How to AVOID Tulum Seaweed & Sargassum in 2024

Tulum seaweed covering the beach

Need info ABOUT avoiding SEAWEED IN TULUM?

You’re in the right place if you’re worried about running into the pesky Tulum seaweed (AKA Tulum sargassum) that has been covering the shorelines along Mexico’s Caribbean Coast.

As someone who’s lived in Mexico since 2018, I wrote this article to help you avoid the Tulum beaches seaweed issue, so that you have a nice vacation 🏝️ I’ve personally visited Tulum numerous times, and managed to avoid the seaweed in Tulum each time.

While yes, there is seaweed in Tulum during some months of the year, you too can avoid it with a little research, preparation and planning. You see, not all beaches will have seaweed on them everyday of your trip — so don’t worry, you can still have a fantastic time in Tulum.

Ready to learn everything you need to know about visiting Tulum and avoiding sargassum? Let’s dive in!

What is Tulum seaweed?

This brown seaweed Mexico experiences, known as sargassum, comes from the Great Atlantic Sargassum Belt.

sargassum seaweed in mexico
The seaweed can accumulate in large, unsightly mats, making the beaches less attractive to tourists.

This large mass of sargassum has been drifting in the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean for quite some time now. Unfortunately, the amount floating to land has gotten increasingly worse in the past few years.

Recently, the appearance of seaweed on Mexico beaches has caused a stir among locals, tourists, and environmentalists alike. The Tulum seaweed problem has also had an immense impact on the tourism industry of Mexico (and other Caribbean countries).

If you want to know more or need additional info about sargassum, check out the Tulum Seaweed FAQ at the end of this article.

Tulum seaweed months

How can you avoid Tulum seaweed beaches?

seaweed tulum ruins beach
Even the beach in Tulum Ruins is covered with seaweed during certain months of the year.

The sargassum odor and unsightly large mass of seaweed on beach shorelines blocking the water has turned many tourists away in recent years. However, you can still enjoy Tulum, even if some beaches have seaweed on them — you just have to plan accordingly.

Keep reading to learn about the Tulum Facebook groups, official webpages and Tulum webcam livestreams that show the locations of sargassum in real time (and semi-real time).

Tulum seaweed months

1. Check the Tulum Seaweed Forecast on Facebook

tulum sargasum facebook page
You’ll need to join the group to see the Tulum seaweed updates. (Photo: Sargassum Seaweed Updates)

One of the best things to do in Tulum Mexico is hit the beaches — and the best way to find the Tulum beaches without seaweed is to use Facebook to get updates. The seaweed situation can change day to day, so you can get the best info here.

Best Tulum seaweed Facebook groups

Sargasso Seaweed Updates Riviera Maya and Sargassum Seaweed Updates (Cancun, PDC, Tulum) are both great groups to join before your trip to get updated info.

Red Sargazo Facebook Page

tulum seaweed report infographic
In English, the group’s name is Quintana Roo Sargassum Monitoring Network. (Photo: Red Sargazo)

Red de Monitoreo del Sargazo de Quintana Roo is a page, not a group, so you can just view it without joining. You can also check post comments, as people leave updated photos of beaches to show the seaweed levels at different ones.

The Red Sargazo Facebook page is in Spanish, but they use self-explanatory graphics, like the one seen above, with colored dots that mean the following:

  • 🔴 Red Dot: Excessive levels sargassum on that beach.
  • 🟠 Orange Dot: Abundant sargassum on that beach.
  • 🟡 Yellow Dot: Some sargassum on that beach.
  • 🟢 Green Dot: Very little sargassum on that beach.
  • 🔵 Blue Dot: That beach is 100% free and clear of sargassum.

Don’t forget that there are local clean-up initiatives in Tulum, especially along the Federal Maritime Terrestrial Zone (the first 60 feet/20 meters of beach above the high tide line).

For this reason, you might see a beach come up in the red, but crews might be working to clean it that very moment.

Also, many of these best beach resorts in Tulum and these best Tulum beach clubs have crews that clear away the seaweed each morning.

As a visitor, make sure you show respect towards the locals working tirelessly to keep the beaches clean for you.

Tulum seaweed months

2. Check the Tulum Seaweed Reports Online

tulum seaweed map
Another one of the best tips for tourists navigating the seaweed Tulum problem is to consult official websites. (Photo: Sargassum Monitoring®)

To get a better understanding of seaweed conditions and the best Tulum beaches to visit, head to the Sargassum Monitoring site’s real-time Tulum Seaweed Report.

Here, you’ll find a Tulum Seaweed Map, where you can get updated reports, beach by beach. 🏖️Note: You can also check current seaweed conditions in Cancun and current seaweed conditions in Playa del Carmen with the link above. 

One of the great things about the beautiful beach town of Tulum is the abundance of beaches to explore. If you find yourself at a beach with too much seaweed for your liking, simply head to another Tulum beach.

Tulum seaweed months

3. Check the Tulum Seaweed Webcams

casa malca tulum seaweed webcam
Another one of the best tips for tourists navigating the seaweed Tulum problem is to consult official websites. (Photo: Casa Malca Tulum Web Cam)

Some hotels on Tulum Beach, like Casa Malca Tulum Resort, maintain a Tulum seaweed cam that allows you to zoom in to see certain areas in real time. This cam only covers Tulum South Beach, where the resort is located.

As the live cams don’t cover every beach in Tulum, you might also want to engage with locals through Facebook groups for a full Tulum seaweed update. That way, you can see the seaweed in Tulum today without worrying.

👀 Looking for more Mexico seaweed live streams?

The Webcams de México site has cameras in several cities, like these:

Tulum seaweed months

4. Head to the Best Seaweed Free Beaches Near Tulum

boat in the water in isla mujeres mexico
Isla Mujeres has the best beaches in Mexico in April and the best beaches in Mexico in March, if the Tulum seaweed arrives early.

If you can’t find any seaweed free beaches in Tulum during your visit, you can always take a day trip and visit some of the best beaches near Tulum.

🏝️ Isla Mujeres & Cozumel

Isla Mujeres and Cozumel Island (especially the island’s west coast) have some of the best beaches in Mexico in July to escape the Tulum beach seaweed problem. The beaches on these Mexican islands tend to be seaweed-free in the hot summer months.

Even if they have some seaweed, they usually have much less seaweed than beaches like Playa Paraiso Tulum. This popular beach has seen its fair share of seaweed piles, even in the middle of winter. 

🏝️ Isla contoy National Park

isla contoy mexico island
To escape any seaweed on the beaches of Tulum, head to book a tour to Isla Contoy.

You can also take this day trip to Isla Contoy — a beautiful island oasis off the coast of Cancun. Isla Contoy is easily one of the best beaches in Mexico without seaweed, though you can only go if you book a tour (using the link above).

With miles and miles of coastline in the Yucatan Peninsula, there’s no need to fly to Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula for seaweed-free Mexican beaches! If you’re struggling to find a seaweed-free spot during your vacation, trust me, there’s one near Tulum.

🏝️ Mexico Gulf Beaches

When you have a hard time finding the best seaweed free beaches in Caribbean waters, another option is to visit the Gulf of Mexico side of the country.

There’s FAR less sargassum in the Gulf of Mexico beaches vs Caribbean beaches, and places like El Cuyo and Puerto Progreso Beach near Merida make great options. Of course, these aren’t beaches close to Tulum, so you might have to alter your travel plans.

5 Best Things to Do if There’s Sargassum in Tulum

1. Swim in the Seaweed-Free Tulum Cenotes

swimming at cenote zacil ha tulum mexico
Cenote Zacil Ha is an open cenote popular for tourists because of its refreshing waters.

Visiting Tulum cenotes is one of the most popular things to do in Tulum. Since they don’t connect to the ocean, the Tulum cenotes are seaweed-free all year.

🔎 If you’re wondering, What are cenotes? Cenotes are deep sinkholes in limestone floors found throughout Yucatan Mexico. There are about 6,000 cenotes in Mexico!

They mostly stem from the same water source, the Sistema Sac Aktun System, a massive freshwater river flowing beneath the Yucatan Peninsula.

Some cenotes in Tulum lead to incredible dive caves, like El Gran Cenote, Cenote Corazon, Cenote Carwash, and Cenote El Pit. Others, like Cenote Calavera and Cenote Escondido, offer thrilling cliff jumping opportunities.

Places like Cenote Zacil Ha, Cenote Atik and Laguna Kaan Luum Lagoon Cenote, simply provide great swimming and a relaxing atmosphere. 

Cenotes in Tulum are a must-do, but they aren’t walkable from Tulum Town (AKA Downtown Tulum) or Tulum Beach.

There are several best Tulum cenote tours available that can take you to multiple cenotes in a day. Some cenotes are reachable by bike tour, while others require a car or taxi ride.

However you choose to get there, you won’t regret visiting Tulum’s most beautiful oases in the jungle.

Tulum seaweed months

2. Enjoy a Tulum to Chichen Itza Day Trip

woman at chichen itza ruins on one of the best TOURS
Chichen Itza is one of the must-see Mayan pyramids in Mexico.

Chichen Itza Mayan Ruins is one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, and a bucket list site for many Tulum travelers.

Taking a tour with a local guide is the best and safest way to visit Chichen Itza from Tulum. Most tours leave early in the morning and include stops at nearby cenotes, like Cenote Ik-Kil, and the famous colonial city of Valladolid — one of the Mexico pueblos magicos (magic towns).

The ancient Mayan Ruins of Chichen Itza is the largest archeological site in Mexico. With about two million annual visitors, both Chichen Itza and Teotihuacan Ruins in Mexico City share the distinction of most visited archeological site in Mexico.

Chichen Itza was a major pre-Columbian city and served as a political and economic hub for the Mayan civilization. It was even declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998 because of its historical importance.

Tulum seaweed months

3. Take a Tulum Cooking Class 

food on the table at one of the best tulum cooking classes in yucatan mexico
Grab the opportunity to create authentic Mexican dishes from scratch.

When you just “can’t even” with the Tulum seaweed, you can immerse yourself in Tulum culture with a Mayan-inspired cooking class in Tulum.

These incredible chefs use local ingredients and even some ancient cooking techniques. You’ll learn about the food’s origins and get to try a new delicious dish. 

Want to try out a 5-Star Tulum Private Chef Dining Experience? Or would you prefer a small local family for an Intimate Tulum Cooking Experience? No matter your vibe, there’s a cooking class in Tulum for you.

These traditional Mexican food and Yucatan food cooking classes will leave you with a new appreciation for the local culture, and some new skills to bring home to your kitchen.

Tulum seaweed months

4. Snorkel One of the Largest Barrier Reefs in the World 

snorkeling in mexico
See different marine animals on your snorkeling experience in the Mesoamerican Reef.

Jump on a boat and escape the Tulum Mexico seaweed problem while you head out to one of the largest barrier reefs in the world.

The Mesoamerican Barrier Reef (AKA Great Mayan Reef), offers amazing snorkeling opportunities — and being out in the ocean away from the shore means you won’t encounter large piles of seaweed. Plus, the boat tours know how to avoid it.

Additionally, some of the Tulum cenotes located nearby also offer great clear-water snorkeling opportunities. When the seaweed sets in at the beaches, snorkeling is the perfect escape. 

There are tons of snorkeling tours in Tulum that will take you to the spectacular reefs and cenotes along the Mexican Caribbean Coast. 

Tulum seaweed months

5. Visit Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve

dolphin spotting on one of the best sian kaan tours in tulum mexico
Sian Kaan is one of the largest ecological reserves in Mexico — but to see it all, you’ll need to book a Sian Kaan tour.

Sian Ka’an, meaning “origin of the sky” in Maya, is a 1.3 million-acre (526,000 hectare) natural reserve in Mexico. Visitors and locals alike flock to the nature preserve to experience its ecological diversity and crystal-clear waters, as it’s a land and water park.

Home to dolphins, manatees, sea turtles, fish, and endemic birds, Sian Ka’an was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987.

These boat tours are the best way to get to Sian Ka’an, as the roads are difficult to navigate and require an off-road vehicle. Also, with so much to see in the water, a boat tour is the only way to do so.

You can float through the canals, explore in a kayak, or take advantage of the popular fly-fishing opportunities. Either way, Sian Ka’an Biosphere is one of Tulum’s most unique attractions — because Sian Ka’an is seaweed-free all year-long.

Understanding the Tulum Seaweed Seasons: FAQ

Is sargassum bad in Tulum right now? 

To check the sargassum seaweed in Tulum right now, I recommend visiting the Red Sargazo Facebook page, the Sargassum Monitoring website, and this live webcam Tulum at Casa Malca Resort for updates.

In general, the sargassum season hits its peak from April to August, during the warm months. From November to January, you’ll find very little seaweed piled up on Tulum’s beaches. 

For a short answer to the When to visit Tulum to avoid the seaweed? question — opt for the cooler months of the year. The seaweed tends to be worse when the Caribbean Sea water temperature is highest.

Tulum seaweed months

When is seaweed season in Tulum?

Over the last few years, seaweed season Tulum has gone from April to October. However, it varies slightly each year, and also varies by each beach in Mexico.

tulum beach seaweed problem
The best time to visit Tulum without seaweed is late-Fall and early-Winter.

If you’re visiting Tulum in March, seaweed may or may not have arrived already, and it sometimes lasts through November.

The seaweed problem in Tulum tends to get worse during the hotter summer months, particularly in Tulum in July and August because the sargassum loves warm water.

During these months, seaweed in Mexico blankets the white-sand beaches, and can be a hassle for some visitors. Of course, you can always use the methods listed above to find the Tulum seaweed-free beaches.

Tulum seaweed months

When is the best time to avoid the Tulum seaweed?

The best time to avoid the Tulum seaweed include the late Fall and early Winter months.

men cleaning the tulum seaweed in mexico
Clean-up crews at Akumal Beach, located just north of Tulum.

Tulum in November, December and January are also some of the most idyllic months to visit because you get great weather.

During these months, the seaweed tends to migrate away towards warmer temperatures, resulting in lower chances of heavy sargassum in Tulum.

💡 Note: Sargassum is spelled as sargazo in Spanish, and you may see signs saying sargazo en Tulum (which means “sargassum in Tulum”).

In short, if you’re looking for the best beaches in Mexico in November, December and January, Tulum and the Yucatan Peninsula have you covered.

Tulum seaweed months

Is seaweed a problem in Tulum Mexico? 

Seaweed can be a problem in Tulum, particularly during warmer months in Summer. The worst Tulum seaweed months are often from April to August, though that can vary by year.

The best time to visit Tulum seaweed free is from November to January — the early winter months. This is also the busy season in Tulum, because it has the nicest weather overall.

While the abundance of seaweed on the beach can become a nuisance if you want to swim, and the seaweed also delivers an unpleasant smell, it’s also pretty much harmless.

Tulum seaweed months

How bad is the seaweed in Tulum?

Depending on the time of year, the seaweed can pile up on some beaches in Tulum. However, not every beach experiences the layers of seaweed at the shoreline. 

tulum seaweed clean up efforts
Large brown mats clog the shorelines of some of Mexico’s most popular beaches in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico.

It might seem hard to find the best beaches in Tulum without seaweed, but with so many options, there is one out there waiting for you.

On a personal note, I have visited Tulum many times. I’ve never been there when there was sargassum on each and every Tulum beach; you can always find one that’s seaweed-free, and the best way to explore is by rental car.

Tulum Seaweed Forecast

Is the Tulum seaweed poisonous?

No If it touches you, you might be a bit itchy afterwards, but it will subside shortly. However, if you’re experiencing any other symptoms (like a rash or difficulty breathing), consult a doctor in Tulum.

Although the seaweed is mostly harmless, it could house creepy crawlers such as sea lice, jellyfish and bacteria. While it’s not inherently bad to swim through the seaweed in Cancun, Tulum, or elsewhere, you shouldn’t hang out in it for too long.

You can also wear these water shoes when you’re walking on the shoreline to avoid stepping on unwanted creepy crawlers in the seaweed. 

Tulum seaweed months

Is the Tulum seaweed dangerous?

No Tulum sargassum is annoying, but doesn’t pose any major health risks for the vast majority of travelers. Of course, your best course of action is to avoid it.

raking the beach to clean tulum seaweed
Local clean-up crews rake all day long to create a seaweed free beach Tulum experience for tourists.

When the sargassum dies after about 48 hours on land, it releases hydrogen sulfide which can irritate eyes, nose and throat. If you have asthma or respiratory problems, the hydrogen sulfide can have the most negative effects (source: AP News).

While not a health risk, the hydrogen sulfide carries an unpleasant odor. The sargassum smell can be overwhelming for beachgoers, and some people compare it to rotten eggs.

Tulum seaweed months

Why is there algae in Tulum?

There is algae in Tulum because of the sargassum, a species of macroalgae that thrives in warm Caribbean waters.

During summer months, the macroalgae pushes its way to the warmest waters, sometimes leaving miles of shoreline coated with algae and seaweed. 

With government funding and support from local businesses, there are ongoing efforts to reduce the amount of sargassum seaweed Tulum Mexico sees each year. 

While you may continue to see seaweed on Tulum’s beautiful beaches, their efforts should make a noticeable difference in future years.

Tulum seaweed months

What months does Tulum have seaweed?

Tulum seaweed season runs from about April to October, but dates can vary. Still, the worst of the seaweed in Tulum Mexico tends to make landfall in the later spring and early summer months.

The seaweed Tulum beach has at times — but not always!

Nearby, Playa del Carmen seaweed, Cancun seaweed and Akumal sargassum tends to peak around the same time as well. 

While April through August has gotten the worst of it in the past few years, if that’s when you’re visiting Tulum — don’t worry!

Even during these months, you will still be close to the best beach in Tulum without seaweed; it just might take a bit of research to find out which beach that is.

Tulum seaweed months

How long does sargassum season last?

Mexico sargassum season often lasts from about April to October, making landfall on Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico beaches. Peak season hits towards the warmer months in summer, but can vary annually.

If you’re concerned about sargassum, there are plenty of resources to check the Tulum seaweed forecast. 

Keep updated on Tulum seaweed now with live reports or Facebook groups following the seaweed on different beaches. You can even find a Tulum seaweed webcam from some hotels.

Tulum seaweed months

Are the beaches in Tulum full of seaweed?

No — All beaches in Tulum are not full of seaweed. While some beaches may have seaweed along the shoreline, there are plenty of beaches in Tulum with no seaweed. 

tulum seaweed barrier
Efforts are underway to end the seaweed problem Tulum has once and for all!

The local authorities, Mexico’s government, and tourism industry in Tulum are working on ways to deter larger amounts of seaweed from getting to the popular shorelines.

These include installing a sargassum barrier several miles offshore, and using the sargassum for other purposes like farming and research.

Tulum seaweed months

What beaches in Tulum have no seaweed?

Depending on when you visit Tulum, the seaweed ends up on different beaches on different days. For the most updated info, visit the Red Sargazo Facebook page, Sargassum Monitoring website, and this live webcam Tulum.

Keep in mind that this seaweed problem isn’t exclusive to Mexico. In fact, most Caribbean islands have been affected, and there has even been a massive Florida sargassum bloom.

In short: Beach-goers might just have to learn how to live with sargassum issues, rather than avoid having a tropical beach vacation entirely. When visiting the Mexican Caribbean, make sure you track the Tulum sargassum, so you know which beaches to avoid.

Which Caribbean beaches have no seaweed?

There are many seaweed-free beaches in the Caribbean including Isla Mujeres Mexico, Isla Contoy, Cozumel Island, Aruba, Grenada, St. Maarten, and more.

Don’t worry though: If you come across a beach with seaweed, you won’t be far from a beach without it.

It is incredibly rare that an entire island has all their beaches covered at the same time because one side of the island will always shield the other side from seaweed.

To stay informed, you can check real-time reports of the Great Sargassum Belt to see which beaches the sargassum (seaweed) is migrating towards. 💡 Note: The Great Sargassum Belt is different from the Sargassum Sea.

Tulum seaweed months

Can you swim in the ocean in Tulum?

Yes — You can swim in the ocean in Tulum. The Caribbean water temperature is warm enough to enjoy year-round.

playa ruinas tulum ruins beach
There are many swimmable beaches in Tulum, as the Caribbean Sea tends to have small waves.

The weather in Tulum is extremely hot and humid, so the ocean water offers a warm reprieve, especially in the late summer months.

The waves in Tulum don’t get as large as they do in Mexico surf towns, like Sayulita, and the Pacific beach towns, like Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas. However, if you’re not a strong swimmer, stay close to shore and wear a life vest if you need one.

Tulum seaweed months

Are there any seaweed benefits?

Yes — While seaweed has caused problems on Tulum’s beaches (and beyond), local initiatives have turned the problem into a new opportunity for a sustainable future.

In fact, the Quintana Roo state government is hoping that soon, Tulum and seaweed will have a mutually beneficial relationship. Currently, researchers are working on finding ways to turn this issue into an opportunity.

🌎 Positive Spins: How Seaweed is Being Used sustainably

With help from the Mexican government, Tulum sargassum is being transformed into a variety of products like bio-fertilizers, building materials, and even artificial vegan leather

It’s not just Tulum either; the sargassum in Cancun is also being used by locals for a variety of things. 

Aside from our own uses, seaweed is also an important part of marine ecosystems, providing habitats for various species. 

Large patches of sargassum Mexico receives on its beaches are a home for nursing turtles, shrimp, crabs, and fish. This seaweed even serves as a feeding ground for some fish and birds.

Final Thoughts: Avoiding Tulum Seaweed in Mexico

tulum seaweed clean up efforts
Locals work tirelessly to make sure there are Tulum sargassum-free beaches for visitors.

Though it can put a damper on your Tulum trip if you let it, my $0.02 is don’t worry too much about the seaweed Tulum has at times. While it may affect some beaches in this tropical paradise, there are still plenty of ways around it.

From snorkeling in Tulum and swimming in the Tulum cenotes, to exploring the culture of Yucatan, you don’t have to let the Tulum beaches seaweed issue steer you away from an amazing vacation. 

Don’t forget, you can keep up with the current seaweed conditions in Tulum with webcams, Facebook groups, and live reports (all listed in this article). With some effort, you’ll find a Tulum beach without seaweed to enjoy your vacation no matter the time of year.

More great news? Tulum seaweed today is significantly better now compared to the Tulum seaweed situation in years past, and the Mexican government plans to improve this each year in the future.

By the time you go, the Tulum seaweed 2023 issues will have subsided significantly, and in years beyond that, seaweed in Mexico may not even be a concern. ⚠️ Note: Travel insurance for Mexico comes in handy, should you have to cancel your trip because of seaweed.

Additional Tulum Tips

woman in black dress visiting Tulum ruins
Me visiting the beautiful Tulum Ruins.

Looking for more info on Tulum Mexico tips? Check out these additional Tulum guides to know everything about traveling in Tulum Mexico:

Tulum Travel Planning Guide

1. Should I buy Mexico travel insurance?

100% YES! — With basic coverage averaging just $5-10 USD per day, enjoy peace of mind with a plan from Travel Insurance Master, one of the biggest names in travel insurance. (Read more)

2. Can you drink the water in Tulum?

No — You’ll want to buy this Water-To-Go Bottle, which filters your drinking water so you don’t get sick from drinking water in Mexico, and helps keep you hydrated while traveling Mexico. (Read more)

3. Is it safe to rent a car in Tulum?

Yes — Renting a car in Mexico is one of the best ways to see the country! I always rent with Discover Cars, which checks both international companies and local Mexican companies, so you get the best rates. (Read more)

4. Will my phone work in Tulum?

Maybe — It depends on your company, so check with your provider. If you don’t have free Mexico service, buy this Telcel SIM Card. As Mexico’s largest carrier, Telcel has the best coverage of any Mexico SIM Cards. (Read more)

5. What’s the best way to book my Tulum accommodations?

For Tulum hotels, Booking.com is the best site, but for hostels, use Hostel World. If you’re considering a Mexico Airbnb, don’t forget to also check VRBO, which is often cheaper than Airbnb.

6. What do I pack for Tulum?

Head to the Ultimate Tulum Packing List to get all the info you need on packing for Mexico.

7. What’s the best site to buy Mexico flights?

For finding cheap Mexico flights, I recommend Skyscanner.

8. Do I need a visa for Mexico?

Likely Not — U.S., Canadian and most European Passport holders don’t need a visa for Mexico; but check here to see if you do a Mexico travel visa. The majority of travelers will receive a 180-Day FMM Tourist Visa or passport stamp upon arrival.