The Mysterious Case of Cancun’s Seaweed Season

So you’ve chosen to vacation in Cancun in the late fall, and you’re excited to be surrounded by crystal clear ocean water and white sandy beaches, but something doesn’t look quite right – not only are there tons of seaweed along the shore, but they seem to be floating on top of the water! How can this be? You soon find out that it’s Cancun’s seaweed season and learn some fascinating information about the cycle of this natural phenomenon.
Cancun, Mexico’s biggest beach city, expects to pull in more than 10 million tourists this year, and most of those tourists are looking forward to spending their days on the long and beautiful coastline near the resort areas of Isla Mujeres and Playa del Carmen. But Cancun’s famous beaches have an unwelcome visitor every summer – an undersea invasion by massive floating seaweed masses called Sargassum muticum, also known as Cancun’s seaweed season. How does this seaweed invasion happen? Why does it come every year?

What months have the most seaweed..

While seaweed season occurs in many places around the world, it is particularly notable in certain months when cancun has seaweed. Those months are typically March to June and September to November because they correspond to the rainy season. In other words, during those periods, storm surges and winds create an environment that favors seaweed growth.

It’s mostly harmless, but can be a nuisance..

Cancun is an amazing place, but it has its downsides. One thing that can be a big annoyance are the months when seaweed invades the shorelines. It is mostly harmless, though if you walk in it for too long it will start to itch your skin. If you’re at a hotel near the beach and there’s seaweed around your feet all day or something else has ruined the beachfront experience (like those pesky seagulls), then sometimes you just have to take matters into your own hands and find another place to enjoy yourself for a little while.

Some people think it’s actually good for the environment..

There are months when Cancun has seaweed, and many people think it’s actually good for the environment. The seaweed is a natural fertilizer that helps nurture plants in the ocean. Without it, there would be a lot more pollution. We can’t always expect our government to take care of these things, said one long-time resident. Can be off-putting at times; but most locals have learned to live with it and even appreciate its distinctive taste. Others don’t see anything wrong with the situation and don’t understand why outsiders are so preoccupied by it.

It usually goes away by itself after a few weeks..

The seaweed is not only in the water near shore, but also up against and even over some of the seawalls. Fishermen have found that they are able to catch more fish because there are so many people looking for something else to do on the beach instead of swimming in the water. Tourists are also giving their opinions about this time of year being an excellent time for them because it gives them a chance to explore all the different types of food you can find during these months. It’s actually an interesting thing, being in an area where it never rains and yet you still get a rainy season once every ten years or so.

In the meantime, there are ways to cope with it..

A lot of people have been reaching out to me asking for tips on how to cope with the seaweed season. Here are some things that I do:

  • Bring extra clothes with you when you go to the beach or a waterpark.
  • Try not to touch the seaweed at all, if possible (this is hard because it will be everywhere).
  • Wear shoes in the ocean and in rivers/lagoons where there is a ton of seaweed present.
  • Put your towel down before you lay on it so that any seaweed pieces don’t stick onto your skin!
  • Keep your drinks tightly closed so that no sand from the seaweed gets into them!
  • Wash off as soon as you get home from the beach or waterpark to avoid getting algae stuck to your hair and body.


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