Puerto del Rosario is both a town and a municipality in the eastern part of the island of Fuerteventura in the Las Palmas province in the Canary Islands. It has been the capital of Fuerteventura since 1860. The town’s population in 2013 was 29,160 .The administrative district’s population is 36,744 and its area is 289.95 km².
Originally known as Puerto de las Cabras (Port of the Goats), Puerto del Rosario was initially of little political importance on the island- living in the shadow of the previous capital of Betancuria. It had long been a fishing settlement and benefited from a sheltered natural harbour. The “Atlantic Navigator”, written in 1854, describes the town then known as “Cabras” as “the principal port”, but goes on to describe it as an “insignificant place”. The “Atlantic Navigator” describes the makeshift landing area for shipping as “indifferent”, while calling the “beach of shingles” where ships anchor as “still worse”. Although the town was small and underpopulated, just 1,000 in 1936, all major exports and imports from the island were shipped from the harbour at Puerto del Rosario.
It was this status as the “principal port” of the island that saw it become the capital of the island in 1860. The port was popular for shipping goats, and this is where its original name came from. However, in 1957, it was decided that the name “Cabras” was not suitable. A more attractive name was selected and Cabras (goat) was replaced with Rosario (rosary).
During the 1960s there was rural to urban migration from the smaller villages and farm areas of the island into Puerto del Rosario. The population grew in these years. A further population growth occurred in 1976 when, due to the decolonisation of North Africa, the Spanish Foreign Legion made Puerto del Rosario their base.
VISIT PUERTO DEL ROSARIO
Catch the bus or take your car to Puerto del Rosario the island’s capital, which has a population of 29,000. Generally Puerto del Rosario is not regarded as a tourist city
as there aren’t any notable buildings, but it is a place where you can spend half a day experiencing somewhere with a Spanish feel.
Car parking is free areas away from the centre. In the centre there are parking spaces marked out in blue where a small parking 4 charge is payable at a meter for up to a 2 hour stay. Longer term parking is available in the spaces marked out in green.
The No.3 or No.16 bus from Caleta de Fuste will take you to into Puerto del Rosario. There are four stops – near the hospital/football ground, outside the Las Rotundas Shopping Center, next to the Plaza del Paz in the centre, and then at the bus station.
All the shops, restaurants and bars are open till late, and you can stroll around (some close for siesta). There is a wide selection of bars which are cheaper than in the tourist resorts on the island. Menu del Dia (Menu of the Day) are advertised, and you can get a 3 course meal for around 8-10€. Tapas are also served.
Visit the Las Rotondas Shopping Centre – a wide range of shops – it’s open until 10pm, Monday to Saturday. Here you will find national chain stores like H&M, C&A, Intersport, Zara, Encuentro. There is also a large Hiperdino supermarket. See http://lasrotondascentrocomercial.com/eng/
There is an interesting statue trail around the city. A map is available from the Tourism Office on the seafront walk.
Cruise ships visit the port in Puerto del Rosario regularly during the Autumn, Winter and Spring season.
There is a beach – Playa de Los Pozos, which is popular with locals, which was awarded Blue Flag status in 2019. About a 25 minute walk to the south there is another beach, called Playa Blanca which is popular with surfing beginners., and also has Blue Flag staus. The main shopping streets are Calle Leon y Castillo, Calle Virgen de la Pena and Calle Juan de Bethancourt, where you will find an interesting mix of local shops.
On the outskirts of Puerto del Rosario, off the FV-20 road to Antigua (about 12km from the centre) there is a Lidl supermarket, the only one on the island. On the opposite side of the road is the Risco Prieto industrial estate where there are many warehouse type shops selling a range of goods. Most notable are Electron, Ideal Bricolaje and Don Bruco.
Union Puerto are the local football team who play at the Los Pozos ground, on the southern edge of the capital. They play in Group 12 of the Spanish 3rd Division. They generally play at home on alternate Sundays at midday, against teams from Gran Canaria, Lanzarote and the other team from Fuerteventura in that Division, Gran Tarajal. Entrance is 5€ for adults and free for children.
The Carnival events are held during Feb/Mar. The main carnival parade is on the Saturday following Shrove Tuesday (Martes de Carnaval) at 5.30. It’s the biggest on the island, and takes about 3 hours to pass by. It’s a loud, colourful and fun occasion. There is a different theme for the Carnival every year.
The Fiesta in Puerto del Rosario is held in October to celebrate the local patron saint, Nuestra Señora del Rosario. Events are held around the local public holiday of October 7th.