It looks like some beaches in the Riviera Maya will have at least some amounts of sargassum for the winter travel high season. While it was predicted that sargassum season in Cancun was going to arrive only a few months into the new year, the seaweed-like substance has already been showing up on beaches across the region.
It was reported on Friday that sargassum was found washed up on the shores of Puerto Morelos and Playa del Carmen, two beach destinations just south of Cancun. This is the first significant wave of sargassum to hit the Riviera Maya in 2023, and it’s come earlier than previously predicted.
Waves Of Sargassum Come Much Earlier Than Previously Predicted
Back in November of last year, projections showed that the beaches in Cancun and the Mexican Caribbean would only see low levels of sargassum for the first few months of the year. Of course, this came as amazing news for travelers who come to the Riviera Maya and were looking forward to pristine beaches to sunbathe and swim in for the winter.
The high season for the smelly, brown macroalgae typically ends in October and starts back again in the spring, but sargassum’s high season in the Mexican Caribbean and surrounding region seems to be expanding with each coming year.
The director of Quintana Roo’s Sargassum Monitoring Network, Esteban Amaro Mauricio, explained in the report that Friday’s surprising events occurred because a number of “islands” of the macroalgae have already been building in the Caribbean Sea in areas just a few miles parallel to the coast of the Riviera Maya.
Some of these bunches of sargassum are reportedly up to 25 miles long, and it was only a short matter of time for the waves to wash it up on the nearby Mexican shores.
Influxes Of Sargassum May Continue Along Cancun Beaches In The Coming Weeks
Given this, the local experts have forecasted that the beaches could continue to be majorly affected for up to 72 hours, with waves of sargassum continuing to wash up on the beaches of Puerto Morelos, Playa del Carmen, and even further south in Tulum and Mahahual throughout the weekend.
So far, about 200 miles of coastline has been infiltrated with sargassum, and this includes beaches that are frequented by local and international tourists visiting the Riviera Maya.
Some Of The Sargassum Was Quickly Removed On Beaches
“Since yesterday, there were landfalls in Tulum and (surrounding beaches), but the Directorate of the Federal Maritime Terrestrial Zone was working due to the alert, and the sargassum was removed. We are still expecting the arrival of a cold front of 23 degrees (73 Fahrenheit) for today, and hopefully, that will move the sargassum away from the coast,” Mauricio explained.
The director also noted that while the beaches near Cancun saw fewer amounts of sargassum, there is a possibility that more of the macroalgae will arrive along the shores in the coming weeks. However, they currently predict that the amounts seen in the next few weeks near Cancun will be of “medium to low intensity,” and it will vary according to the region.
“There is no alert recommendation for bathers, it is just a matter of being attentive to the communications. Due to the intensity of the arrivals, these can be collected the same day they arrive, and the intensity is expected to be [the same, i.e., low] until May or June,” Mauricio said.
While all of this does not come as the best news for travelers in the Mexican Caribbean, know that the situation will continue to be monitored. Plus, new equipment will be available this year to help with the intense clean-up process.
Tourists can even check the latest situation for themselves at the Quintana Roo Sargassum Monitoring Network page on Facebook, which is handy if you want to hit the beach but are not sure about the sargassum situation on that particular day.
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