Information on the Maspalomas Dunes
Published: 20.06.2024

The Maspalomas Dunes are striking and one vital aspect of Gran Canaria’s allure, captivating millions of visitors each year. These dunes are not only a breathtaking natural reserve but also one of the largest outdoor cruising areas globally, appealing to a diverse crowd from the gay, bisexual, and straight communities.

Spanning approximately 4.5 square kilometres, the Maspalomas Dune System is a marvel of nature. This reserve offers an expansive area where one can explore diverse ecosystems ranging from sandy dunes to lush palm groves and a brackish lagoon. Whether you’re hiking next to the ocean, traversing through the dunes, or exploring the bush areas, there’s a sense of endless adventure in the beauty and isolation it provides.

A fascinating piece of trivia about the origins of these dunes involves the Lisbon earthquake of 1755. This catastrophic event triggered a tsunami that swept from the med, down the coast of Morrocco and across the Atlantic, picking up massive amounts of sand from the bottom and depositing it not only in Maspalomas but also across other parts of the Canary Islands like Las Palmas and Fuerteventura. This natural phenomenon created the unique landscape we see today. There were once also sand dunes in the capital Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, but they have long since disappeared, while on the south of the islands these dunes have been (to a large extent) preserved from urban expansion.

The dunes are famously known for their dual role as a spectacular natural attraction and a bustling social hotspot. The area facilitates a wide range of activities—whether it’s basking in the sun at the nude beaches near kiosk Nr. 7, where the gay beach lies adjacent to the hetero beach, or engaging in the vibrant cruising scene. The dunes offer direct routes that make the beaches accessible within 20 to 30 minutes, making it a popular choice for those looking to enjoy both the natural environment and the social atmosphere.

However, with great popularity comes great responsibility. To protect this unique environment, the municipality of San Bartolomé de Tirajana has implemented restrictions aimed at preserving the dunes. Measures such as restricted access, monitored trails, and fines ranging from €150 to €600,000 for serious violations have been enforced to prevent damage and maintain the integrity of this natural reserve. 

Visitors are encouraged to respect these regulations, enjoy the natural beauty responsibly, and embrace the vibrant community spirit that Maspalomas offers. Whether you’re exploring the dunes for their natural beauty or their social scene, Maspalomas remains a must-visit for an experience that combines ecological wonders with cultural vibrancy.

You can find a great guide on the DunasMap website