Is Cancun still covered in seaweed and where can I avoid sargassum?
How bad is seaweed in Cancun right now?
In this article we will show you where to go for Sargassum-Free Beaches and what are the best Sargassum Free Activities in Cancun, the Riviera Maya, Playa del Carmen and Tulum.
Sargassum arrived again at Mexico's most famous beaches in 2021, but there are still many beautiful swimming spots on the Mayan Riviera, Cancun and close to Tulum.
The ocean is a normal part of the marine ecosystem. Until now, algae has not been a problem in Mexico, as algae growth is mostly confined to the North Atlantic. However, over the past five years, Sargassum has slowly expanded into the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico and is present seasonally off the coast of the Mayan Riviera.
Experts speculate that the algae bloom may have been caused by fertilizers getting washed into the ocean or winds crushing the seabed, but the exact cause is unknown.
In case you want to know more about Sargassum read our article: What's Sargassum?
Sargassum in September, October & November
Cancun is still struggling with the arrival of Sargassum, but according to the surveillance network, a major landing is expected in the fall, which could last until September and October. The beaches with the highest seaweed levels are Costa Maya, Tulum and North Cozumel, while Cancun and Mujeres will not be much affected.
Follow our Facebook group Riviera Maya Lovers for more updates like the map below.
Since the development of Cancun during the 70's the Yucatan Peninsula evolved into and has long been one among Mexico's most popular travel destinations because of the variability of natural, archeological, and more increasingly even amusement park attractions for people of all ages.
If you are asking yourself where to go to avoid sargassum in Tulum, Playa del Carmen and Cancun we are sharing here with you our ...
Top 10 List of Sargassum Free Beaches and Activities
1. Yacht or Catamaran Charter
Staying off the coast means staying away from Sargassum. Unwind as you cruise through the turquoise waters, basking in the tropical sun, enjoying a delightful breeze cruising across the Caribbean.
2. Visit Isla Mujeres
Either you decide to spend the day on the island just hanging out on its beautiful and Sargassum free beaches, or boarding your private boat to Isla Mujeres. You certainly will enjoy the combination of exploring the Island, reef snorkeling, and get to see the island from the ocean. Snorkeling usually takes place at two different reefs, including the famous MUSA - Underwater Museum.
Isla Mujeres is the perfect day trip for families, small groups, and couples looking for a relaxing getaway to this Caribbean Island.
3. Go Underground
You probably have heard about cenotes and that the Yucatan Peninsula is very special because of the biggest Underground River System in the world. There is an estimate of 6.000 cenotes spread over the peninsula and not a single one looks alike another.
We highly recommend to swim and snorkel in the crystal clear waters of these amazing places as you discover the hidden beauty of this highly unique ecosystem. The visit of cenotes can be easily combined with other activities, like swimming with sea turtles or zip-lines.
You can easily search on google for popular cenotes like Dos Ojos, Grand Cenote, Calavera near Tulum or Cenote Azul south of Puerto Aventuras and visit these own your own. It is recommended to plan your visit early since these cenotes get very crowded due to their popularity.
If you prefer some privacy and appreciate the peacefulness and exclusivity of a private cenote, you might want to consider our Private Mayan Underworld Exploration.
Contact us with any questions you might have or ask us for a noncommittal customized sample itinerary.
4. Muyil ruins and Mayan channels
Another great Sargassum free place to visit is the rather unknown archaeological site of Muyil and the nearby lagoon of Sian Ka'an.
Experience the gorgeous architectural contrasts of this secretive archaeological site near Tulum. Enjoy an incredibly scenic walk through Muyil's jungle until eventually encountering the completely breathtaking Muyil Lagoon.
There you will board a boat which will take you to a system of ancient Mayan trade channels that function as a sort of "lazy river" where you'll swim in lukewarm turquoise water as you're surrounded by beautiful and exotic mangrove systems.
Muyil is just 20 minutes south of Tulum and if you are looking for a worry-free experience with private transportation and a passionate tour guide we invite to book with us your
5. Snorkeling with Wild Sea Turtles
The Turtle Bay in Akumal is just 20 minutes south of Playa del Carmen and about 30 minutes north of Tulu. The place is popular because it is a wild sea turtle sanctuary protected by the federal government.
We recommend to go there early to enter the bay before standard hours of the regular tour operators. The entrance fee is $100 pesos ($5 USD) and in all fairness, it does give you access to bathrooms, lockers, and showers.
If you would like to encounter the turtles in the most sustainable way, we highly encourage you to hire a local guide and consider wearing a rash guard, since sunscreen is forbidden.
The above shown picture is showing two snorkels with fins. In the spirit of clarity, we would like to point out that this is an older picture and wearing fins in Akumal is not allowed anymore.
The beach in Akumal is being cleaned daily and is inviting for leisure and enjoy the time under a palm tree or the beach restaurant.
Due to its location the turtle bay can be easily combined with a visit of some cenotes, zip-lining activities or some ATV riding.
One of our most popular excursions would begin with snorkeling with sea turtles in Akumal, followed by an exclusive area (not open to the public) deep inside the Mayan jungle where you get to explore 4 different cenotes and enjoy the thrill of crossing one of the biggest cenotes of this area on zip-lines.
6. Zip-lines, Canoes and some of the most beautiful cenotes near Tulum
As mentioned above, the Mayan Riviera does not only have the turquoise waters of the Caribbean to offer.
Besides the huge and very popular places like Xcaret and Xplore, there are many more secluded places, where the tranquility and the joy of having the place completely for yourself is a priceless cornerstone of the entire experience.
You are traveling into the heart of the jungle where the adventure begins by enjoying ziplining, canoeing, cliff diving, and snorkeling all at your own pace in one place. It is worth mentioning that none of the activities are mandatory and that there are hammocks and other peaceful places to relax and observe the thrill seekers.
Finish the day with a visit to an adjacent Mayan village where you will be greeted by a delicious lunch and an opportunity to appreciate the simplicity of the lives of the local villagers. Many times our guests refer to the food prepared there as the best meal they've had during their entire vacation.
In contrast to most of the cenotes and parks like Xcaret, this place is not open to the public and only is giving access to selected tour operators. When other places are getting crowded, noisy and you end up spending more time to wait in line in order to do the activities, this hidden gem close to Tulum will provide you with a day full of fun and long lasting memories.
It is the perfect place for families, wedding groups and company retreats.
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7. Sian Ka'an Wildlife Encounter
The beaches at the nature biosphere of Sian Ka'an are not being cleaned up and therefore you will find seaweed there. The visit of this remote place in the south of Tulum is about nature and the encounter with its wildlife.
There are two ways to experience this beautiful place and depending on your time and how adventurous you are, you can either sign up for a half day or full day excursion.
The half day is giving you a glance by not entering the biosphere too far. You will actually go on a 2 hour boat ride just shortly after you passed the entrance.
The boat is taking you exploring the mangroves and lagoon part of this area. You might get to see crocodiles, manatees and rare birds like the Pink Spoonbill
The second option will take you to Punta Allen, a fishermen's village famous for its Caribbean Spiny lobster and Fly Fishing Championship.
Unlike the vast majority of Punta Allen experiences offered on the market, we use the least amount of rough dirt trails possible, saving you 2 hours on the road.
Expect to see birds, dolphins, sea turtles, and if we are lucky manatees and crocodiles. Part of this tour is a scenic boat ride, snorkeling at the second largest coral reef, and a delicious lunch at the fishermen's village of Punta Allen.
8. Swimming with Whale Sharks
Forget about seaweed and journey on an unforgettable quest to close encounter the largest fish on earth.
During the month of May until September the Mexican Caribbean, in the area close to Isla Mujeres and the Island of Holbox has one of the worlds largest Whale Shark aggregation.
Having the chance to swim next to these gentle giants is a bucket list item for many travelers. Watch the video below to get an idea how a Whale Shark Excursion with Kay Tours looks like.
If you are interested in learning more in detail about these amazing animals and would like to join a virtual tour, read our blog post: Are whale sharks safe to swim with?
In case you are wondering how the excursion works and what you may expect, feel free to listen to our podcast "Whale Shark Tour explained by Nick" where our guest Nick is summing up his experience.
After snorkeling we will take a much-needed break in an incredible beach in Isla Mujeres for a light lunch with soda and bottled water.
9. Encounter with Wild Monkeys
Only one hour from Tulum to the northeast of the Yucatan Peninsula, 18 km north of the archaeological site of Coba you will find a beautiful reserve called Punta Laguna. This place is perfect for nature fanatics who are looking forward to explore the local flora and faune, to enjoy local ecosystems and the Mayan culture.
The most common representation of Punta Laguna is the spider monkey, which has about four hundred to 800 specimens of this charismatic mammal. In addition, there is a small amount of howler monkeys present in this area. Many times you get to hear their impressive noises while walking throught the peaceful forest.
There is a cenote you can explore, a zip-line and canoes to cross the lagoon during your day at Punta Laguna.
If you choose for us to take you there we would finish the day with a traditional Mayan lunch in one of the nearby villages. A complete tourist-free and immersive experience in the heart of the Yucatan Peninsula.
10. Reef Snorkeling in Puerto Morelos
Puerto Morelos is a port city in Mexico on the Caribbean coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, famous for its charming restaurants, wide beaches and snorkeling experiences. The town is located between Cancun and Playa del Carmen on the Riviera Maya, but has retained its original character as a fishermen's village.
The Puerto Morelos Reef National Park offers numerous dive sites along the coast. We consider it the best snorkeling spot the Mayan Riviera has to offer and highly recommend spending a day there. The beaches are wide and the reef is close to the shore. However, it is necessary to get a boat in order to reach the snorkeling spots.
The town placed Sargassum barriers offshore to prevent as much algae as possible from reaching land. Sargassum will be diverted by the barriers and seaweed that does reach land is being removed.
Kay Tours is offering snorkeling twice at two different areas of the reef in Puerto Morelos and we would be happy to take you on a private snorkeling excursion. Feel free to take a look at our related site about Puerto Morelos with combinations of Reef Snorkeling, beautiful cenotes and zip-lines in this area.
Top 10 List of Sargassum Free Beaches and Activities
Yacht or Catamaran Charter
Visit Isla Mujeres
Muyil ruins & Mayan channels
Snorkeling with Wild Sea Turtles
Zip-lines, Canoes and cenotes near Tulum
Sian Ka'an Wildlife Encounter
Swimming with Whale Sharks
Encounter with Wild Monkeys
Reef Snorkeling in Puerto Morelos
We are hoping tyou enjoyed our Top-10 list and you find this information helpful.
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