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Why does sargassum seaweed threaten the Caribbean coast?

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.

Rising sea temperatures due to pollution are one of the main reasons for the spread of sargassum, the main threat of which is high oxygen consumption, which could spell environmental disaster in the medium 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 visiting the Riviera Maya during sargassum season (in summer months) may encounter the presence of this alga primarily in the areas 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, leading them to conclude that today, due to air currents, the sargassum season usually coincides with the period from April to September.

So if you want to enjoy the beauty of the Mexican Caribbean beaches without the presence of sargassum, the best time to travel to the Riviera Maya will be outside these months, which spans from April to September inclusive.

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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