How can Sargassum seaweed affect my destination wedding in Riviera Maya?

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It was the beginning of the summer of 2015. I remember because my grandmother was visiting at the time, and neither she nor I had any idea of what was about to come.

It was the first year we experienced how the water turned from crystal clear turquoise to a dark brown mud nightmare! Nobody knew what was going on at the time. Hundreds of thousands of kg of seaweed were accumulating on the Riviera Maya’s coasts and beaches.

Going into the water was impossible; it was brown, full of seaweed rotting on the sand, and the smell! OMG, the smell. The summer was very cruel that season; the temperature was 39–40 degrees during the day! I mean, it was hard if you hadn’t had a swimming pool that year.

Credit: Víctor Ruiz/Associated Press

But, like the humans we are, we found ways to contain it. We’ve learned! The state of Quintana Roo has been working on strategies to cope with these issues, which are posing an environmental problem and preventing people from enjoying the coast’s famous beaches.

In addition to aerial surveillance, they have issued contracts to hire companies to collect and dispose of the seaweed.

What is sargassum exactly?

Sargassum is a brown seaweed with buoyant, oxygen-filled bladders that keep it floating on the surface of the water. It can clump together in huge masses, often miles long, and has been known to wash up on the shores of beaches along the Caribbean coast from the United States all the way to Argentina, our own country!

Yes, Josefina and I are from Argentina. 😉

What is the situation today in Riviera Maya, 2022?

Now, we know that there’s a seaweed season during the summer (May-Oct), and after all these years, we know how to contain it, and keep it away from most of the beaches. It is not completely gone, but the situation is very different.

Every year, we prepare to contain the problem with large boats, container barriers, and other tools we developed specifically for it. 

So if you are planning your wedding during this period of summer, my advice is to stay informed and avoid the most critical spots. Surprisingly, there are places, like Isla Mujeres, where they don’t get any seaweed at all!

Here are some useful links to stay informed about: (ENG) (SPA)

Now you're asking yourself: But Santi, I booked my resort/wedding a long time ago and now I'm hearing about this?, What can I do?

Don’t worry…that much. The real problem is on public beaches. Most private property owners, such as large resorts or private venues, spend thousands of dollars to keep their beaches looking their best all year. Talk to your wedding coordinator from the resort and ask her about the current situation with seaweed. And also check the resort social media. You’ll see it is not that bad after all!

Last but not least, I can say that we’ve shot tons of weddings in very harsh conditions regarding seaweed. We are trained to make everything look amazing, no matter what the conditions are. If it rains, we will take that as an opportunity to create a magical wedding film. What I’m trying to say is that no matter what the situation is, we will make it work on film. So to answer the main question: How can Sargassum seaweed affect my destination wedding in the Riviera Maya? Today, August of 2022, in any way. We’ve been able to work around it for at least a couple of years!

Well, that’s all for now. I hope this clears up a little bit more about this situation, and you know, just like we did with COVID, we learned to live with it.

Thank you for reading this, and I hope to see you soon!


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