In recent years, the natural phenomenon of sargassum has been causing many issues for the Mexican Caribbean and Yucatan Peninsula.
The masses of smelly, brown algae have been washing up on some of southeastern Mexico’s most beautiful beaches, much to the dismay of hoteliers and tourists.
That is why some hotels in the Riviera Maya are installing containment barriers in order to tackle the issue, and prevent the seaweed arriving on their golden, sandy coastlines.
New Sargassum Barriers Installed
As the Mexican Caribbean experiences a tourism boom like it never has before, authorities have put their heads together to ensure that this natural phenomenon does not deter visitors from arriving at its doorstep.
@themoniverse Replying to @raynydazee definitely. #cancunmexico #traveltips #seaweedseason #sargassum #rainyseason #traveltok #blackgirlstravel #fyp #foryoupage ♬ Flowers – Miley Cyrus
Already tasked with preventing the massive arrival of the seaweed, the Secretariat of the Navy had planned to use its ships to collect the sargassum before it reached the shore.
However, hoteliers in the Riviera Maya wanted to go one step further and install barriers in the sea as an extra precaution.
Over 1,480 meters of sargassum containment barriers have been installed, covering hotspot areas such as Playa del Carmen, Tulum, Chemuyil, and Cheymulito, in an experiment that is the first of its kind in Quintana Roo.
@mybeepy Best time to go to Cancun without seaweed (sargazo or sargassum) and the top 3 beaches to visit #cancun #travel #mexicotravel ♬ sonido original – Beepy
According to the Sargasso Monitoring Network, an independent organization that maps and forecasts the arrival of sargassum for local authorities and visitors, the current areas being affected the most by the natural phenomenon are Xcacel-Xcacelito and Akumal.
Though there has been no confirmation from authorities that other points are expected to receive the installation, if it is deemed a success, it is only a matter of time before sargassum could be a thing of the past, giving hoteliers one less headache to deal with.
While these barriers are obviously a miraculous idea in theory, only time will tell if it achieves what it is set out to do, and some environmentalists have their doubts.
They are worried that it could cause other negative impacts on the coastline, creating bigger, far-reaching problems.
If weather conditions create strong waves on a particular day, this does have the potential to burst the containment barriers, not only allowing sargassum to pass through it again but also having other negative impacts on marine life and the underwater ecosystem that surrounds it.
One thing is certain: the Mexican Caribbean needs to find an effective method of preventing the seaweed as soon as possible, as the problem doesn’t look like it will stop soon.
Cancun Sargassum Season To Arrive Early
It’s not the best news for people who have already booked their next trip to Cancun, but the sargassum season is projected to arrive earlier than usual this year, just as it did in 2023.
Normally, the smelly seaweed begins arriving on shores in the Mexican Caribbean at the beginning of spring, as water temperatures begin to rise.
A recent report from the University of South Florida thinks that it could arrive even earlier, much to the dismay of hoteliers and tourists.
The issue is not specific to just the Mexican Caribbean, with other Caribbean islands and even Florida experiencing the same problem, and one theory that suggests why this is happening more than any other is climate change.
Sargassum seaweed thrives in warm water, and as sea temperatures continue to rise daily, it is no wonder that we are witnessing it more and more.
Luckily, procedures are in place for tackling the issue, and it is no small feat.
Teams of people have been enlisted to monitor and clean beaches experiencing the problem to give tourists the best experience they can while they visit.
Others are part of the task force that is repurposing the sargassum as fertilizer, fuel, and even recycled sand.
One such beach in Playa del Carmen has been made useable again, and that is Playa Recodo, which has returned its mainly eroded coastline back to prominence by using dried sargassum powder as a substitute for sand.
No one knows what the future looks like for the Mexican Caribbean and the sargassum problem that plagues it, but one thing is for certain: they are going to stop at nothing to make sure it does not ruin your much-needed vacation!
Plan Your Next Cancun Vacation:
Traveler Alert: Don’t Forget Travel Insurance For Your Next Trip!
Choose From Thousands of Cancun and Riviera Maya Hotels, Resorts and Hostels with Free Cancellation On Most Properties
↓ Join the community ↓
The Cancun Sun Community FB group has all the latest travel news, conversations and tourism Q&A’s for the Mexican Caribbean
Subscribe to our Latest Posts
Enter your email address to subscribe to The Cancun Sun’s latest breaking news affecting travelers, straight to your inbox.