I have seen a lot of bad reviews on various forums for some of my favorite resorts, and they have one thing in common... the beach and seaweed issue. This is so unfortunate to see, as the resorts have no control over mother nature and that's an unfair negative review that the properties don't deserve.
I’m all about full disclosure, and when I start to plan a trip with my clients, I like to prepare you on the expectations to ensure you make a good decision that fits with your desires. It upsets me when tourists travel to a destination they have never been to, or maybe visited 7 years ago, and they see pretty pictures from someone else's vacation thinking they will get that same "picture perfect" vacay, only to arrive disappointed and then leave a bad review. This stems from the lack of knowledge of a destination, the resort brand differences, seasonal changes, or the understanding that things can change dramatically after a few years, just to name a few reasons. There are so many factors that can affect your experience, and as a professional in the travel industry, those are what I take into consideration when planning your vacations.
I feel the need to chat about the elephant in the room regarding many Caribbean Sea destinations, which some travel agencies may shy away from openly discussing. I'm talking about Sargassum Seaweed. Can you still enjoy a vacation in the Caribbean? Absolutely! Below is what you need to know about Sargassum Seaweed, so that you can plan accordingly to ensure your expectations are managed and will have an amazing vacation without disappointment.
And by the way - it also effects South Florida and other US beaches near the Atlantic, so it's not just an international concern.
First, what is Sargassum Seaweed?
The Reader’s Digest version is that it’s a brown algae that is growing in record levels on the coasts of beaches in the Caribbean. The reality is that it's a wonderful habitat for mahi mahi, amberjacks, sailfish, other breeds of dolphins, and more. You can read more about the why, what and where of the brown algae here.
It’s been called a floating jungle, and it provides a wonderful shelter, home and food source for several animals under the sea. Still, for some travelers it’s an eyesore, smelly, and not something they want to experience on a Caribbean getaway.
It’s important to note that locals are continually trying to remove it from beaches, so that it’s only in the water for sea life, but the process isn’t exactly easy or swift. This leaves some travelers wondering how to enjoy a Caribbean trip in the midst of the record seaweed growth.
How can you enjoy a Caribbean vacation regardless of Sargassum Seaweed?
For starters, you can upgrade your room with a plunge pool or swimout room. It’s the island breeze, the stunning sunsets, cultural experiences, exotic foods and the warm tropical temperatures that really brings tourists to the Caribbean, after all! You can still enjoy all of that and a dip in the water without having to wade into the ocean water.
In fact, there are many amazing luxury properties, and all-inclusive resorts that offer better pool experiences than beach experiences anyway. Look for resorts that are more focused on their pools, and you’ll still enjoy time in the water without the potential for foul smelling brown algae dampening your fun. Many all-inclusive resorts have included activities as part of your stay, so be sure to utilize all that is offered, such as: tennis lessons, water volleyball, ping pong, board games, outdoor movies, bike tours, yoga, and so much more!
Another recommendation is to take advantage of the outside experiences around you. Go explore the culture! Depending on the destination, you can find lots of other activities from snorkeling tours, zipline adventures, ATV excursions, city tours, sailing trips, shopping and so much more!
If it’s beach or bust, your options become a little more limited.
The other option is to choose a destination that is on the Pacific Ocean side or pick an area outside of the Caribbean. Mother nature can't be controlled or predicted, so if you can’t handle the plethora of Sargassum Seaweed, and aren’t really interested in a pool focused getaway, you should consider an alternative destination.
There is no need to be disappointed or upset on vacation from an uncontrollable force in nature. It's not the destination or resort's fault, so that should never affect your review of a property. Please ensure you are well prepared before you make your reservation. This is another reason why using a travel professional can be so beneficial - just be sure the agent follows these types of situations and is willing to share the pro/cons about a resort or destination as you plan. Not all agents are experienced or have personally been to a destination, so they don't always know what to think about when planning. Use a travel professional that is experienced in the destination you are considering for travel.
Remember that one week the beaches can be pristine, but the next week it may be covered with seaweed, so it’s not something you can plan around. You may be lucky to not have any issues during your vacation, while the next week at the same location, another family experiences something completely different than you. There is no “best time” to travel to avoid this, but it generally occurs more frequent during the stormy season, so pay attention to the destination and the weather patterns when planning.
Want to learn more about your best vacation destinations? Call Destinations HD, and we help you design the perfect getaway to match your expectations. We want you to have the best vacation possible regardless of the elements. Book your consultation or call today (913) 244-9195.