There is a little island called Holbox, about 2 hours plus a 20-minute ferry ride from Cancun, where the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico meet.
The island is a tropical paradise, with friendly locals, beautiful scenery, and, of course, stunning beaches.
Although not as plagued by the annoying seaweed as many of the beaches that line the Mexican Caribbean coast, the island does get its share, and this island near Cancun is asking tourists to ignore the presence of sargassum, and for good reason.
Sargassum is a brown seaweed that gathers out to sea and washes onto the shore of beaches all over the world, including on Mexican Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico beaches.
Often it comes in huge waves, making it difficult to get rid of once it arrives.
Typically the worst time for sargassum arrival is during the spring and summer months.
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How Sargassum Affects Tourists
While sargassum poses no threat to beachgoers, it can be quite annoying.
It emits a foul odor when decomposing, it’s unsightly, and sometimes carries little sand fleas that bite.
Although sargassum isn’t dangerous, it does take away from the overall beach experience for some travelers.
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Why Holbox Is Welcoming Sargassum Now
Holbox gets a minimal amount of sargassum compared to other destinations in the Mexican Caribbean.
What little sargassum the island does get, it’s welcoming, and they are even trying to preserve it, because it is actually beneficial.
According to local ecology professionals, the small amounts of the seaweed work as a defense mechanism against large, crashing waves and help to preserve and prevent deterioration of the beaches.
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Why Ignoring Sargassum Helps The Situation
Ecology professionals say that ignoring the seaweed provides several benefits, in addition to preserving the sand on the beaches.
One is that its presence helps the formation of dunes that protect the shore from large waves during storms.
Another benefit that stems from leaving the sargassum is protection against flooding, an issue that Holbox is known for suffering from.
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The beaches in Holbox are nothing if not stunning and a visit to the island isn’t complete without visiting at least one of its beautiful beaches.
They’re characterized by their crystal clear, shallow turquoise waters and soft white sand that is often sargassum-free.
The top 3 beaches in Holbox are:
- Punta Mosquito
- Playa Holbox
- Punta Cocos
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What Other Areas Are Doing To Get Rid Of Sargassum
While Holbox faces minimum amounts of sargassum on its beaches and actually wants to preserve it for its beneficial properties, beaches along the Mexican Caribbean coast are fighting to get rid of it.
On these beaches, it comes in huge amounts, often covering the beaches during the spring and summer.
Officials in these destinations do everything from putting up barriers out to sea to cleaning it up by hand after its arrival to get rid of it.
Scientists are also trying to come up with more ways to make sargassum useful, such as using it as a fertilizer.
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Other Mexican Caribbean Beaches With Minimal Sargassum
Most of the beaches in the Mexican Caribbean have to deal with excessive amounts of sargassum, but there are a few that only get minimal amounts of the seaweed.
Playa Norte on the island of Isla Mujeres, which is just across from Cancun, rarely deals with excessive sargassum.
Additionally, the beaches on the western side of Cozumel are often sargassum-free.
If you really want to escape the sargassum, though, and don’t mind dealing with what little there is for the benefit of the community, then Holbox’s beaches just might be the place for you.
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