With Easter time coming up in just a few weeks, Cancun is bracing itself for waves of tourists descending upon its beaches, with some of them more free of sargassum than others.
It’s typically an extremely busy time of the year in terms of both domestic and international travelers arriving in the region, and hotels are already reporting high occupancy levels as travelers scramble to secure a room for the holidays.
Unfortunately for travelers, the expected arrival of sargassum means that beaches will be looking far from their best – though not every beach is set to be covered.
As 2023 looks set to be a record-breaking year for all the wrong reasons, with huge amounts of the stinky seaweed washing up all over the beaches of the Mexican Caribbean, there are only five beaches in the entire region that are expected to be sargassum free throughout the Easter period.
Here’s everything you need to know about finding the sargassum-free beaches on your travels over the next few months, and how the rest of the year looks from a sargassum perspective.
Sargassum Free Beaches – Information For Travelers
Regular visitors to Cancun will be all too familiar with the invasive presence of sargassum by now. A natural macroalgae, sargassum isn’t exactly dangerous to travelers, but it is extremely unsightly – not to mention super stinky.
When the masses of the brown seaweed eventually begin to rot, hydrogen sulfide is released, which carries the unfortunate smell of rotting eggs.
With nose plugs not something a traveler usually packs in their suitcase, here are the beaches to head to if you want to be free from the stench of sargassum.
The most well-known beach that’s expected to remain free of sargassum, for now, is Playa Norte, located on the Isla Mujeres.
Consistently regarded as one of the best beaches in the world, Playa Norte is renowned for its typical crystal-clear waters and white sands that look like they’ve come straight from a postcard.
Accessible by just a 20-minute ferry ride from the mainland, it’s set to be a popular choice for travelers looking to hit up a beach close to Cancun that’s free from the stinky seaweed.
Two more beaches on the Isla Mujeres are also set to benefit from the absence of sargassum throughout Easter, making the island one of the must-visit destinations in the entire Mexican Caribbean.
These are the beaches of Playa Centro and Playa Sur. Located close to Playa Norte, Playa Centro’s southern-facing position is set to see it avoid sargassum, and it is accessible via an 8-minute walk from Playa Norte – making it a good backup if Playa Norte is too busy.
Playa Sur is located on the less-popular southern tip of the island, meaning it is set to be a more relaxed place to visit, and also provides different things to explore for travelers, such as sculptures, cliff faces, and a lighthouse.
The fourth beach that is set to be free of sargassum is also on an island located just 30km north of the popular Isla Mujeres.
Isla Contoy might be less well-known than its southern neighbor, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less beautiful. At just over 3 square kilometers, this island might be tiny, but it sure hits above its weight.
The only way to access this national park is via a tour company, and it has a capped guest limit of just 200 a day, but booking a spot in this paradise could well prove to be the highlight of your trip.
Finally, the fifth and final beach expected to be free of stinky seaweed is Chiquilá. A small town in the northeastern section of the Yutacan peninsula, it’s just 2 hours away from Cancun by taxi.
Usually serving as a launch point for travelers to visit the popular Isla Holbox, sleepy Chiquilá was named as one of the few destinations to be without sargassum – though travelers heading to the town may want to head on a short ferry over to Holbox instead for more to do.
With only five beaches free of sargassum before the next major holiday, travelers should make sure they enjoy them before the situation gets even worse.
This year is expected to be record-breaking in terms of the volume of sargassum washing up, and despite the best efforts of the local government and hotel, there are growing calls to speed up the construction of barriers to prevent beaches from being overwhelmed by the stinky seaweed.
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