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Dominican Republic Ramps Up Sargassum Removal Efforts On These Popular Beaches

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Several popular beach destinations in the Dominican Republic are ramping up efforts to remove sargassum seaweed ahead of the busy summer season. 

A pristine white sand beach in the tropics

With sargassum levels expected to increase significantly over the summer, the Ministry of Tourism has deployed a massive amount of machinery and other tools to keep beaches clean.

Here’s the latest on the sargassum situation in the Dominican Republic and what’s being done to control it.

Sargassum after washing up on shore in a white sand beach

New Forecast Predicts More Sargassum This Summer

Destinations like Punta Cana, La Romana, and Puerto Plata are famous for their white-sand beaches, which attract millions of travelers each year.

The Dominican Republic has grappled with record levels of sargassum seaweed this year, and the worst is yet to come, experts say. 

Ocean currents and winds over the Atlantic are forecast to push sargassum seaweed toward the Caribbean islands of Puerto Rico, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic, prompting officials to ramp up efforts to keep beaches clean.

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A white sand beach in Punta Cana with blue water

This week, the country’s Ministry of Tourism handed in new machinery intended to clear sargassum in several popular beach destinations. The new initiative, valued at nearly a million U.S. dollars, is an important step forward in guaranteeing pristine beaches even as sargassum levels continue to rise.

The high-end equipment is initially being deployed in Boca Chica, Juan Dolio, Palenque, and Barahona, which have seen some of the largest amounts of sargassum seaweed this year. 

The destinations are largely located in the vicinity of the country’s capital, Santo Domingo, and are home to numerous all-inclusives and beachfront hotels. 

A cleaner removing sargassum from Punta Cana beach

According to officials, the new sargassum clean-up program includes nine cleaning tractors and several trucks used to store seaweed. And while those additional resources aren’t expected to eradicate sargassum entirely, authorities say they’re an important tool in the short term.

In a press conference following the announcement of the heightened anti-sargassum efforts, the Dominican minister for Tourism, David Collado, said the following: “What we are deploying now will not put an end to sargassum, but this is an important palliative measure to help clean up beaches”

Aerial view of the resorts by the beach in Punta Cana

Resort hotspots like Punta Cana and Samaná have also reported growing sargassum struggles, with many resorts hiring more cleaners to ensure that beaches remain as clean as possible.

Officials say that they will continue to deploy more cleaning trucks across beaches in the Dominican Republic this summer as part of a wider strategy to tackle sargassum seaweed. The country is also in talks with several firms to devise new ways to use sargassum as fertilizer or other byproducts. 

A white sand beach being cleaned up from sargassum seaweed

Sargassum levels are expected to rise throughout the summer, and experts across several agencies are continuing to closely monitor the situation. 

These Are The Top Alternatives To Sargassum-Filled Beaches In Punta Cana

While Punta Cana’s white-sand beaches remain one of the city’s largest draws, the coastal destination is surprisingly versatile when it comes to other activities.

Punta Cana is just a stone’s throw away from some of the most stunning tropical forests and cenotes, or freshwater sinkholes, which provide relief from both the sun and seaweed.

@marieletanneur Punta Cana 🫶☀️ #domicanrepublic #puntacana #puntacanavacation #puntacanabeach #vacay #trip #beach #allinclusive #islasaona #saonaisland #republicadominicana #traveltiktok #travelpassion #vacaciones #dr #vacation #travel #summervibes #fyp ♬ Danza Kuduro – sina

Some of the hottest tours this summer include this 7-hour excursion to Scape Park, a 247-acre nature reserve where travelers can swim in massive cenotes or glide above the rainforests on thrilling zip lines.

Don’t let sargassum put a damper on your Punta Cana getaway with this combined nature-meets-culture tour. The $65 per person tour includes riding an ATV, tasting local coffee, and exploring an underground river system and stunning waterfall.

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