Seaweed problem in Cancún in 2019
As I walk the beaches and try to avoid the seaweed that is covering the white sand at the shores of Cancún I cannot feel a little worried about the quantities of it, and yet, I have learned on the internet, this is only the beginning. The government is expecting much more.
And fighting it with all means possible.
Boats, trucks with workers and a clean beach policy try to fight the seaweed coming in from the sea.
GOOD NEWS!! For 2020 the predictions look great! Less Sargasso and more equipment. Read it! <<== CLICK
Sargassum is coming in over the Caribbean sea and it seems it is proof of humans not taking good care of the oceans. The bad solutions for sewer problems and so-called grey waters make this kind of seaweed multiple rapidly and it has been a problem since 2014, so I am told.
I think the tons of sunblock we swimmers take into the water might be added to that as well.
Humans have misbalanced the oceans by overfishing and polluting and in return, the ocean throws something back at us.
I have seen the same problem in the Philippines. Where during the El Niño season seaweed and dead seagrass is blow in with the tide. Together with lots of plastic and other domestic rubble.
Here in Cancún at least it is only seaweed, there is hardly any other pollution
The tourist board and government work together with resorts to clean up the beaches. Creating ways to reuse the sargassum, how they can industrializing it for fertilizer and/or animal food. The clean beach policy implicates machines cleaning the beaches but it is a lot of seaweed and a continues process during summer-days.
There are a lot of google searches on topics as:
- how to avoid the seaweed in Cancun,
- is there still seaweed problems in Riviera Maya
- what is the best time to visit avoiding seaweed
- Seaweed Cancun 2019
So I guess it is a major tourist concern.
And I must agree it does not look very nice, although from some points it is not visible since the shoreline is lower than the hotel beaches are. But that is a Tromp-l’oeil, a visual trick. For once you go down to the water the seaweed piles are visible, and those standing on the balcony overlooking the ocean can see the brown-orange seaweed patches float on the turquoise sea.
The other day walking along the shores at the hotel zone, I heard tourists complaining that “ it was not here yesterday”, pointing at the seaweed. And it is depending on the tide and wind for it to wash ashore.
UPDATE September 2019
Seaweed in Cancún and Playa del Carmen, a September update
Don’t miss the video at the bottom of this article!
When there is a lot you will have a hard time finding a sargassum free spot to enter the water and swim around. And although many people do go in the water they find themselves covered with little pieces of seaweed sticking to their bathing suits.
Lucky for us beachgoers, there are showers at every beach access so you can clean up before going back to your hotel
At the moment it is not that bad, but it has been getting worse, and predictions are it will be much worse.
For an UPDATE December 2019 click here
Can you walk over it, is it harmless?
There is no harm done when touching it, there are no health concerns or skin problems when you touch this kind of seaweed. It is kind of soft, moist feeling when you walk over it, like a thick luxurious carpet, but then a bit firm around the edges. And, as I wrote before, there is no garbage in it, like in the Philippines.
But still, it looks alarming when you ride along the coastline and see the seaweed making the water near the shore look dark and not invitingly blue and turquoise.
It must be a downer having paid hundreds of dollars per night for your hotel and finding the normally so gorgeous white sandy beaches and crystal clear waters covered with this vegetation.
I know it would spoil my holiday.
yet there seems to be a way around it, but it takes up a lot of time when the wind is in certain direction parts of the Hotel Zone might be seaweed free, while other parts suffer more. And the later in the day you arrive the more will be on the shores.
So you might be able to work your way around it and still enjoy a nice beach walk and get your feet all sandy and your ankle-deep water walk in the waves.
I took some photos during my last walk, and this is what I found in the first half of April 2019, the beginning is the seaweed period
Update June 2019 in Playa del Carmen
There is a website predicting sargassum and flows, currents and wind
Go to the forecast section and look for Quintana Roo North for Cancún and Quintana Roo South for Playa del Carmen.
all information on this website is free
You can show your appreciation by making a donation for website costs
JC from Holland
Jeanette, a Dutch female nomad, started to travel the world at the age of 17. Walker of beaches, shell searcher, and iPhone photographer. Always horizon bound preferably on a motorcycle. Currently, she she is on a road trip through Mexico She is an emigration coach and works online.