Harmful algal blooms (HABs) are natural events produced by massive concentration of toxic phytoplankton that can color red, ocher, brown or yellow large extensions of water, its intensity depends on the different species of phytoplankton involved in the proliferation. The spreading of these formations involves an interaction of biological, chemical, meteorological and anthropogenic factors. Several species with potential toxicity have been reported along Mexican coasts, such as Gymnodinium catenatum, Karenia brevis, Pyrodinium bahamense var. compressum. The toxic bloom not only causes an impact during the event, it produces negative effects afterward, such as accumulating deposits of organic matter, alterations of benthic community structure and composition, species presence/absence, and bioaccumulation of toxins in organisms such as bivalve molluscs mainly. Poisoning may occur by consuming contaminated seafood or by direct exposure to aerosols of the toxins, which can provoke diarrhea or even death. Due to the impact of this type of event on the economy, environment and public health, strategies for monitoring, prevention, and systematic mitigation have been implemented for the evaluation of HAB effects. The aim of this review was to determine the state-of-the art of HAB, their reports and effects on the environment and public health in Mexico.