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Every year travelers look forward to hitting up the beach for a summertime escape. Unfortunately, nature has other plans for certain destinations this year.
A massive seaweed invasion put a damper on summer beach plans, but many places tried their best to come up with solutions to make the best of it.
Whether it’s Punta Cana, Cancun, or all the way down to Key West, Florida — unsightly blobs of Sargassum have affected vacations.
Whether it’s simply an eyesore for your TikTok videos or the comparable smell of rotten eggs as it dies off, it’s an unpleasant experience.
The good news is it is beginning to dissipate in some of the top summer destinations. Here is where it is declining:
The Sargassum invasion was so big it received a fitting big name – The Great Atlantic Sargassum Seaweed Belt.
Last month, it was reported the ‘Belt’ decreased by as much as 75%. in the Gulf of Mexico, according to experts at the University of South Florida’s Optical Oceanography Lab.
This is a sigh of relief for beachgoers in the Sunshine Stateespecially when just a few months ago, it was reported there were 3 million tons of the nasty ocean goop!
Florida is no stranger to having Sargassum in its beautiful waters, but this year was a record-setting influx that nobody wanted.
The natural cycle for seaweed is to decline from July through September, which just happens to be some of the best weather for beach days.
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According to Chuanmin Hu, a professor at the University of South Florida, there are reports of clean beaches across the state.
He was quoted as saying, “the sargassum season for Florida is very likely over for this year.” Hu went on to describe Sargassum as a fluctuating issue where travelers may see small amounts here and there, but not enough to deter travelers from enjoying their vacations.
The University of Florida has also been on top of Sargassum reports in the Dominican Republic and is bringing good news to summer travelers.
Like Florida, the Dominicans are seeing a strong decline in Sargassum. What was feared to deter travelers from flocking to Punta Cana, the results have actually been the opposite.
Travelers are coming in record numbers, so they should be thrilled to hear the long-term forecast for Punta Cana sees Sargassum levels dropping significantly throughout the rest of the summer season.
Although, small patches of the brown algae may wash up occasionally. The invasion appears to be over, so no more beach closures should take place, like last month in Boca Chica, for example.
The Mexican Caribbean has shot through the roof in popularity this year! With the peak of the summer season coming up, Mexico’s vacationers will be excited to know Sargassum levels are continuing to drop.
Even more importantly, they are expected to remain at low levels. Playa del Carmen is one of the top summer spots to enjoy some fun in the sun.
It was originally reported that it would be a down year for the tourist industry, but travelers are pouring into Playa del Carmen at record rates.
The city’s investments have paid off to keep the invasive seaweed at bay and not to ruin tourists’ experiences.
Workers have literally been shoveling seaweed off its coastlines by the truckload, and barriers have been installed as well.
Is Sargassum Toxic?
According to the Florida Department of Health, Sargassum is a form of brown algae that has been a nuisance to beachgoers year after year.
The algae releases a gas called hydrogen sulfide as it begins to rot and releases unpleasant odors. While the algae itself is not toxic, it can contain some microscopic critters, such as the larvae of jellyfish.
These can cause itchy skin rashes. It is recommended to simply stay away and not come in contact with it if possible. Leave the cleanup to the professionals.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com