Places offering both tranquility and adventure are like rare gems–not everyone seeking them can find one. In the Canaries, though, there is one north of La Oliva in Fuerteventura. It has a rough landscape with gentle contours formed by the wind and a mesmerizing turquoise sea surrounding it. It is Lobos Island, one of the most mystifying in the whole of the Canaries.

Lobos Island Corralejo Fuerteventura
View of Lobos Island from Corralejo Fuerteventura – ©nito500

A Brief History

Before any man arrived in what we now call Isla de Lobos, sea wolves dwelled in this hidden paradise. All that changed when Jean de Béthencourt conquered Fuerteventura in 1405. The once-untouched islet became a resupply base. Seawolves were also mercilessly hunted for their meat, fat, and skin. Because of the massive scale hunting, the very reason for the island’s name no longer lives in it. Then, when Fuerteventura was finally conquered, Isla de Lobos was left completely disused.

In 1865, the Punta Martiño Lighthouse, one of the oldest in the Canary Islands, was opened at the island’s northern tip. Although it was unoccupied for centuries, a change did come in 1968. It was then that Antonio Hernandez Paez, originally a Graciosero, moved to the island with his family to operate the lighthouse. Fueled by the people’s fascination with his daily life in the islet, he rose to prominence beyond the confines of Lobos. Today, a school and a street in Corralejo are enduring tributes to his invaluable contributions and lasting legacy.

The more recent decades have been very kind to this oasis. It was officially classified as a nature reserve and renamed Parque Natural las Dunas de Corralejo e Isla de Lobos in 1982. However, by 1994, it was reclassified as a separate nature park from the famous Corralejo Dunes and was finally renamed Parque Natural Islote de Lobos. This designation sparked a movement towards ecological preservation and awareness, nurturing a sanctuary where nature could thrive once again.

First Thing First — Permits

Going on an adventure to Lobos Island comes with a bit of pre-planning, thanks to thoughtful measures put in place by Fuerteventura’s government. Since 2019, access to Lobos has been carefully regulated to preserve the pristine beauty and sustainability of the island’s natural spaces. But don’t worry; securing your spot on this idyllic islet is both straightforward and cost-free!

The permit, while complimentary, does come with a few considerations to keep in mind. Reservations can only be made up to 5 days before your visit, adding an exciting element of spontaneity to your travel plans. Each booking allows for a maximum of three explorers, making it an ideal outing for small groups or families looking to immerse themselves in nature’s untouched beauty. Additionally, your time on the island is limited to a 4-hour window, offering two options to tailor your visit: the morning slot from 10 am to 2 pm or the afternoon slot from 2 pm to 6 pm.

An Unforgettable Lobos Island Day Trip

Lobos Island, a tiny slice of paradise aged between 6,000 and 8,000 years and spanning merely 5km², is a treasure trove of natural beauty that seems boundless despite its small size. As a protected sanctuary, its pristine condition has made it a cherished destination for tourists, yet to preserve its tranquility and ecological integrity, only 400 visitors are allowed daily. Here are the treasures awaiting you on your trip to this enchanting islet:

The Crossing

Going on a trip from Corralejo to Lobos Island begins with a ferry ride, a passage that marries comfort with the thrill of discovery. These medium-sized vessels, designed for the traveler’s comfort, offer spacious interiors and exteriors, allowing passengers to soak in the views with ease. Among these, the glass-bottom boats and those offering a snorkeling stop are quite the favorite, providing an additional layer of adventure with a closer look at the underwater marvels.

As the ferry departs from Fuerteventura, the port town of Corralejo recedes into the backdrop, with the imposing silhouette or view of the Bayuyo volcano looming behind. Then, as it draws closer to Lobos Island, the unmistakable sight of La Caldera appears, providing travelers with a captivating preview of the island’s rugged beauty. This crossing not only bridges the physical distance between Corralejo and Lobos but also affords incredible panoramic views that set the stage for an unforgettable adventure awaiting just beyond the horizon.

El Puertito

After a short boat ride, visitors disembark at the island’s small port. The scattered rocks sprinkled around its equally rocky shore form lovely natural sea pools. Aside from the breathtaking Playa de la Concha, many tourists find these pools a perfect spot for a swim.

Enjoy the view of the bouldered bay and the vast blue sea. Also, delight in the sight of the handful little houses dotted on the rough landscape. These abodes are either whitewashed with blue doors or with volcanic rock masonry. Some are occupied all year round, while others are used as summer homes. For a glimpse of what a truly simple life is, stay a little bit longer in El Puertito.

Punta Martiño Lighthouse

From El Puertito, a 3.5 km walking trail winds its way to Punta Martiño Lighthouse. Still up and running, it is one of the oldest and most timeless icons in the entire archipelago.

With a one-story house affixed to a tower of volcanic rock masonry, it shares the classic charm of other 19th-century Canarian lighthouses. The dark, rugged hill it stands on captivatingly contrasts the glimmering azure ocean. So, even if the lighthouse doesn’t impress, the postcard-perfect panorama certainly will. It’s an enduring spectacle on this serene oasis, making it a definite must-visit landmark.

Punta Martiño Lighthouse Isla de Lobos
Punta Martiño Lighthouse – ©peresanz

Montaña La Caldera

The Montaña La Caldera hike is an adventure for the soul and the senses! Perched on the northwest tip of Lobos, this towering peak offers a whopping 127-meter-high viewpoint that’s sure to take your breath away. Start your journey with a relaxed 30-minute stroll from the historic Faro Martiño to the foot of Montaña de la Caldera, followed by a quick 15-minute jaunt up to the summit. This trail is for anyone who’s got a decent pair of legs and a bit of puff. Just make sure to strap on some comfy walking shoes or trainers—nothing ruins a hike like gravel between your toes! And don’t forget to pack some water and snacks to keep you fueled up along the way.

Once you reach the top, get ready to be wowed by the views! From up there, you’ll get a bird’s-eye glimpse of everything—from the charming sights of Lobos to the sprawling resorts and sandy dunes of Corralejo, and even the distant shores of Lanzarote.

Playa de la Concha

While many flock to the Canary Islands for their stunning beaches, Lobos Island often gets overlooked due to its reputation for rugged coastlines. Yet, nestled within its craggy embrace lies a hidden gem that could easily sway the beach-loving crowd. Merely a stone’s throw from the port, about a 15-minute walk, is Playa de la Concha—a secluded, beautiful white sand cove that feels like a world away from the well-trodden tourist spots.

Shaped like a crescent, its shores form a natural barrier against the incoming waves, creating a tranquil bay perfect for a peaceful dip. The island’s perpetual sunshine only adds to the allure, making it an idyllic spot for those yearning to bask in the serene beauty of the Canaries away from the buzz of the more famous resorts. For anyone in search of a quiet beach retreat, Playa de la Concha offers an unrivaled escape.

Flora and Fauna

The Lobos Island or Parque Natural del Islote de Lobos is a protected area. As such, its diverse flora and fauna thrive in its volcanic landscape. For them to further flourish, tourists must stick to the paths and areas where they are allowed. Restricted zones are restricted for a reason, and must be respected at all cost.

The island may look more like a desert, but it is home to more than 130 plant species. Floras such as the Sea Uvilla, White Caleton, and Siempreviva are the most beautiful living accessory to a seemingly arid landscape.

It is also a sanctuary for small lizards scurrying about and birds that nest on its cliffs and rocks. Amongst its feathered residents are shearwater cinderellas, little shearwaters, herring gulls, yellow-legged gulls, storm petrels, and Bulwer’s Petrel. A couple of fish species, like the barracuda, bream, Canarian fish, hammerhead shark, and striped fish, also dwell in the waters that surround it.

Dining

Lobos Island has plenty of sights to offer, but it lacks dining options. As a matter of fact, the only restaurant is Restaurante Antoñito el Farero. This humble food establishment is owned by the son of the original lighthouse keeper.

The place is often packed with diners so there might be a waitlist. Before sauntering around, consider booking a table first to avoid a long wait. For their best-sellers, try their fried fish and paella.

Traveler Tips

Traveling to Lobos Island offers a unique opportunity to experience the untouched beauty of nature. Here are some top tips to make the most of your visit to this serene Canary Island gem:

Pack Essentials: Bring plenty of water, snacks, and sunscreen. The island is remote, with limited facilities, so it’s critical to come prepared, especially under the all-year-round sun.

Wear Appropriate Footwear: Sturdy walking shoes or trainers are crucial if you plan to hike up Montaña La Caldera or just explore the island. The paths can be rough, and suitable footwear will make your walk more comfortable.

Respect the Environment: Stay on marked paths to protect the flora and fauna, and take all trash back with you. The island is a protected nature reserve, and its conservation depends on the responsible behavior of its visitors.

Capture the Moment: Don’t forget your camera. From the panoramic views atop Montaña La Caldera to the charming lighthouse and beautiful beaches, Lobos Island is full of picturesque spots perfect for capturing memories.

Check the Ferry Schedule: Ferries from Corralejo to Lobos Island run regularly, but it’s wise to check the latest available schedules and book your ticket in advance, especially during peak seasons.

Be Mindful of Time: With the permit system limiting visits to 4-hour slots, plan your activities on the island to make the most of your time. Decide in advance what you want to see and do.

Explore Responsibly: While it’s tempting to venture off the beaten path, respecting the guidelines and staying within permitted areas ensures the protection of the island’s ecosystems and your safety.

Embrace the Quiet: Lobos Island is a place of tranquility and natural beauty. Take the time to disconnect, enjoy the silence, and immerse yourself in the serene environment.

Exploring Isla de Lobos
Exploring Isla de Lobos – © tamara1k

FAQ

Is overnight camping allowed on Lobos Island?

No, overnight stays and camping are not permitted on Lobos Island to preserve its natural environment.

Can children visit Lobos Island?

Yes, Lobos Island is a family-friendly destination. The trails and beaches are accessible for children, making it an excellent spot for a family outing. Just remember to keep an eye on them, especially near the water.

Is there a best time of year to visit Lobos Island?

Lobos Island can be visited year-round thanks to the Canary Islands’ mild climate. However, if you’re not a fan of bustling crowds, you might want to plan your visit during the serene and peaceful off-peak seasons of spring and autumn.

Are there any guided tours available on Lobos Island?

Yes, guided tours are available that can enhance your visit by providing insights into the island’s ecology, geology, and history. These tours often include snorkeling excursions.

Can I bring my pet to Lobos Island?

Bringing pets to Lobos Island is forbidden to protect the island’s wildlife and because pets might not cope well with the boat trip and the island’s environment.

Is there a bathroom on Lobos Island?

Yes, there are basic bathroom facilities near El Puertito. However, facilities are limited, so be prepared.

Is it possible to visit Lobos Island without a tour?

Yes, you can visit Lobos Island independently by securing a permit and taking the ferry from Corralejo. This allows you to explore the island at your own pace.

How to Reach the Hidden Canary Island

Getting to Lobos Island is easier than you might think! Whether you’re planning a DIY adventure or opting for a guided tour, the journey starts with securing your free permit online in advance to ensure access to this protected paradise. Once your permit is in hand, hop aboard a ferry from Corralejo for a quick 15-20-minute ride across the crystal-clear waters of the Atlantic.

Through DIY Visit From Corralejo

Ferry Service: The most straightforward way to reach Lobos Island is by ferry from Corralejo. Several companies operate this route, offering multiple departures daily. The journey takes about 15-20 minutes. You can buy your ferry tickets online or at the port, but booking ahead is recommended, especially during peak tourist season.

Through a Guided Tour

Tour Operators: Various tour operators in Fuerteventura offer guided tours to Lobos Island. These tours offer the convenience of various pickup locations across Fuerteventura, meaning you won’t necessarily need to make your way to Corralejo to start your adventure. From the popular resorts of Caleta de Fuste, Costa Calma, and Morro Jable, to name a few, you can catch a comfortable ride directly to where the ferry departs. This way, you can sit back, relax, and look forward to the day ahead without worrying about transportation logistics.

Inclusions: Guided tours usually include not just the ferry transfer but also additional activities like snorkeling, kayaking, or stand-up paddleboarding. Some offer guided walks or birdwatching opportunities. In addition, all necessary equipment for activities, a guide to share insights about the island’s ecology and history, and sometimes, food and drinks. Check what’s included when booking your tour.

Permits Included: Many guided tours will handle the permit process on your behalf, ensuring you have the required authorization to visit the island. Verify this with your chosen tour operator to avoid any issues.

A Taste of Paradise on Lobos Island

As the sun sets on another perfect day at Lobos Island, it’s clear why this tiny speck in the ocean has captured the hearts of those who tread its paths. From its pristine beaches like Playa de la Concha to the breathtaking views atop Montaña La Caldera, Lobos offers a unique blend of natural beauty, serenity, and adventure. Whether you’re snorkeling in crystal-clear waters, basking in the tranquility of El Puertito, or exploring the history of its ancient lighthouse, this island serves as a gentle reminder of the world’s untouched wonders. Remember to secure your permit, respect the natural habitat, and take only memories (and perhaps some stunning photos) from this idyllic islet. On Lobos Island, every visitor gets a taste of paradise, leaving with a promise to return or, at the very least, carry its peaceful essence wherever they go.