After several quiet months in which sargassum on Cancun’s coastline began to feel like a cured ailment, a “perfect storm” to the southeast of the destination changed the course of a sizeable clump of sargassum and redirected it back into the current that snakes its way to the destination’s beautiful beaches.
Naturally, travelers excited about an upcoming vacation will be worried this is a bad omen, but thankfully the sargassum situation remains stable and relatively predictable.
The Affected Beaches
Some of Cancun’s favorite beaches received a fresh batch of sargassum, although many did manage to avoid any serious landfall.
The beaches known to be affected are:
- El Niño
- Las Perlas
It’s also reported that the beach areas between Gaviota Azul and Coral have dodged this latest arrival. This is likely due in part to the extensive anti-sargassum measures that have been put into action this year.
A Sign Of Things To Come?
Travelers would be forgiven for thinking this spells trouble for an upcoming vacation, but rest assured, the outlook for this winter season is shaping up to be super positive.
In fact, it’s looking like this season could be the cleanest since sargassum first began washing up in Cancun nearly a decade ago.
This isn’t by chance, though. The local authorities across the Mexican Caribbean have become extremely proactive post-pandemic, a necessity to coax back the huge numbers of lost travelers during the lockdown periods.
For example, this year the tonnage of sargassum that landed in Cancun recorded an impressive reduction thanks to a mix of at-sea barrier systems and sargassum-catching vessels.
The barrier system has been especially successful, with over 5.5 miles installed so far and even more planned in the near future.
Additionally, the construction of 11 large sargassum ships and 16 smaller support vessels means that Cancun’s sargassum diversion fleet is larger than some nation’s Navy.
54 Boeing 747s
This past sargassum season saw an impressive 24,000 tons of the unwelcome algae collected and prevented from ruining travelers’ beach experience.
As a comparison, that’s the same as 54 Boeing-747 passenger jets or 2,400 school buses!
Not A Cure
Something that should be noted is that the sargassum situation hasn’t been cured in Cancun, although it is being expertly treated.
The blooms of algae that collect in the Sargasso Sea, situated directly east of the state of Florida, are growing year-on-year, with no big-picture plan in place to rectify the situation once and for all.
Universities across North America have been studying it extensively and creating mostly reliable forecasting that allows Caribbean destinations to attempt to combat it once it comes near each destination. But this hasn’t translated into any decisive action at sea.
However, when it comes to localized fixes, Cancun and the wider Mexican Caribbean are leaps and bounds ahead of other destinations in combating their slice of the problem.
The investment this year alone in preventing sargassum from reaching the beaches is astronomical, and that’s not to mention the huge efforts being made by the resorts who now hire clean-up teams to ensure if it does arrive, it doesn’t stay for long.
While no beach is 100% safe from sargassum in Cancun, the huge number in the destination, as well as within just a short journey outside of the city limits, means that there is almost always an alternative beach available that will be clean and sargassum free.
The best way to determine which ones are clear is good old-fashioned word of mouth or from one of the numerous Facebook sargassum monitoring groups.
Some are more reliable than others, but a simple search in the social media platform will bring success.
Although they are almost exclusively in Spanish, they often post clear and easy-to-understand infographics that tag each beach with either a green, amber, or red circle. Each indicates clearly the current situation.
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