Maspalomas is a quiet tourist town on the shoreline of Gran Canaria, located just 20 minutes outside of Puerto Rico. Surrounded by natural beauty, it boasts wide sandy beaches and stunning shallow waters. It also has a fantastic climate all year round, with a minimum temperate of 20°C in the winter and a lovely high of 28°C in the summer months.
The resort is most famous, however, for its awe-inspiring sand dunes. Now designated a natural park, these 400 hectares of sandy mounds are home to a variety of rare plants and bird species that you won’t see anywhere else. For your next off-the-beaten-track adventure, why not explore the natural attractions of the Maspalomas’ dune system?
Exploring Dune Life
The incredible system is a five-square-kilometre area of golden sand made up of volcanic ash, pulverised chalk and shells. Though it was an earthquake in 1755 which gave the dunes their current form, the ever-present wind causes the sand to become increasingly compact. The dunes grow larger every year. It’s an impressive sight that no avid traveller should miss.There are three great way of exploring the dunes:
This is the most leisurely and independent way of discovering these sandy gems. Starting on the beachfront, walk away from the seafront to explore the one-of-a-kind vegetation. Though there are specially-built paths through the scrubland, feel free to wander as you please. You’re not likely to see another soul for a few hours, but don’t worry about getting lost. Simply find the beach and head towards it.
If you’re not in the mood for quiet contemplation, you can also explore the dune on a camel. It’s a unique experience and a great memory to treasure. The 35-minute tour takes you both through the low dunes and to the oasis, which is laden with native desert plants. You can sign up for one of these camel rides at the tents located on the edge of Fataga Barranco, which is just a short walk from the Maspalomas lagoon.
In the Altogether
If you’ve ever wanted to tan all over, here’s your chance! The vastness of these dunes ensures that you’ll find a private spot to strip off and soak up some sun – away from prying eyes.
Top Tip: It can get very hot out on the dunes, so make sure that you have plenty of water on you to avoid dehydration and lots of suntan lotion to avoid burning. Though it may be tempting, I’d also warn against walking on the sand barefoot.
Charca de Maspalomas is the perfect place to view some aquatic birds. The fruitful lagoon is filled with a huge variety of species, including sanderlings, grey herons and egrets. If you head over to the near-by lighthouse (roughly 200 meters away from the nature reserve), you’ll get a fantastic view of the area. Look up to see moorhens, yellow-legged gulls and coots. If you’re lucky, you may even spot a Barbary falcon.
Top Tip: The western edge of the lagoon is the best spot for some great photos.
Exploring Park Life
The magnificent Parque Botanico Maspalomas is a huge botanical park that’s filled with over 500 different species of flora. Though some of these plants are local to the Canary Islands, the area’s microclimate also allows it to accommodate a variety of vegetables, aromatic plants and medicinal vegetation that has been imported. You can also see an array of birds and colourful butterflies.
Top Tip: Keep your eyes peeled for the famous African sausage tree.
How to Get to Maspalomas
If it’s another off-the-beaten-track adventure you’re after, booking a cheap flight to the Canary Islands and heading to Maspalomas is a tempting choice. British Airways and Iberia both offer direct four-hour flights from the UK to Gran Canaria Airport.
Once you land, you’ll want to start exploring Maspalomas’s hidden gems straight away. To avoid hanging around the airport and waiting for public transport to show up, the easiest thing to do is to book an airport transfer with Shuttle Direct. A local driver will meet you outside the terminal and take you to your accommodation in just half an hour. If you ask nicely, they may even be able to give you some local insider tips.
Where to Stay
Bungalows Cordial Sandy Golf : Situated near the extraordinary dunes, these bungalows are the perfect place to set up camp. They have all been fully renovated, offering guests comfortable rooms to stay in. You’ll also have access to the swimming pool to cool off in at the end of an action-packed day. What’s more, there’s a free shuttle that takes you to the beach.
Bungalows Club Maspalomas: Located outside of the town centre, these bungalows offer you peace and quiet, while also providing free shuttles to the beach. They boast kitchens with a fridge, hob, toaster and kettle. There is also free Wi-Fi and a satellite TV. In the evenings, you can unwind on one of the terrace’s sun loungers.
Canary Garden Club: These one-bedroomed bungalows boast a bathroom, living area and small kitchen. You’ll also have your own patio and garden. There is a restaurant in case you feel like mingling with your fellow travellers, as well as an outdoor swimming pool and free Wi-Fi.
About Shuttle Direct
Shuttle Direct is Europe and North Africa’s leading transport provider. Offering private, shared or group transfers at a fix low price, you can book your shuttle in advance via their user-friendly website.