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The name of the town 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 and settled in the area.
The most striking featue of Maspalomas is the Dunes Natural Reserve which is a natural barrier between most of the resort and the ocean. From certain angles you can imagine that you are in the middle of the Sahara. Probably the best and most accessible view of the Dunes is to be had by walking to the end of Avenida de Tirajana in Playa del Inglés and passing under the arch of the Riu Palace Hotel. At the end of the road you will find a viewing platform where boards are on display providing information about the area and its wildlife. The Dunes eventually give way to a large area of scrubland interspersed with palm trees and low shrubs. For those liable to be offended, be aware that this is normally a favoured destination for those who enjoy sex outdoors.
At the far end of the Dunes area, you will find a large freshwater lagoon, La Charca, which is also protected due to the numbers and variety of wildlife it attracts.
The resort itself is virtually all low level and sprawls over a wide area. The main centre for shopping and nightlife is the Faro II shopping centre which spirals up over a central courtyard. Children's playgrounds and entertainment surround the shopping centre. Also near Faro II you will find the regular Rastro (flea market/car boot sale) which takes place every Sunday between 08.00 and 13.00. As with any sale like this, let the buyer beware.
There is no promenade as such on the beach due to the dunes so you will have to contemplate a long walk to get to the ocean or take the easy way out and get a taxi.
Most of the accommodation in the resort consists of self catering bungalow or low level apartment complexes set in their own grounds with swimming pools. If your preference is for a higher level of service and more luxury then you will have to consider neighbouring Meloneras or Playa del Inglés.
Apart from the natural splendour of the Dunes, you will find inland:
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