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Cancun And Playa Del Carmen Facing Sargassum Seaweed Invasion Of Over 3 Feet

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Sargassum seaweed keeps ruining travelers' vacations — or at least changing their beach experience. 

This brown alga has been arriving early on Cancun beaches, and now, when sargassum season usually begins, there are already large piles of this seaweed across shorelines.

Sargassum seaweed covering the beach in Playa del Carmen

On Tiktok, travelers have reported the presence of sargassum seaweed in the hotel zone in Cancun, and local news has recently reported large amounts of sargassum in Playa del Carmen, just a few miles away from Cancun. 

According to reports, the Secretariat of the Navy of Mexico (Semar, by its Spanish acronym) issued an alert for “abundant” amounts of sargassum seaweed. 

Semar reported that mounds of sargassum nearly 3 feet high have been covering the beaches in Playa del Carmen in less than 24 hours.

The most affected beaches in Playa del Carmen are Playa El Recodo, Shangri-la, and Mamitas. On Saturday, 14 tons of sargassum were removed from Playa El Recodo, but authorities warned that this is just the beginning; it will continue to arrive. 

In the Quintana Roo region —where Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and other popular beach destinations are located— more sargassum is expected as the season’s peak is usually between June and August. 

Many American travelers considering Cancun for their next vacations should bear in mind the current sargassum situation.

Sargassum In Cancun And Playa del Carmen

The Quintana Roo Sargassum Monitoring Network shared new updates showing that the beaches with the highest levels of sargassum seaweed are in Cozumel: Punta Molas, Playa Xhanan, and Playa El Castillo. 

In Playa del Carmen, the most affected beaches are Playacar Ferry, Playacar ZH Fase1, and Playa El Recodo. Most beaches in Cancun have low levels of sargassum.

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@chachoriveraoficial Mucho Sargazo llegando a Playa Del Carmen🔴 16 Abril 2023🌴 #sargazo #playadelcarmen ♬ sonido original – Chacho Rivera

Fortunately, not all the beautiful beaches in Cancun have been invaded by sargassum. There are popular beach destinations that still have white sand and crystal-clear waters.

Those visiting the popular Isla Mujeres will find sargassum-free beaches and will get to enjoy one of the most beautiful beaches in Mexico, Playa Norte, without the presence of this annoying seaweed.

@natball10 #cancun #seaweed #sargassum ♬ original sound – Nathaniel Ball

Those staying in the Hotel Zone in Cancun might encounter this alga, but all the resorts, along with local authorities, make huge efforts to clean the beaches in that area daily.

So it might be annoying, but only while they haven’t removed it yet. 

New Measures To Keep Sargassum Away

Semar expressed concern regarding the impressive amounts of sargassum seaweed found in Playa del Carmen: ​​”The sargassum accumulates in mounds 70 to 90 centimeters high in less than 24 hours, covering almost the entire beach area and making it impossible to move on foot and with machinery.”

Sargassum washed up on beach

But authorities are already taking action. The municipality of Playa del Carmen has recently announced that this month new sargassum barriers will be installed

With the barriers, authorities expect to reduce cleaning efforts and investments and keep the beaches swimmable and enjoyable for locals and tourists. 

Aerial view of cancun beach with sargassum on it

The barriers will be placed away from the coastline, far enough to block the seaweed from washing up on the coast.

A group of resorts in Riviera Maya also announced new measures a few days ago.

The group will invest $100 million in this project and expects to maintain the beaches in the area clean and sargassum-free. 

Mexican Worker Removing Sargassum Seaweed From A Beach In The Mexican Caribbean, Mexico, As A Beachgoer Walks Into The Sea

The Riviera Maya Hotel Association explained that the new project expects to prevent, collect, and convert sargassum into biofuels.

The plan will run in August, but the full results will probably be visible in 2024. 

Sargassum seaweed has also been arriving at popular beach destinations in the United States. Multiple Florida beaches have piles of this seaweed at the moment, and it is expected to get worse. 

Person Walking At The Beach Over Sargassum Algae

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