Current Cancun Seaweed Status and Beach Conditions

Learn about the problem of seaweed (sargassum) in Cancun, Mexico, and the efforts being made by the city and local businesses to remove it and prevent it from washing ashore. Stay informed on the latest Cancun seaweed conditions, updates, and maps.

Current Cancun Seaweed Status and Beach Conditions
Cancun Seaweed Conditions Update: Sargassum Alert in Quintana Roo. Credit: Ana Paty Peralta

If you're planning a trip to Cancun and want to know the current Cancun seaweed conditions, here's what you need to know:

As of now, the seaweed conditions in Cancun are moderate, with several beaches affected. However, the Public Services and Federal Maritime Terrestrial Zone (Zofemat) are actively working to keep the beaches clean for visitors. The arrival of seaweed has been earlier than usual, starting in February instead of May or June, likely due to the winds.

According to Esteban Amaro Mauricio, director of the Sargasso Monitoring Network in Quintana Roo, out of the 80 beaches in Quintana Roo, 50% are currently free of sargassum and are suitable for all visitors. However, there are some red spots where sargassum is present, including Tulum, the west coast of Cozumel, Playa del Carmen, and Puerto Morelos.

The good news is that there is less sargassum seaweed on the beaches of Cancun, Isla Mujeres, and Holbox. Zofemat is working hard to remove any sargassum that does make its way to these beaches. Mauricio also reassured the press that the beaches of Cancun are in good condition, but it's important to stay updated on the current seaweed conditions in Cancun.

Current Cancun Seaweed Conditions and Semaphore Map

Blue - no seaweed;
Green - very low;
Yellow - moderate/some patches;
Orange - abundant;
Red - excessive amounts of seaweed.

This is what Cancun beaches look like today. Remember, not all the beaches have seaweed and not every day.

When does the seaweed season start in Cancun?

The seaweed season in Cancun typically begins in May and lasts through October. During this time, the city experiences an influx of seaweed, called Sargassum, which originates in the Gulf of Mexico and is carried by ocean currents to the shores of Cancun. The seaweed can produce a strong, unpleasant odor and can make the beaches and waters less appealing to visitors. The city and local businesses work to remove the seaweed and prevent it from washing ashore, but it continues to be a significant problem during the summer months.

Monitoring and detection of seaweed in Cancun

The monitoring and detection of seaweed in Cancun are typically carried out by local authorities and environmental organizations. These groups use a variety of methods to track the movement and concentrations of seaweed in the waters around Cancun.

This can include using satellites to monitor the ocean currents and identify areas where seaweed is likely to accumulate, as well as deploying teams of researchers to collect samples of seaweed and analyze its composition and growth patterns. By monitoring and detecting the seaweed, these organizations can better understand the problem and develop strategies to mitigate its impact on the local environment and economy.

What is sargassum and where does it come from?

Sargassum is a type of brown algae that is found in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. It is known for its large, floating mats of weeds that can be several meters in diameter, and for its distinctive golden-brown color. Sargassum is a type of seaweed that is native to the Gulf of Mexico, and it typically grows in shallow, warm waters near the shore.

However, it can also be carried by ocean currents to other areas, including the Caribbean Sea and the shores of Cancun, where it can become a problem. Sargassum is a natural part of the ocean ecosystem, and it provides important habitat for a variety of marine life. However, large accumulations of seaweed can produce a strong, unpleasant odor and can make the waters and beaches less appealing to tourists.

Sustainable solutions to the seaweed problem

There are several potential sustainable solutions to the seaweed problem in Cancun and other areas. Some of these solutions include:

  • Reducing the use of fertilizers and other chemicals in agriculture and landscaping, which can wash into the ocean and contribute to the growth of seaweed
  • Implementing effective sewage treatment systems to prevent nutrient-rich wastewater from flowing into the ocean
  • Planting coastal vegetation, such as mangroves, to help stabilize the shoreline and prevent erosion
  • Restoring and protecting natural habitats, such as coral reefs, which can help to support the growth of seaweed and other marine life
  • Educating the public about the importance of reducing pollution and protecting the ocean environment
  • Developing innovative technologies and techniques for removing and processing seaweed, such as using it as a source of biofuel or fertilizer.

Implementing these solutions will require collaboration and cooperation between local governments, businesses, and environmental organizations. It is important to find sustainable, long-term solutions to the seaweed problem to protect the ocean environment and the livelihoods of those who depend on it.

Data and sources: The Federal Maritime Terrestrial Zone Benito Juarez, Quintana Roo Sargasso Network and Observatorio Ciudadano Sargazo