Sargassum Seaweed Invades Playa Del Carmen Beaches After Hurricane Beryl

Hurricane Beryl has left both Playa del Carmen and Isla Mujeres’ beaches covered in sargassum. An unintended consequence was the improvement of up to five beaches. How is that possible?

Under tons of sargassum, which has been quickly removed by authorities, the hurricane also brought tons of sand to the already eroded Playa del Carmen beaches, said Jesús Adrián Medina Pérez, Director of the Federal Maritime-Terrestrial Zone (Zofemat) of Solidaridad.

Credit: (Playa del Carmen)

“The hurricane did not have so many [negative] effects on the beaches. On the contrary, it brought lots of sand. Waterholes were even covered with the sand brought by the cyclone,” Medina told reporters.

This phenomenon has counteracted the strong erosion that some beaches were experiencing, in part due to the constant removal of sargassum.

Beaches that increased their size the most include Fundadores, Punta Esmeralda, Mamitas, Pelicanos and the hotel Hyatt zone, reported María Várguez Ocampo, Secretary of Sustainable Environment and Climate Change.

The excess sand will be dumped on the beaches that need it most, Várguez said.

Regarding the negative impacts, Medina said that only 4 palapas were destroyed and that sargassum seen since Monday “is normal” after a storm this big, especially during seaweed season.

In nearby Tulum, Beryl was not really bad either. Beaches look almost clean and ready to receive tourists.

“Fortunately, sargassum has not been a factor affecting the destination this year. Before the arrival of Hurricane Beryl, there was no sargassum. We only had visible algae for a couple of weeks in March. Tulum has been pretty clean sargassum-wise. In previous years, this has been way worse,” said Carlos Solís at Mexidriver.