As the temperatures start to drop in places like Canada and the northern part of the U.S., Cancun continues to experience warm weather. In addition to the mild temperatures, the departure of sargassum is making the beaches attractive to locals and tourists right now. For these reasons, beachgoers can expect some of these beaches to be packed for the foreseeable future.
October is a great time to visit Cancun, despite the fact that the popular vacation destination usually still gets some rain. September is the rainiest month, so the chance of rain does start to dwindle in October, especially when it gets to be later in the month. The temperature in October averages around 80 degrees but can range from anywhere between 75 and 88, so when they do get those sunny fall days, the weather can be nearly perfect.
The sargassum problem experienced by many Mexican Caribbean tourist destinations, including Cancun, is the worst in the spring and summer. By October, it starts to slow down, making it more manageable to clean up what little bit does still wash ashore. Numerous methods of dealing with sargassum are being researched and tested, but the amount of it has increased so much over the last decade that it’s getting more and more difficult to manage during the heaviest season.
Sargassum is a brown seaweed or macroalgae that grows out at sea and floats on the surface of the ocean, never attaching itself to the ocean floor. It floats in large, sometimes huge, masses that move with the current and eventually get washed up onto many tropical beaches, not only in Mexico but on beaches in more than 30 countries worldwide too. Although sargassum is not toxic, it does emit an unpleasant smell during the decomposition stage that deters beachgoers from enjoying a day at the beach.
The Quintana Roo Sargasso Monitoring Network tracks the arrival and departure of sargassum on the beaches within the state. This includes popular tourist destinations like Playa del Carmen, Tulum, Cozumel, Isla Mujeres, and of course, Cancun. All of these Riviera Maya region cities and towns deal with excessive sargassum during the spring and summer months and welcome the departure of the annoying seaweed, even if only for a few months during the fall and winter seasons.
The monitoring system rates all of the beaches in each of the popular tourist destinations based on the level of sargassum present at any given time. It uses a “traffic light” system to signify the current levels of sargassum. The traffic light is broken down into the following categories:
- Red = (Excesivo) Excessive Sargassum
- Orange = (Abundante) Abundant Sargassum
- Yellow = (Moderado) Moderate Sargassum
- Green = (Muy Bajo) Very Low Sargassum
- Blue = (Sin Sargazo) Without Sargassum
Currently, the Quintana Roo Sargasso Monitoring Network is reporting that out of 80 beaches being monitored, none are in the Red or Orange. This means no beaches on the Mexican Caribbean coast currently have excessive or even abundant sargassum. There are a total of 15 beaches with moderate sargassum right now and 65 with only a very low level of sargassum.
Visiting Cancun in October means fewer crowds in addition to the mild temperatures and nearly nonexistent levels of sargassum, but the beaches will still be busy. As December approaches, the area gets much busier and the temperatures a little bit cooler. For those looking for a more laid-back vacation without all the crowds and weather still warm enough to enjoy the beaches, without all the sargassum seen in the summer, then October is the perfect time to go.
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