Villa Margarita St Croix USVI

Sargassum St. Croix 2024 forecast + St. Thomas

St Croix sargassum seaweed map
St Croix sargassum seaweed map

Sargassum seaweed is a growing problem in most of the Caribbean, Florida, and Mexico, but a little planning can help prevent it from ruining your holiday. Here’s some useful information about what causes Sargassum, tips to help avoid Sargassum, as well as the latest Sargassum maps in the US Virgin Islands. Get fresh updates about the St. Croix Sargassum 2024 situation as you plan your trip.

What is Sargassum seaweed?

Sargassum seaweed is a type of large brown algae which floats in large masses on the surface of oceans. It consists of leaf-like appendages, branches, and small berry-like structures. These small “berries” are called pneumatocysts. They are filled with gas which gives sargassum buoyancy and allows it to float.

Sargassum is found as floating patches and large rafts which can stretch for miles across the ocean. This floating habitat often provides refuge and breeding grounds for fish, sea turtles, shrimp and other life. When Sargassum loses its buoyancy, it sinks to the seafloor.

floating sargassum in St. Croix US Virgin Islands

Is Sargassum seaweed harmful to humans?

When large amounts of Sargassum wash up on shore, it decomposes into harmful hydrogen sulfide gas and ammonia, which can cause respiratory and skin irritation. Hydrogen sulfide smells like rotting eggs and can irritate the eyes, nose, and throat. People with asthma or other breathing illnesses are more sensitive to hydrogen sulfide.

Animals living in Sargassum can be dangerous to humans. Tiny organisms that live in Sargassum like larvae of jellyfish may irritate skin if they come in contact with it. And recently the discovery of Vibrio bacteria, also know as flesh-eating bacteria, in Sargassum has increased health worries because it has been know to cause illness and even death upon entering cuts or open wounds in people.

So it’s always best to wear shoes when walking on sargassum on beaches.
large amounts of sargassum seaweed on Caribbean beaches

Where does Sargassum seaweed come from?

Sargassum was named for the Sargasso Sea on the west coast of Africa. Sargassum follows the currents over to Brazil, and then upward into the Caribbean, gulf of Mexico, Florida, and up the east cost of the US.

Over the last decade, an extremely large floating mass of Sargassum seaweed has emerged called the Great Atlantic Sargassum Belt, which as of 2023 weighs 5.5 million metric tonnes and is is 5,000 miles long.

Sargassum map Caribbean seaweed blob

What is causing the giant Sargassum blob?

The recent explosion of Sargassum is attributed to increased nutrient run-off in Brazil (fertilizers and human waste) flowing into the Atlantic from water discharged by the Amazon and upwelling of nutrient-rich currents off West Africa. These combine with increasing sea temperatures to produce a “perfect storm” for rapid Sargassum bloom, resulting the Sargassum blobs all around the Caribbean. The sargassum in St Croix in 2023 was manageable and hopefully 2024 will be as well.

Is there Sargassum in St. Croix USVI now?

The best way to find out whether there is Sargassum today in St. Croix is to check the live webcams at the bottom of this page.

Can I buy Sargassum seaweed trip insurance to protect my trip?

It’s possible to buy Sargassum seaweed travel insurance but expensive. Some insurance providers like Generali offer “Cancellation for Any Reason” trip insurance which can cover sargassum seaweed. It only reimburses 60% of your trip cost, you need to subscribe to a premium plan, plus meet certain requirements such as:

1. You purchased Trip Cancellation For Any Reason within 24 hours of making initial deposit for your trip.
2. You cancel your trip 48 hours or more before your scheduled departure.
3. You insured all of your nonrefundable trip costs that are subject to cancellation penalties.
4. You weren’t disabled from travel when you bought coverage.
5. All insured travelers under the coverage need to cancel in order to use the coverage.
6. The Trip cost per person is no more than $10,000.

Alternatively, you can purchase a policy with some insurance companies (like Travelex) and add a supplement rider to “cancel for any reason”. Again, there are multiple restrictions: you must purchase policy within 21 days of first deposit; you must cancel a month in advance of your trip; maximum reimbursement is only reimburses 75%

Honestly, buying sargassum seaweed trip insurance seems a bit extreme and not worth the money. But some people may enjoy the peace of mind or be looking at avoiding a total write-off on a holiday because of Sargassum seaweed distress.

St. Croix seagrass vs sargassum seaweed?

There is a big difference between seagrass in St. Croix and sargassum seaweed. Seagrass grows naturally along the bottom of some bays & beaches in St. Croix and is not considered a nuisance at all. It often provides a habitat for young fish & turtles which makes snorkeling in theses areas nicer. Seagrass does not float on top of the water in large mats or wash up on beaches and decay.

Sargassum seaweed, on the other hand, does float on the water in large mats, wash up and decay on beaches in large amounts, and is a growing nuisance & health hazard.

In other words, St. Croix seagrass = nice, and sargassum seaweed = bad.

Sargassum Seaweed 2024 Forecast Map

Check the latest sargassum update map for the whole Caribbean including St. Croix & St. Thomas US USVI. Zoom in to any location, watch the past 2 weeks and zoom out to see what might arrive in the next 2 weeks.

Seeing recent flows can help increase your chances of finding sargassum-free beaches or at least beaches without sargassum in massive amounts.

It takes a few seconds to load because it’s a lot of data.

Best Sargassum-free beaches in St. Croix US Virgin Islands

While never guaranteed, your best shot for sargassum-free beaches is the North Shore and the West End. Because Sargassum flows from the southeast, the South Shore & East End get hit the hardest.

Luckily Villa Margarita is located on the North Shore 🙏 plus has reefs right offshore from the beach which tend to keep the sargassum floating on by.

Here are some useful tips to prevent Sargassum from spoiling your Virgin Island vacation. A little planning and flexibility can go a long way.

How to Keep Seaweed From Ruining Your Holiday

  1. Travel between November and May: Sargassum blooms are greatest during the summer when water temperatures are higher. Winter & spring months see much less Sargassum, or none at all. Click here to see the sargassum season.
  2. Get a rental car: having a car gives you great flexibility to choose between beaches. So if the beach where you’re staying has a Sargassum problem you can easily spend your days at other Sargassum-free beaches.
  3. Stay on the West End or North Shore: as said earlier, these sides of the island experiences the lowest levels of St. Croix Sargassum due to the directional flows of the algae and ocean currents.
  4. Focus on land-based activities: there are so many amazing land-based activities on St. Croix that many people overlook because of our great beaches. Try ziplining, a off-road jeep tour, horseback riding, visiting historical sites, etc.
  5. Keep perspective: Sargassum is nature in action, and while it occasionally may create some unpleasantness and odor, don’t let it hijack your holiday. Take it in stride, relax, enjoy another rum punch, and view it as a chance to take in all the many other wonderful pleasures of St. Croix beyond the beach. When life gives you lemons, ask for tequila & salt 😉

Current Sargassum Seaweed Conditions in St. Croix US Virgin Islands

The best way to check the latest St. Croix Sargassum situation is on the Sargassum Map above and with the real-time live St. Croix beach webcams below. These seaweed beach cams will help you sargassum-free beaches which are available TODAY!

Cane Bay Beach webcam – current Sargassum conditions
West side of St Croix – Sargassum status
Christiansted harbor webcam – Sargassum report
The Palms live webcam – Sargassum seaweed forecast
Frederiksted beach webcam – Sargassum-free beaches
Chenay Bay beach webcam- Sargassum update
Green Cay live webcam – Sargassum seaweed report
Tamarind Reef beach sargassum live

St. Croix Sargassum 2024 Forecast

Sargassum seaweed is predicted to return to St. Croix & St. Thomas in April 2024 and will likely last until September. It’s impossible to predict at this stage if it will be a serious problem or minor nuisance. As stated above, there are always plenty of sargassum-free beaches in St. Croix to visit so don’t let it affect your vacation planning. Remember, many other locations get hit a lot worse!

Sargassum St. Thomas 2024 Forecast Report

What’s the current St. Thomas Sargassum seaweed situation? Where can I find St. Thomas Beaches without Sargassum Seaweed?

Click on the live beach cams to find sargassum-free beaches in St. Thomas USVI.

Sapphire Beach St Thomas – sargassum level
Mangrove Lagoon St Thomas sargassum beach cam
St John webcam – seaweed status

Here’s a 3-day Sargassum seaweed St. Thomas forecast 2024 for predictions where the seaweed may appear this week.

Sargassum seaweed in St. John 2024 forecast report St. John beaches without Sargassum seaweed

Looking for St. John beaches without Sargassum seaweed? Then click on live webcams below to see current sargassum conditions in St. John US Virgin Islands:

Frank Bay beach St. John Sargassum levels
Lovango Cay St John USVI sargassum report
Cinnamon & Maho Bay St. John beaches without sargassum
Coral Bay St. John sargassum seaweed tracker 2024
Klein Bay St. John sargassum free beaches 2024 USVI
Rendezous Bay St. John sargassum seaweed
North Side of St. John sargassum 2024 conditions
Hart & Rendezvous Bays St. John live webcam
Cruz Bay St. John beaches without seaweed 2024
Coral Bay St John – Picture Point webcam

Cruz Bay ferry dock – St. John USVI sargassum seaweed 2024
Cruz Bay St John -current sargassum levels
Maho Bay – St. John seaweed-free beaches
Fish Bay St. John USVI sargassum seaweed live beach cam
Tropical Panorama St John webcam

3-day Sargassum Forecast for USVI (St. Croix & St. Thomas)

Click on the map below for real-time satellite Sargassum seaweed forecast for St. Croix & St. Thomas.

USVI sargassum seaweed forecast map
Map of Sargassum predicted in St. Croix in the next 3 days

You can also visit the Satellite-based Sargassum Watch System (SaWS) site with real-time sat photos but you’ll need some technical background to interpret the data.

Caribbean Sargassum Season 2024

The “Caribbean Sargassum seaweed season” usually peaks in summer, from June until September. The sargassum season for Cancun, Mexico, Florida, Punta Cana, and the whole Caribbean can be easily visualized in the below video:

sargassum seaweed forecast map St Thomas Cancun Mexico Florida
Sargassum season for Cancun Mexico Florida St Thomas

NOAA Sargassum seaweed map in 2024

A final and solid resource for real-time sargassum seaweed maps is the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration‘s Ocean Viewer Satellite Seaweed Detection and Monitoring From Space. Here you can find satellite maps and 2024 forecasts of sargassum levels in Florida, Cancun, Mexico, the Caribbean, and of course the US Virgin Islands, as well as sargassum forecasts for 3-14 days. A very valuable resource.

2024 Sargassum update forecast map Florida Cancun Mexico Caribbean
2024 Sargassum update forecast map Florida Cancun Mexico Caribbean

Read more about St. Croix beaches here.

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