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Red Seaweed Covers Playa del Carmen Beaches Ahead Of Sargassum Season

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Travelers headed to Playa del Carmen beaches this week might come across an unexpected sight: red seaweed.

Travelers and residents have taken to social media in recent days to share images and videos of the strange seaweed, which many have confused with sargassum.

A popular Playa del Carmen beach covered in sargassum

Although the sargassum season is expected to officially begin sometime in February, travelers may encounter other types of seaweed in Playa del Carmen over the coming weeks.

Playa del Carmen is home to dozens of white-sand beaches, many of which are located close to the city’s vibrant downtown area.

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As the coastal hotspot gears up for a busy start to 2024, here’s a look at the latest reports of red seaweed in Playa del Carmen.

Travelers Surprised By Appearance Of Red Seaweed In Popular Playa del Carmen Beach

Playa del Carmen is one of the hottest beach destinations in the Mexican Caribbean, welcoming over a million travelers during the busy winter period alone.

Most travelers headed to the sunny destination this winter will undoubtedly flock to the city’s plentiful white-sand beaches, which are known for their excellent cleanliness and safety.

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This week though, travelers and residents came across a rare phenomenon, as several of Playa del Carmen’s beaches began accumulating an unusual type of red seaweed. There’s no reason to be concerned, officials say, despite the seaweed’s off-putting color.

Most sightings of the red seaweed have been reported in and around El Recodo beach in downtown Playa del Carmen. The beach, which recently fully reopened to the public, was restored to its former condition using sand derived from finely ground sargassum seaweed.

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Meanwhile, authorities are continuing to monitor the quantity of seaweed washing up on Playa del Carmen shores. For now, travelers are still welcome to visit El Recodo and enjoy the area’s stunning azure waters.

Experts have added that the appearance of red seaweed in the Mexican Caribbean is an indication of the arrival of the sargassum season.

This year, Playa del Carmen is expected to see a similar amount of the macro algae as last year. 2023 was a mixed bag in terms of sargassum arrivals, with some periods of the year seeing records of the smelly seaweed, whereas other months saw unusually low quantities.

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Be that as it may, officials are redoubling efforts to combat the effects of the unpleasant-looking seaweed this year. Unlike last year, when anti-sargassum barriers were installed in May, officials want to begin deploying the barriers as early as March.

Playa del Carmen officials also plan to hire more beach cleaners in an attempt to protect the city’s shores from becoming covered in sargassum seaweed. Even though sargassum is mostly harmless, it emits a foul odor that can deter travelers from flocking to local beaches.

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January and February are some of the busiest times for travel to Playa del Carmen as American travelers seek to escape frigid northern temperatures. Last year, the sargassum season began unusually early, although this year, experts believe that the macroalgae should start appearing on beaches in significant quantities in late February.

Playa del Carmen is currently home to several of the Mexican Caribbean’s top beaches. The city’s soaring popularity as a travel destination has prompted officials to increase the number of lifeguards on popular beaches, as well as to construct more lifeguard towers.

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Some of the most popular beaches in Playa del Carmen include Playa Esmeralda, located just north of downtown Playa. The beach is famous for its cenote-like pools and the lack of infrastructure, giving it a more remote vibe.

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