The official start of sargassum season might be a couple of months away, but the annoying seaweed has already arrived in several Mexican Caribbean destinations.
The popular destinations of Tulum and Playa del Carmen have already experienced the arrival of sargassum, although levels remain low.
Now, the popular island of Cozumel, which is less than two hours from Cancun, has received its first sargassum arrival of 2024 too.
What Is Sargassum?
Sargassum is a type of seaweed that washes up on not just the beaches in the Mexican Caribbean, but in some destinations on the east coast of the United States as well.
It’s brown and emits a foul odor as it decays on the beaches.
Sargassum is annoying and smelly, but it doesn’t pose any physical threat to humans.
@stephanierenee The sargassum (seaweed) was bad in certain areas. It was hard to enjoy the beach. Still a nice view #sargassum #cancun #cozumel #playadelcarmen #seaweed #beach #girlstrip #blackgirlstravel #traveltiktok ♬ Vamos Pa La Playa – Carlos Viernes
Where Does Sargassum Come From?
Sargassum comes from the Atlantic Ocean.
It gathers out to sea and forms what is known as the Sargasso Sea, and then it reproduces as it floats in the water.
Ocean currents carry it all the way to the Mexican Caribbean and onto the shores of the region’s otherwise stunning beaches.
@cruisingonabudget No one was in the ocean at Paradise Beach because the sargassum was so bad. Beautiful place to visit though! #cozumel #carnivalmardigras #carnival #cruiselife #cruisingonabudget #carnivalcruiseline ♬ original sound – Cruising on a budget!
Sargassum Season In The Mexican Caribbean
Typically sargassum season runs from spring through fall.
Generally speaking, it begins in April and ends in August, but it isn’t uncommon to see it on the beaches outside of these months.
In recent years, as with this year, sargassum has been arriving as early as January and has stuck around as late as October.
@derrick_domore Sargassum on the naked beach! #Cozumel #islandlife ♬ original sound – Derrick DoMore
How Much Sargassum Does Cozumel Get?
While Cozumel is in no way immune to sargassum, it is known for getting a bit less than other Mexican Caribbean destinations, particularly on the shores of certain parts of the island.
The beaches on the west side of the island, which is the more developed side, are often sargassum-free.
West side beaches on the island include Paradise Beach, Playa Corona, Playa Palancar, and Sunset Beach.
@cruisingonabudget Paradise Beach wasn't much of a paradise 😭 #carnivalcruise #carnivalmardigras #carnival #paradisebeach #mexico #cozumel #sargassum #sargassumproblems ♬ original sound – Cruising on a budget!
Ways Officials Get Rid Of Sargassum
Officials try to keep sargassum off of Mexican Caribbean beaches in two ways.
The first is by trying to prevent sargassum from reaching the coast, which they do with sargassum barriers, and by using naval ships to collect it before reaching the shore.
The other is by removing it from the beaches after it arrives, which is done with machines and manual labor.
In a perfect world, all sargassum would be stopped before reaching the coast, but that would be a massive and nearly impossible undertaking.
@d.tadeux Amigos; pues asi el sargazo en Cozumel ): Pero a pesar de eso, me la estoy pasando bomba. 😇 #Cozumel #Sargazo #Cancun #Amigos ♬ noo mis ahorros mi dinero – Toxy0910
Getting To Cozumel
Cozumel sits off of the coast of Playa del Carmen, so to get there from Cancun Airport you’ll need transportation to Playa del Carmen and then you’ll have to take a ferry to the island.
Right now the best methods for getting to Playa del Carmen are a taxi or private transportation, which can run you as much as $100 for a one-way trip.
When the Maya Train route to Playa del Carmen opens up at the end of the month, it will undoubtedly be a more economical way to get to the destination.
Once there, you’ll then catch the ferry for the 45-minute ride to the island, which will cost about $16.
@jbaymedia Current #sargassum #seaweed situation in #playadelcarmen #mexico near the #cozumel ferry. Last year was a hurrendous period for gross #sargasso linning the #beach and it was not nice to swim in at all. It seems the problem has corrected itself 🙂 @JBAYMedia #travel #roadtrip #cancun #caribbean #caribbeantiktok #lifeisshort #beachvibes #travellife #vacation #sunshine #sand #oceanvibes #snorkeling #surfing #tropical #getaway ♬ original sound – JBAYMedia
Best Time To Visit Cozumel To Avoid Sargassum
During the late fall and early winter months, there is typically less sargassum.
Visiting during these months will allow you to enjoy the true beauty of Cozumel’s beaches.
If you do visit during sargassum season, though, it’s still possible to avoid sargassum, it just depends on how bad the season is.
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