Ask Qroo Paul: When’s the Best Time to Visit Cancun or the Riviera Maya to Avoid the Seaweed?

Today, I’m going to address a common question that we get on an almost weekly basis from followers of our blog. The question was actually in the title of the post, but just in case you missed it, here it is again:

When is the best time to visit Cancun or the Riviera Maya to avoid the seaweed?

People ask the question in different ways. Some people even ask me to tell them if there will likely be and seaweed on a particular date.

Their faith in my abilities is both flattering and disturbing at the same time.

Just for the record, I don’t have the ability to predict which beach days will be perfect and which will be marred by seaweed; however, I can provide a more detailed answer to the question above, that may — and I’m stressing that word may — provide some guidance for people thinking of booking a vacation to either Cancun or the Riviera Maya in the near future.

The best way to answer this particular question is with a video containing plenty of visual aids and examples — so, I made one.

I know that some people don’t like to watch videos — perhaps because they read our blog at work and they have to be discreet — who knows? Anyway, for those folks, I’m going to give you the visual aid free, short answer:

I’m going to break my answer down into two parts: the good news and the bad news.

Let’s start with the bad news. There is no season for Sargassum. It arrives periodically throughout the year. That means there is no perfect month or week to book your trip in order to guarantee that you won’t see any.

Time for the good news.

Just because it’s washing up one day, doesn’t mean it will be washing up the next day or even the next week after that. The seaweed situation changes rapidly depending on factors like the weather, so one bad day doesn’t mean that you’re vacation is a bust.

Let’s Wrap This Up

So, if you’re thinking booking a trip down to the areas of Cancun or the Riviera Maya, just do it!

If the Sargassum is rolling in one day, don’t worry. There are plenty of things to do in this area. You can head to the cenotes (which are fresh water springs), go ziplining, cave exploring, visit the ruins or even head inland to explore some of the great cities and towns there, like Valladolid.

And, as I like to say: Mexico is like pizza. Even when it isn’t perfect, it’s still pretty awesome!

Well, that’s it for today. Hasta luego.

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About the Author

Qroo Paul
Paul Kurtzweil (Q-Roo Paul) was a deputy sheriff in Florida for 25 years before retiring at the rank of lieutenant in 2015. He and his wife moved to Mexico looking to maximize their retirement income. They later started a blog called Two Expats Mexico ( to share their experiences as well as information about the logistical and legal aspects of retiring south of the border.

21 Comments on "Ask Qroo Paul: When’s the Best Time to Visit Cancun or the Riviera Maya to Avoid the Seaweed?"

  1. Love to meet you guys next winter when we are coming from Canada for the third winter escape to Playa del Carmen

  2. Dario Semino | April 28, 2019 at 7:53 am |

    Buenos días, Paul. I love your pizza metaphor, it’s just perfect! If you don’t mind I’ll recycle it 🙂
    Te tengan un excelente día!

  3. Our beach sand is sometimes pushed up high against the sea wall and sometimes not. People have asked me if it will be high or low when they are coming. . . so I understand what you are talking about. There is just no way to know.

  4. University of South Florida’s Satellite Sargassum Watch System attempts to track Sargassum in real time. They also publish a monthly report / forecast. It won’t be helpful for planning months in advance, but it might help with planning a few days or weeks ahead – just enough time, perhaps, to score the last seat on a tour or cruise.

    • I’ve looked at it a few times and I never found it that useful — but maybe some of our readers will, so thanks for the link.

  5. Hi Paul, I just returned home yesterday from a 7day Caribbean cruise, which included a stop in Cozumel. From the ship I could see sargassum everywhere throughout the Caribbean Sea, from the Bahamas all the way to the Riviera Maya … there were long thin strips of it, one after another, every few yards apart in some areas. And then we’d go through an area where there was none at all for miles and miles. So you are exactly right about how it can come in erratically, and that’s because that is how it is in the ocean. We went to a beach club on our port day in Cozumel and there was no seaweed. I recall reading somewhere that the ocean currents keep it off the coast of Cozumel (at least the side where all the cruise ships and ferries are). So if someone goes to Rivera Maya and the seaweed is bad, and they really want to go to the beach, they could take the ferry to Cozumel, get on a cab to one of the many beach clubs on the island, and spend a nice day on the beach or snorkeling w/o dealing with the seaweed.

    Thanks for the blog, and I really am enjoying your videos now too! I know it is hard work to make a video and I appreciate the efforts you and Linda are making to inform and entertain us!

    • Thank you so much for taking the time to leave such a detailed response. I believe that many of our readers will benefit from it.

      Thanks for the positive feedback on the new vlog too. There is definitely a lot of work that goes into creating a video but it’s been a lot of fun too. I love learning new skills. 🙂

  6. Yes, Paul, you are absolutely correct. We went to the beach Friday and the water was absolutely beautiful. Then around 4:00 pm, little, individual clumps of sargassum started rolling in, until it became lots of clumps. But the weather was pretty, the water was fantastic, and the fish were still swimming back and forth, so all in all, a great day!

  7. OK, seaweed. There must be something useful to do with all that seaweed. Can it be recycled into something?

    • One company has started making shoes out of them and there are some others that are experimenting with making biofuels.

  8. Thanks for all the helpful advice on your blog. Our family will be visiting Akumal for a week next month. Do you have a suggestion for a favorite cenote to visit on one of the “seaweed days”? I could not find any recommendations on the site. We will look for you at Gilly’s.

    • There are several good ones in the area but one of the stand-out ones is Dos Ojos. We also have a theme park called Xel-Ha with cenotes, ziplining etc. You might want to check that out.

  9. Well said!

  10. I just need to tell you Paul that you are truly good at what you do. I follow many blogs and I just wanted to say thanks for the great info. You two really do an excellent job with how you bring it to us.

  11. Christine Fennell | May 1, 2019 at 4:17 pm |

    Resorts also do a great job of clearing their beaches daily!

  12. Chuck Doucet | May 2, 2019 at 2:52 pm |

    Please resend your recent request for subscriptions to your blog. Looks like well, worth the money.

Comments are closed.