Last updated on October 3, 2019 at the bottom of the articleToday I decided to write an article about Sargassum in Yucatan. I just came from a 24 day trip to Mexico and I must say that I was shocked by the state of the beaches and the smell on the Riviera Maya coast due to the Sargassum invasion .
Our Roadtrip started with the beaches of Cancún, we went down a little more, but we found beaches spared but we did not find …
The entire coast of the Caribbean side is invaded.
On most beaches the only way to access the water is to walk on heaps of Sargassum and then walk in the water for several meters to cross the “disaster area”. It’s the obstacle course, it smells bad and it’s unpleasant to walk in the middle of these algae!
So much to tell you that we have zapped the beaches for the benefit of cenotes, jungle and lagoons.
Below is a picture of Tulum before the arrival of Sargassum taken when I was in Tulum a few years ago.
Here is the photo of the same beach today in May 2019, it has nothing to do with the landscapes that I knew about ten years ago in Mexico. All the turquoise part disappeared 🙁
Wherever we went we found the same scenery, Cancun, Puerto Morelos, Akumal, Playa del Carmen, Tulum. It is a view that is not dream, it is also one of the biggest ecological disaster that meets the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. The West Indies and West African coasts are also beginning to be affected by Sargassum.
Here is a map showing the presence of sargasses, in red the places where sargasses are present:
Sargassum invasion is due to several causes:
– The first cause is the extermination of fish that eat this seaweed in the natural environment, due to massive overfishing the fish that eat these algae have almost disappeared.
– The second cause is obviously due to the pesticides which are released in the sea on the side of Brazil and more particularly in the river of the amazon. Algae proliferate at sea at a blazing speed thanks to nutrient inputs (phosphate, nitrate) caused by intensive agriculture and leaching of the soil following the growing deforestation of the Amazon.
– The third cause is global warming, which modifies the sea currents and the temperature of the water.
This affects the entire environment and especially plants and fish. The damage is serious, this alga kills fish, crustaceans, corals and plants, decreasing the oxygen normally available for other living beings.
These algae also prevent sea turtles laying eggs from accessing the beaches and small turtles that are born to join the waters.
Sargassum also affects humans and animals who develop eye irritations, sore throat and ears, and nausea caused by hydrogen sulphide, a poison that over a certain concentration blocks cellular respiration.
Bathing in Sargasso shoals can cause skin rashes as important.
I advise you if you want to swim in the sea and see beautiful postcard landscapes to go rather to the side of Holbox where the beaches are spared. This is the only place at sea where we did not find Sargassa too far from the Mayan Riviera.
You can also choose the cenotes, the list is long, I made a fortnight in all the Yucatan and each with its charm or the lagoons, as for example Bacalar.
Updated on 3/09/19>
Today I come to give you news of the sargasses, it seems that Sargassum begin to dissipate for a few days on the coast of Mexico and the authorities also put in place services that collect Sargassum on the beaches most tourist all days, this is the case for example for the archaeological site of Tulum or for 1 month they clean the beach every day. Here is a picture taken yesterday from the site, we finally found beautiful colors;)
Updated on 3/10/2019>
The situation of sargasses has improved significantly.
Most beaches are accessible again, here is a list of the best beaches to do with little or no sargasses:
Plage de sol
South Women Island
Fiesta Americana Villas
Playa Gaviota Azul
Hard Rock hostel
Playa del carmen :
Martina Beach Club
La Jarra Beach
Grand Palladium Riviera
Île de la passion
Zone hôtelière nord
Plage de chankanaab
Akumal et Tulum :
Villa les étoiles
Sian Ka’an Beach
Plage de Pescadores
Le homard de Krazy
El Faro Beach Club
National Beach Club
Do not hesitate if you have questions, I will update this article as often as possible to keep you informed of the evolution of Sargassum on the Riviera Maya.
Good time to you, Maryline.