Fuerteventura has been giving a warm welcome to gay tourists and holidaymakers for decades. While it isn’t particularly known for its gay scene or as a party island, Fuerteventura has a laid-back and liberal attitude that’s made it a firm favourite among gay and straight travellers alike. Since 2010, the island has been showing its true, bright and vibrant colours, supporting the local, national and international gay community, with the Rainbow Festival. Loud and proud, the festival takes place over four days in December. Whether you’re part of the LGBTQ community or not, this is the biggest and best rainbow gay pride Fuerteventura has to offer.
A Warm Winter Wonderland
The Rainbow Festival Fuerteventura is a spectacular event and fully backed by the local authorities. While December might not sound like the right time of year to go cavorting around in your flimsiest frock or your most glamorous glad-rags, you ought to remember that winter in Fuerteventura is very different to winter in the UK. Instead of rain, drizzle, sleet and snow, you can expect sunshine, with temperatures hovering around the 20°C mark, and no rainfall worth talking about. All in all, the weather’s bright, warm and sunny and the perfect backdrop for the campest carnival in the Canaries.
Camping in Corralejo
Home of the Rainbow Festival, the capital of Fuerteventura’s gay scene has to be Corralejo and, if you’re looking for pre-or post-festival nightlife, this is where you’ll find it. There are a few gay clubs and some excellent bars in which to get the party started. You’ll also find plenty of places to eat, with food from virtually every corner of the globe. While it might be tempting to grab a quick burger or a slice of pizza, don’t pass up the chance to sample some of the local fare: street-stalls and tucked-away restaurants serve superb tapas, allowing you to sample a range of local dishes and delicacies.
For those in the know, Corralejo has its own gay beach. Knowns as ‘KM22’, you’ll find it about 5km from the town, heading south. While there are buses, the nearest stop to KM22 is about half an hour’s walk away. If you do fancy topping up your tan with like-minded people, your best bet is to hire a car and park on the beach’s doorstep. There’s a beach bar and plenty of sunbeds, so you can get some serious sunbathing done, before heading back into town. It’s worth knowing that, on the KM22 stretch of beach, clothing is optional. Manny beaches in Fuerteventura are nudist beaches and KM22 is no exception so, if you happen forget your swimming costume, don’t worry about it!
The Rainbow Connection
Back to the Rainbow Festival: this is for those who fancy hitting the beach by day and partying, albeit in a laid-back fashion, by night. If you’re looking for hardcore hedonism, you’d be better off on one of the other islands. The Rainbow Festival is open to everyone and attracts a mixed crowd, including families, couples, groups of friends, gays and straights. As a result, the organisers are keen to offer something for everyone and make the whole celebration as inclusive and as fun as possible.
Typically, the first night of the friendliest rainbow gay pride Fuerteventura has ever seen kicks off at around eight o’clock in the evening, with a kaleidoscopic parade. It begins in Corralejo’s Avenida Nuestra Senora del Carmen (the main street) and works its way towards the promenade and the beach, like a psychedelic snake, complete with glitter, feather boas, high heels and masses of make-up. Once at the beach, that first-night party gets underway, with music and dancing until the small hours.
Make your Holiday a Drag!
On the second day, the festivities take place during daylight hours, making the most of the stunning scenery and glorious sunshine. You can expect to see boat parties, cruising the bay to the sounds of DJs spinning the decks, on the deck! If you’re still in one piece by the time the sun sets, you’ll be treated to a drag queen show, featuring leading lights from the drag scene, dynamic dance troupes and a Spanish celebrity or two. It’s a big and popular part of the Rainbow Festival, taking place at Plaza Patricio Calera and worth getting there a bit early for.
The next part of the second day, the ‘Camp Party’ takes place around midnight at one of the beach-side clubs. The Camp Party is something of a highlight of the Rainbow Festivals and, as long as you’re comfortable in a mixed crowd, provides the perfect opportunity to sashay the night away. Many of the drag artists find their way to the club and often treat fellow revellers to superb routines, lip-synching and generally being fabulous. Camper than a row of pink, chiffon tents, this is one part of the festival not to be missed.
If you’ve put your toe in the rainbow-coloured waters, but haven’t quite thrown yourself in the deep end, then the third day might help you get in touch with your inner drag queen. At lunchtime, you’ll find a beach party getting into full swing, with games, a disco and a masterclass on how become a drag artist. Expect sequins, more slap than you can shake a trowel at and some spectacular outfits, all for you to strut your stuff in!
A Huge, Gay-friendly Party
All good things must come to an end and the Rainbow Festival Fuerteventura is no exception. However, the Spanish know how to say goodbye in style! The last-night party is held on the beach and is usually themed: in 2016, the theme was ‘white’ and the revellers were encouraged to turn up in their classiest white gear, adding a sense of glamour and decorum to the final festivities. The party lasts long into the night, complete with good music, delicious food and bucket-loads of sangria.
The Rainbow Festival is a superb event and has more in common with a huge, gay-friendly party than a series of hardcore club nights. Pretty much everything is free to get into and the atmosphere is warm, welcoming and wonderful.