Once a year you can witness a fascinating spectacle in the Mexican Caribbean: the migration of the Blue Land Crab. Don’t miss out on this colorful parade if you’re lucky enough to be around!
The Blue Land Crab (cardisoma guanhum) used to live all over the Mexican Caribbean, but sadly it’s one of the most affected species by mankind in this region. Our infrastructures are big obstacles for them, the fast growing tourism with its facilities, and also the fact that apparently they’re tasty, are some of the reasons why they’re nowadays nearly only sighted in Cancun, Cozumel and Mahahual. Playa del Carmen hasn’t seen a Blue Crab in over ten years.
The crustaceans are born in the sea, where they spend their “childhood”. Once grown up, they move to live in the mangroves. They reach sizes up to about 35 cm (14 in) and are distinguished by their beautiful color. The name Blue Land Crab may be a bit confusing though, since they’re not solely of blue color, but also appear light gray and in red tones.
Once a year, typically on full moon nights in September and October, the females sally out for a spectacular journey towards the sea to deposit their eggs. You can literally see hundreds of Blue Crabs! Unfortunately, they simply follow their instincts, which leads them across busy coastal highways, with cars and buses threatening their lives. Cancun’s hotel zone, dividing the Caribbean Sea from the Nichupté Lagoon where they live, is a huge obstacle for the little creatures.
Of course we don’t just stand by idly and watch them being crushed. In Cozumel the government puts up signs to remind motorists to drive carefully. In Cancun, however, people spring into action. 25 years ago the Blue Crab Protection Campaign was brought to life, with support from Cancun’s Ecology Board. Every year locals and tourists gather to bring the little buddies safely across the road. Last year 960 Blue Crabs have successfully been brought to safety.
You happen to be around and want to participate? Here’s how and when:
When: September 12, 13 and 14; 6:30 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Where: Cancun’s Hotel Zone (Playa Las Perlas, El Niño, Punta Nizuc II (El Mirador II) & Malecón Tajamar).
Bring: Whatever type of container you can find (box, bucket, basket…), a scoop or gloves, a pocket lamp and wear white or bright clothing.
Send us a photo if you happen to see a Blue Crab or if you participate in the Protection Campaign!