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Maspalomas Dunes: two paradises in one ecosystem

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Maspalomas Dunes: two paradises in one ecosystem

The popularity of the Canary Islands among lovers of resorts and beaches in the style of "bounty" is very high: millions of copies of photographs of snow-white or golden coastal areas, immersed in the colors of cities and slender palms, leaning over the azure of the ocean. But there is one among the islands of the Canary archipelago, where you can get completely different impressions, plunge into the world of quicksand, dunes and truly African heat - the Maspalomas Dunes nature reserve in the south of Gran Canario, a real oasis of tranquility with a unique ecosystem.

How the dune zone in Gran Canaria originated

The Maspalomas Dunes National Reserve includes the dune strip itself and the picturesque La Charca lagoon, which form one ecosystem. From the point of view of some scientists, the formation of the dunes was facilitated by a powerful tsunami that descended on the water area of Gran Canaria in 1755 and caused a powerful earthquake that reformatted the entire relief of the island. Representatives of another scientific community put forward the theory that the cause of the vast sandy zone was a glacier, which simultaneously ground a large number of corals.

Maspalomas resort and its facilities


The Maspalomas dunes only seem to be made up of sand. The closer you get to the lagoon along the dunes, the more often there are inhabitants of the sandy world, taken under the protection and care of the Spanish authorities: maroon and tamarisk islets, tumbleweeds and palm groves along the edge of the dune zone, an abundance of birds. The trip can be made on a rented camel - this will greatly facilitate the walk, but it is the walking trip that will give you a special pleasure with the opportunity to become one with nature, observe the inhabitants of the dunes and the barely noticeable but constant change in the shape of the "sand waves". Especially beautiful views open up as evening approaches, when the sand takes on a pink hue from the setting sun.

La Charca

After traveling through the sands, the sea lake La Charca is perceived as a mirage: its azure water and the incessant hubbub of dozens of waterfowl species contrast so much with the silence and pacification of the dunes. This is an incredibly beautiful place that allows you not only to take beautiful photos, but also to get closer to nature and get a boost of energy for a long time.

Beach area

Since the dunes of Maspalomas are closely connected with the resort town of the same name and end with a bay with excellent opportunities for relaxation and swimming, the sand dune zone is sometimes considered by vacationers as a large beach. But a real beach worthy of really good reviews is in the immediate vicinity - just walk through the gate and walk down a short path. There is everything you need for a good rest after a difficult journey through the dunes: cafes and bar counters, rental points, showers and toilets are available.


The lighthouse, which is the most popular and favorite among tourists in the entire Canary archipelago, gives additional charm to Maspalomas. The lighthouse is conventionally divided into 2 tiers: the lower one houses the caretaker's dwelling, and the upper one is occupied by a direct sign, illuminating the water area for sailors since 1890. There are many shops, restaurants and souvenir counters near the lighthouse.

Climate change in the Maspalomas dune area

The changes that occur with sand masses can be roughly divided into 2 categories:

  • Instantaneous under the influence of the wind, when the landscape of the dunes can change so much that, having passed some section and looking back, you see a completely different picture than a minute ago
  • Global due to climate change and displacement of air currents in the Atlantic zone - sand is gradually shifting towards the southern tip of Gran Canaria and washed into the ocean: changes are about 5 meters over the annual observation period.

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