Beaches and strong waves may have always been associated with the Canary Islands, but if strong winds are what you have been looking for, then Fuerteventura is the island-to-be.
One of Canary Island’s most exciting events is celebrated in Corralejo, Fuerteventura every year. Called “Festival Internacional de Cometas” or International Kite Festival, this event is a gathering of kite-flying enthusiasts from around the globe and is a series of days when the blue skies of Fuerteventura is filled with colourful kites in all shapes and sizes.
Festival Internacional de Cometas is held every second week of November annually. This 2018, it will run from November 8 to November 11 in Corralejo Dunes National Park.
The Beginnings of the Festival
In 1987, kite lovers Jacinto Rodriguez and Claudio Azzali met at the windy beach of Corralejo. One day they organized a small meeting with other kite flyers. Back then there were 8 people who participated in the kite flying activity, and today, thousands of people gather to the beach to participate in or to watch the hundreds of flying kites that dance in the windy skies.
The International Kite Festival Last Year
The International Kite Festival kicked off last year at Playa del Burro, a part of Corralejo Dunes National Park. It was inaugurated by La Oliva mayor Isai Blanco, tourism councilor Sandra Gonzalez, Asociacion de Empesarios Turisticos de Fuerteventura (Asofuer) president Antonio Hormiga, and one of the event founders Jacinto Rodriguez.
Around 160 kite pilots took part on the first day of the event in Corralejo. These kite flyers consisted of amateurs and professionals, locals, and tourists, most of whom came from other parts of Spain, Germany, and Great Britain. Some of the noteworthy kite designs were a giant 10-meter dragon and dinosaurs; sea creatures like octopuses, sharks, starfishes; land creatures like tiger, bear, bugs; and even some of our favourite cartoon characters like the Minions, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Charmander.
On the following days, a kids’ workshop was held where almost 200 school children participated. Each had its own kite and was taught how to fly his own. There were also exhibitions of static and acrobatic kites performed by local and international professional kite flyers. These kite exhibitions continued on the next day when Rokakus kite combat took place. A Rokaku kite is a six-sided fighter kite traditionally originating from Japan. In this type of airfighting competition, two kites battle against each other until one falls off the sky, and the other stronger standing–or flying–is the winner. The culmination of the event was on the fourth day when a ceremony was held to award prizes to Festival Internacional de Cometas participants.
The International Kite Festival in 2018
The Festival Internacional de Cometas will celebrate its 31st year this 2018 which will run from November 8 to 11. The venue will, undeniably, take place in Corralejo Dunes National Park, Playa del Burro, and Playa de La Concha in El Cotillo.
The program will most likely remain the same as it was traditionally done each year. It will be a three- to the four-day event, starting around on a Friday, when everyone, especially amateurs, is invited to “free fly” their kite. The next days will be for kite exhibitions where professionals will showcase their skills in controlling their kites and show off their kite-flying stunts that will leave the spectators in awe. Other kite flying competitions usually incorporated are the freestyle knockout, technical freestyle, as well as the famous fighting competition, the Rokaku kite combat.
A few tips before coming to the festival: On the first day, the event organizers give away commemorative T-shirts of the kite festival. Take advantage of these limited edition souvenirs. And if you happen to fall in love with the festival and decided to attend the event in the future coming years, you will have the chance of becoming a member of “The Fuerteventura Kite Family”.
Trekking through the Corralejo sand dunes to watch the Kite Festival can be tiring, so it is recommended that you settle by the beach and set up a small picnic.
The last day can be considered as the best day to join the International Kite Festival. Over a hundred of kites are given free to the children. There are even teddy bears flying on parachutes and dropping sweets from the skies. During the night, the skies are filled with a spectacular display of fireworks.
How to get to Festival Internacional de Cometas in Corralejo? If coming by private car from Fuerteventura International Airport, follow the FV-2 north towards Puerto del Rosario, then take the exit for FV-3. Continue the FV-3 route towards FV-1 at the northern end of Puerto del Rosario. From here, you can easily follow the coastal route that will lead to the dunes of Corralejo. By public transport, take bus number 3 from the airport to Puerto del Rosario bus station. From here take bus number 6 heading to Corralejo. But if budget isn’t an issue, just take a taxi from the airport, or have an airport transfer pre-arranged before coming to Fuerteventura.
Fuerteventura Kite Festival and Beyond
Before heading to the Fuerteventura Kite Festival, a red volcanic cone may catch your attention. This is also part of Corralejo Dunes National Park, and is famously called Montaña Roja. It is open for trekking but is more suited for the experienced as the trail downhill is a challenge.
The winds in Corralejo are very reliable for any type of wind-related activity, and a kitesurfing holiday is perfect for singles, couples, and families with or without experience. If you want to be more than just a spectator of kite-flying and be one with the wind, it will be great for you to try kitesurfing. Beginners are taught by boat in the flat water with a lot of space.
Not far away from Corralejo, an island belonging to the Corralejo Dunes National Park can be seen. This is Isla de Lobos, home of more than 130 plant and animal species. It is worth mentioning to go and visit Isla de Lobos if you want an escape from Corralejo’s winds and waves. On the island lies La Concha Beach which brings you perfect swimming conditions. You may reach Isla de Lobos by taking a ferry from Corralejo port.
By evening you may find yourself hungry after the whole day of excursion. There are plentiful selections to dine or drink. Choose from local and international restaurants, cafes, tapas bars, ice cream parlors, or pizzerias, to cocktail bars, pubs, disco bars, and even karaoke bars.
Accommodation and lodging is not a problem even on the busiest day of the kite festival. Corralejo offers three to five-star hotels, country property rentals, villas, and apartments where you and your family or friends can relax as you daze at the view of the sea from your window.
Being Canary Island’s second largest island, there are surely endless things to do in Fuerteventura. Clearly, the fun doesn’t just stop at the winds and the sands of Corralejo. The activities and places of interest are just limitless.
As early as today, be sure to mark your calendars for the 31st Festival Internacional de Cometas in November. Make your Canary Islands holiday extra special: Fuerteventura International Kite Festival is your gateway to Fuerteventura’s other sights and attractions. Because when in Fuerteventura, there is wind, water, sands, and more.