Authorities in the popular southern resort town of Tulum are stepping up their game to keep the location’s spectacular tropical beaches cleaner than ever before.
Several beaches in the seaside resort destination were recently awarded platinum certification, the highest distinction awarded under Mexico’s strict classification system. The accolade certifies extremely high standards when it comes to matters like cleanliness and minimal environmental impact on local flora and fauna.
Tulum, situated some 80 miles south of Cancun, is one of the most visited resort destinations in the Mexican Caribbean. Aside from its rich history and monumental Mayan ruins, Tulum’s coastline is dotted with beautiful white-sand beaches that give it a reputation as a tropical paradise.
Playa Pescadores, Maya, and Santa Fe were recently awarded platinum certification by Mexico’s environmental authority, which means that they meet stringent cleanliness criteria. The certification also requires local officials and other actors like businesses and civil society to become involved in maintaining beaches in tip-top condition.
Tulum now has approximately 650 meters of platinum-certified white-sand beaches that officials have promised to monitor and protect closely. Authorities say they are now seeking a fourth beach to be awarded the prestigious symbol, Mezzanine, and are hopeful it too can be certified in the near future.
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And with record numbers of travelers expected to visit the location this year, no corners are being cut to preserve Tulum’s reputation as a leading destination. Aside from sun-seeking visitors, Tulum will be hosting some of the largest outdoor music festivals – Tomorrowland is a highlight – in the Mexican Caribbean, which will attract thousands of partygoers.
What Is Platinum Certification?
Beaches that meet extremely high environmental and cleanliness standards are awarded platinum certification by the Mexican Institute of Normalisation and Certification. The select few beaches that have earned the remarkable distinction are also known for their safety, excellent facilities, and accessibility.
Once a beach is awarded platinum certification, it must take measures to protect local flora and fauna and enact stricter cleaning protocols that involve multiple stakeholders, from public officials to local businesses. Mexican authorities regularly evaluate performance to ensure compliance with high standards.
Several Quintana Roo beaches have earned the reputed platinum badge, including Playa del Carmen’s Punta Esmeralda. It’s worth mentioning that although they share some similarities, platinum certification is a separate classification from the Blue Flag system, which is assigned by an international body.
How Much Sargassum Will There Be In Tulum This Year?
Sargassum, a harmless but foul-smelling seaweed, continues to plague beaches across the Mexican Caribbean, including Tulum. Despite being an eyesore for travelers, sargassum is not considered an artificial pollutant and falls outside the scope of human-created waste. As a result, it has no impact on platinum-certified beaches.
Environmental analysis expects 2023 to be one of the worst years on record for sargassum. Although the sargassum season hasn’t begun officially yet, popular Cancun and Isla Mujeres beaches have already reported massive quantities of seaweed washing up on their shores. According to the most recent sargassum update released by the Quintana Roo Sargassum Monitoring Network, Tulum beaches currently present moderate to high levels of sargassum seaweed.
That being said, local officials say they will continue to devise new measures to combat massive sargassum patches, which can weigh up to several tons. Places like Playa del Carmen and Cancun have increased anti-sargassum budgets and implemented new technology to clean up beaches quicker. For the time being, there are only several regions that are seeing low sargassum levels, including Holbox, Isla Mujeres, and the northern regions of Cancun.
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Sunday 19th of February 2023
Sargassum is more than an eyesore. In my last 3 stays since 2020, the problem has grown exponentially and I don't see how that could change for the future. It's like snow in Québec/Canada - on a normal day, you'll see a 6 inch snow bank on the side of the road. After a storm, you will have a 24 inch snowbank blocking your lane way. Here, it's sargassum on the beach.