Seaweed and no more Cuba

What a week it has been. Let’s talk about the seaweed first. That horrible stinky sargassum seaweed that is ruining people’s beach vacations all over the Caribbean.

But even worse than a ruined vacation – Poor hotels, poor local tour companies, poor local people who depend on tourism for their livelihoods. Hotels are doing their best to send crews out digging the stuff up and removing it but Mother Nature is relentless and sends it all back in again on the next tide.

It has now reached Florida and those who love boating in the Florida Keys are saying “Thanks, but no thanks” – they would rather swim in the pool at home.


What makes it worse is that once it has been sitting out on the beach for a while it starts to smell like rotten eggs. Gets better and better doesn’t it? Apparently sargassum is an important seaweed – but why is it so out of hand at the moment. This interesting article on explains some of it.

Sargassum weed however has nothing to do with the turmoil in the cruise industry caused by the US Gov’s decision to stop travel to Cuba. My goodness. Cruise itineraries are being re-organised, notifications being sent to passengers and travel agents, alternative options being offered. This must be costing the cruise business millions of dollars. I wonder what is being said behind closed doors in the boardrooms of cruise companies in Florida and California. I would love to be a fly on the wall.

In the meantime Canadians can continue to visit Cuba as often as they like. Cuba is one of those destinations that Canadians really love. It is safe, clean and reasonable inexpensive. Varadero beach has to be one of the most beautiful I have been on. And so far so good – the sargassum is not there according to this handy tracking tool.

And there is one other thing ….. I have heard many Canadians say to me in the past that what they like about Cuba is that it is so “European” in the sense that the majority of visitors are from Europe. – Not from the States. Don’t shoot the messenger – just sayin’

By Lesley Keyter

Lesley Keyter is the face of travel in the fast growing city of Calgary. Every week since 1997 she has has featured live on the Morning News Global TV.

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