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View of Maspalomas
Country:  Spain
Autonomous Community:  Canary Islands
Province: Provincia de Las Palmas - Bandera.svg Las Palmas
Island: Flag of Cabildo Gran Canaria con escudo.PNG Gran Canaria
Municipality: San bartolomé de tirajana.png San Bartolomé de Tirajana
Population: 33,000 (2004)
Coordinates: 27°45′N 15°34′W / 27.750°N 15.567°W / 27.750; -15.567Coordinates: 27°45′N 15°34′W / 27.750°N 15.567°W / 27.750; -15.567
Time zone: WET
Elevation: 5 amsl
Postal code: 35290
Location of Playa del Inglés, Maspalomas (black dot) within the municipal territory of an Bartolomé de Tirajana (shown in red) and Gran Canaria

Maspalomas is part of the Maspalomas - Costa Canaria tourist town, an area commonly referred as Maspalomas (a concept known by locals as el Sur, meaning the South) which also includes the nearby town of San Agustín, Playa del Inglés and Meloneras. Located on the southernmost tip of Gran Canaria, it is the largest tourist town in the Canary Islands. Maspalomas is part of the municipality of San Bartolomé de Tirajana.


Its name may derive from that of Rodrigo Mas de Palomar, a settler and soldier from Majorca, or from Francisco Palomar, a Genoese friend of Alonso Fernandez de Lugo who purchased 87 Guanche slaves from Güímar and settled in the area.[1]

The place is the result of an ambitious development project, organized in the form of an International Ideas Contest (opened to any member of the International Union of Architects), held in 1961 under the auspice of Alejandro del Castillo, owner and promoter of most of the space under construction. The contest was won by the French office S.E.T.A.P. (incl. the urbanist Langueneau and the economist Michel Meill) and covered the 1.060 Ha and 19 km. of coast that constitute the core area of Maspalomas - Costa Canaria. The contest paved the way for a particular way of understanding "touristic" urbanism that served as model for later tourists developments in other Canary Islands.

Unlike the Resort-like development model later extended to other locations in the Canary Islands and the Caribbean, Maspalomas has a personality on its own, as it evolved into a fully equipped town much closer to the "touristic" concept of destinations like Palm Springs, California or Palm Beach, Florida. It has a variety of infrastructure and public institutions rarely seen in other touristic areas, including hospitals (2) and private clinics, local and foreign schooling institutions (Spanish, English and Swedish schools), shopping & convention centres, casinos (2), English-language cinema, golf courses, sports centers, thematic parks and a Summer University (in collaboration with the university of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, mainly focused on tourism-related activities).

Maspalomas serves as the base for Gran Canaria's only English language newspaper,[2] which serves a print readership in excess of 20,000 every month and reaches up to another 30,000 readers on-line.

It has a wide range of accommodation on offer (3*, 4*, 5* and Luxury Hotels, Beach Resorts, Boutique and Thematic Hotels, Bungalows and apartments), although the urbanism concept speaks of an horizontal expansion (Bungalows) rather than high rises.

The nature reserve Charca de Maspalomas

The area includes the Natural Reserve of the Dunes of Maspalomas, which constitutes the main landmark of Gran Canaria. Much appreciated as a winter destination for foreign tourists, mostly from north-European countries (Sweden, Norway, Germany, Netherlands, etc.), it remains as the largest tourist destination in the Canary Islands and a worldwide-known destination for LGBT tourism.

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, a nature reserve since 1897, lead to Playa del Inglés.

Typical tourist apartments in Maspalomas: The Oasis Maspalomas Foresta.

In September 2012, the World Tourism Organisation organized its World Tourism Day in Maspalomas, as a form of commemoration of its 50 years of existence.

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