Abandoned Malls – Costa Calma – Fuerteventura

Costa Calma is a holiday resort on the south eastern coast of Fuerteventura, one of the Canary Islands, off the west coast of Africa. As you can imagine Tourism is the main industry here and the resort of Costa Calma has been built up around a small fishing village named Cañada Del Rio, however it’s very difficult to see any evidence of this whilst strolling around the town. This is a place purpose built for package tourism populated with German and Dutch tourists proudly flouting ‘all inclusive’ wrist bands and severe sun burn. Purpose built hotels dominate, spanning the coast built in concrete with a subtle nod to traditional Moorish and Spanish styles.

Everyone is here to holiday but in spite of this there is a slight melancholy in the tropical air. Since the recession has hit, tourism has been on a steep decline in the area, visitors from mainland Spain (one of the worst hit EU countries) have plummeted and many of the hotels lay empty. Vast swathes of development have been abandoned and Swimming pools can be found drying out, home to the odd gecko or dragonfly.

It’s a classic case of supply outstripping demand and the towns malls  and shopping centres are where this is most evident. Many built just a few years ago, they lay empty save for a few bucket and spade shops. You get the feeling this is not what was planned, these are modern spaces with escalators, automatic doors and water features – intended for designer boutiques and high end stores, perhaps emulating Marbella on the Costa Del Sol. Yet only 10% of units are taken, tropical plants and insects are beginning to reclaim the space and they stand as relics of a tourist dream that sadly is yet to come true.