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Sargassum Invasion Threatens Pristine Cancun & Mexican Caribbean Beaches 

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Anybody who has ever been to Cancun or other vacation destinations along the Mexican Caribbean coast has probably experienced the beaches with at least a little sargassum.   

It’s a type of algae or seaweed that washes up on the shores every spring and summer.   

So far this year, there hasn’t been too much of it, but now a sargassum invasion is threatening the pristine Cancun and Mexican Caribbean beaches.   

Tourists Standing in Sargassum On a Beach in Cancun, Mexico

Tons Of Sargassum On Its Way To The Mexican Caribbean  

Travelers visiting the Mexican Caribbean so far this year have not had to deal with an excessive amount of sargassum, but that could be about to change.   

According to Navy reports, more than 600 tons of seaweed are floating around the Mexican Caribbean.   

Some of this is projected to land on the coast, affecting destinations from Cancun to Tulum. 

Sargassum Headed Toward a Beach in Front of the Hard Rock Hotel in Cancun, Mexico

Where Does Sargassum Come From? 

Sargassum travels to the Mexican Caribbean from the Atlantic Ocean, which is why it is not uncommon for it to affect Florida beaches as well.   

In the Atlantic, the sargassum gathers and forms what is known as the Sargasso Sea.   

From there, it is carried by currents to the Caribbean Sea and ultimately washes up on the Mexican Caribbean beaches.   

Sargassum In the Atlantic Ocean

The Mexican Caribbean Beaches That Get The Least Sargassum 

While every beach in the Mexican Caribbean sees some sargassum during certain times of the year, some beaches in the region tend to get less of it.   

This is the result of where the beaches are situated along the coast.   

The ones that generally see the least amount of stinky seaweed are the beaches off the coasts of the islands of Isla Mujeres and Cozumel.   

Playa Norte in Isla Mujeres near cancun, the beach is clear and free of sargassum

The Effect Sargassum Has On Tourists 

It’s important to note that sargassum doesn’t cause any real health concerns.   

It can carry small sand fleas that can bite and irritate the skin, but beyond that, it’s more of an annoyance than anything else.   

The problem with it is that it’s unsightly and has a foul smell as it decays on the beaches.   

Huge sargassum patch in the canun hotel zone

How Officials Control Sargassum In The Mexican Caribbean  

Officials do have several ways that they address the sargassum problem, including ways to keep it out to sea and ways to get rid of it once it reaches the shores.   

Recently, more than $3 million was set aside to address sargassum.   

The money will be used for cleaning purposes, as well as for barriers to be placed at sea to block sargassum from reaching the coast.   

Sargassum barrier to block sargassum near Cancun

Other Things To Do When The Beaches Are Covered In Sargassum 

Some travelers don’t mind visiting Mexican Caribbean beaches when there’s sargassum, while others would rather avoid it.   

Fortunately, there are plenty of other things to do when the beaches are covered with sargassum.   

You can take a dip in your hotel pool or a nearby cenote, visit one of the many Mayan archeological sites, spend the day at an adventure park, or take a tour of the surrounding jungle.   

The options are endless… 

Tourists Swimming in a Cenote in the Mexican Caribbean

Best Time To Visit The Mexican Caribbean To Avoid Sargassum  

You can also avoid sargassum by visiting the Mexican Caribbean during certain times of the year.   

Although sargassum can be present at any time of year, there is typically very little to none during the fall and winter months.   

If you visit during the fall, you’ll also enjoy less crowded destinations, which makes for a more relaxing Mexican Caribbean vacation. 

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