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Popular Cenote Near Playa del Carmen Closed Due To Poor Water Quality

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The Punta Esmeralda Cenote is one of the more popular attractions for locals and tourists right outside Playa del Carmen. The body of water is located near a residential area in the outskirts of Playa del Carmen. It’s a truly unique spot because it’s not as hard to access as other cenotes in the area. That’s one of the reasons why it gets plenty of visitors. However, in the last couple of weeks locals reported that the water in the cenote was turning green.

Many People Swimming in Cenote

Authorities moved to close the area off to swimmers. The plan is to keep the cenote closed at least for another week or so. They are doing this to be able to monitor the quality of the water within that time frame. At this point, there are a couple of theories as to why the quality of the water has deteriorated so quickly. By most accounts the excessive number of swimmers in the area isn’t necessarily to blame for the dirty water. Closing off entrance to the cenote though is being done as a precautionary measure. To ensure that people don’t develop any type of adverse condition from swimming in what clearly seems to be contaminated water.

green water in cenote

Why Is The Water In The Cenote Turning Green?

The cenote was typically being supplied with water from a water hole that is located upstream. The nearby Playa Esmeralda which the cenote’s water ends up in has been labeled a blue flag beach. This certification is meant to indicate that the quality of water in the particular beach is above average. With this in mind, it puzzled folks that the water in the cenote would be turning green. 

Waterhole leading to a beach

When looking further into the issue though, they realized that the flow of water to the cenote had essentially stopped. Leaving the water within it, “stuck”. With no natural flow of water, as is often the case, the natural purification process was not occurring. Hence, the cenote’s water started turning green, and a bad odor started filling the area soon after that. 

cenote zaci

The Strategy Is To Let Nature Take Its Course        

For the time being there’s no extensive plan to improve the quality of the water in the cenote. Local authorities are hoping that without human intervention the water will once again flow through its natural course. All the while, they do plan to continue monitoring the quality of the water within the cenote. Initially the area will be closed off for a week. However, local authorities seem to think that this closure could be extended. The director for the local institute for a sustainable environment, and climate change affairs, Luceli Ramos mentioned, 

People swimming and snorkeling in clear water.

“We’re giving the cenote a breather. It was closed off by the relevant authorities. It’s important to point out that this is a spot where a lot of people come, and therefore it’s necessary to give it some rest from time to time. It will continue to be closed until further notice. Studies on the quality of the water will be performed by Zomefat”. 

People Swimming in Cenote

Sargassum Could Be To Blame For This Green Cenote       

Although there has been no official word as to what is actually causing the drop in water quality plenty of theories have been floated around. As we mentioned, the Punta Esmeralda Cenote flows out to the Punta Esmeralda beach. Although it’s essentially a blue flag beach, the area has been plagued by Sargassum issues in the last few weeks.

Sargassum picked up on beach

The foul smelling seaweed very well could be clogging up the natural streams through which water flows in the area. Sargassum collection is set to continue, these efforts may very well prove beneficial to the cenote. In fact, local authorities have opened job vaccines for locals who want a spring job as a sargassum collector.

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