Given the ongoing discussion on the topic of Sargassum seaweed in the Mexican Caribbean, we wish to provide this important update to the tourism industry, media and travelers.
While the warm weather of the summer season often brings with it an increased amount of Sargassum seaweed arrival, multiple tracking reports confirm that the season is coming to an end. More than 83% of the beaches frequented by tourists in the Mexican Caribbean are Sargassum free or have only trace amounts of seaweed, and the amount of seaweed arrivals continues to diminish by the day. This is the typical for the month of August, which is when this naturally occurring phenomenon begins to recede.
Governor Carlos Joaquín González recently stated: “Sargassum season is almost over and we can assure travelers and our industry partners that the beaches of the Mexican Caribbean are entirely free of Sargassum; there has not been a significant resurgence of the algae in recent weeks.”
Despite have seen increased levels of Sargassum on our beaches this year, it is important to reiterate that Sargassum can arrive sporadically and does not impact all areas of the coastline at all times. This creates a scenario where there can be high levels in one area of the coast, while others remain pristine. Additionally, extensive efforts by the government and industry have been implemented in recent years in order to block its arrival or quickly remove it from specific areas, especially beaches frequented by tourists.
Given these facts we wish to use this opportunity to share some additional context regarding Sargassum and ensure that this naturally occurring phenomenon is better understood and that the industry, media and consumers feel informed to make smart travel decisions. Media reports have at times exaggerated the impacts on travelers or falsely equated the arrival of the Sargassum season with widespread issues.
Facts about Sargassum and it’s seasonal arrival across the Western Hemisphere
- Sargassum is a natural, regional phenomenon that brings this seaweed to more than 17 countries each year, typically during May through September, including the U.S., Mexico, Caribbean nations and several across Central and South America. It can arrive during different time periods and in varying quantities across the region.
- Actions to combat Sargassum continue and Mexico has been one of the most proactive nations in terms of investing in new equipment, technology and innovations to either block its arrival to coastlines, or as it arrives, implement regular removal protocols so that the natural ecosystems and beautiful beaches are not impacted.
- Even during this most recent Sargassum season in 2019, there were countless popular beaches that received zero or only trace amounts of Sargassum. Others who did receive larger amounts implemented more extensive blocking and cleanup efforts and saw them yield impressive results in minimizing its impacts.
- Media reports tend to generalize the issue, depicting Sargassum as a surprising situation or one which is widespread, using the most sensational photos in their stories. This often causes unnecessary concern amongst the industry and travelers and has been another aspect of the Sargassum season that the Mexican Caribbean has worked to proactively address through a variety of communications campaigns.
- It’s recommended that if members of the industry or travelers have questions or concerns about Sargassum that they always reach out directly to their travel agents, tour operators or hotels, who can provide accurate, real-time information pertaining to the locations they wish to visit. This is essential because it’s often the case that while Sargassum exists in one area, another, even just a few miles away, is Sargassum free. This is yet another reason why avoiding sensational media reports and speaking to members of the industry and directly to your travel provider is essential. Many hotels even offer live webcams showing their beautiful beaches, which is another excellent resource.
Below you can find today’s report showcasing Sargassum levels at popular beaches and destinations across the Mexican Caribbean.
Green: low presence of sargassum
Yellow:moderate presence of sargassum
Orange:abundant presence of sargassum
Red:excessive presence of sargassum
Quintana Roo Tourism Board Statement
27 AUG 2019