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Maspalomas is a tourist town in the south of Gran Canaria, stretching from El Berriel Sports Airport in the east to Pasito Blanco Harbor in the west. The city also includes well-known resorts such as San Agustín, Playa del Inglés, Meloneras or Campo International. Maspalomas is the southernmost part of municipaily the San Bartolomé de Tirajana.

Maspalomas map
Mapa de Maspalomas con las principales zonas turísticas (mapa http://ontheworldmap.com/)

Before the era of tourism

Maspalomas was originally called solitude, located in the area of today’s part of San Fernando. The name of the area, although at first sight sounding Castilian, probably evolved from the original designation of the territory in the Guanch language “Masəbbă-əluməs”. In the language of the original inhabitants, this designation meant “soaked or damaged” and was probably a reference to the swamps in the area of today’s La Charca de Maspalomas pond.

La Charca de Maspalomas
La Charca de Maspalomas. This part probably gave the name of the whole area.

The current Maspalomas is the result of an ambitious development project, which was organized in the form of an international architectural competition from the early 60s of last century. The competition was held under the auspices of Alejandro del Castillo y del Castillo, Count Vega Grande and Guadalupe and his son Alejandro del Castillo y Bravo de Laguna.

Playa del Inglés 1965
Playa del Inglés 1965 (photo: FEDAC)

This family owns most of the land in the area. The competition included the solution of an area of almost 2,000 hectares, including 19 kilometers of coastline. This area is today known as Maspalomas – Costa Canaria. You can read about the competition itself and the beginnings of construction in a separate article.

Hotel Folias 1965
Hotel Folias was opened in 1965 as the first hotel in Maspalomas. Located in San Agustín. (photo: hotel New Folías)

Modern resort

Unlike the development of other resorts, which gradually developed in other areas of the Canary Islands, Maspalomas has retained its own character. Gradually, this resort has developed into a fully equipped city, which in terms of tourism is much closer to destinations such as Palm Springs in California or Palm Beach in Florida. Maspalomas has a richly developed infrastructure. Here you will find several private clinics, two hospitals, domestic and foreign educational institutions, shopping and conference centers, casinos, cinemas, golf courses, sports centers, theme parks and churches.

Templo ecuménico El Salvador
Ecumenical Temple El Salvador in Playa del Inglés. Alejandro del Castillo y del Castillo, Count Vega Grande, was behind its construction. Since the Count himself saw the future of Maspalomas in a large tourist center with an international clientele of various religions, the condition for handing over the building to the Catholic Church was its preservation as an ecumenical temple, in which masses would be served for all christian churches.

Currently, the designation “Maspalomas – Costa Canaria” covers the entire coastal area from El Berriel Sports Airport to the port of Pasito Blanco. The area is divided into the following parts (from east to west): Bahía Feliz, Playa del Águila, San Agustín, El Veril, Playa del Inglés (the most famous and densely populated part), Bellavista, San Fernando, Campo Internacional, Campo de Golf, Maspalomas Oasis (often used only by Maspalomas), Sonnenland, El Tablero, Meloneras, Pasito Blanco, El Salobre, Montaña la Data, Monte León and Ayagaures.

San Fernando de Maspalomas
San Fernando is a residential area of Maspalomas.

San Fernando de Maspalomas, Bellavista and El Tablero are predominantly residential areas for workers in this area. The areas of El Salobre, Montaña la Data, Monte León, Ayagaures and the gorges in the northern part developed mainly for leisure activities (sports clubs, amusement parks, botanical and zoological gardens, …). Other areas have mostly tourist use.

Lopesan Villa del Condé
Most of the luxurious hotels in Maspalomas are concentrated in Meloneras. For example, the Lopesan Villa del Condé, the main part of which is a replica of the church in Agüimes.

Thanks to its year-round mild and stable climate, Maspalomas has gained a number of visitors not only from the ranks of locals but especially Germans, British and Scandinavians. The influx of gay clients had a significant impact on the development of the area. The Playa del Inglés part has become a major winter destination for European gays. Most of the facilities for gay clients are concentrated in the Yumbo Center and its surroundings.

RIU Palace Maspalomas
The hotel RIU Palace Maspalomas has become a symbol of Playa del Inglés and the Maspalomas Dunes.

The most sought-after places are the localities of Dunas Maspalomas National Park. (see separate article). The dominant feature of the area is the lighthouse, located in the southernmost part of Gran Canaria. The lighthouse forms the imaginary border between the beaches of Meloneras and Maspalomas. (see separate article) It is also worth mentioning the location of the space station in the western part of Maspalomas (see separate article).

Dunas de Maspalomas
The sand dunes are the biggest natural attraction in Maspalomas.

Maspalomas is a destination that combines the sun and the beach. However, it also offers many leisure options. Whether it’s amusement parks, sports grounds (golf, diving, windsurfing, parachuting, football …) but also a relentless nightlife, concentrated in many shopping centers, designed for everyone, regardless of age, gender, religion or sexual orientation.

Faro de Maspalomas
Maspalomas Lighthouse is located on the southernmost tip of Gran Canaria and has become an icon of Maspalomas.

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Satelites Maspalomas
Maspalomas satellites are located at the top of Montaña Blanca above Pasito Blanco. It was the satellite station in Maspalomas, where the first landing on the moon on July 20, 1969, received the message: “Houston, this is the base. The eagle has landed. “
 

Martin Smolen

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Life with the sun in the heart.

“We are incredibly proud to be Canaries,” Alfredo, the owner of a small restaurant in Playa del Inglés, once told me when I was visited Gran Canaria. “There are the most beautiful beaches with the most beautiful sand with the most incredible waves. On the shore are the most beautiful hotels, promenades and cafes. The island is home to the most hospitable people. Grow the tastiest tomatoes, the sweetest bananas, the most fragrant roses. We will make the best wines here and the cuisine is also the best.”

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