With some of the most stunning beaches in the north of Fuerteventura, El Cotillo caters to surfers on its southern beaches and sun worshippers with its tranquil and crystal-clear lagoons. Some 20km from Corralejo, this laid-back and dusty surfer town has its origins rooted, like many on the island, in fishing.
To the north of El Cotillo, La Concha and Los Lagos are white sand beaches sheltered by reefs that offer protection from the rough Atlantic, making them great for families and bathers. To the South, the beaches of El Aljibe de la Cueva (Piedra Playa) and Playa del Aguila are a little more wild and open to the Atlantic, and tend to be frequented by surfers, wind and kite surfers. For those wanting to enjoy the beach without venturing into the water, look for semi-circular stone shelters dotted across the beaches, that provide some protection from the wind.
The town is an unplanned higgledy-piggledy affair, though the council have made improvements to pavements and public areas in recent years. Not all of the new planning has gone well though, with an area of decaying un-built grid-layout streets located just north of the town. Several Aparthotel and Hotel complexes were built here during the 2000s, so rooms are no longer as hard to come by as they used once were.
One of the few historic building in the area is the Fortaleza del Tostón. This fortified tower was built around 1797 to defend the area from pirates and now serves as an exhibition space for local artists. A distinctive modern red-and-white-striped lighthouse, Faro de Tostón, is located 3km to the north of town. Constructed in the 1980s, it is the third lighthouse to be built on this site and houses a museum.
As well as being a surfy tourist town, El Cotillo is still a working fishing village where local fishermen expertly guide their boats through the narrow harbour mouth to land their catch – an especially impressive spectacle during a heavy swell. As you might expect, the town is dotted with a number of fish restaurants and bars where you can enjoy that catch.
Nightlife is limited, so if you want to party, Corralejo is your nearest option.