The Dunes of Maspalomas is a spectacular 4 square km field of sand located in the tourist town of Maspalomas in the south of the island of Gran Canaria of Canary Islands. The sand originated from coral reefs crushed into fine golden grains of limestone by the grinding action of glaciers over thousands of years ago. The ocean currents dragged them to the shore and from there the wind accumulated them into dunes. The sand is blown inland from the beach and accumulates around the shrubs, known as balancon, that dots the landscape. Once the accumulated sand grows larger than its protective shrub, it begins to move across the dune field and so creating the stunning, undulating landscape. Even today, the dunes are moving at the rate of 2 to 5 meters from east to west. This area was declared a Natural Reserve in 1987.
Just a little further on from the Maspalomas Palm Tree plantation (Palmeral) there is another protected natural space - La Charca, a pond which lies between the sea and the sand, providing a resting spot for birds migrating from Europe to Africa. The huge expanse of sand dunes start beyond this ‘pond’, changing their shape continually, chiseled out by the wind coming off the ocean.
There is a 68 m tall lighthouse, named El Faro de Maspalomas, at the southern point from where the 12 km long beach and dunes lead to the resort Playa del Inglés, a popular destination for the gay community and nudists.
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