Travelers in the coastal hotspot of Playa del Carmen are being warned to be extra cautious when swimming in the ocean due to rising numbers of stingray injuries.
Officials have said that five to seven cases of stingray injuries are reported weekly in the popular resort destination, with experts predicting that number to rise as the Mexican Caribbean inches closer to the busy winter season.
As more travelers flock to Playa del Carmen this year in search of some of the best beaches in the Mexican Caribbean, here’s everything travelers need to know about stingrays and what to do when encountering one.
Should Travelers Be Concerned Amid Reports Of Stingray Injuries In Playa del Carmen?
Visiting Playa del Carmen’s excellent white-sand beach is a must for the hundreds and thousands of travelers who flock to the coastal hotspot each month.
Home to dozens of pristine beaches, this paradisiacal resort destination is famous for its Blue Flag and Platinum-certified shores, offering the perfect retreat complete with crystal-clear waters and some amazing snorkeling opportunities.
Although Playa del Carmen’s flora and fauna rarely pose a risk to travelers, this week, officials reported that a growing number of travelers are being stung by stingrays.
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Based on insights from Angel Valeria, a specialist at Playa del Carmen’s civil protection agency, there is currently an average of one swimmer per day experiencing stingray bites.
Although stingrays can be found across Mexican Caribbean waters, travelers are most likely to encounter them in rocky portions of the coastline. According to the latest statistical overview, most stingray injuries have occurred at Xcalacoco and Punta Esmeralda beaches, two extremely popular attractions among Playa del Carmen travelers.
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Fortunately, stingray stings aren’t lethal in this part of the world, although their stings are venomous – and in most cases, very painful – due to the toxins found in the tail spine of the stingray. That’s why travelers are advised to contact a lifeguard in the unlikely situation that they are injured by a stingray.
In most cases, lifeguards will apply a vinegar solution over the wound to neutralize the toxins, but in some cases, travelers may be referred to a nearby hospital for specialized treatment.
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Several species of stingray are known to inhabit the waters of the Mexican Caribbean, including the Atlantic and Bluntness stingrays. One of the best ways to avoid stingray stings is to shuffle through the sand rather than walk, alerting stingrays to your presence.
Despite the low season, officials in Playa del Carmen have deployed lifeguards across the city’s most popular public beaches. Among other responsibilities, lifeguards are trained to provide first aid to swimmers who encounter stingrays, jellyfish, and sea urchins.
Over the summer, coastal hotspots like Playa del Carmen and Cancun ramped up efforts to protect swimmers. For the most part, swimming in the Mexican Caribbean is a relatively safe activity to enjoy in the sun-soaked region, although rip tides, waves, and unpredictable weather all pose a risk to travelers.
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That’s why authorities are redoubling efforts to increase travelers’ awareness concerning beach safety and are urging visitors to follow crucial safety tips. In addition to taking note of the Mexican Caribbean’s color-coded swimming safety system, travelers should opt for beaches that have lifeguards.
Remote beaches are not always supervised by law enforcement and civil protection officers, meaning travelers must exercise increased precaution.
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With a record-breaking winter season on the horizon, officials will continue to improve measures to make Playa del Carmen’s beaches safer than ever.
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