So far, so good – sargassum levels remain low in the Mexican Caribbean!
What is becoming a continuous problem and quite the headache for Mexican officials and businesses is the natural phenomenon that has been washing up on the golden shores of major hotspots like Cancun and Playa Del Carmen for quite some time now, much to the dismay of tourists.
The Mexican Caribbean is world-renowned for having some of the best beaches in the world, as recently reported by travel experts at Lonely Planet.
Recently, that title has come under threat, however, as masses of the brown, smelly seaweed have been causing some “image” issues.
@themichaeyla Secrets Maroma, has THE most beautiful beach in Playa Del Carmen! And its Sargassum FREE because, they have invested to have the beach cleaned, every 30 mins!!! 🌴 #secretsmaromabeach #secretsmaroma #secretsmaromabeachrivieracancun #sargassum #playadelcarmen ♬ Play For Keeps – Runzo
Thankfully, when compared to the same time last year in 2023, sargassum levels are much lower and that gives some reason for optimism!
Sargassum So Far In 2024
The main hotspot that currently has some arrival of sargassum is Playa Del Carmen, and even then it’s fairly low.
@borinquenpassport The most beautiful beach in Playa de Carmen 🌊 📍location at the end #mexico #cancun #tiktoktravel #islandlife #paradise #xcaret ♬ Water – Tyla
While the main beach next to Parque Los Fundadores looks clear from the smelly seaweed, both Playa 88 and Punta Esmeralda, which are located north of the city, have moderate coverage.
In Tulum, sargassum levels remain much lower than in the same period in 2023, when a weather event was the potential cause for making it arrive earlier than planned.
Tulum is taking no chances, however, and being one of the first hotspots to install an anti-sargassum barrier in the ocean to prevent any of the smelly seaweed arriving on its golden shores.
Furthermore, these two destinations are implementing different strategies this year compared to last, with teams in place to clean the beaches at the first sightings of sargassum, preventing it from becoming uncontrollable.
Akumal is also reported to have clean beaches currently, with no seaweed sightings thus far.
Of course, this is great news for the Mexican Caribbean, but it is worth mentioning the inevitable: sargassum is certainly headed for the booming tourist region once more and will most likely land on all the hotspots mentioned above.
Though officials are bringing in new measures and strategies all the time to prevent it from having a negative effect on the tourist experience, they are still in the early stages.
The sargassum prevention barriers are a great idea but we are yet to see if they will actually make a difference…
Only time will tell.
Is It About To Get Worse?
We aren’t officially in sargassum season as of yet, and there are a number of reasons why experts think it could get a whole lot worse before it gets better.
One major theory is the rising temperatures that the earth is currently experiencing, which can be linked to…well…climate change.
Sargassum thrives in hot water temperatures, and with 2023 – 2024 experiencing an El Niño year, where temperatures become unprecedentedly warm, it is not a surprise why this phenomenon is happening full force.
Another theory is that, along with the tourism boom that the Mexican Caribbean is experiencing, a pollution boom is also occurring, causing the smelly seaweed to become more prominent on its shores.
With specific nutrients from waste caused in major cities and roadways, sargassum growth can increase which would explain the increased coverage over the past year.
Whatever the reason, it certainly isn’t going anywhere any time soon…
What To Do Instead If Your Beach Plans Get Ruined
Look, we definitely think there is hope with the new barriers being installed, but just in case, the Mexican Caribbean has a plethora of other fun activities that will make you forget the words “smelly seaweed” in no time.
With the Maya Train up and running and adding more sections and routes in the coming weeks and months, you have ancient Mayan ruins, eco-tourist adventure parks, cenotes, magical towns, breathtaking islands, jungle mangroves, and so much more right at your disposal.
Depending on your location, you pretty much have the option to see all of the mentioned above.
Even if the beaches remain clear from sargassum, you should definitely still be checking out all the other amazing options as well.
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