Sargassum is a type of marine macroalgae that can grow several meters long, and provides an environment conducive to some marine organisms. It floats on huge mats in the ocean and does not have a specific trajectory indicating which beach or country it will arrive to, since it all depends on wind conditions and tides. It is said that sargassum comes from the coasts of the Atlantic Ocean, between the east coast of Florida and Bermuda and affects the whole Caribbean.
In the last year, sargassum has been known to hit the coasts of the Riviera Maya, especially during the summer months. If your vacation coincides with the arrival of sargassum in Tulum, yes it will at times prevent you from enjoying the pristine turquoise waters and clean white sandy beaches, but it will give you an opportunity to discover other fun and unique activities that Tulum has to offer.
So if you are wondering what to do when sargassum hits Tulum, here are a few ideas for you:
- Archaeological Sites: You can discover these Maya sacred cities, temples and ancient commercial routes, learn about their culture and be amazed by their profound knowledge in astronomy and mathematics while witnessing some of their ancient rituals that persist until these days. The most popular archaeological sites are Tulum, Cobá, Muyil and the legendary Chichen Itzá which is located in the neighbor state of Yucatan.
- Cenotes: These are Maya sinkholes enclaved in the jungle, where you can discover distinct flora and fauna such as iguanas and tiny blind fish that have adapted to this peculiar ecosystem. Most of the cenotes are located inside huge caverns decorated with an infinite number of stalactites and stalagmites formed millions of years ago. The water is usually cold and always pristine, as it comes from rainwater filtering slowly through the limestone surface. You can practice regular snorkeling or cave diving if you have the proper certification, or simply swim in fresh water in open air cenotes. Most of the cenotes are privately owned and require an entrance fee, which can include snorkeling gear.
- Spa and Wellness: Tulum has a wide range of Spas, almost every hotel has their own and they offer exotic and traditional therapies. Yoga lessons, Reiki sessions, body treatments or meditation classes, Tulum is the place to be at if you enjoy these relaxing activities. Some places offer an experience in a Temazcal, the Maya sweat lodge. It involves “copal” incense accompanied by chantings and Maya rituals from a “Xaman”, providing a true cleansing of the body and mind. It is an intense purification experience which gives you a unique opportunity to connect with yourself. Check out The Beach Tulum’s Naj Naay Spa menus
- Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve: South of Tulum lies the magnificent Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve. With 780,000 acres of mangroves it provides a habitat for a remarkably rich flora and a fauna. It has lush jungle, beaches, lagoons, canals, archaeological sites and a coral reef barrier. The diversity of life in Sian Ka’an is exceptional, it’s home for deer, turtles, iguanas, crocodiles, spider monkeys and over 300 bird species, as well as fantastic mammals such as Jaguar, Puma, Ocelot and Central American Tapir. Tulum provides plenty of opportunity to immerse yourself in the wilderness while being in constant contact with nature, without touching the beach.
- Activities: there are so many activities to do in and around Tulum that a one month stay wouldn’t be enough! You can snorkel on the reef, swim with turtles in Akumal bay, zipline in the jungle or, if you are scared of heights, explore the jungle on ATVs. Take a tour in Sian Ka’an for bird watching, or paddle board your way on Kaan Luum Lagoon. If you feel like a bit of activity with beautiful views, check out one of the many Golf Courses of the Riviera Maya, like the oceanside El Camaleon golf course, created by legendary Greg Norman with a stunning location in the jungle, mangroves and by the beach.
At night, if you are staying at The Beach Tulum, ask them to organize one of their signature poolside dinners – 6 course dinner menu paired with selected Mexican wines. During two and a half hours you’ll have the chance to live the Mexican culinary experience.
So if you were wondering what to do when sargassum hits Tulum? Here are our top 5 ideas.