SPECIAL FEATURED BEACH REPORT by Sunlover
Beauty, they say, is in the eye of the beholder, and while Fuerteventura may at first sight not have that beauty, if you drive out into its hinterland it does have a rugged, timeless impact on the senses. It doesn't have the lush greenery of the Caribbean islands or the intimacy provided by the secluded bays of the Greek islands. However it more than compensates for the lack of these qualities by its elemental atmosphere; the landscape is prehistoric, which is exactly why the film One Million Years BC was shot on the neighbouring island of Lanzorote. But the world has moved on since those early special effects transformed Iguanas into man eating dinosaurs and you no longer have to wear a bikini made out of animal skin as Raquel Welch did. In fact you don't have to wear anything at all as, technically, public nudity is quite legal in Spain.
However, legal or not, our busy resort just didn't lend itself to taking all your clothes off so we hired a car and headed south where we had been told there were more suitable beaches. The eastern side of the island is known as the Costa Calma which easily translates into the Calm Coast, however this is a relative term. Fuerteventura is also well known as a windsurfers paradise and therein lies a clue; while we were there it was always, at the very least, breezy. Not that it was ever cold, but the wind did make the air fresh rather than balmy which, combined with the open aspect of the coastline, few dunes to shelter in and big, wide open bays, made nude sunbathing exposed in every sense of the word.
The place we were aiming for was Playa Barca which in our condensed guide book was described as "big" - they weren't exaggerating! Close to the Jandia National Park, the beach is wide, flat and goes on for miles, unbroken by rocks and backed by the low hills that ascend into the interior. There are one or two hotels and apartments but these are largely confined to its northern extremity, the largest of these being The Hotel Sol Gorionnes which rises like a mirage in the desert landscape and, if you take the time to walk through its grounds, is very much like an oasis with its palms and swimming pools. But back to the beach: It might not be everyone's ideal situation as a place to take all your clothes off being as exposed as it is, and exposure is what it's all about. If you are a discrete nudist, preferring dunes or small, sheltered bays, it isn't for you. But if you enjoy the wonderful feeling of liberty experienced by being naked in a wide open landscape, you'll love Playa Barca. There has to be a degree of exhibitionism involved, not only because of the open aspect of the place but also because not everyone is naked. Indeed you might be the only nude person for a hundred metres or more and you're exposed to the casual stares of everyone who walks past, from windsurfers in wetsuits to fully clothed trekkers walking the coastline. When we went naked there we had plenty of similar nude company but if you feel like leaving them behind and walking a couple of miles without cares or clothes to inhibit you, the sense of freedom is invigorating and exciting. The breeze always made the sea at least choppy but it was refreshing to bathe in and the sand is clean, firm and seemingly endless.
If you're unlucky that ever present wind might be cool enough to make a fur bikini desirable but in our experience sunburn was more of a danger than hypothermia and, while the fur might have been fake, your tan won't be.
Submitted by Sunlover, (December 2005)