Thursday, 10 March 2016

Maspalomas, Gran Canaria

The Canary Islands! A tourism gold mine for Spain as many people from across the continent flock here as a getaway destination to relax and unwind! Although it may not be as popular and tranquil as the Maldives as these islands are bustling with night-life, the Canary Islands (in particular for this post, Gran Canaria) is an island in the Atlantic Ocean roughly 100 kilometres from Morocco and the unrecognised Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (or Western Sahara)

On Gran Canaria, there is a small town on the southern coast of the Island with about 35,000 residents called "Maspalomas" which is the focus of this article; the town of Maspalomas is known for its Lighthouse, golf course, Playa del Ingl├ęs (Englishman's Beach), and more relevant to this article; the sand dunes of Maspalomas which are a designated nature reserve. Last year; I took a trip to the island west of Gran Canaria, Tenerife. Tenerife has a booming night life with its clubs, bars, restaurants, beaches, and family friendly facilities! Tenerife doesn't have any perfect sand dunes that I saw when I was there; Maspalomas is undisputedly the most well-known sand dune complex in all of the Canary Islands, if not Spain.

Courtesy of: Himarerme License: Public Domain

The Maspalomas dunes are well-known for being litter free, very clean, and well preserved but also the dunes are said to have the sand from the Sahara desert every year in the trade winds. The Sahara desert that isn't far from the Spanish archipelago plays a crucial role in the islands' climate every year. There are no recognised or official events that take place in this location as this is a main tourist spot (you could imagine the interruptions you would get from the tourists walking in the dunes); the dunes and the area in particular also gets some negative reputation as this is a nude area, there are a lot of reviews on Tripadvisor that mention of the "men having sex", the prevalence of "people looking for sex and they will be naked.", and "rather a lot of man on man" are some of the reviews you'll find on Tripadvisor; but you have to agree not everywhere will be perfect.

Courtesy of: NordNordWest License: Public Domain

As the Canary Islands belong to Spain and since Spain is a member of the European Union, citizens of European Union states are free to live, work, study, and retire here and Maspalomas residents are allowed to do the same in your European Union state. Spain is one of the many European Union members that uses the Euro as its legal tender so exchanging money isn't an issue if you're from a Eurozone country. Also, you can freely move here if you're from a European Economic Area state (Norway, Liechtenstein, and Iceland) or Switzerland (which is a member in the Schengen area). If you're from a non-EU, non-EEA, or any other country apart from Switzerland then you may need to apply for a temporary Visa or permit to come here, I'd check the government & tourism websites of your nation & the Canary Islands just to double check.

So, there you are! If you're a keen traveller looking for new places to visit or if you're a keen sandboarder looking to visit some of the best dunes in all of Spain (or even Europe if you really love them!), then come to Maspalomas where you'll be welcomed with open arms; just remember to bring your sandboard! 

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