Most would say that what makes Maspalomas special is its spectacular Sand Dunes, really the only natural attraction in this area. It bills itself as a more upmarket resort than Playa del Ingles, and it is, as well as being quieter with a nod to gay friendly as well as being more family oriented and less full on party atmosphere. Maspalomas was built 10 years after Playa del Ingles, and its more villa and bungalow styled accommodation is generally of a higher standard. (plus more expensive).
Navigation around both Maspalomas and Playa del Ingles is by accommodation rather than street name, although street names can be simultaneously amusing and revealing - Avenida Touroperator Tui has a nice ring! Fun in the sun is on the menu here, with waterparks, shopping centres, good golden sandy beaches, numerous watersports, a mammoth golf complex and a gay scene to rival the best.
The captivating Maspalomas sand dunes move back from the sea covering a huge 400 hectares of space - this spectacular site is a declared nature reserve. Some of the ridges in these dunes rise upto ten metres and many visitors opt to take Camel rides across them. The Maspalomas dunes are an acknowledged, albeit unofficial, nudist sunbathing area and to the west is the Charca, a lagoon which is populated by many birds including Kentish plover and Moorhens as well as migrating sea birds and waders. Canarian lizards also populate this nature hotspot precariously situated near encroaching tourist development.
To the west still of the Charca is El Oasis, an area crammed with attractive palm trees and high class bungalow accommodation. It's easy to walk all the way to the Faro de Mapalomas, with the highest lighthouse on the Canary Islands at 65m/213ft.
Gran Canaria's holiday resorts have a real edge and some of the best beaches and party atmospheres (fab clubs, including Pacha, and a crackin' gay scene here!) can be found in them. Starting with the obvious, Maspalomas and Playa del Ingles for a stretch of coastline commonly known as 'Costa Canaria'. These are the two most established resorts on the island and they're not for those looking for a hidden retreat, although Masaplomas is certainly the quieter option. The two resorts do join inland, but on the coast they are separated by one of Gran Canaria's iconic natural phenomena - the Maspalomas sand dunes. They're cruising ground too! Walk across these or take a camel ride and you could well believe you're in the desert!
Think of a holiday attraction, and you'll find it in Maspalomas and Playa del Ingles. The popular large waterpark, Aqua Sur (see weblink right) is here in Maspalomas, as is Holiday World, a big funfair type park, a large golf complex and the popular parrot and animal park, Palmitos Parque (see weblink right). See more weblinks right for Maspalomas and Playa del Ingles attractions.