Attack of the Killer Seaweed in Tulum, Mexico
Two young lovers on the trip of a lifetime arrive at Tulum beach in an overpriced taxi. Little did they know there is a killer on the loose, feeding on the innocent expectations of naive tourists. The couple get settled into their tent (it costs over $30 a night!), which is precariously close to the evil force residing just across the road. They slowly venture closer to the beach while the decaying brown and orange monster patiently waits to kill something they’d held dear for so long. And then they see it, seaweed strewn across the beach for as far as the eye can see. Their expectations for a beach paradise were murdered by the seaweed in Tulum. They would never be the same again.
OK, maybe that was a bit overdramatic, but we had such high hopes for the beaches in Tulum. I’d seen photos of incredibly blue water and bright white sand, and that just isn’t the reality at the moment. I asked the owner of our tent hotel and he said it’s been like this for quite a while now – the mysterious seaweed monster that everybody wishes they could kill just isn’t going away (this was in April, but apparently it’s still just as bad and the problem is far wider than just Tulum). Luckily there are two other attractions in Tulum that are pretty amazing; maybe this horror story will have a happy ending after all.
Have you seen a cenote before? They are amazing little flooded sinkholes/caves that are full of the clearest water you’ll ever see. They are great places to swim, and Cenote Calavera is probably my favourite one in Mexico (there are apparently over 7000 of them). You walk through what looks like a guy’s backyard to get to the cenote, which, if you’re lucky, you’ll have all to yourself. Cenote Calavera is also a well known dive site, alternatively known as the Temple of Doom. There are plenty of other cenotes near Tulum, so consider visiting a few if you’re sick of the seaweed!l
Further reading: Cenote Calavera: A Spectacular Swimming Spot in Tulum, Mexico
Mayan Ruins of Tulum
There are ancient pyramids and ruins scattered throughout Mexico, but the proximity to the clear blue Caribbean Sea really sets the Tulum ruins apart. Sure, the seaweed problem in Tulum has robbed the beaches of some of their beauty, but seeing ancient ruins on cliffs above a white sand beach is a pretty incredible sight. The ruins themselves are fairly small and unimpressive compared to sites like Chichen Itza and Uxmal, but these Mayans obviously knew then what real estate agents know now – it’s all about location!
Further reading: The Wonders of the World: Chichen Itza
So, has the seaweed in Tulum really ruined the beaches?
Not really. The beaches certainly aren’t as pristine as they once were (well, as they were in photos anyway, but that’s a different story), but the sand is still white and the water is still blue. We didn’t swim because the water was quite rough and there was a lot of seaweed in there, but we did see people swimming and they seemed to enjoy it. The attractions in Tulum make it a worthwhile stop while travelling though Mexico anyway, so as long as you lower your expectations slightly then you should enjoy your time there.
Further reading: Check out this live webcam feed to keep updated on Tulum’s seaweed situation.
Have you ever been to a beach that you’d seen amazing photos of, and it turned out to be a bit disappointing? Have you seen the seaweed Tulum in the last month or 2 (and has the situation improved?) Let me know!