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Forget the Seaweed: These Mexican Caribbean Destinations Have a Secret Weapon for Your Next Trip 

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Just because it’s sargassum season in the Mexican Caribbean doesn’t mean that you’ll definitely have to deal with the annoying seaweed if you visit the region.   

There are several reasons why sargassum might be minimal in the destination you’re visiting.   

In fact, if you’re planning to vacation in certain Mexican Caribbean destinations, you can forget the seaweed, because they have a secret weapon that will keep sargassum from ruining your next trip.   

Let’s take a look at what that secret weapon is, and what destinations will be using it, but first, let’s talk about sargassum. 

Aerial View of Sargassum in the Mexican Caribbean in Tulum

What Is Sargassum? 

Simply speaking, sargassum is a form of seaweed that floats on top of the water, but a more in-depth definition would be that it’s a macroalgae.   

Macroalgae is a type of seaweed that does not need to grow flowers to reproduce but rather produces through a process called fragmentation.   

This means that when the algae is broken up by various methods, including animals, waves, and wind, it reproduces, which is why you see such massive amounts of it.   

Sargassum Along a Beach in Tulum, Mexico

Where Does Sargassum Come From? 

Sargassum originates in a portion of the Atlantic Ocean.   

It gathers to form what is called the Sargasso Sea which sits between West Africa and the United States.   

Wind and ocean currents carry the sargassum until it eventually reaches the Mexican Caribbean.   

Sargassum Floating in the Mexican Caribbean Sea With Boats in the Distance

When Is Sargassum Season? 

Sargassum can be present along the Mexican Caribbean coast at any time of the year.   

The official season, though, during which it often arrives in huge amounts, runs from spring to fall.   

It can start as early as February and last up until October.   

Aerial View of Cancun Beach With Some Sargassum

Sargassum Barriers – The Secret Weapon For Fighting Sargassum  

Sargassum is a huge issue for Mexican Caribbean vacation destinations in charge of limiting how much it affects the tourism industry.   

This is why coastal towns up and down the Mexican Caribbean coast have several ways in which to deal with it.   

One of the more effective methods to keep it from reaching the shore is the use of sargassum barriers, which are placed out to sea to block sargassum from washing ashore.   

Sargassum barriers holding back a patch from the beach

Mexican Caribbean Destinations Installing Sargassum Barriers  

While not every Mexican Caribbean destination uses barriers to battle sargassum, there are several that are currently preparing to have them installed.   

Nearly 2.5 miles of barriers will be installed, with the bulk of it being placed in popular destinations like Puerto Morelos, Playa del Carmen, and Tulum.   

Additionally, it was already announced earlier this year that sargassum barriers would be installed in Cancun as well.   

Tropical mexican beach landscape panorama with clear turquoise blue water and seaweed sargazo in Playa del Carmen Mexico.

Other Ways Mexican Caribbean Destinations Battle Sargassum  

In addition to sargassum barriers, there are other ways in which officials block sargassum from reaching the shore in such large amounts and remove it once it does arrive.   

Another method for keeping it out to sea is using Naval ships that collect and dispose of sargassum.   

For the seaweed that makes it to the shore, machines and manual labor are used to collect and dispose of it to keep the usually pristine beaches clean.   

Sargassum cleaning vehicle in Playa Forum, Cancun

Where To Go In The Mexican Caribbean That Has Less Sargassum  

Surprisingly enough, despite the aggressive growth and arrival of sargassum in the Mexican Caribbean, there are areas in the region that get less of it, and sometimes none at all.   

Two places that often deal with very little seaweed are the beautiful islands of Holbox and Isla Mujeres.   

Holbox is a couple of hours from Cancun, but Isla Mujeres, on the other hand, is just a short ferry ride away, and its Playa Norte beach is rarely plagued with massive amounts of sargassum.

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