Travelers in the popular coastal resort city of Playa del Carmen are being warned to watch out for jellyfish and sea urchins amid growing cases of injuries caused by the area’s abundant marine wildlife.
Although rarely dangerous, jellyfish and sea urchins can quickly ruin a pleasant day on the beach. But with growing awareness over the issue, officials hope to prevent cases from further growing.
Playa del Carmen has seen its popularity skyrocket amid soaring travel figures, with most resorts and vacation rentals in the sunny destination selling out over the holidays.
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With more travelers set to flock to Playa del Carmen in the coming months, here’s the latest on beach & swimming safety in the popular resort destination.
Injuries Caused By Jellyfish And Sea Urchins On The Rise In Playa del Carmen
Hundreds and thousands of travelers are expected to enjoy Playa del Carmen’s beaches this high season amid the city’s record-shattering popularity. While the influx of travelers to the quaint destination has been largely positive for the coastal city, more and more travelers are being affected by jellyfish stings and sea urchins.
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Home to dozens of stunning white-sand beaches and turquoise waters in the Mexican Caribbean, Playa del Carmen is synonymous with long afternoons splashing in the warm Caribbean Sea. And while most travelers can look forward to a relaxing experience, officials have expressed concern due to the risk posed by certain marine species.
That’s especially the case when it comes to jellyfish and sea urchins, which can cause mild to moderate injuries to travelers.
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This week, officials published a new warning urging beachgoers to pay close attention to their surroundings when going for a swim on Playa del Carmen beaches. The warning comes amid reports of a growing number of jellyfish stings and contact with sea urchins.
According to José Torres, the head of Playa del Carmen’s civil protection agency, lifeguards and medical staff are currently treating between three to four cases of mild to moderate swimming injuries caused by marine wildlife. But during the busiest days of the winter high season, lifeguards have reported treating up to 15 travelers.
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While that number may seem insignificant, thousands of travelers swim in Playa del Carmen beaches daily, meaning that reported cases of stings may increase in the coming months.
As a preventive measure, travelers are asked to avoid rocky beaches, which are most likely to have sea urchins. Moreover, potentially harmful marine wildlife is most likely to be found on the popular Punta Esmeralda beach, which is slightly further north of downtown Playa del Carmen.
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Visitors should stick to beaches around downtown Playa del Carmen, which have on duty lifeguards from early in the morning until the early evening hours. Lifeguards in the popular destination are trained to deal with jellyfish stings and sea urchin injuries.
In most cases, simply rinsing the area affected by the sting may help, although in more urgent situations, travelers may be referred to nearby clinics. Despite the somewhat alarming number of injuries reported over the past several weeks, the Mexican Caribbean is not home to any highly venomous jellyfish species.
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2024 is set to be the most popular year on record for Playa del Carmen in terms of international popularity. The coastal destination has stepped up beach security during the busy winter period, adding more lifeguards to watch over swimmers and enhancing law enforcement to deter criminals from affecting travelers.
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