Short answer, yes. Long answer … well, keep reading. I stayed for two months in Tulum and had a fabulous time. But I literally only went to the beach once. Why? Because of the seaweed, or Sargassum in Tulum.
Don’t think that it won’t affect your trip, it likely will. Keep reading to find out more about this huge sargassum problem that everyone pretends doesn’t exist.
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What is Sargassum/Sargasso? What’s so bad about it?
Sargassum is a type of brown algae, and is a result of climate change and other global environmental declines. It festers and comes from the Coast of West Africa and moves to the Caribbean from the currents.
It is not regular seaweed or algae you are used to in other parts of the world. Sargassum has a distinct odor of rotten eggs that permeates for miles and miles. It will turn once crystal clear waters brown, and will make it unsafe to swim in.
Sargassum has high leaves of toxins in it, so it is not really safe to swim in. How can you take a beach vacation when the water isn’t safe to swim in?!
Rotten eggs … ew! Not the type of beachfront location you want, right? Well, the hotel zone of Tulum tries very hard to get rid of it every morning. Since they can’t stop climate change, the best they do is shovel it away.
But it’s never enough. Their singular sargassum shoveler worker can never do enough. The stench alone is enough to make travelers ill with conditions that replicate food poisoning. Because the algae is toxic.
When is there no Sargassum in Tulum?
Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news but it is becoming a smaller window every year. Normally, “high season” of November – January is a time to be pretty Sargassum free. But with the rapidly worsening climate change conditions, that window is becoming smaller annually.
In 2022, the sargassum season started in January. This is not normal (but it might be the new normal). It normally starts in March or April and runs through October.
I hope you enjoy your trip to Tulum and find this blog helpful!