Maximum fine for ‘treasure hunters’ in the dunes of Maspalomas

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Maspalomas dunes

The ‘treasure hunt’ in the dunes of Maspalomas on the island of Gran Canaria did not cause any environmental damage. This is the conclusion of an investigation started last Sunday by the island government.

The Cabildo de Gran Canaria wanted to determine whether the dozens of people who took part in a competition last Saturday had damaged the local ecosystem. With bags, shovels and rakes on their shoulders, they had hurried to the sand of the dunes. All this without taking into account the fauna and flora that live there. The ‘treasure hunters’ were looking for 1,000 euros and concert tickets, which, according to the YouTubers, had been hidden in the sand.

The call

In one of the YouTubers’ viral videos, you see three people explaining the action. “They gave us €1,000 to promote the Tiago and Cris MJ event on March 23. And instead of putting it in TV ads, we’re going to hide it on the island. And the first one to find it gets it,” the influencers said.

‘Damage not serious’

Despite the commotion that occurred after the action became widely known, no damage occurred. “Fortunately the damage is not serious. No damage was found to the vegetation and due to the strong winds this weekend, the landscape damage has been repaired.” This was said by Raúl García Brink of the environmental department of the island government. Although no crime has been committed, it has been established that the rules for the use of the dunes have been violated. This results in an administrative fine of €600. It is the maximum possible sanction for this type of offense.

Advertising stunt in the dunes

The publicity stunt was organised by several YouTubers and took place in an area of free passage. Not in the specially protected area of the Maspalomas dunes. “Normally, an advertising activity, such as a film shoot, requires a series of permits to be applied for. The island council then determines under what conditions it can be carried out. That is why we will be as strict as possible within the categorised administrative sanctions,” the council said.

Difficult decision

García Brink emphasised that it is difficult to define exactly what separates one area from another in a dynamic dune system that is constantly moving. “We talk about lines drawn on a map, but their interpretation is very complicated; that doesn’t make it that easy.”

Increased surveillance

The Cabildo de Gran Canaria has already identified the ‘Youtubers’ and the advertising agency that promoted this action. It now remains to be determined who will be imposed the sanction.


The entry of dozens of treasure hunters into the sandy area of Maspalomas quickly caused a wave of outrage on social networks. According to the council, this response is a good sign of “awareness and involvement” of citizens. Cabildo President Antonio Morales expressed his disapproval of the initiative on social media. “It now appears that any random person can call for an invasion of a nature reserve. This is unprecedented,” he said in an appearance on the Buenos Días Canarias program.

Also read: Municipality in Gran Canaria allows living in tourist places

Escándalo en las dunas de Maspalomas. Decenas de jóvenes acudieron con palas y azadas en busca de un maletín enterrado con 1.000 euros. Un grupo de youtubers había organizado este reto con el objetivo de promocionar un evento musical patrocinado por un Ayuntamiento de la isla. El Cabildo de Gran Canaria envió a agentes de Medio Ambiente a investigar lo ocurrido. El concurso no tenía la autoridación para celebrarse en las dunas, un espacio protegido y muy vulnerable #noticiastiktok #suceso #youtubers #dunasmaspalomas #grancanaria

♬ Universe – Felix Tena

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