Video – About Those Sea Beans

If you’ve ever been to a beach, you’ll know plenty of stuff washes up on shore. In Xcalak, Mexico, there aren’t any mega-hotels with an army of staff to rake the beach daily.

Unsurprisingly, instead of postcard-pristine white sand, on Xcalak’s beach you’ll find twigs, sticks, seaweed, and sea beans.

Wait, what? There are beans that wash up from the sea?

Well, not exactly. But basically yes.

“Sea beans” are also called “drift seeds”. They contain the seeds of plants, and they’re tough enough to travel across the seas of the world while keeping their little seed inside safe.

Sea beans aren’t just tough little seed protectors – they make beautiful decorations, jewelry, and keepsakes. And in Xcalak, they wash up on the shore regularly. Check out this video to learn more about what sea beans are and what they look like (so you can spot them while you’re strolling the beach in Xcalak).

Watch the video - About Those Sea Beans

There are more types of sea beans than I can list here, but if you’re interested in learning more check out this thorough (but a bit archaic) webpage about sea beans.

Oh, and don’t get confused – there’s another plant called a “sea bean” but it’s NOT a drift seed. It’s an edible green plant that looks like a green bean.

Salicornia, another kind of sea bean
This is "salicornia" and it's not the kind of sea bean we're talking about here.

No time to watch a video? Here’s a summary.

Video summary

“Sea beans” are also called “drift seeds”.

  • The protective outer shell is tough enough to survive years floating in salt water before making landfall on distant shores (such as Xcalak)
  • In Xcalak you can regularly find several types of sea beans washed up on the shore
many kinds of sea beans sitting on a table
Some of the many sea beans found on the beach in Xcalak, Mexico.

Fun fact! The “sea heart” may have inspired Columbus to explore the west

  • Two popular sea beans in Xcalak are the smooth, palm-sized “sea heart” and the small, multi-colored “sea purse” or “sea hamburger”
Sea hearts
Beautiful sea hearts. I'd sail across the ocean for more of these (or at least buy a flight to Mexico).
Sea hamburgers and sea purses
Some of them look like hamburgers, some of them look like purses. Get it?

Fun fact! Sea beans are lucky

  • If a sea bean can survive for months (or years) at sea unscathed, sailors figured that by keeping a sea bean, they could return home in a similar state

You’ll never see a sea bean on the beach if you stay at an immaculately manicured all-inclusive. The only way to find them is to find a real beach, like in Xcalak.

 

What else can you find washed up on the beach in Xcalak? Check out the Ultimate List of Things to Do in Xcalak to find out.