Why is Cancun water so blue?

Have you ever wondered why Cancun water is so blue? Do you believe in the common misconception that water gets its blue color due to its reflection of the sun? This is the most believed assumption that people have about why the color is different shades of blue.

The Cancun Water is blue because the water absorbs colors in the red part of the light spectrum, where it leaves behind colors in the blue part of the light spectrum for us to see. The water may also take on other colors like red and green.

If you were under the impression that the blue is a result of reflection, keep reading to explore the various actual reasons why the Cancun water is so blue.

Why is Cancun water so blue?

What makes Cancun water so blue?

Water in its original form is clear. The blue color of Cancun water does not appear from reflection; it is because of the absorption of red light. Water can absorb some shades of light more effectively than others. These shades include red, yellow, and green. Water cannot absorb blue in the same way, so the ocean ends up being some shade of blue.

The absorbed light comes from the sun and is made up of a variety of colors; blue is a color that has been difficult for nature to absorb. This difficulty explains why there are not many things in nature that are naturally blue, at least when compared to organisms that are green or other popular colors.

The exact shade of blue is determined by a variety of other factors, which shall be explored below:

Depth of the water

The deeper a water body becomes, the less light is able to access all of it, and therefore the water produces a darker shade of blue. This happens the other way around in cases where the water is not as deep, and we end up seeing a lighter shade of blue.

The shade of the sand and coral

These entities reside at the bottom of the ocean; they play a part in the overall color of the sea when sunlight reaches them. Sand and coral with lighter shades in terms of color will give a light blue shade, while darker shades will produce the opposite consequence.

How active and intense the ocean is

You may have seen waves crashing and the foggy texture they create in the water. These waves make the sand move upwards and cause the water to take on a foggy texture. This sand then blocks out the sunlight from the water beneath and causes the water to take on a darker shade of blue.

In the case of the Cancun ocean, the water is a light shade of blue in most places because it is quite calm, and the waves aren’t as tall.

The amount of Phytoplankton


Phytoplankton is a single-celled organism that contains a chemical compound called chlorophyll. It is the same chemical associated with plants for the process of photosynthesis. Even though they are quite small, larger quantities of these organisms can affect the water’s color. Larger quantities will reflect the color green, causing the water to turn green as well.

Since Cancun water in the Caribbean is relatively low in concentrations of Phytoplankton, the water’s color leans towards the shade of blue.

There are a variety of other similar chemicals that would produce different results. Still, they will not be discussed here as Phytoplankton is the one that has been understood to make the biggest difference.

Availability of nutrients

The growth of algae is strong around the coastal water in most cases. This growth happens because nutrients are widely available as a result of runoff from the coast, and this causes an increase in the amount of chlorophyll.

Therefore, the amount of green color that is reflected in the water increases. This would mean that the water takes on a green shade instead of blue, but the case is not so for Cancun water.

The reason this does not happen is that the Caribbean is not rich in terms of nutrients. The most important nutrient required for algae growth is iron which is in short supply within the Caribbean, and the water does not take on the green color as it usually does in other parts of the world.

Even though Cancun is not the lowest in terms of iron deficiency relative to the minimum that is required for growth, researchers suggest that it is still not enough to be able to promote the healthy growth of plants beneath the surface.

There could be other deficiencies in terms of nutrients when it comes to the growth of plant life, but those are yet to be explored by science to produce conclusive literature.

Why is the ocean in Cancun different colors?

You may notice that different areas within the Caribbean have different shades of blue within them. This is because they have differing currents. The current causes various things to occur within the water, such as the resuspension of sand. These currents produce differing results and can create a variety of shades of the color blue.

All of the other factors interact with the current and produce the final shade that we are able to see.

Why are ocean colors different?

Different Ocean color

You might ask that even though it connects to other water bodies, why does the color of Cancun still remain distinct? You may have seen that most oceans differ from one another in terms of appearance to begin with. This is because of the variances in the factors mentioned above and many other reasons. The reason the colors do not merge is that the oceans have opposing currents.

The opposing currents decrease the chances of the factors such as sand and plant life interacting outside of the individual systems. Each of the oceans is able to keep up appearances just as they have over the course of observed history.

The geography relevant to clouds is also important as more dense clouds do not allow sunlight to punch through and would therefore create a darker shade of blue in the water as fewer colors are being absorbed from the sun. Once again, it is quite the opposite in the case of Cancun, which is why we end up with a lighter shade of blue.

Experience the blue water by going on a fishing trip, read more about it here: Fishing In Cancun


Even though it is difficult to determine exactly what causes the color blue to appear instead of something else, we have explored a variety of circumstances that can be helpful in developing a deeper understanding of why we end up seeing particular shades of blue.

The color of the Cancun ocean is especially beautiful, and this claim can be supported by the fact that it is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world.

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