Cenotes in the Mexican Caribbean are turning out to be a popular alternative for visitors this summer as Cancun beaches report high sargassum levels. With the summer season starting in just a few days, tourists are starting to discover the hidden beauty of these natural pools that can be found around the state.
Cenotes are naturally formed sinkholes that contain crystal-clear groundwater, making them a great choice to avoid sargassum. Offering much more than just swimming, cenotes are experiencing renewed popularity this summer as sargassum continues washing up on Mexico’s shores. Although cenotes can be found in several Mexican regions, they have a special place in the Yucatán Peninsula thanks to their history in the Mayan culture.
Due to their isolation from tropical beaches, they are also naturally protected from sargassum and have exceptionally clear water. As rain falls, it filters through the ground, giving cenote water its beautiful blue color. Moreover, the water is fresh and cool, with an average temperature of just 24° celsius.
These natural formations can be found all along the Mexican Caribbean coast, although some of them are rather remote. That’s why tourists are encouraged to book a guided tour which usually includes several top-rated cenotes in a single package as well as other outdoor activities such as ziplining or kayaking.
According to local tour operators, tourists are increasingly choosing to visit local cenotes when high levels of sargassum are reported on popular beaches. This year, sargassum started washing up on Mexican shores back in March, earlier than usual. Despite various clean-up efforts from both local and national authorities, the issue has persisted well into the summer. Although sargassum levels have receded slightly this week, it can be hard to predict its arrival, which may potentially spoil an otherwise perfect day at the beach.
There are several famed cenotes around the Mexican Caribbean, which tourists can visit alone or by booking a tour. The Yax Muul cenote park in between Tulum and Playa del Carmen has recently gained popularity due to the different activities tourists can enjoy there. Many tourists are surprised by the natural beauty of these pools, which offer a lot more than just clear water. In addition to swimming, cenotes offer a unique opportunity to practice several water activities including snorkeling or kayaking.
According to Pablo Carbajal, the park’s operations director, cenotes are a unique place to practice a variety of outdoor sports and activities. When it comes to swimming, tourists can enjoy the crystal clear waters without having to worry about running into sargassum. Visitors can also get an adrenaline rush by riding a zipline over some of the area’s most stunning cenotes.
For tourists that would rather explore the area’s cenotes on their own, the Ruta de los Cenotes (the route of the cenotes) is a popular choice. This 20-mile stretch of road just south of Puerto Morelos stops at several top-rated cenotes such as the huge Las Mojarras pool.
Sargassum Levels Decreasing Slightly As Summer Season Begins
Cancun hotels were greeted with good news this week when it was reported that sargassum levels finally began to decrease just as the summer vacation season begins. This is thanks to a large-scale cleanup effort by Cancun authorities, who managed to clear up more than 800 tonnes of seaweed in June alone.
The issue isn’t expected to resolve any time soon as global warming continues to warm up the sea temperatures. However, officials have stepped up cleaning efforts as the summer season approaches, with cities such as Cancun and Playa del Carmen removing record levels of intrusive seaweed.
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