Latest Playa del Carmen seaweed update for the 2022 season

Playa del Carmen struggles with the massive arrival of seaweed. The coastal protection fronts that have anti-sargasso barriers were insufficient, as was the case in downtown Playa del Carmen. It is expected that in the following days' sargassum will continue to arrive in high quantities.

Latest Playa del Carmen seaweed update for the 2022 season
Increased sargassum spill on the coasts of Playa del Carmen. Cleaning works are ongoing. Photo by Francisco Y Alex Barba

The high arrival of seaweed on the beaches of downtown Playa del Carmen has left the coast inoperative for the provision of tourist services due to the large amount of seaweed accumulated in the last few hours.

According to tourist service providers in the downtown area of the city, due to this situation, the flow of visitors has dropped considerably, leaving no profits for restaurants and water attraction renters.

"We are in a somewhat complicated situation due to the recent arrival of sargassum that does not allow us to carry out our activities 100% as we would like, mainly because it is difficult for people to approach this area of the beach, there are several situations that prevent them, both transit and the intense odor given off by the seaweed," said Javier Pat Campos, the tourist service provider of the downtown beach area.

The high arrival of seaweed to the coast of the municipality of Solidaridad began last weekend due to the passage of tropical wave number one, which brought winds of more than 40 kilometers per hour.

This is the sargassum semaphore of today's certified beaches. Tuesday, May 24, 2022.
This is the sargassum semaphore of today's certified beaches. Tuesday, May 24, 2022. Green - very low, yellow - moderate, orange - abundant, and red - excessive quantities of seaweed.

Sargasso invades Grupo Xcaret's parks

Reports indicated the arrival of sargassum in high quantities at the Xcaret ecotourism park, where it was impossible to carry out aquatic activities in its well-known cove.

Other points reporting a high amount of seaweed were Mamitas beach, where service providers consulted reported that they had difficulties carrying out their activities all weekend.

The Dirección de Zona Federal Marítimo Terrestre (Zofemat), in its last report, placed the downtown beaches with abundant arrival of sargassum with orange color in its informative semaphore.

Do you know what sargassum is?

Sargassum is a brown seaweed of the genus Sargassum. It can be seen floating on the surface of the ocean. It is composed mainly of two species, S. natans, and S. fluitans. It serves as an important habitat for many marine species, providing food, shade, and shelter for fish, shrimp, crabs, and turtles.

This massive arrival is caused by multiple factors such as the increase of nutrients, water temperature, marine currents, and winds. Atypical quantities of seaweed called sargassum have arrived on the different beaches of the state of Quintana Roo.

One of the causes of this phenomenon has been proposed that it is originated from the detachment of aggregations of this species in the "Sargasso Sea", which is a region of the northern Atlantic Ocean. Sargassum comes from Africa and reaches the part of the Amazon where it begins to nourish, rapidly increasing its volume, and then continues advancing until it reaches the beaches of Playa del Carmen.

The seaweed problem is not exclusive to the state, it is a natural phenomenon present in several parts of the world and even in several areas its arrival is greater, however, it can be emphasized that no one has achieved as much progress as Mexico in the fight against this seaweed.