There’s good news in store for travelers and beach lovers headed to Cancun and the Mexican Caribbean this fall as experts predict sargassum levels to drop significantly over the coming weeks.
Encountering beaches covered in seaweed can be a disappointing experience for countless travelers, especially in a region like the Mexican Caribbean, known for its quaint white-sand shores.
Fortunately, this summer was one of the best on record with regard to sargassum levels, which remained much lower than what previous forecasts had suggested.
With the shoulder season now in full swing, here’s the latest on how much sargassum travelers can expect this fall in Cancun.
New Cleaning Efforts Spruce Up Cancun Beaches
There’s no way around it: Sargassum is here to stay, at least to some extent.
Despite the everlasting presence of the foul-smelling seaweed, new government efforts are helping to eradicate sargassum from Cancun’s beaches.
And now, a new long-term forecast shows that sargassum levels are further expected to drop this fall.
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According to Antonio Chambé, the head of Cancun’s Public Services, officials aren’t nearly as concerned about sargassum as they were earlier this year. Compared to previous years, workers are able to remove sargassum from Cancun beaches in just under two hours on average.
And with the Atlantic hurricane season in full swing, strong ocean currents are helping to push the few remaining sargassum patches away from the Mexican Caribbean shoreline.
The unique phenomenon means that beaches are currently in tip-top shape everywhere from Cancun to Tulum, making this one of the best times for beach lovers.
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The latest weekly report by the Quintana Roo Sargassum Monitoring Network shows that only three beach areas in the Mexican Caribbean – Puerto Morelos, Punta Caracol, and Bahía Petempich – currently have noticeable amounts of sargassum.
Aside from those exceptions, every single beach in the sun-soaked region is classified as having low to non-existent sargassum levels, with shores in Holbox, Isla Contoy, and Isla Mujeres having some of the cleanest beaches around.
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Cancun, the most popular resort hotspot in the region, is also reporting minimal sargassum arrivals.
According to local officials, the most affected beach in the tourist hub this summer was Playa Delfines, although authorities are able to use significantly more resources to clean up the popular attraction due to lower sargassum quantities elsewhere.
Fortunately, Cancun beaches were able to avoid retreating scenes from last summer, when dozens of popular shores were covered by over a foot of sargassum seaweed.
The sargassum season will officially end in November, although it’s entirely possible that it’ll wrap up even before that. The shoulder season, which runs from September until mid-November, is one of the best times to enjoy Cancun’s beaches, which are emptier and almost sargassum-free.
Will Sargassum Remain An Issue In The Future?
2023 is likely to be one of the best years on record in terms of sargassum arrivals, with only several incidents of the macroalgae affecting popular beaches in the Mexican Caribbean.
New government investments in sargassum barriers and new high-tech solutions mean that officials will be more prepared to deal with future arrivals. And although there’s no telling just how much sargassum will wash up in the region in the future, scientists are constantly looking for new ways to transform the foul-smelling seaweed into byproducts.
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In Playa del Carmen, for instance, experts collected massive quantities of sargassum this summer and ground it into a fine powder to mimic white sand, and used the resulting product to restore a famous public beach.
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