The Seaweed Situation in Playa del Carmen: What to Do Instead of the Beach (2018)

Open cenote in playa del carmen

At present (August 2018), the seaweed in situation in Playa del Carmen has been hitting our beaches pretty hard.

As a traveler coming to this part of paradise, we understand that’s the last thing you want to hear before you embark on your trip.

Fear not!

Our commitment to bringing you best honest and useful advice means that you can still have an unforgettable trip even when the beaches aren’t looking as you had expected.

Seeweed in the caribbean beaches

Although Playa del Carmen is synonymous with beach days you’ll be pleased to know that it is home to a variety of other lush and fascainting eco systems for you to explore.

Mother nature is a force to be reckoned with and unfortunately, we can’t control the amount of seaweed she brings to our shores, however, what we can control is the quality of your trip despite this.

Why is There Seaweed in Playa del Carmen?

The whole of the Riviera Maya including some places in Cancun are currently suffering the stink of seaweed on their beaches.

But why?

Although the reasons aren’t always clear many researchers believe the increase in seaweed is in direct correlation with climate change.

Seaweed in Cancun and playa del Carmen

 In this region of the world, high temperatures couples with low winds affect the oceans currents dramatically.

The Sea of Sargasso

Located just beyond the Bermuda Triangle in the Atlantic Ocean there is vast area beneath the oceans surface home to tons of free-floating seaweed, AKA as Sargassum.

Although, this is the root of many travelers despair this area of seaweed is home to a vast number of vibrant marine life.



sea of sargasso



Because the sea of Sargasso isn’t defined by any land borders or coastline it’s dynamics are ultimately determined by the strength and direction of the sea currents.

Consequently stretches of seaweed are often released in huge chunks,  measuring up to miles long, and even visible by aircraft.

Where the seaweed meets the shore is determined solely by sea currents.

What Time of Year is There Less Likely to Be Any Seaweed?

As you can imagine this is a question the region as a whole experiences a lot.

The truthful answer?

There is no wasy way to predict when there is going to be seaweed and when the beaches are going to look clear.



i dont know

Sometimes only certain areas may be affected,  but in the past week, the entire stretch of the Riviera Maya from Playa del Carmen down to Tulum is witnessing the effects.

How Can you Check and Plan for Seaweed Before Your Trip?

Of course, coming to the Mexican Caribbean you’re probably dreaming about idyllic beaches and it is more than likely you will get to see them in all their pride and glory!

seaweed-in-playa-del-carmen-and-cancun



But on the off-chance you are the victim of a seaweed invasion in your area or at your hotel, you can take comfort in the fact that there are lots of wonderful  things for you to do instead.

The good news?

Some of them are even FREE and don’t worry we will make sure you still get your fair share of water activities.

2 Ways to Check for Seaweed Before Your Vacation

  1. Luckily for you, many of the hotels actually have live webcams that give you a real-time picture of what their beaches look like at that moment.

You can either Google the hotel you are staying at to see if they have their own or use this webcam.

2. Another option would be to consult the Sargassum Early Advisory System for a forecast. Check the Yucatan Passage 18 for a forecast of seaweed in this area.

Are There Any Efforts Made To Clean Up The Seaweed? 

Yes.

Of course, if you are staying at 5* all-inclusive you can expect that every effort will be made to clean up the beaches as best as possible.

Seaweed in playa del carmen



Many of the larger hotels have invested in tractors to remove seaweed from the shorelines of their properties, however, we should note depending on the oceans currents it’s not always an easy job.

The Best Things to Do in Playa del Carmen if The Beach Isn’t Great

Regardless of whether it’s raining or glorious sunshine in the region rest assured there is ALWAYS something to do.

From sublime cenotes to epic zip lining jungle adventures we’ve got you covered!

1. Visit a Cenote

Cenotes in Playa del Carmen



In my opinion, cenotes are way better than the beach, especially if you have children because you don’t have to worry about strong currents or the salt water getting in their eyes.

Playa del Carmen and the Riviera Maya as a whole is home to hundreds of fascinating and stunning cenotes.

You can either go and see one as part of a guided tour or simply go off and explore one on your own.

In Playa del Carmen, there is a beautiful cenote called Cenote Azul just 20 minutes by taxi from the downtown area costing around 200 pesos = $16 USD.

This stunning freshwater area has different areas with various depth so whether you just want to sit and laze in the sun as you cool off, or dive in from a height there is something for everyone.

All you have to do is pay the entrance fee at the door which starts at $7-8 USD per adult.

TOP TIP: bring plenty of water and snacks as you won’t find much to purchase here.

Location.

2. Selvatica

When visiting Mexico, yes, it’s definitely easy to become mesmerized by the glistening beaches and impressive hotels, but the region is also encapsulated by lush, tropical jungle that houses many secrets and wonders of its own.

During any vacation, it’s absolutely essential that you squeeze in some adventure activities because they are what turn a great trip into an unforgettable one.

Superflight at Selvatica





Selvatica has held on to it’s reigning title as TripAdvisor’s best ‘outdoor activity’ for many years now, amongst a whole host of other credible accolades.

At this attraction, you can soar like a bird down a variety of different thrilling zip lines, race through the jungle on a state-of-the-art offroad Polaris, traverse hanging aerial bridges, and even cap off the day with a swim in cenote Selvatica.

The best part is that they have a range of different tours to choose from depending on your budget and how long you want to spend at the attraction (half-day/full-day).

These include:

The reviews really do speak for themselves, but the highlights of Selvatica for many people are the wide variety of zip lines and service /enthusiasm of the people that work here.

Selvatica's Crew



At Selvatica you’ll get to experience not 1 but 5 different kinds of zip lines!

  1. Tarzania – think zip line meets rollercoaster.
  2. Superflight – fly like a superhero head first through the jungle.
  3. Glove Control – control your own speed with your hand.
  4. Upside Down  – see the jungle from a completely new perspective.
  5. Cenote Splash – zoom into the cenote and expect to make a splash!

Tarzania the human roller coaster





Pricing varies depending on the time of year you visit, the time slot you choose, and the size of your group.

For an immediate quote head to their website and talk to one of Selvatica’s live chat assistants. 

Location. 

3. Visit Cozumel

In Playa del Carmen
you will have direct an immediate access to the island of Cozumel thanks to the pier and the ferries that make regular crossings.

When the seaweed is bad in Playa del Carmen 9 times out of 10 the west side of the island of Cozumel is completely clear largely due to its geographical position.

The crossing takes around 45 minutes and the ferries run every day, hourly.

Tour el cielo in cozumel





You can catch the first ferry at 6.45 am and the last one at 11.00 pm, for more information check out the up-to-date ferry schedules here. 

Barcos Caribe is the cheapest provider of tickets. Adults pay just $8 and the child’s price is $4.





Boat to Cozumel





Here you can enjoy a whole host of exciting activities.

Relax at one of the many amazing beach clubs, do a spot of shopping, visit cultural ruins, go diving, head to Playa Mia, visit a turtle sanctuary, the options are endless.

Even if the seaweed situation isn’t bad in Playa it’s definitely worth spending a day of your vacation exploring this beautiful island!

Location of ferry pier. 

4. Play Golf

Golfing fanatics, rejoice!

You will be pleased to know that this area of the world is home to many spectacular courses.

In fact, Playa del Carmen is home to the only official PGA course outside the USA and Canada!

Golf course in playa del carmen





Expect pristine courses, gorgeous weather, and world-class service.

In this region, you will find courses that have the ocean or beautiful waterways as their backdrop. Plus, plenty of foliage, jungle, and wildlife to add to the tropical ambiance.

You’re guaranteed great weather so indulge in a little healthy competition, it is always a great way to pass the time.

Many hotels have their own golf course but don’t worry if you’re not staying there it is always possible to book on and just use their services for the day.

Our top recommendations would be:

  1. Palace Resorts
  2. Mayakoba Resorts
  3. Hard Rock Hotels

5. Wander 5th Avenue

At the heart of downtown Playa del Carmen, you will find 5th Avenue!

This 5-mile strip runs through the heart of the city and is dedicated to all your touristic needs.

You’ll find everything here from world-class restaurants, cheap eats, shops,  bars, nightclubs, museums and more!

Wandering through the cities heart is a great chance to enjoy a cocktail, do some souvenir shopping, and marvel at incredible art.





5th avenue in playa del carmen




You will find all kinds of different shops, so don’t worry there is something for everyone.

Whether you’re looking for a new bikini or your husband would like to purchase some cigars 5th Avenue has got you covered.

You don’t even have to worry about getting lost, it’s virtually impossible, 5th Avenue runs in a direct straight line from north to south or vise verser!

Definitely worth paying a visit!

6. Rooftop Pools

Fear not!

Are the beaches a mess but you still want to sunbathe and top up your tan? Maybe enjoy a cold drink or two and listen to some music?

Sometimes being covered in sand, fighting your way back to shore, and dodging pesky seaweed or rocks can all just get a bit much.

Playa del Carmen is home to an abundance of amazing rooftop pools where you can enjoy views of the beach without all the fuss and stinky seaweed.

Whether you prefer a relaxed vibe, party pools, or an ultra modern space Playa has a rooftop pool for you.

1)Thompson Hotel 

Calle 12 & 5th Avenue

Regardless of whether you are staying at this fabulous hotel or not you will be able to utilize their fantastic rooftop pool. Just a word of warning this place boasts SPECTACULAR Views.

Every aspect of the Thompson is ultra-modern taking luxury to a whole new level.

Best rooftps in playa del carmen





The pool is shaped to look like a winding river, featuring state of the art sun beds and intimate alcoves.

It can get a little pricey for food and drink but it is totally worth it.

Definitely stay for the sunset, you don’t want to miss it.

2) BeRoof

Direction: Calle 26 & 10th Avenue

If you want to get a taste of the local vibe here in Playa and hang out with people who actually leave, expats included head over to BeRoof.

This place regularly hosts local and international DJs so if you’re a music lover be sure to check it out.

If there’s a must-go-to rooftop party going on in Playa, you know it will be here.

Best Rooftops in Playa del Carmen



It is a much smaller pool compared to many of the others here in Playa.

Although it’s not the most ideal choice if you do really want to swim, you can cool off in between dancing, eating, and drinking!

3) The Palm

Direction: Calle 6 bis & 10th Avenue

At the Palm one rooftop pool simply wasn’t enough, they decided that they needed several.

Cool off in the sublime water, laze in the gorgeous hammocks, or rest on the luxuriously plush sun beds.

This option is definitely one of the lesser known rooftop pools and therefore offers a more quiet and relaxed experience.

Great for those days where you just want to chill out.

The Palm in Playa Del Carmen





We hope you found this article useful!

Don’t forget to SHARE it with your friends and family on Facebook.

Do you think we missed anything off our list? Be sure to let us know in the comments section we would love to hear from you.

7 Things You Should Know About The Weather in Playa del Carmen

Understandably,  just before any traveler embarks on their trip the last thing they do is check the weather in Playa del Carmen.

Weather forecasts are one of Google’s most popular searches, however, the results are definitely more accurate in some parts of the world than others.

When booking any tropical vacation you pray that the weather will be good because for many people it makes or breaks the vacation.

While that is almost guaranteed to some extent here in Playa del Carmen, it’s always good to brush up on the facts before visiting so you can plan ahead.

Cancun and Playa del Carmen Beaches

Rest assured that when you come to Playa del Carmen or the Riviera Maya you’ll have your fair share of sun, ocean breeze, tropical heat, and perhaps the occasional shower.

The average figure for this region of Mexico is 300 days of glorious sunshine a year!

Not bad. 😉

That’s why depending on your personal preferences, there may be better times to book your vacation than others.

Because of the Caribbean’s global positioning, the weather here is subject to change very quickly that’s why we feel there are some things you need to know about the weather in Playa del Carmen to help you plan your next trip more efficiently.

1. The Weather in Playa del Carmen is VERY Hot and Humid.

The tropical Caribbean is a highly popular vacation destination because of the warm balmy temperatures that are apparent all year around.

Be sure to bring ample amounts of sunscreen, you’re going to need it!

Generally, the year is divided up into two seasons. Rainy season (October to April), and dry season (May to October).

However, the highest temperatures often occur anywhere between March or April until October.

Snorkeling in the Playa Del Carmen beaches

The months with the most rainfall are usually September and October with cooler temperatures becoming more noticeable particularly in the morning and evenings around that time.

However, in recent years it’s becoming harder and harder to define the new normal, particularly in the Caribbean.

Many researchers believe that this is largely due to global warming.

Average Low and High Temperatures in Playa del Carmen per Month (in Fahrenheit):

  • January – 61/82
  • February – 62/86
  • March – 64/88
  • April – 66/89
  • May – 71/93
  • June – 73/90
  • July – 72/90
  • August – 72/90
  • September – 70/89
  • October – 68/88
  • November – 64/84
  • December – 64/84

The monthly rainfall is less than 2 inches per month except during the month of May through to October where it can be anywhere between 6-8 inches.

Playa del Carmen is almost always humid, this makes it feel even hotter than it already is particularly from March/April through September/October.

Playa Del Carmen Beach Club

Remember to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water each day, particularly if you have had a heavy night drinking.

2. When it Rains it Pours

Yes, a ‘shower’ in Playa del Carmen usually does mean a heavy downpour.

Fear not!

When the dramatic skies appear and gloomy clouds hang over our beautiful shorelines, 9 times out of 10 it is extremely fleeting.

Due to the favorable winds in this region, a storm usually passes by as quickly as it arrives.

weather forecast playa del carmen

 

If the forecast predicts it’s going to be raining the entire time during your vacation, do not be fooled, it will likely return to glorious sunshine very quickly after a shower.

Which mean that you can quickly get back to topping your tan up.

3. What to Do When it Rains or There is Seaweed

Rain are seaweed are the least desirable elements for a beach vacation.

However, mother nature is a force to be reckoned with and we can’t control it. What we can control is the quality of your vacation regardless of these factors.

Seeweed in the caribbean beaches

The truth is, however, no matter what time of year you come it’s always possible that you have a bad beach day (or two or three).

Luckily, Playa del Carmen is home to an array of other fascinating eco-systems that you can enjoy come rain or sun!

These include the jungle, and the wondrous underground cenotes unique to this part of the world.

On a rainy day our top recommendations would be:

1. Selvatica

Tripadvisor’s number 1 outdoor activity is an adventure that can be enjoyed whenever the weather.

In my experience, I would argue that it is even more enjoyable in the rain!

Ziplining while it rains in Playa del Carmen

Why?

What’s more fun than gripping and ripping it with a kickass Polaris ATV?

Racing in the rain, that’s what!

Prepare to get down and dirty because when it rains here in Playa del Carmen that’s not enough to stop us!

When you’re behind the wheel of an exhilarating Polaris ATV it makes the experience even more memorable.

These state-of-the-art vehicles were specifically designed for this terrain!

Riding a Polaris or ATV in Playa Del Carmen

Petrol heads should rejoice at the sight of rain but we bet you’ve never experienced suspension this good.

Selvatica is encapsulated by wild jungle, so sling some mud, let loose, you’re on vacation after all!

The Mayan jungle was made for this!

Not only is the rain the perfect antidote to the hot sticky weather, you can enjoy the way it feels on your skin as you fly like a bird down the parks 10 circuit zip lines.

Forget your conventional ziplines Selvatica boasts some of the most thrilling and innovative engineering designs in the world.

At the attraction, you get to enjoy not 1 but 5 types of zip line! 

These include:

  1. Tarzania – AKA the human rollercoaster.
  2. Superflight – fly like a superhero!
  3. Glove Control – control your own speed with your hand.
  4. Upside Down  – see the jungle from a completely new perspective.
  5. Cenote Splash – plunge yourself into the water and prepare to make a splash!

Dip into a cenote

Location.

Book today and SAVE BIG! 

2. Visit a Wellness Spa / Get a Massage

When on vacation you should be relaxing and enjoying life as much as possible and the rain shouldn’t interfere with this.

Bric Spa is a favorite of both locals and tourists for a reason.

All their products are 100% natural. 

They use ingredients from their very own garden that have been infused with aromatic oils.

Get a massage in Playa Del Carmen

Therapists here also use ancient techniques straight from Mayan culture, resulting in a totally unique massage menu.

Try a Mayan herbal massage,  Shirodhara head massage or work out all those stubborn knots with a traditional deep tissue massage.

Location – Calle 28 & 10 Avenue

3. Go See a Movie

A child-friendly option would be to go and see a movie.

Believe it or not, most movies screened in Mexico are in their original version and subtitled.

Sometimes there is nothing better than getting cozy in the cinema with all your favorite munchie and watching a great film.

The chances are that by the time it’s finished the rain will be gone! Win, win.

What to do in Playa del Carmen if it is raining

There are plenty of films to watch in either of the two movie theatres found in Playa del Carmen: Cinemex in Centro Maya, or Cinepolis in Plaza las Americas.

The options are endless, so think outside the box, do your homework, and embrace the rain!

4. Come Armed With Mosquito Repellent.

Nobody enjoys being bitten by these pesky insects.

The effects are extremely irritable and very annoying.

Thankfully, there are some very effective means to avoid and prevent them from coming into contact with your skin.

Prevention is the best medicine when it comes to deterring these blood-sucking vermin.

Get mosquitos repellent

 

During the rainy season in Playa del Carmen, you will find that there are much more mosquitos than normal.

You will particularly notice this if your hotel is surrounded by lush tropical jungle.

In downtown Playa del Carmen, they are apparent, but not as much.

Here are our top tips to avoid being bitten:

  • Always wear insect repellent, when you’re out. Especially during dawn and dusk,  and reapply after leaving the water.

If you plan on visiting a cenote or want to go snorkeling amongst coral reefs it’s absolutely paramount that you choose a BIODEGRADABLE repellent.

The chemicals in normal repellent cause irreversible damage to the rock formations and coral reefs, not only that, but they can have ghastly effects on the marine life that live there.

As you can imagine millions of people visit Playa del Carmen every year, with so many bodies in the water over time, you can understand why this is of huge importance.

We urge you to be more eco-friendly if you care about sustaining the beautiful marine life in this area of the world.

  • Wear light colors, mosquitos have been known to be more attracted to darker colored clothing.
  • Wear pants and long-sleeve shirts when possible. Obviously, it is very hot here in Mexico so that may not be the most appealing option but mosquitos are known to target areas such as the ankles and arms.

5. Hurricanes

A natural disaster that people all over the world dread.

Yes, of course, because of the tropical conditions in this area of the world hurricanes are possible, but they are not likely. 

Another reassurance is that these days hurricanes are much more foreseeable and the advancements in technology mean that we can prevent the devastating effects much better.

Hurricane touches land in playa del carmen

 

Hurricane season runs from June to November for the Atlantic/Caribbean regions.

Weather patterns before and after this time hinder the development of any serious tropical storms.

We are lucky enough to live in a time where meteorologists can forecast the development of a tropical storm.

They do this by studying its growth and trajectory.

This gives time for local warnings to be issued and protection tactics to be implemented to minimize the damage.

The last time a serious hurricane happened in this region was 10 years ago. 

If you are planning to travel during hurricane season and you are a little worried just keep an eye on the National Hurricane Center‘s weather updates.

You should always purchase travel insurance but ESPECIALLY during these times as you can change your flight dates without being penalized.

Many hotels and establishments are protected with hurricane shutters and you can rest assured that the authorities and embassies will do whatever they can to ensure your safety.

Hurricane season shouldn’t be a deterrent to your travels it is just like choosing to visit at any other time of year, you will always be protected from the dangers of bad weather if you need shelter.

6. High Season in Playa del Carmen

When coming to Playa del Carmen we should note there are times of the year when it is much much busier than other.

However, due to the popularity of this city, the gap between low and high season is gradually plateauing.

That said prices do differ greatly for hotel room rates and even for some tours during the low and high seasons.

Crowd on the Playa Del Carmen 5th Avenue

So, you may want to keep this mind before booking.

  • High season: March/April, July/August and Christmas/New Year’s
  • Shoulder season: January, February, May, June
  • Low season: September, October

7. The Best Time to Visit Playa del Carmen

With a better understanding of the weather here in Playa del Carmen, you’re probably now wondering when the best time to visit is?

The truth?

All year round is a great time to travel to Playa del Carmen.

In today’s current global climate it’s virtually impossible to predict the weather.

The only thing we are certain of is that the climate is warm and balmy all year around.  

Playa Del Carmen wheater

However, if you really do want to avoid rain as much as possible avoid traveling between the months of September and October as you are likely to encounter more bad weather than normal.

Although we did note that the cooler months of November and March can sometimes see a drop in temperature, we should note that the climate will still be more than satisfactory. It’s just that gray skies and rain may occur on some of the days.

We hope you feel more informed on what to expect when you visit Playa del Carmen. Paradise awaits you!

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