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My visit at Green Stream Farms in Columbus, New Mexico. Tourists looking for sun and sand in Mexican resorts like Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Tulum have been disgusted by foul-smelling mounds of sargassum — a seaweed-like algae — piling up on beaches and turning turquoise waters brown, and experts are warning that it may be the new normal. You’ll be more than impressed with the color of the water, as well as by the affordable prices at hip restaurants and bars in the Pietermaai area. You can fly directly into Goa from New Delhi in under three hours for about $50 one-way. But a possible combination of climate change, pollution from fertilizers and ocean flows and currents carrying the algae mats to the Caribbean has caused the problem to explode. price for 1 guest room: $750. Their anger increased last month when President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador visited the coast and downplayed the seriousness of the problem. Abiquiu Lake is shut down as of … Using satellite images, scientists at the University of South Florida discovered … Hawaii: Airfare to Hawaii was cheap for much of 2018, and trends suggest these more affordable prices could continue well into 2019, especially if fuel prices stay low. Chuanmin Hu, a professor of oceanography at South Florida University's College of Marine Science, says the sargassum mats appear to be the result of increased nutrient flows and ocean water upwelling that brings nutrients up from the bottom. “In Florida and the Gulf of Mexico, the species that causes most red tides is Karenia brevis, often abbreviated as K. brevis. Cancun International Airport is an easy gateway to the region. Biggest ever seaweed bloom stretches from Gulf of Mexico to Africa 05.07.2019 Thousands of kilometers of the pungent, slimy algae has built up over the past decade, partly due to climate change. There’s also snorkeling, diving and fishing, as well as a natural reserve on the mainland and a “barefoot-friendly” town with shops, seafood restaurants and cafes. This all makes people nostalgic for the days before 2014 when sargassum "was very little, very manageable, not a problem, not a risk, just barely a line" in the sand. Fly into nearby Liberia, whose airport offers direct and reasonably priced flights from U.S. cities like Los Angeles, Houston and New York City. The family-friendly beach area is ideal for relaxing, but it’s also close to some of the country’s natural tourist attractions like national parks, volcanoes and waterfalls. Quintana Roo, Mexico: The Mexican state of Quintana Roo includes tourist areas like Cancun, Playa del Carmen, the Riviera Maya, Tulum, Isla Mujeres, Isla Holbox and Cozumel. That is what we're selling. The largest dead zone in the United States – about 6,500 square miles – is in the Gulf of Mexico and occurs every summer as a result of nutrient pollution from the Mississippi River Basin. Apparently in Mexico they prefer to take advantage of the tourists instead of taking advantage of the tourism itself. Once on Bimini, enjoy pristine beaches and fascinating history — Ernest Hemingway, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Jimmy Buffet all have a connection to this small part of the Bahamas. While there are other things to do on the coast, like visiting sinkhole lakes known as cenotes, Mayan ruins and the jungle, the beach remains the prize attraction. ‘I haven't talked much about this, because I don't see it as a very serious issue, as some claim it is,’ Lopez Obrador said. Visit this year while it’s still relatively quiet and prices are cheap. More: Mexico’s new tourism frontier: Exploring south of Tulum, More: A List of the Most Beautiful Beaches in Mexico. Do you want to help me grow algae that can be turned into biofuel? Let friends in your social network know what you are reading about. It piles up on beaches and floats in large mats in the water. Tourists looking for sun and sand in Mexican resorts like Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Tulum have been disgusted by foul-smelling mounds of sargassum—a seaweed-like algae—piling up … And the problem affects almost all the islands and mainland beaches in the Caribbean to an extent. Thousands of kilometers of the pungent, slimy algae has built up over the past decade, partly due to climate change. You’ll still want to fly into the Montego Bay — one of the largest and busiest airports in the Caribbean — since direct and inexpensive flights are easy to find from major U.S. hubs. Curacao is one of the best diving spots in the Caribbean and has cheaper hotels than the other nearby islands like Aruba. ‘Fighting sargassum is a chore every day,’ said Cancun Mayor Mara Lezama last month. The algae, sargassum, is often confused with seaweed. Increased nutrient flows from deforestation or fertilizer runoff could be feeding the algae bloom. ‘No, no, we're going to solve it.’. He says the cycle is not likely to stop anytime soon. Tourists at … Tourists looking for sun and sand in Mexican resorts like Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Tulum have been disgusted by foul-smelling mounds of sargassum — a seaweed-like algae — … The tons of sargassum building up behind the booms has to be gathered up, put aboard boats and taken away in what would amount to hundreds of trips every day. With affordable airfares, a strong dollar against the peso, cheap hotel prices thanks to competition, and a wide variety of all-inclusive resort packages that appeal to all ages of travelers, this state is guaranteed to be a fun and cheap tropical getaway. Beyond Cancun, each town and city offers bucket-list activities with its own distinctive vibe — after all, where else can you swim in a cenote, visit ancient Maya ruins and lounge on the beach all in one day? As it decays and sinks to the bottom, it can also smother the coral the Caribbean is known for, and accumulations on beaches can make it harder for sea turtles to nest. Flights are cheap from major U.S. cities like Chicago and Boston, thanks to budget airline WOW Air’s latest route to New Delhi. © 2020 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Satellite Information Network, LLC. 22:19 GMT 27 Jul 2019 Negril, Jamaica: In Negril, about an hour and a half from Montego Bay, you’ll find cheap hotels and a mix of upscale, unique lodging options. Samana, Dominican Republic: This newer resort area in the Dominican Republic ranks among the cheapest Caribbean spots this year on the Price of Travel Index. Tourists come to Mexico's Caribbean coast for the sun, sand, snorkeling and turquoise waters. Guanacaste, Costa Rica: Head to the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica for some pura vida. Toxic algae that 'smells like rotten egg' is invading beaches along 600 miles of Mexico's Caribbean coast and turning the waters brown - prompting $17 million clean-up operation 'that has no … Bimini, the Bahamas: With nonstop flights for about $100 round trip from the East Coast to Fort Lauderdale and Miami, you can easily reach the two main islands of Bimini, which also happen to be the closest entry point to the Bahamas from the U.S. — just 50 miles from Florida’s coast. Several weeks ago, I visited algae farm Green Stream Farms in the sleepy town of Columbus, New Mexico, a stone's throw away … Charter flights from Fort Lauderdale and Miami can be more expensive, so instead opt for the daily, two-hour ferry that leaves the Port of Miami. price for 1 guest room: $800. The stench was sickening and people were affected by aerosol particles of the algae itself, causing … price for 1 guest room: $700, Quintana Roo • Hotel: Zoetry Paraiso de la Bonita Riviera Maya • Location: Puerto Morelos • First year 5 Diamond rating was awarded: 2004 • Est. By Placencia, Belize: This fishing village is found on Belize’s southeastern side, away from the more popular tourist destinations in the country. 15:14 GMT 28 Jul 2019. Not red algae -- the problem is sargassum. Tourists looking for sun and sand in Mexican resorts like Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Tulum have been disgusted by foul-smelling mounds of algae. "Because of global climate change we may have increased upwelling, increased air deposition, or increased nutrient source from rivers, so all three may have increased the recent large amounts of sargassum," said Hu. "This is one of the biggest challenges that climate change has caused for the world," said the government of Mexico's resort-studded coastal state of Quintana Roo. Waters near a Tulum resort have been tinged brown from sargassum, a seaweed-like algae Credit: Getty Images - Getty The beach resorts along the east coast of the Americas is loved by … Fish are washed ashore on the Sanibel causeway after … Seaweed-like algae has invaded the beaches along 600 miles of Mexico's Caribbean coast turning the waters brown and producing an 'acid gas with a rotten egg smell' At least 600 miles … But experts like oceanographer Donald R. Johnson said, ‘Do not blame the Brazilians.’ Johnson said it appears that other causes contribute, like nutrient flows from the Congo River. Red Bubble Algae, Botryocladia. But this year has ranked among the worst for the region with officials warning that a floating island of the seaweed the size of Jamaica is bobbing a short distance away from the shore. Now, some novel ideas for what to do with collected sargassum are springing up, such as using it as an additive for making bricks. You’ll also find coral reefs and Seven Mile Beach. Planktonic Algae. Extracting it at sea risks the species that use the floating mats as cover for their young. ; … Officials believe increases in violent crimes and the anti-immigration rhetoric regularly voiced by President Trump is also said to have had a knock-on effect. Contention lines of floating plastic booms can be anchored offshore to catch the incoming mats of algae, but as Lopez notes, some resorts have very shallow coral reefs located right offshore so the booms would be less of a solution. Scientists suspect the seaweed … "This is a Caribbean problem on the east coast that goes from Cancun all the way past Ambergris Caye in Belize.". And as the sargassum decomposes, it releases hydrogen sulfide and ammonium. Curacao: This Dutch island is located in the southern part of the Caribbean and is best known as a hot spot for European and Canadian travelers, but there are direct, inexpensive routes from U.S. hubs like New York City and Miami, too. It’s also deemed a “Special Economic Zone” so visitors don’t need a visa if they’re only staying here. Initial reports suggested the seaweed came from an area of the Atlantic off the northern coast of Brazil, near the mouth of the Amazon River. Officials also fear it could have a huge effect on the region’s vital tourism industry, which employs four million people and is worth $100 billion per year. When some types of algae blooms are large and produce chemicals, or toxins, the event is called a harmful algal bloom. While it may not have the global impact of melting of polar ice, the vast mats of sargassum filling the Caribbean could be one of the more visible climate-change events because of the sheer number of people who visit the region's popular tourist beaches, some officials say. The Mexican government has spent in excess of $17 million to remove over a half-million tons of sargassum seaweed from its Caribbean beaches this year, but the problem doesn't seem likely to end any time soon. López Obrador has also since pledged $2.5 million in federal money to help with the efforts. Red tides in the Gulf of Mexico and toxic blue-green algae in inland waters are killing animals and stoking outrage in South Florida. With constant sunshine and wide open spaces, we can grow a lot of algae … While tourist arrivals at the Cancun airport were up 3.3% in March over the same month last year, many fear this will not last long with the sargassum befouling white sand beaches and blue waters, as well as the air — sargassum decomposes with a rotten egg smell. With its own airport (built in 2006) and direct routes from Montreal and Toronto, this is a hidden gem of the Caribbean. There is an extraction facility (where the Omega-3 oil is extracted from the algae) in Mexico. 24/7 Wall Street Diamond ratings for hotels in Mexico and the Caribbean provided by the American Automobile Association may help you find the best place to stay on your next getaway. Courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, Courtesy of Kimpton Hotel & Restaurant Group, Nayarit • Hotel: The St. Regis Punta Mita Resort • Location: Punta de Mita • First year 5 Diamond rating was awarded: 2009 • Est. ", The beach in Tulum, Mexico, is overrun with sargassum, a foul-smelling algae, that has turned the water brown. Dreaming of warmer weather? The algae flooding into the Caribbean is coming from an unexpected source: the tropical Atlantic waters beyond the mouth of the Amazon River. The continued presence of sargassum seaweed (a.k.a sargasso, sargazo) on the beaches of Mexico continues to be a concern to many travelers. price for 1 guest room: $900, Quintana Roo • Hotel: Rosewood Mayakoba • Location: Playa del Carmen • First year 5 Diamond rating was awarded: 2009 • Est. And Hu warns that such a solution would be expensive. The Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico and Florida have been plagued with the sargassum algae for several years. Black Beard Algae. For a number of years the foul-smelling algae has been washing up on the shores of Cancun, Playa Del Carmen and Tulum in increasing quantities, turning the water brown and blanketing beaches with a brown sludge. What you won’t find are the kind of over-crowded and expensive all-inclusives that are so popular in Montego Bay. Mexico’s Navy said it’s collected 218 tons of sargassum since beginning operations to scoop up the seaweed in May. And right now we're fooling our tourists.’. Courtesy of Operadora Hotelera Brisas, S.A. de C.V. and Promotora Punta NIZUC, S.A. de C.V. Quintana Roo • Hotel: Grand Velas Riviera Maya • Location: Playa del Carmen • First year 5 Diamond rating was awarded: 2010 • Est. Red Bubble Algae is one of the Botryocladia species, (probably skottsbergeii or … Local hotel owners and tourism industry workers — which is just about everybody to some extent in Quintana Roo — are feeling abandoned by the federal government, which is planning a fancy tourist train to connect the coast with Mayan ruin sites inland. Luke Kenton For Dailymail.com, Man arrested following stabbing in Marks and Spencer Burnley store, Trump's Georgia lawyers show 'proof' of mysterious suitcase ballots, LA Mayor warns county will run out of hospital beds by Christmas, 2306104 Dead man banned from his own funeral after arriving on chair, Extinction Rebellion try to stop Kensington cycle lane being torn up, Police search for serial attacker wanted for 11 assaults, Police open fire on killer holding 12-year-old boy hostage, Private Jet carrying Texas House Speaker crashes on landing, Cartel gunmen fire over 100 rounds and kill police chef, Giuliani brings 'vote fraud' witnesses to Michigan legislative hearing, Police arrest man suspected of stabbing customer at M&S Burnley. Here's the difference between red tide and blue-green algae. According to … (Photo: Alison Young/ USA TODAY). The U.S. Gulf coast got hit in 2014 and the east coast of Florida is getting sargassum this year. Accessible via a short and inexpensive flight from Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Phu Quoc is a picturesque island paradise. The typically idyllic white sandy shores and aquamarine waters of Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula are being plagued by an unwelcome and unappealing invasion of rotting seaweed, called sargassum. Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam The country’s Guanacaste province makes for a cheap tropical vacation this year thanks to its value-priced hotels and affordable on-the-ground costs. This algae isn't particularly common, but has the ability to grow rapidly from fragments. Sargassum is a type of brown algae that generally lies in the open ocean in the Sargasso Sea in the North Atlantic. Luke Kenton For Dailymail.com Scientists have identified a huge floating mat of brown sargassum algae stretching across the Atlantic at a distance of about 5,500 miles. Planktonic pond algae are single-celled, microscopic plants which are distributed … While there are many different types of algae found floating in the ocean all around the world, the Sargasso Sea is unique in that it holds species of Sargassum that reproduces on the high … For those wondering … Prevailing ocean currents carry the algae into the Caribbean, where it can grow further. Southwest is expected to start selling fares from the West Coast any day now, and Hawaiian Airlines will sell basic economy fares starting this year. To distinguish K. brevis blooms from red tides caused by other … Just in front of Villa del Palmar Cancun is Isla Mujeres, one of the most paradisiacal destinations in the entire Caribbean and that hasn’t been hit by the sargassum algae.. 'Uncovered: The McMartin Family Trials' reveals 1983 scandal when SEVEN preschool teachers were indicted for child molestation sparking panic - but none were convicted after $15M, seven-year trial amid claims of witchcraft, satanism and coerced testimonies, How the legendary stuntman who inspired Brad Pitt's character in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood broke 56 bones on set - including his back twice - flew cars between gaps in bridges and jumped 30ft onto a train without any protective paddingÂ, Rotten, Smelly Algae Plagues Some Mexican Beaches - WSJ. Their extensive efforts, though, have had a limited effect. We are no longer accepting comments on this article. price for 1 guest room: $900, Quintana Roo • Hotel: Secrets Maroma Beach Riviera Cancun • Location: Playa del Carmen • First year 5 Diamond rating was awarded: 2013 • Est. A link has been sent to your friend's email address. , updated Some Mexico beaches overrun by algae Another issue that has become more prominent is that Caribbean beaches in Mexico, including Cancun and Cozumel, are suffering from algae bloom . While getting to Southeast Asia isn’t “cheap,” it’s currently reasonably affordable to fly to Ho Chi Minh City, with round-trip flights hovering around $800 from New York City, Boston, Chicago and Los Angeles. The thick macroalgae also brings with it a pungent ‘rotten egg’ stench as it decays in the hot summer sun. This year at Playa del Carmen, in November, the beach was … Warming ocean waters are likely to play only a minor role since the area — the tropical Atlantic and Caribbean — has always been pretty warm. (Photo: Alison Young/ USA TODAY). "This challenge requires a joint, multinational effort and a global commitment. Enríquez. Scientists have set up sargassum tracking systems that detect the amount of algae heading for shores in the Caribbean, but it's hard to predict when or where it will land. RIO ARRIBA COUNTY, N.M. (KRQE) – A toxic algae responsible for killing at least five dogs across the country has been found in two New Mexico lakes. Here are the best hotels in Mexico and the C... Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/news/2019/05/10/mexico-resorts-cancun-playa-del-carmen-tulum-overrun-algae/1162332001/. While he says additional research is needed before definitively linking it all to human activity, he pointed to evidence of "increased use of fertilizer and increased deforestation" as possible culprits, at least as far as the Amazon is concerned. ‘Recent experience has shown that negative images can quickly discourage travelers in an industry that relies heavily on user-generated content and online reservations,’ an analyst from Moody’s Investors Service determined. Also known as Audouinella or Black Brush Algae, the Black Beard Algae is a … ‘You clean the beaches in the morning, and sometimes you clean them again in the afternoon or at night, and then you have to go back and clean it again.’, Ricardo del Valle, a business owner in the seaside resort of Playa del Carmen, said, ‘We offer sun and sand, nothing else. Mexico's Riviera Maya Caribbean coast provides half the country's tourism revenues and very little sargassum reached it prior to 2014. However, the algae threatens to do more damage than just permeate the air with a bad smell. He recently said he would not contract out the work of cleaning up sargassum - or gathering it before it reaches shore - but will put the Mexican Navy in charge of building collector boats and cleaning the sea. The mats of algae block the light that corals need to grow. In the past two years, it has been a problem from late February to sometime later in the year. Dreaming of warmer weather? Meanwhile, business owners in Mexico's glitzy beach resorts are desperate for solutions. New Mexico is the ideal place for doing bioalgal research. PUERTO MORELOS, Mexico—Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula is famous for its aquamarine waters, white sandy beaches and Mayan ruins. But shoveling or bulldozing up sargassum once it washes up on shore is also a herculean task that can put at risk sea turtles' nesting sites. To minimize on-the-ground costs, book a hotel that is close to (rather than right on) the beach; and for dining out, opt to visit local poke joints instead of expensive resorts. Mexico has spent millions removing the seaweed from its beaches. Already this year, bookings in hotels across Cancun and Puerto Morelos have seen a sharp drop of 3.5%, despite room prices dropping from between 15%-25% on this time last year. "What you have to do is stop it before it even reaches the beaches," said Adrian Lopez, the president of Quintana Roo's employers' federation. While it sometimes appears sargassum mats float west into the Caribbean, experts say the seaweed actually appears to be sloshing back and forth between the Caribbean and Africa. ‘I have never seen sargassum arrivals in such massive quantities,’ said Susana Enríquez to the WSJ, a reef systems expert at Mexico’s National Autonomous University in Puerto Morelos. ‘It’s more than just a beach problem,’ she said, adding that sargassum can damage ecosystems like coral reefs by blocking vital sunlight, decomposing, and depleting the water of oxygen. Increased upwelling of nutrient-laden deeper ocean water in the tropical Atlantic and dust blowing in from Africa may also be playing a role, according to Johnson, a senior researcher at the University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast Research Laboratory. The island is located off the Mekong Delta and still has some untouched beaches and affordable luxury resorts, making this tropical destination a great value getaway. The concerns may not be hyperbole: the sargassum mats appear even worse along parts of Mexico's coast than they did last year. "With Sargassum, there is No Mayan Train," said a slogan launched by local businesses. Mexico’s new tourism frontier: Exploring south of Tulum, A List of the Most Beautiful Beaches in Mexico, Your California Privacy Rights/Privacy Policy. In 2018, the toxic algae colored the water a dull, rusty red and wreaked havoc on the state. ‘Its ability to destroy already vulnerable ecosystems is profound,’ said. While it’s a little more difficult to get to — about 160 miles from Belize City — here you’ll find a 16-mile coastline that includes some of the best beaches in the country. A boat is shown on the beach in Tulum, Mexico, where sargassum, a foul-smelling algae, has taken over. "You can clean up a beach, get it clean, imagine starting at 6 a.m. and by 11 a.m. you don't have any algae, and by 7 p.m. when the sun sets, it's full again," said Lopez. In an attempt to stem the onslaught, local officials have placed floating barriers in the ocean. Once a Portuguese colony, Goa offers a broad mix of cultures and landscapes; get ready to discover small, local villages, popular beaches, flea markets, ancient temples, 17th-century churches and a variety of cuisines. Wrapped by ocean currents, this mat of seaweed floats on the surface of the … But its usefulness as a fertilizer or animal feed is limited by the chemicals it contains, like salt, iodine and arsenic. Goa, India: Located along India’s western coast, this small state borders the Arabian Sea and is separated into North and South Goa. And tourists are unlikely to accept brown, algae-filled water. You can fly directly to the peninsula; however, there’s also a less-expensive shuttle service you can take from Belize City. Uncrowded beaches, whale watching and a national park give this region a well-balanced mix of tropical vacation activities. Sargassum is a crucial habitat for many species of marine life. March 13, 2020. A link has been posted to your Facebook feed. A type of foul-smelling algae called sargassum won’t stop washing up on the shores of Mexico’s most popular tourism beaches like Cancun and Tulum, The Wall Street Journal reported. This island is … That kills fish and crabs. "In my humble opinion it's a disaster that will eventually cripple the tourism, the businesses and, sad to say, destroy the local economy," said Jef A. Gardner, a frequent visitor to Playa del Carmen from Knoxville, Tennessee. Sargassum, a type of brown algae, is covering the beaches, turning the water brown, and emitting a strong and unpleasant smell resembling rotten eggs as it decomposes. 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The floating mats as cover for their young is one of the best diving spots in past. 2.5 million in federal money to help with the sargassum algae for several years challenge requires joint!