Why Is The Ocean Blue?

When you think of Cancun, the crystal clear turquoise water comes to mind the most.

But why is the water that color?

There are a number of natural factors that combine to create the incredible Cancun water phenomenon.

Cancun’s water.

Sunlight Absorption

According to NASA, ocean water appears blue because large bodies of water absorb wavelengths of sunlight from red, orange, yellow, and green and reflect shorter wavelength blues and violets.

Life in Water – Phytoplankton
Microscopic plant particles called phytoplankton suspended in the waters around Cancun contain chlorophyll that they use to generate energy through photosynthesis. Phytoplankton absorbs the red and blue portions of the light spectrum (for photosynthesis) and reflects green light, making them appear green like most plants. The more phytoplankton there are in the water, the greener the water appears; the less phytoplankton, the bluer.

Shallow Water

The Caribbean Sea is a relatively shallow body of water, and especially around the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. Because the water is shallow, you can see the bottom of the ocean, especially near the shore. This means that sunlight can pass to the bottom of the water, hit the ocean floor, and bounce upward, increasing the amount of light in the water. The more light in the water makes the water lighter in color. In deeper bodies of water, sunlight cannot reach the ocean floor and bounce upward. Less light in the water makes the water darker in color, Shallow water.

Marine Floor Makeup

The sand in the Cancun area is very white in color, and this also affects the color of the water. Sunlight reflects off the white sand at the bottom of the ocean. This makes the water a lighter blue color.

All of these factors together produce the turquoise blue water that Cancun is famous for!

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