If you’re planning a vacation in Florida, the east coast of Mexico, and parts of the Caribbean, do your research before you book. Obviously, weather concerns, especially during hurricane season, should be taken into consideration. But there’s another natural phenomenon that could quickly tank your tropical vacation- sargassum.
This thick, matted, stinky seaweed is common across the Gulf of Mexico, particularly in the summer. As the Canadian news channel @ctvnewstoronto reported, the massive amounts of seaweed washed ashore can even be bad enough to ruin your vacation.
You might not think of something as innocuous and ever-present in the ocean as seaweed would be enough to ruin a vacation. However, sargassum is pungent and gross in masses, and can easily take over a beach with its stinky tangles. And sadly, it’s only been growing worse, in large part thanks to rising water temperatures from climate change and nitrogen-rich fertilizers making it into ocean waters.
“It’s not only Mexico, many Caribbean islands and Florida has problems with sargassum. Caused by too much fertilizer draining into the ocean,” expounded @btk00771. “The last like ten years it’s been a big issue in Mexico,” said @4l5m46. “DR is the same. It’s climate change,” commented @dana_brad. One thing is clear- if we want to save our beach vacations, save the planet first!
In the meantime, while we hopefully work towards a more sustainable and eco-friendly future, how can you avoid sargassum on your beach vacations in the Gulf of Mexico? As the news story said, Costco’s travel agency has a sargassum advisory, but they’re not the only ones. “Trip Advisor is your friend. This is a very common problem in Cancun,” advised @ctrlaltdel17. On Trip Advisor, travelers will often share if the sargassum is particularly bad when and where they went.
The time of year matters too. “Yeah… it happens from May-October. Every. Single. Year,” remarked @sugarbabez11. Late spring to early fall is when sargassum grows most frequently, with the summer season being the time of peak growth. If you want to stay clear of the stinky seaweed, traveling south during the late fall to mid-spring is your best bet- and it’ll give you a chance to warm up in the tropical sun during the coldest times of the year!