If you’ve ever visited the Mexican Caribbean in the spring or summer, there is a good chance you know what sargassum is.
For those that don’t, it’s a brown seaweed that sometimes washes up on the shores of the region’s beautiful beaches in large masses.
Sargassum season is just around the corner, but there’s good news for those who will be visiting one Mexican Caribbean destination because barriers will be installed in Playa del Carmen before the arrival of sargassum this year.
Where Sargassum Comes From
Sargassum comes from the Atlantic Ocean and makes quite the journey before reaching the Mexican Caribbean.
It gathers while out to sea and forms what is known as the “Sargasso Sea.”
It reaches places like Playa del Carmen by being carried to the region by ocean currents.
@lifeof.hers 📍Playa del Carmen, Mexico, seaweed/sargassum season, July 2021 #fyp #travellife #traveller #mexicotravel #playadelcarmenmexico #sargassum ♬ original sound – Ivca
Sargassum Season In Playa Del Carmen
Sargassum has been known to arrive in the Mexican Caribbean as early as February.
The peak of the season is typically from April to August, but it’s been known to wash up on Playa del Carmen’s beaches as late as October.
After this time, there is generally very little sargassum from October through March.
@elwih Sargassum in Playa Del Carmen after à Rain #Rain #playadelcarmen #mexico #beach #pollution ♬ Oh No – Kreepa
How Sargassum Affects Tourists
There are no physical dangers related to coming in contact with sargassum other than the occasional bite from tiny fleas that can live in it.
It does have a foul smell when it is decomposing, though, and at the very least, it is unsightly.
For these reasons, it interferes with tourists’ enjoyment of the beaches when visiting Playa del Carmen and other Mexican Caribbean vacation destinations.
@tanisha.cherry Sad i didnt get to go in the water 😭 #tanishacherry #playadcarmen #travelmexico #sargassum #seaweed #sargassumseason #mexicobeaches #playadelcarmenbeach ♬ Bombastic Side Eye Criminal Offensive Side Eye – CasaDi
What Barriers Do To Help The Situation
Sargassum barriers are placed out to sea to stop sargassum from reaching the coast because it takes a lot of work to clean it up once it does.
While it might not stop all of the sargassum from reaching the shores of Playa del Carmen’s otherwise stunning beaches, it does definitely minimize it.
According to Playa del Carmen officials, barriers will be installed by March, ahead of the start of the peak season.
@chachoriveraoficial Sargazo Playa Del Carmen 4 agosto 2023 #sargazo #playadelcarmen ♬ sonido original – Chacho Rivera
Other Ways Officials Are Keeping Sargassum Off Of Playa Del Carmen Beaches
Once sargassum arrives on the beaches of Playa del Carmen, machinery and people are used to remove it.
There are other ways that it is prevented from reaching the beaches too.
One of those is using naval ships that collect it while it’s still out to sea.
Officials are looking into how the collected sargassum can be turned into fuel or fertilizer as a way to get rid of it.
@stephanierenee The sargassum (seaweed) was bad in certain areas. It was hard to enjoy the beach. Still a nice view #sargassum #cancun #cozumel #playadelcarmen #seaweed #beach #girlstrip #blackgirlstravel #traveltiktok ♬ Vamos Pa La Playa – Carlos Viernes
Beaches Near Playa Del Carmen That Get Minimal Sargassum
Sargassum can make an appearance on any Mexican Caribbean beach, but there are a couple of places that you can go that have less of it, and sometimes don’t have any at all.
The first one is very close to Playa del Carmen, and, in fact, is only a ferry ride away, and that is the island of Cozumel.
More specifically, the west side of the island is known to get very little sargassum.
The other place is the island of Isla Mujeres, which is off of the coast of Cancun and typically gets minimal amounts of sargassum.
@gladysyaneth7 #islamujeres #quintanaroo #mexico #caribean #sargazo #sargazocancun ♬ How You Like That – BLACKPINK
Best Time To Visit Playa Del Carmen To Avoid Sargassum
If sargassum is something you don’t want to deal with when vacationing in Playa del Carmen or other Mexican Caribbean vacation destinations, there’s a good chance you’ll avoid it if you don’t visit during sargassum season.
Visiting between October and March will give you the best shot at avoiding it.
If you do visit during sargassum season, though, there are plenty of things to do in Playa del Carmen that don’t involve the beaches.
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