Ajuy is a small fishing village on the west coast of Fuerteventura, popular with locals at weekends and during the summer holidays. Its caves, old lime kilns, black beach, seafood restaurants and interesting geology also make it a popular day-trip for tourists.
The area just north of Ajuy village is a protected natural area of geological interest (Monumento Natural de Ajuy) because of its layers of ancient sedimentary rocks and fossils of extinct marine creatures. The Monumento Natural is situated within the larger Rural Park of Betancuria and is also a Special Protection Area for Birds.
A short coastal trail, which leads to the sea caves, begins at the northern end of the beach. Here you can clearly see the oldest rocks in the Canary Islands – over 100 million years old, formed before the American and African plates separated, along with layers of ancient beaches and deposits from long-dried up rivers. There is a great information board that is well worth taking the time to read before starting your walk. Sturdy shoes are recommended for this route.
The sea caves of Ajuy are the most spectacular on the island and often photographed. Along with the walking trail from the main beach, you can access to caves via the dirt road on the cliffs, though care should be taken getting down to the caves. Legend has it that pirates, that once plagued the islands, used the caves to store their loot.
Up until the second half of the 19th Century, limestone was quarried, shipped out and processed locally into quicklime in large kilns which are still visible on the main coastal walking route. The limestone from this area was considered to be of superior quality, though these industries have long since ceased operation in the area. Syenite cobblestones used in various locations in Gran Canaria also came from this area and are still visible is Calle de Vegueta in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria.
500 meters north of Ajuy is the small port of Puerto de la Peña which is where Jean de Betencourt and Gadifer le Salle landed in 1402 before moving on and founding the capital of Betancuria. Puerto de la Peña served as the main fishing and trading port of the capital (including the limestone quarried nearby). Puerto de Cabras (now Puerto del Rosario) took over as the main trading port in the mid 19th Century due to its larger size.
There are a good number of restaurants and cafes in Ajuy. With its fishing background you will often find local island families enjoying fish and seafood meals here at the weekend.
The fine black sand beach is a great place to sunbathe, though swimming in the sea is not advised unless it is a calm day, as the sea can be very rough and there are strong currents. There are, however some small natural pools that fill up with water and are a great place for a dip once the tide has gone out – just follow the locals.
A noted scuba dive site, known as the Cathedral is located just off the coast of Ajuy, though it is only for very advanced divers, due to the rough seas and strong currents. Stunning volcanic rock formations of canals and grottoes, along with overhangs and drop offs make it a great diving location. Rays, Groupers, Barracudas and Angel Sharks are often spotted here amongst the plethora of marine life.
Some 7km south of Ajuy is Playa de Garcey. This rugged beach used to draw visitors to view the spectacle of the shipwrecked American Star liner that ran aground in 1994 after its tow lines broke during a heavy storm. By 2013, what remained of the wreck (after its original 1940’s internal decor was looted by locals), was only visible at low tide and today there is nothing visible.