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Playa Del Carmen Prepares To Remove Sargassum As Massive Amounts Arrive On The Beaches 

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In recent days the arrival of sargassum in Playa del Carmen has been occurring at higher levels than usual for this early in the season.  So much sargassum is arriving that it has prompted the local government to spring into action to clear the beaches.  Now, Playa del Carmen is preparing to remove the sargassum as massive amounts continue to arrive.     

Sargassum Being Cleaned From a Beach in Playa del Carmen

Definition Of Sargassum 

Sargassum is a brown seaweed that typically forms large floating masses.  It starts in the Atlantic, where the Sargasso Sea is formed from huge amounts of the seaweed and is carried to the Mexican Caribbean by ocean currents.  It washes up on the beaches all along the Mexican Caribbean coast, interfering with the natural beauty of beaches in places like Playa del Carmen, Cancun, and Tulum. 

Sargassum on a Beach in Playa del Carmen

Effects Of Sargassum  

Sargassum on the beaches of Playa del Carmen is unsightly, but beyond that, it doesn’t have much of an effect on tourists or tourism.  The brown seaweed tends to smell bad when it decays on the beach, but it doesn’t cause any physical harm to tourists.  Furthermore, it doesn’t seem to stop travelers from visiting tourist destinations in the Mexican Caribbean, like Playa del Carmen, as the region is welcoming tourists in record-breaking numbers.   

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Tourists on a Beach in Playa del Carmen with Sargassum Along the Beach

Sargassum Season 

Sargassum season in the Mexican Caribbean typically runs from May through October, with July and August generally being the worst months for its arrival.  This year the season started much earlier, though, with the first arrivals of the seaweed starting as early as January.  Several beaches in Cancun have been affected, as well as the most popular beach in Isla Mujeres, an area typically not as affected as others, and now Playa del Carmen is seeing its arrival as well. 

Large Pile of Sargassum and a Tourist Walking on the Beach in Playa del Carmen

Prevention And Removal Of Sargassum 

Both prevention of sargassum and removal methods have been and are being utilized by public officials, but it comes in such large amounts sometimes that it is nearly impossible to keep up with.  Naval ships are sometimes used to collect it before it reaches the beaches, and barriers have been used in certain areas to block it from washing ashore.  But the most common method of keeping sargassum off of Mexican Caribbean beaches is removal after its arrival. 

Sargassum boats in the water trying to address the sargassum problem in Playa del Carmen.

Sargassum Removal In The Mexican Caribbean 

The removal of sargassum is mostly done by hand and with heavy equipment, with volunteers and local officials working together to remove the seaweed from beaches.  In the case of Playa del Carmen, it was announced earlier in the month that new equipment would be arriving to help with removal, in addition to containers for the temporary storage of sargassum.  It was also announced that a barrier would be installed in the marina area. 

Massive Arrival of Sargassum on Playa del Carmen Beach.

Response From Playa Del Carmen Officials  

Lili Campos Miranda, municipal president of Solidaridad, is addressing the sargassum situation in Playa del Carmen by calling on citizens and the government to work together to prevent and remove it.  She said, “I invite and call on all the people of Solidaridad so that they can join this sargassum cleansing.”  After thanking citizens and the municipal government for their support in the removal of sargassum she went on to say that “as part of the Zofemat government, it is already totally ready to attend to the sargassum as it arrives.” 

PLAYA DEL CARMEN,MEXICO - APRIL 19,2019 : The beach at Playa del Carmen invaded by Sargassum seaweed.

Only time will tell if the arrival of sargassum will be as bad this year as it was last year, which was one of the worst seasons on record.  However, it turns out, though, Playa del Carmen is preparing to address the situation.

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Tuesday 14th of March 2023

The only reason it hasn’t slowed tourists because we didn’t know it is there and how awful its stench is. If we knew, we would have booked our holiday on the pacific side. It’s so disgusting and has ruined our resort vacation with its stench.


Friday 17th of March 2023

@LoSLI CO, where were you? I’m contemplating cancelling


Sunday 19th of February 2023

Real estate must be hurting because of this problem !


Sunday 19th of February 2023

It’s been several years now that it starts in early February…and not May.