Isla de Lobos is a small island of the Canary Islands (Spain) located in the Atlantic Ocean. It is located in the northeastern part of Fuerteventura, in the La Bocaina Strait. It is a district of the municipality of La Oliva, in the province of Las Palmas.
It is a small island with an area of about 6 square kilometers and a coastline of 13.7 kilometers, it is located 2 kilometers northeast of Fuerteventura and 8 kilometers south of Lanzarote, separated by the La Bocaina strait. The small island is clearly visible from the nearest town, Corralejo. The channel that separates Fuerteventura from the island of Lobos is no more than 10 meters deep and is known as “El Río” or “Paso de la Orchilla”.
It gets its name from the Mediterranean monk seals (also known as sea lions) that lived on the island in the past and are now in danger of extinction.
The entire island is protected, forming the Islote de Lobos natural park. It is home to more than 130 species of plants and several species of birds, including herring gulls, bustards (at certain times of the year), and Cory's gulls. The seabed is a protected underwater space, which contains a great ecological wealth.
Its maximum height is in La Caldera, also known as El Filo La Herradura, with 127 meters. A recent archaeological study by a team from the University of La La Laguna suggests that the Romans established settlements on the island at least seasonally to obtain the prized purple dye.
In 1402, during the conquest of the Canary Islands by Jean de Béthencourt, his partner Gadifer de La Salle used Lobos to stock up by hunting sea lions.
The island was frequented by pirates who, given the lack of a stable population, took advantage of the relative safety of the island to take refuge in its bays and repair their ships. This changed, and from 1860 the Punta Martiño lighthouse began to be built in the extreme north of the island, establishing a resident population, although very small. The Portuguese workers in charge of building the lighthouse built a small stone house in what was known as “Llano de los Labrantes”. They also built roads to the “puertito”, laundries, corrals and several underground cisterns to collect rainwater. One of them is "Hoya de las Lagunitas" with a capacity of about 40,000 litres. The lighthouse was first lit on July 30, 1865.
In Lobos, the poet and essayist Josefina Pla, the daughter of lighthouse keepers, was born in 1903. She has a statue on the island, near La Concha beach, today La Calera due to the proximity of a lime kiln that worked effectively to provide the necessary material for the construction of its few and tiny buildings.
Lobos Island was acquired throughout the 19th and 20th centuries by various owners. In the second half of the 20th century, taking advantage of the tourism development of the Canary Islands, there were several urban projects on the islet, although they did not come to fruition. Finally, the building was prohibited with the declaration of the island as a natural park.
The islet was inhabited until 1968 by a lighthouse keeper, Antonio Hernández Páez (Antoñito el Farero), and his family. The lighthouse was restored and today it works automatically.
The island of Lobos was declared a natural park in 1982, forming the natural park of the Dunes of Corralejo and Isla de Lobos. Later, in 1994, this natural park was reclassified as two different parks: the Corralejo Natural Park and the Islote de Lobos Natural Park. In turn, it was declared a Special Protection Area for Birds (ZEPA) of the Red Natura 2000.7
In May 2007, ownership of the island, until then privately owned, was transferred to the Spanish Ministry of the Environment, becoming the owner of most of the islet.
Visitors to the islet are fishermen, tourists, bathers, scuba divers and surfers, as there is a high-quality right-hand wave at the base of La Caldera.
To get to the islet, there is a regular maritime transport service that connects with Corralejo, which brings food to the island and visitors. There is a restaurant run by the descendants of Antoñito and although until a few years ago there was a camping area, since 2007 camping on the islet has been prohibited.
Since January 2019 it is necessary to request a permit from the Fuerteventura council in order to access the islet of Lobos.