Why does sargassum seaweed threaten the Caribbean coast?

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First sightings of large amounts of seaweed (sargassum) on the coasts of the Riviera Maya began to be reported in 2014. Since then, the seaweed problem has become increasingly common in this region.

Sargassum has affected numerous beaches along the Mexican Caribbean coast. Although sargassum seaweed is a natural part of the marine ecosystem, an increase in its quantity can be harmful to marine life and to the local economy based on tourism.

The sargassum seaweeds present in the Riviera Maya is a species of planktonic marine algae that resides seasonally in Caribbean waters, although it is totally harmless to humans, in certain cases its presence bothers both due to its smell and its density.

Both these factors make it difficult to access beaches.

Why does sargassum threaten the Caribbean coast?

Sargassum in the Riviera Maya poses a threat not only because of the discomfort of its presence for tourism but also because it is a sign of the great problem that increasingly affects the environment: climate change.

The increase in sea temperature due to pollution is one of the main reasons for the proliferation of sargassum in the Riviera Maya, whose main threat lies in its high oxygen consumption, which could mean an ecological disaster in the medium-long term.

What areas are usually affected by sargassum?

In addition to sargassum in the Riviera Maya, this abundant seaweed is present in many other areas of the Caribbean, including Florida, Guatemala, Panama, and Aruba, as well as several areas of the Caribbean Islands.

Tourists who travel to the Riviera Maya during the sargassum season may encounter the presence of this algae mainly in the area of Playa del Carmen, Tulum, and, to a lesser extent, sargassum in Cancun.

Is there a season for sargassum?

Biologists observed a pattern in the appearance of sargassum in the Riviera Maya, which has led them to conclude that, today and due to air currents, the season of sargassum in the Riviera Maya usually coincides with the months of April to September.

Therefore, if you want to enjoy the Mexican Caribbean beaches without the sargassum present, the best time to travel to the Riviera Maya would be outside of these months.

Is there a solution for sargassum?

This is the big question that both tourists and owners of the best hotels ask about sargassum in the Riviera Maya.

After years of studies and investments, the Mexican government together with the hotels (mainly affected), have devised numerous systems with networks, boats, and special machinery, to stop the arrival of sargassum in the Riviera Maya.

Are you coming on a trip to Riviera Maya?

If you are planning your trip to the Caribbean soon, you should not worry about sargassum in the Riviera Maya since there are numerous possibilities to enjoy this paradise without the presence of sargassum.

Visit some of the Riviera Maya islands, where the presence of sargassum is practically non-existent.

On Holbox, Isla Contoy, Isla Mujeres, and Cozumel, you will be able to enjoy the turquoise waters and white sand of the Caribbean Sea without even remembering the presence of sargassum in other areas of the Riviera Maya.

Excursions to cenotes or theme parks are also a very good alternative to make the most of your vacation in the Mexican Caribbean without being affected by the sargassum in the Riviera Maya.

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