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Cancun Installing Sargassum Barriers To Keep Beaches Clean This Summer 

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If you’re planning a trip to Cancun it’s pretty safe to say that you’re a beach lover, because Cancun’s beaches are the destination’s number one attraction.   

Typically, for much of the year, the stunning white sand beaches are free and clear of a type of seaweed called sargassum.   

During the spring and summer months, though, it’s not uncommon for it to wash ashore, so Cancun is installing sargassum barriers to keep beaches clean this summer according to Jesús Almaguer Salazar, from the Hotel Association of Cancún, Puerto Morelos and Isla Mujeres.

Small Sargassum Barrier in Cancun, Mexico

Sargassum – What It Is And Where It Comes From 

Sargassum is a type of seaweed or macroalgae that isn’t just found in the Mexican Caribbean, but in places along the Atlantic coast in the U.S. too.   

It’s brown in color, emits a somewhat foul odor as it decays on the beaches, and carries tiny bugs that can cause a minor rash for those bitten but are otherwise harmless.   

Sargassum is carried from the Atlantic along ocean currents to the Mexican Caribbean.   

Sargassum in the Caribbean Sea

Sargassum Season In The Mexican Caribbean  

Sargassum may sound like it can really put a damper on your Mexican Caribbean vacation, but there is some good news.   

Sargassum doesn’t typically affect the region’s beaches throughout the entire year but rather washes up during two particular seasons, the spring and the summer.   

If you travel to Cancun during the fall and winter, it’s very likely that you won’t have to share the beach with the annoying seaweed.   

Aerial View of Cancun Beach With Some Sargassum

Using Sargassum Barriers To Combat Seaweed 

Fortunately, for those who want to visit Cancun in the spring or summer, the area makes every effort to keep it off of the beaches as much as possible.   

One way they can do that is with sargassum barriers, which they’ll install before the summer season starts, when sargassum is typically the worst.   

The barriers will be placed out to sea, by the Navy, and will help block sargassum from reaching the shore.    

seaweed barrier placed in water

Other Ways Cancun Is Fighting Sargassum 

Barriers are not the only method that destinations like Cancun have to fight sargassum.   

One commonly used method is using ships and smaller boats to collect the seaweed before it hits the coast.   

Last year the operation of 11 ships and 16 smaller boats, along with barriers, resulted in a reduction of the amount of seaweed that made it to the shore.   

If all else fails, you’ll see workers on the beach removing sargassum.   

Small Ship That Collects Sargassum

Where To Go Only Minutes From Cancun That Has Less Sargassum 

There is also a way that you might be able to escape sargassum while visiting Cancun.   

The island of Isla Mujeres, which sits right across the bay from Cancun, is often without sargassum, particularly on the island’s most popular beach, Playa Norte.   

A ferry ride to this idyllic island only takes about 20-30 minutes and costs just roughly $30 roundtrip.   

Playa Norte beach on Isla Mujeres island near Cancun in Mexico.

Other Mexican Caribbean Destinations That Get Less Sargassum  

There are also several destinations around Cancun that generally get little to no sargassum.   

Costa Mujeres, which is just 30 minutes from Cancun Airport, is one of those destinations.   

Cozumel, which is off the coast of Playa del Carmen is also known for getting minimal amounts of sargassum.   

Pristine Cozumel Beach With Tourists Walking

Things To Do When The Beaches Are Covered In Sargassum 

There are plenty of other things to do if the beaches are covered with sargassum and you want to avoid it.   

There are numerous Mayan archaeological sites and natural swimming holes, called cenotes, all up and down the coast.   

Additionally, several adventure parks are in the region too and can provide hours of fun when sargassum seems to be putting a damper on your Cancun vacation.

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Monday 29th of April 2024

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