Cancun beaches will be free of Sargassum for at least three months

7/9/20222 min read

New projections show that beaches in Cancun and the Mexican Caribbean are expected to be free of Sargassum seaweed for at least another three months. The newly released forecast is good news for the millions of travelers eager to flock to the region's beaches during the winter break, who can expect pristine beaches and plenty of warm tropics. Sargassum levels are expected to remain low for at least another three months, according to the latest estimates released this week.

The Sargasso period officially ended in October, when large amounts of annoying algae stopped bringing to the Mexican Caribbean coast. While algae levels are predicted to drop sharply, beachgoers may occasionally find traces of macroalgae.The recently published long-term forecast for Sargassum is based on analysis by the Quintana Roo Autonomous University in collaboration with other conservation agencies.

According to Albert Pereira Corona, a professor of life sciences at the State University, the forecast is based on wind and ocean current models.“The wind is starting to blow from the north, so most of the sargassum is far from our beaches. According to our projections, a similar situation is likely to continue until February or early March," the professor said in a statement, noting that the main beneficiaries of the situation are improving is the tourist. The absence of sargassum from Quintana Roo's beaches is great news for the local tourism industry and resorts. The winter travel season is expected to break records for international arrivals, with more than 26 million visitors arriving at Cancun International Airport. Travelers can follow Quintana Roo Sargassum's weekly network update to determine the extent of Sargassum in the Mexican Caribbean. According to the last update on November 21, all beaches in Quintana Roo have low levels of sargassum.

Only two beaches, Royalton Riviera and Bahia Petempic, were found to have moderate amounts of seaweed.Meanwhile, authorities at Ugroo, a state university, and several other security agencies continue to conduct detailed studies of the sargassum. The effort is part of a broader fight against Sargassum, the disease that is having a devastating impact on the tourism industry in the Mexican Caribbean, which includes popular resorts like Cancun and Playa del Carmen. The goal, the researchers say, is to learn how to use Sargassum algae for fuel or for industrial purposes. Sargassum levels have remained unusually high this year, especially in the summer, damaging the reputations of countless popular beaches.

In August, Cancun's Playa Defines was almost completely covered in Sargassum seaweed, drawing criticism from tourists and hotels alike. Despite a large team of cleaners working around the clock to clean popular beaches, Sargassum is a macroalgae that arrives in large numbers from the Atlantic Ocean. Many of the major resorts in Cancun also hire private cleaning companies to keep the beaches clean for discerning guests. In addition to regular cleaning, officials had to install makeshift barriers to prevent algae from spilling onto shore.

However, experts say this is only a temporary solution to a problem that requires a long-term approach. Authorities are currently looking at ways to ensure Sargassum levels remain manageable in the future.Climate change and increasing ocean temperatures around the world are also thought to be responsible for exacerbating sargassum levels. The local government is preparing for a busy 2023. Sargassum season will officially begin in March when more seaweed begins to appear on Mexico's Caribbean coast. For now, travelers to Cancun can expect relatively low levels of macroalgae.