The Maspalomas Sand Dunes in Gran Canaria

A Day out from Puerto de Mogan

Before visiting Gran Canaria I had read about the sand dunes at Maspalomas.  As well as the dunes there is also a lagoon which is used by migratory birds.  The area is protected and known as La Charca, and there are marked trails through the reserve.

Dunas de Maspalomas, Gran Canaria

Dunas de Maspalomas

Matt and I were staying at Puerto de Mogan, and decided to have a day trip to see the dunes (though I think most people do this the other way round and go to Puerto de Mogan for a day trip from Maspalomas!).  There is a regular bus service between the two resorts (see here for timetables).  Although not very far, the journey takes about an hour because the bus weaves through the busy Playa de Ingles, stopping at every stop en route.

El Faro de Maspalomas

The bus journey terminates at the prominent lighthouse, El Faro de Maspalomas.

El Faro de Maspalomas, Gran Canaria

The lighthouse, El Faro de Maspalomas

Near the lighthouse is an attractive park area with seats and palm trees.  There is an interesting fountain with a statue of a boy riding a sea snake.

Also around the lighthouse there are a number of attractive restaurants.  We had a lovely lunch later in the day at the Italian Maximilians, which we highly recommend for the food, service and great view.

The Dunes

On first impressons, the dunes were not as extensive as we expected.  They are also flanked by the busy resorts of Maspalomas and Playa de Ingles, making a strange contrast between the typical holiday beach area and the desert-like dunes.

Although the area of dunes appears quite small, walking across it is not easy.  Ploughing up the slopes in the shifting sand is a hard slog, and whatever footwear you are wearing will be full of gritty sand in no time.  We tried walking barefoot, but the sand was so hot it was actually painful.

Dunas de Maspalomas, Gran Canaria

The sand dunes

If you visit it is worth being aware that the central area of the dunes is used by nudists. There is no real demarcation, though there are signs to alert you that you are approaching the nudist area.

Personally I would be worried about where all that sand would end up…..

The Lagoon and its Birds

To us the nicest part of the reserve was the lagoon, which looked serene backed by the dunes.  Looking at the photos below you would never guess that there was a busy tourist beach right behind me when I took the photos!

Lagoon at Dunas de Maspalomas, Gran Canaria

The lagoon and a colony of seagulls

Lagoon at Dunas de Maspalomas, Gran Canaria

A picture of serenity

We spent a pleasant quarter of an hour or so watching a lovely little egret feeding.  It seemed to be very successful at catching fish!

Little egret, Dunas de Maspalomas, Gran Canaria

Little egret, Dunas de Maspalomas, Gran Canaria

Little egret, Dunas de Maspalomas, Gran Canaria

Little egret, Dunas de Maspalomas, Gran Canaria

Lovely little egret

A Boat Trip Back to Puerto de Mogan

Instead of taking the bus all the way back to Puerto de Mogan, we decided to get off at Arguineguin, and then return on the glass bottomed ferry.

The glass bottomed ferry is actually a bit of a misnomer.  Rather than a glass bottom, it has a small glass panel through which you can see – not a lot!  We weren’t the only people who had a look and exclaimed “Is that it?”

Glass bottom ferry

Glass bottom ferry

It didn’t matter, though.  The journey back to Puerto de Mogan is lovely.  The first part is very built up with typical resort hotels and crowded beaches.  But after Puerto Rico there is a long stretch where the coast is totally unspoilt.  Such a contrast – it was a pleasure to have this glimpse of the coastline in its natural state.

Coast between Puerto Rico and Puerto de Mogan, Gran Canaria

Coast between Puerto Rico and Puerto de Mogan, Gran Canaria

Coast between Puerto Rico and Puerto de Mogan, Gran Canaria

Coast between Puerto Rico and Puerto de Mogan

The  boat trip between the resorts and the Maspalomas dunes and lagoon are well worthwhile trips, wherever you happen to be based!

Please remember that this post is based purely on our own experiences – therefore kindly note the Disclaimer.

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