Followers are criticizing Madrid-based influencer and YouTuber Marina Rivera (@_riverss_), who has 7.3 million followers on TikTok and 1.9 million on Instagram, for posing in a cave in Spain’s Canary Islands that’s so dangerous that tourists aren’t allowed to visit.
Rivera, 21, posted several images of herself in the El Tancón cave in Santiago del Teide, Tenerife, to her Instagram account with a caption that reads, “I’m a little mermaid from Mako” when translated into English. Tenerife Weekly described the El Tancón as a “volcanic sea cave” where at least six people have died.
Reviews on TripAdvisor explained that you can access the cave when the water inside is low, but the sea can rush in violently and unpredictably, causing people to get trapped, drown or hit their heads fatally on the sharp rocks that make up the cave.
Tenerife Weekly interviewed locals who said they refuse to swim near the cave. Goyo Oliva, one of the locals interviewed, called the cave an “aquatic coffin.”
Oliva also lamented that social media has made the cave more popular, which has led to more visitors who aren’t aware of the site’s dangers, putting them at higher risk of injury or death.
“How many times have I come across people looking for the cave, mobile phone in hand, following a geolocation device … I always tell them the same thing: Don’t even think about it!” Oliva told the outlet. “With some there is no way. It must be that a photo is more important than life itself. I don’t know.”
Another local tourism site warned that bathing in the Tancón cave is strictly prohibited because the site is a “blowhole” with “strong currents” that “push you to the bottom and leave you trapped.”
“Beware of this cave,” a 2021 review warned. “Sadly, people don’t realise the strength of the waves and the undercurrents or how quickly the cave fills up. You must only go here if you have local knowledge.”
Tenerife Weekly also explained that the cave is sometimes staffed in person by Civil Protection to prevent people from accessing the site, but would-be visitors will sometimes wait until their shifts are over to sneak in. Posted signs clearly indicate that swimming or bathing in the cave aren’t allowed, which Rivera’s post reveals she either did not notice or failed to adhere to.
Y se la pela pic.twitter.com/CH0sIJcxWW
— Robin 𓆩♡𓆪 MOJO DOJO CASA HOUSE (@Syndren_) September 2, 2023
The fine for breaking the ban and accessing the site runs between 300 and 3,000 euros.
Some commenters also pointed out that Rivera had not only endangered herself but potentially a cameraperson. One of the reasons officials deemed the cave off-limits is due to how difficult rescue attempts can be, which means she could have endangered rescue teams as well.
And it’s exactly that fear — of Rivera influencing others or mistakenly leading them to believe that the cave is safe for swimming, visiting or even just snapping a picture for social — that has some of her commenters literally begging her to rethink her post.
“I beg you to delete this post. A lot of people have died in the Tancón,” pleaded commenter @alejandraverde.
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