The Maspalomas Dunes and natural reserves have exclusion areas, put in place to preserve this unique environmental protection zone.  There are clearly signposted paths which allow access to this world-famous treasure on the south of Gran Canaria, with increased patrols to try to prevent people from wandering off into the areas that need the most attention, if they are to survive for future generations.  In general members of the public are encouraged to admire the dunes from either the seashore or from one of the official viewpoints (miradores) set up for the purpose. There is however a long tradition of trespassing by those looking for alternative thrills among the hills of sand which many believe to be an extension of the Sahara desert, and which some researchers believe may be the result of an 18th-century tsunami.

[NB There are no meerkats in the dunes of Maspalomas, nor should there be! (illustrative feature image “Suricate, Namibia” CC BY-SA 2.0 courtesy of Joachim Huber)]



The results of a recent field study into the open-air sexual antics of some among the dunes recently made headlines around the world. The study (which, at the time of publishing, has been “temporarily removed”) took an up-close look at various detrimental practices, such as cruising and swinging, which have been allowed to continue for years, attempts to quantify, in scientific terms, the extreme damage that has been done to the dunes ecosystem since the arrival of the jet age package tourist.

Gran Canaria used the opportunity presented by the pandemic confinements to strengthen patrols and make clear that anyone found where they should not be, within the protected Natural Reserve Areas, will be issued fines, in a renewed effort to try to return the dune system to how nature intended.

These important areas “made up of surfaces with high biological quality” are simply not meant to include native nudes, foreign fornicators nor visiting voyeurs, much to the quiet chagrin of many a naughtier-minded naturist, who appear to have misinterpreted, en masse, the signs.  Gran Canaria does not want its Natural Reserves over-run by rampantly unreserved naturists, however amusing that might sound.

The fact is too many, for too long, have ignored the need to protect this special area. Large amounts of detritus have been allowed to build up, thanks to extreme ignorance in what should be a pristine natural environment.

Our somewhat unique flora and fauna, native to the dune system, require protection from non-endemic species, such as the none-too-rare wiggly-eyebrowed budgie-smuggler, and the all too inquisitive exhibitionist or lesser spotted meerkat…


In 2004 a revision of the Maspalomas Dunes Special Natural Reserve Master Plan was approved and, with the intention of harmonising public use of the space with the need for protection and conservation, the following areas were established within the Natural Reserve:

– Special Use Zone: its purpose is to accommodate pre-existing urban settlements and facilities and equipment that are provided for in the territorial and urban planning. It covers the urbanised sector to the north and west of the palm grove as well as the Annexo II commercial centre, in Playa del Inglés.

-General Use Area: Made up of surfaces that, due to their lower environmental quality, are suitable for the location of facilities, activities, and services that benefit visitors.

-Restricted Use Zone: Areas with high biological quality containing fragile and representative elements. Its conservation means reduced public use and access is only possible on foot. The only structures built within this space are to be related to management and conservation.

-Exclusion Zone: Made up of the areas of the highest biological quality, containing in its interior the most fragile, threatened or representative natural elements. Access to the public is strictly prohibited.

You can now be fined for straying from the paths through the Dunes of Maspalomas

Maspalomas Dunes recover to look more like the dreamy landscape it was 50 years ago, before mass tourism

More Information: [Spanish Language]