Swingers in the sand dunes: Canary Islands cops launch crackdown on sex-mad tourists who are stripping off for al fresco hook-ups at a nature reserve
- EXCLUSIVE: Canary Island tourist wreck delicate eco-system at nature reserve
- Officials on Spanish Gran Canaria target swingers having sex on the sand dunes
Sex-mad tourists seeking encounters in a rare nature habitat in the Canary Islands have sparked a crackdown by local authorities.
Officials on the Spanish island of Gran Canaria have targeted swingers in the sand dunes – thought to include a high proportion of Brits – in a new initiative launched this week aimed at protecting a nature reserve.
The tiny island off the northwest coast of Africa that’s part of the eight-member Canary Islands archipelago and a longtime favourite of Brits seeking sunshine has been dishing out record fines to al fresco sex tourists since the practice became popular after the pandemic.
And this week the authorities vowed to get extra-tough on visitors breaking the law by having sex in the dunes which can cause damage to the stunning yet fragile ecosystem.
A local government official was quoted by Spanish-language media as saying as the authorities began formulating a plan to stop all the al fresco sex: ‘Since the pandemic ended, people have gone crazy.’
Officials on the Spanish island of Gran Canaria have targeted swingers in the sand dunes – thought to include a high proportion of Brits – in a new initiative launched this week aimed at protecting a nature reserve
Authorities vowed to get extra-tough on visitors breaking the law by having sex in the dunes which can cause damage to the stunning yet fragile ecosystem
Research carried out by Professor Patrick Hesp, of Flinders University in Australia, found an astonishing almost 300 ‘cruising hotspots’ in the 1,000-acre Maspalomas Dunes nature reserve in the tourism town of Playa del Ingles in Maspalomas, southern Gran Canaria.
The dunes – a major tourist attraction – are home to unique plant and animal species, and shrubs help to anchor the ever-moving sands and stop them from blowing into the nearby Atlantic Ocean.
But it’s warned that tourists keen to strip off for sex with strangers among the bushes are not only damaging plant life but scaring away birds and lizards and leaving behind heaps of beer cans, cigarette butts and used condoms.
At a time of raging wildfires that have swept across the neighbouring island of Tenerife, destroying thousands of acres of forested areas, smoking in the tinder-dry dunes also poses a fire threat.
Measures to control the throngs of Dunes-goers were brought in in 2000, with environmental officers patrolling the area and handing out fines of around €150 for anyone caught straying beyond roped-off areas.
But this year, as tourism surges following two years of covid travel restrictions, the number of fines has soared six-fold to 120 compared to just 20 in 2022, the local authorities said.
Tourists and foreign residents in Playa del Ingles are managing to outsmart the environmental officers by tipping each other off about where and when they see them and what time they leave the area, according to Facebook sex group postings.
Some advise that it’s ‘safe’ to go to the dunes for casual sex after 2pm or 3pm, by which time the patrolling officers have clocked off for the day. Members advise each other which parts of the protected area to visit for sex, as some are casually designated as places for single people while others are for swingers – couples who swap partners or have sex together or with single women and men.
Tourists and foreign residents in Playa del Ingles are managing to outsmart the environmental officers by tipping each other off about where and when they see them and what time they leave the area, according to Facebook sex group postings
Some advise that it’s ‘safe’ to go to the dunes for casual sex after 2pm or 3pm, by which time the patrolling officers have clocked off for the day
Playa del Ingles has a large number of swingers clubs and some swingers resorts, which are also clothing-optional, and is a major destination for Brits, Germans and French couples who favour the libertine lifestyle.
Now, the authorities plan to get tougher with the wandering, philandering tourists who are flouting the law and destroying an area of pristine natural beauty. They aim, says Gran Canaria Environment Minister Raul Garcia Brink, to introduce new technology like motion detectors that will alert them to people’s otherwise clandestine activities in the off-limits areas.
‘The aim is to use new technologies so we have exact knowledge of the flow of people in the areas,’ he said in a statement.
Sex in the dunes had so far ‘experienced a significant upturn in 2023, far surpassing the data collected in previous years, possibly due to the pandemic,’ he added.
LED screens warning people to keep on the official paths around the protected area and head to a nearby nudist beach if they want to get naked would be erected, he said.
Despite the crackdown, people are already trying to find new ways to get into the dunes for outdoor frolics.
‘Looks like they’re issuing more fines for trespassing outside of the designated paths in the dunes,’ one man wrote in a dunes Facebook group on Monday. Another advised: ‘There are plenty of good spots where you are allowed to stay. Mostly near the nudist area by Playa del Ingles. The protected areas are near the Meloneras side.’
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