KITESURFING HOLIDAYS - LA GRACIOSA
No big hotels, tourist resorts, beer bellies and pub crawling here. Kiteboarders heading to Lanzarote will head to Caleta de Famara, a small fishing village and declared nature reserve on the northwest coast. Dotted with white sandy beaches and secluded coves, La Graciosa is the northernmost inhabited island of the Canary Islands archipelago. Of its 525 inhabitants, 300 are professional fishermen.
The predominant winds in the Canaries are the northeast trades. The summer is windiest with the trades occasionally starting as early as March and hanging around until late September, after which they tend to head south. Lanzarote and La Graciosa benefit from an acceleration effect. Due to their position, the wind is funnelled between the Los Riscos mountain range of Lanzarote and La Graciosa itself. The result can sometimes be cross-shore or cross-onshore winds up to force eight or even nine!
At just 27 square kilometres, whatever the wind or swell direction, you'll find something on La Graciosa. The island is open to big swells but there are flat spots too, like the lagoon at Caleta de Sebo with lots of open space on the water, but can be very shallow in areas. Also, if you're into kitesurfing, it would be a crime not to bring your kiteboard to this island!
The Passat trade winds rule in the summertime and are best between May and August. In winter, low pressure kicks in and the whole picture changes, bringing waves and frontal winds. The Canaries enjoy a subtropical climate with temperatures in winter averaging 14 to 22°C, and 22 to 28°C in the summer.
A lot of the spots in these islands are greatly affected by the tide. The waters are cool thanks to the Canary current from the north, but still comfortable at 18°C in winter, and 24°C in summer, from July to October.
On La Graciosa, Caleta de Sabo has a small selection of tapas and fish restaurants to suit all budgets and tastes. Supermarkets provide the basics to live on. Nightlife is slow and laid back. Accommodation consists of apartments, hostels or traditional Canarian houses with whitewashed walls.
Arrecife (ACE): 45 minute drive to the port of Orzola where you can catch one of a few ferries a day that make the two kilometre crossing. You can't take a car on to La Graciosa, but if you're staying on Lanzarote for a while it's useful to have one. Otherwise taxis and buses are available.