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How to Visit the Barranco de los Enamorados (Barranco Encantado)

Last Updated on 16th March 2023 by Sophie Nadeau

One of the most fun and interesting geological formations that visitors can see on the island of Fuerteventura is the Barranco de los Enamorados. Located a short drive away from the seaside town of El Cotillo, the fossilised sand dunes are sometimes also known as the Barranco Encantado or even Encantados of Fuerteventura.

The name Barranco de los Enamorados or Barranco de los Ecantados means Ravine of the Enamoured, or Ravine of the Enchanted when translated into English. The ravine is over 6 km in length.

If you’re planning a trip to Fuerteventura, be sure to check out our suggested 3 days in Fuerteventura itinerary.

How to Visit the Barranco de los Enamorados (Barranco Encantado)

What is the Barranco de los Encantados?

The Barranco de los Encantados is somewhat of a hidden gem of Fuerteventura on account of the fact that it’s relatively unknown and dates back up to 135,000 years. The banks of fossilised sand dunes were created when the sea retracted (known in scientific terms as marine regression), which exposed the sand banks.

The event occurred during the Middle Pleistocene period and was when organogenic sand deposits were revealed by the water draining away. The wind and other elements (there is very little rain in Fuerteventura) carved the site over thousands of years, fossilising the sand dunes.

Today, the site is known scientifically as a ‘paleodunar complex’ and is used to study climate change, among other things. Since 2008, the Barranco has been declared as a paleontological heritage site of cultural interest.

How to Visit the Barranco de los Enamorados (Barranco Encantado)

Where is the Barranco de los Encantados?

The barranco (known as ravine in English) is situated a few kilometres to the South/ East of the town of El Cotillo in the West of Fuerteventura. There are actually two ways to reach the fossilised sand dunes, but only one of these is reachable via normal car.

How to Visit the Barranco de los Enamorados (Barranco Encantado)

Barranco Encantado South Entrance

When we visited the Encantados of Fuerteventura, we reached the sand dunes via the South Entrance, first by driving as far as we could and then by walking (please find the location of the car park- which is fairly large and hard to miss on the map below).

Once you reach the car park, you’ll have to walk 20-30 minutes in order to reach any kind of impressive sand bank. The Encantados are not as dramatic in the South as in the North and you’ll have to walk longer to reach them. With this being said, they are the only sand banks you can reach with a regular car (we personally had a Fiat 500 car rental).

Barranco de los Enamorados car park

Barranco Encantado North Entrance

During our visit to Fuerteventura, we attempted to visit the Barranco de los Encantados via the North Entrance. Unfortunately, what is not made clear in much of the literature about the geological formation is that you can only visit via the North Entrance if you are in a 4 x 4 and our Fiat 500 simply didn’t cut it!

In a smaller car, the sand dunes are simply too difficult to drive through and attempting to do so will likely result in having to call a tow company to come and get you out. The North entrance is accessed via a road that is off of a roundabout to the West of Lajares.

From the roundabout, you’ll have to drive around fifteen minutes down the road. Personally, I would recommend visiting the Barranco via the South Entrance as the instructions to reach the dunes are much clearer, as is the route to get there.

How to Visit the Barranco de los Enamorados (Barranco Encantado)

Map for visiting the Encantados of Fuerteventura

Tips for visiting the sand ravine

One of the most important things to know before visiting is that the sand dunes are very exposed to the elements. The heat between the dunes can get incredibly intense, so I do not recommend attempting this walk in the middle of the day in the summer.

If you visit in the middle of the day, the light will also be too strong for photos and so timing your walk for in the morning or afternoon is better. Be sure to bring suncream, a hat, sunglasses, and plenty of water and snacks as there are no facilities at the ravine.

How to Visit the Barranco de los Enamorados (Barranco Encantado)

Last but not least, leave nothing but footprints and take your trash home with you. Be sure not to climb on or vandalise the site.

The area is of protected geological importance and the effects that visitors have on the site is unfortunately very visible. It’s also worth noting that there are signs up around the park to say that damage of the site is a criminal offence.

If you’re visiting other Canary Islands, then the Barranco de los Enamorados is similar to the Barranco de Las Vacas on Gran Canaria. Another place where you can see a fossilised dune on Fuerteventura is at the Cuevas de Ajuy.

For more Fuerteventura inspiration, be sure to check out our guide to the best towns of Fuerteventura. If you’re visiting the island for the first time, here’s a Fuerteventura itinerary.

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Sophie Nadeau loves dogs, books, travel, pizza, and history. A fan of all things France related, she runs when she’s not chasing after the next sunset shot or consuming something sweet. She currently splits her time between Paris and London. Subscribe to Sophie’s YouTube Channel.

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