Morro Jable, a small village with a collection of local shops and restaurants. Or stroll along the promenade with it's vast array of bars, shops and restaurants. Jandia is very popular with the German market so do expect most of the bars and restaurants to cater towards them. Along the beach don't be surprised if you spot a nudist or 20, it's very popular for nudist sunbathing. Apparently nudists are supposed to be south of the lighthouse but we spotted them all along the beach.
Overall we had a lovely time in Fuerteventura, and I don't think the nickname is deserved, it's clean, tidy and very hospitable. Would I go back? Now that's the question, and No I probably wouldn't. There wasn't anything wrong with it, but there wasn't enough there to truly amaze me. Fuerteventura has a good collection of 3 & 4 star hotels, but is very lacking in 5 star properties, which puts the luxury end of the market off visiting. If you are looking for a good 3-4 star hotel, with good facilities, nice beaches and good weather then I would recommend Fuerteventura. If you want personalised service, high quality hotels and more amenities then there are other islands in the Canaries and resorts I would recommend.