Are you looking for the best biodegradable sunscreen for Mexico?
You’re in the right place! I spent a year living in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, where adequate sun protection was essential to keep my skin and the delicate local ecosystem safe.
Plus, I’ve been traveling all over Mexico for over 20 years. As a pasty white Canadian, I’ve learned a thing or two about sunscreen over the years, and I’m here to share my insights!
Below, I’ll go over my favorite sunscreen brands for Mexico, the characteristics of each of them, and some tips for making the most of your sunscreen – because it’s not enough to just apply once!
I’ll also explain what I mean by biodegradable sunscreen and how to identify whether or not a brand is truly reef-safe.
By the end of this blog post, you’ll know more than you ever wanted to about sunscreen, AND you will be left with no excuses not to practice adequate sun safety!
Short on time? My favorite reef-safe sunscreen for Mexico (and beyond) is Sun Bum Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30. It smells great, it’s non-greasy, and it’s easy to find on Amazon and in most pharmacies in Canada and the US.
Why is biodegradable sunscreen so important in Mexico?
Many popular sunscreen brands are loaded with chemicals that are harmful to the sensitive environments that surround the beloved beach towns in Mexico. That’s why the best sunscreen for Mexico is one that is reef-safe and biodegradable.
Think about it…thousands of visitors shedding residue from normal sunscreens into Mexico’s cenotes or coral reefs each day make a massive impact on the environment and marine life.
In fact, according to a 2020 study, experts expect over 4,000 tons of sunscreen chemicals to be shed in Mexico’s Riviera Maya between 2007 and 2025, causing significant contamination of the area’s delicate ecosystems. Worldwide, over 14,000 tons of sunscreen wash into the ocean each year.
That represents an enormous amount of contaminants.
It’s important that we all do our part and pack biodegradable sunscreen for Mexico. That way, you can protect your skin and the nature you so admire.
Is there a sunscreen ban in Mexico?
No! You’re allowed to wear sunscreen in Mexico.
But, in some parts of the country, such as the Riviera Maya, your tour guide may request that you refrain from applying sunscreen in order to protect the local ecosystems.
Mexican eco-parks like Xel Ha and XCARET require that guests use only reef-friendly sun protection products.
In other words, many organizations and individuals are working hard to protect their local marine ecosystems, and they request that everyone do their part by wearing biodegradable sunblock in Mexico.
Looking for additional tips on packing for Mexico? These posts will help:
What is biodegradable sunscreen?
Terms like biodegradable and reef-safe are thrown around a lot in reference to sunscreen, but what do they really mean?
The tricky thing is that “reef safe” isn’t an official designation that’s regulated by a government agency. So, it’s not surprising that the definition is convoluted. In general, it means the sunscreen does not contain the two chemicals oxybenzone and octinoxate.
These two chemicals are the most widely studied and have been found to cause coral bleaching. This is where coral reefs will turn white and become more susceptible to disease.
These ingredients are so damaging that the state of Hawaii even passed the Hawaii Reef Act 104, a law banning the sale of sunscreens containing oxybenzone or octinoxate.
These ingredients (along with others) that are commonly found in regular sunscreens have also been flagged by the FDA for being worrisome. Oxybenzone, in particular, has been shown to be absorbed through the skin and detected in human blood and breast milk.
This raises concerns over whether the use of sunscreens containing this ingredient is safe for women. Oxybenzone is often used as one of the main ingredients in chemical sunscreens because it is highly effective at blocking UVA and UVB rays.
There are still many chemical components in sunscreen that have not been studied, though, so one way to be very environmentally friendly (and health-conscious) is to wear more UPF-rated clothing, such as rash guards or sun shirts.
Protective clothing cuts way down on the total amount of sunscreen that you have to use and saves you the hassle of having to reapply sunscreen every two hours.
Since you probably can’t go without sunscreen entirely, especially when visiting beach-oriented destinations like Playa del Carmen, Cancun, or Puerto Vallarta, using a biodegradable, mineral-based sunscreen is your best bet.
How do you tell if a sunscreen is reef-safe?
To spot an environmentally friendly sunscreen, there are a few things to look for on the ingredients list beyond the “reef safe” label.
- Look for red-flag ingredients – Take a look at the ingredient list and make sure oxybenzone and octinoxate are not on it. They are the ones proven to cause coral bleaching. A few other ingredients to avoid are octocrylene, homosalate, and triclosan.
- Choose Mineral-based sunscreens – Mineral sunscreens have not been linked to coral bleaching and are thought to be better for the environment. Look for ingredients like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.
- Look for the “Non-nano” indication – If something is “non-nano,” that means it is larger than 100 nanometers in size. This makes it harder for the particles to pass through or be ingested by the coral.
- Read the labels – Just because a sunscreen claims to be reef-safe doesn’t mean it really is. It’s important to verify the absence of red-flag ingredients.
The Best Environmentally Friendly Sunscreens
Through searching for the best sunscreen to use for my own use, here are some reliable biodegradable sunscreen brands I’ve found. Many of these brands produce biodegradable sunscreen as part of their larger goal to be more environmentally friendly and to protect the ocean.
1. Sun Bum Mineral Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30
This is a fantastic zinc-based mineral sunscreen that provides broad-spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays.
It’s very lightweight, but it does go on with a slight white cast. It’s hardly noticeable, though, and it goes away after the sunscreen settles onto your skin. You should apply 15 minutes before sun exposure, anyway, so it shouldn’t be a big deal.
However, if you get dressed too quickly after application, you may notice marks on your clothes.
It contains coconut oil and shea butter, which offer hydrating benefits for your skin and contribute to the sunscreen’s subtle but pleasant scent.
I’m VERY sensitive to scented products, but this one doesn’t bother me at all, which is why it has been my go-to sunscreen brand for years.
You should reapply every 80 minutes, whether swimming or sweating.
Pros: lightweight but offers long-lasting coverage
Cons: has a slight white cast upon application, which may mark your clothing
2. Raw Elements SPF 30 Certified Natural Sunscreen
This face and body sunscreen from Raw Elements comes in a recyclable plastic-free bio-resin tube. This is one of the best sunscreens for everyday use for all ages. It’s a long-lasting, non-GMO mineral sunscreen.
Raw Elements was founded by Brian Guadagno, an ocean lifeguard who is passionate about promoting environmental awareness and sun safety. The products were developed as a safe alternative to regular sunscreen that offered reliable protection for active individuals
The active ingredient in this sunscreen is 23% non-nano zinc oxide, and you’ll recognize all the other items on the non-active ingredient list. It is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes, and the packaging is recyclable. It doubles as a daily moisturizer and is perfect for dry skin.
Raw Elements reef-safe sunscreen is thick and creamy and takes a bit of time to apply to your whole body.
However, if you take your time putting it on, then it truly works, and you shouldn’t burn. Make sure to reapply if you’re staying in the sun for long periods of time or have sensitive skin, though.
Pros: Works well for all skin types, stays on skin well, lasts up to 80 minutes
Cons: Pricier than other options
3. Australian Gold Botanical Sunscreen SPF 50
Australian Gold Botanical Mineral Sunscreen is a reliable choice for sun protection. Its active ingredients, zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, offer broad-spectrum UVA/UVB coverage.
It has a subtle and pleasant Shea Butter scent, and its lightweight, non-greasy formula leaves a matte finish on the skin. While it does initially have a white hue, this fades within 15 to 20 minutes.
It’s best to apply it 15 minutes before sun exposure and reapply every 80 minutes for optimal protection. A notable feature of this sunscreen is its durability – it tends to stay on the skin all day (even after swimming), and I always have to make a point to scrub it off in the shower at the end of the day. That said, I’d still reapply every 80 minutes to ensure you’re protected.
I use this Australian Gold sunscreen frequently because it’s readily available at my local pharmacy, more so than Sun Bum. My main complaint about it is that it tends to stain clothing. My swimsuits all have stains from coming into contact with it, which is a bummer.
Despite this, I still recommend Australian Gold Botanical Mineral Sunscreen because it’s really effective for preventing sunburn, and its lightweight feel and inoffensive scent make it comfortable to wear.
Pros: Long-lasting, non-greasy, nice scent
Cons: Leaves a white hue at first, stains clothes
4. All Good SPF 30 Sport Sunscreen
Another non-nano zinc oxide-based formula, this sunblock by All Good is thinner than Raw Elements and should be moisture-resistant for 80 minutes. Many people have found that it works better if you moisturize your skin before applying.
This one does require reapplying much more than the 80-minute recommendation and can leave a white tint on your skin after applying. Like most reef-safe sunscreens, it works better on some skin types than others, so be vigilant when wearing it.
Pros: Formula is non-greasy and easy to apply.
Cons: does not work well on some skin types
5. Badger Reef Safe Sunscreen, SPF 40 Sport Mineral Sunscreen
Not only is this an environmentally friendly sunscreen brand, but it’s also a woman and family-owned company. This Badger sunscreen starts out white but rubs in clear, so you don’t have that annoying residue.
It contains 98% certified organic ingredients. They also offer a face stick, which is easy to apply and offers great protection for your face.
Pros: rubs in clear, lightweight
Cons: does not stay on well in water
Traveling soon? Don’t forget to buy travel insurance for Mexico. Insurance gives you peace of mind, knowing you can get the help you need if anything goes wrong. SafetyWing is the provider that I recommend.
6. Soleil Organic Sheer Sunscreen Mist SPF 50
Spray-on sunscreens are typically the worst type of sunscreen for the environment, but this one by Soleil Organic does not contain oxybenzone or octinoxate! Since it is a spray, it’s lightweight and easy to apply. You can wear it in the water for up to 80 minutes, but you should apply it at least 20 minutes before you go outside.
They have also added a few natural ingredients that are good for your skin and reduce sun damage. The main complaint people have is about the strong smell. The lightweight formula may make this one of the best options for sensitive skin.
Pros: lightweight, easy to apply
Cons: must reapply often, has a strong smell
7. Kokua Sun Care SPF 50/80 Mineral Sunscreen Lotion
Kokua Sun Care Mineral Sunscreen for Face & Body is an excellent choice for comprehensive sun protection, with 25% zinc oxide as its sole active ingredient. It provides broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection, as the zinc oxide forms a physical barrier against the sun.
It’s a non-nano sunscreen, making it a safer option for skin and the environment.
Formulated with Hawaiian superfoods, this sunscreen is rich in antioxidants from ingredients like kukui nut oil, macadamia nut oil, Hawaiian spirulina, noni, and plumeria, which protect and rejuvenate the skin.
The lotion goes on smooth and clear without leaving any white residue, and it’s gentle enough not to sting the eyes.
The vegan formula is enhanced with a natural, coconut-vanilla scent derived from plant extracts. There are no artificial fragrances here, making this lotion a good option for those with sensitive skin and fragrance allergies. It’s also free from parabens, aligning with clean skincare standards.
The sunscreen comes in convenient 3 oz bottles, making it perfect for travel and on-the-go use.
Pros: non-nano sunscreen, long-lasting, moisturizes the skin
Cons: high cost, thick formula makes it somewhat difficult to apply
8. Thinksport SPF 50
This Thinksport sunblock is a mineral sunscreen, and it’s free of all biologically harmful chemicals.
This is one of the most popular brands of reef-safe sun protection as it’s gotten many awards from popular magazines and was one of the first sunscreens to pass the Whole Foods Premium Care requirements.
You’ll want to apply this sunscreen at least 15 minutes before you go outside, and don’t rub it in too thin. People with darker skin tones found that it did leave a white residue.
Pros: very water-resistant, cheaper option
Cons: stays white for some
9. Hello Bello SPF 50 Sunscreen Mineral Lotion
This sunscreen is from Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard’s line of family products. While it was developed for kids, this is great for anyone with sensitive skin. It is hypoallergenic, and they list out every single ingredient on their site with a description of what it is, so they are incredibly transparent.
While it is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes, they recommend reapplying every 40 minutes if you are playing in the water. This non-greasy formula is another one that works great as a general moisturizer.
Pros: hypoallergenic, non-greasy.
Cons: not very water-resistant
10. Coppertone Pure and Simple Zinc Oxide Mineral Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50
This Coppertone sunblock is great for anyone looking for hypoallergenic options. It’s free from parabens, dyes, and fragrances and avoids common sunscreen chemicals like octinoxate and oxybenzone, making it a kind and gentle choice for your skin and Mexico’s delicate reefs.
Thanks to the active ingredient, Zinc Oxide 24.08%, this sunscreen offers broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection, ensuring you’re well-guarded against the sun’s rays. Plus, it’s waterproof for up to 80 minutes – perfect for those beach days or pool sessions.
It’s also tear-free, so you don’t have to worry about it running into your eyes!
It has a light, creamy formula, and while it leaves a slight white hue initially, it blends in beautifully to go on clear – no ghostly look! The fact that it’s scent-free is another huge bonus, especially for those sensitive to fragrances. Many reviewers mention that it did not bother their sensitive skin!
One thing to note, though, is that it can be a bit tough to wash off at the end of the day. But that’s a small trade-off for the peace of mind and protection it offers. Overall, Coppertone Pure & Simple is a fantastic reef-safe sunscreen, especially for those with sensitive skin or who prefer a more natural approach to their sun care routine.
Pros: Very affordable, long-lasting, scent-free
Cons: Tough to wash off, may leave a slight white hue
Biodegradable Sunscreen Face Sticks
Sunscreen face sticks are a game changer if you’re planning to spend extended time on the water. Between the glare of the ocean and your sunglasses, sunburnt noses are tough to avoid, even with a good mineral sunscreen, but face sticks can change your fate.
Sunscreen sticks are more solid and less messy to apply than liquid sunscreen. The product goes on thicker, too, offering additional protection. The fact that the product is thicker also makes it easier to control and keep it out of your eyes.
However, many face sticks leave a white hue on your skin, even if you apply the sunscreen lightly. They aren’t for everyone, but they are a huge asset on days when your sun exposure will be very high.
Here are my top picks.
1. Headhunter Sunscreen Face Stick (SPF 45)
This mineral sunscreen face stick has been my go-to for years, and it never lets me down.
It was crafted with surfers and watersport aficionados in mind, which means it’s made to withstand some serious exposure. Its active ingredients are Titanium Dioxide 12.4%, Zinc Oxide 4.8%, and it offers broad-spectrum coverage.
It definitely leaves a bit of a white tint, but in the surfing community, that seems to be part of the culture. I only wear this product when I know I’m going to be enduring long sun exposure, and honestly, I’d rather rock a white nose for half a day than a crispy one for the rest of my trip. I primarily wear in for snorkeling, surfing, or days spent on the water.
Headhunter has a non-greasy, waterproof formula that actually lives up to the hype – I’ve tested it myself, and it does stay on even when you’re in the water for hours. However, I still recommend reapplying every 80 minutes to be safe.
2. Sun Bum Mineral SPF 50 Sunscreen Face Stick
This Sun Bum face stick is what I reach for when I’m headed on a surfing or snorkeling tour.
It’s a zinc-based mineral sunscreen that sits on top of your skin to form a shield against the sun’s harsh UV rays. It blocks both UVA and UVB rays and is perfect for protecting the delicate skin of your face, neck, and chest.
This little stick feels lightweight and goes on smoothly. Just swipe it on 15 minutes before sun exposure and reapply every 80 minutes to ensure you remain protected.
3. Raw Elements Face Stick SPF 50 All-Natural Mineral Sunscreen
This Raw Elements face stick is an all-natural mineral sunscreen that was literally made for the ocean lovers among us.
Founded by an ocean lifeguard with eco-conscious water lovers in mind, it shields your skin with non-nano zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. And it doesn’t contain any red-flag ingredients that harm coral reefs.
Plus, it’s organic and free from soy, gluten, and nuts – how cool is that? It won’t wash off and run into your eyes when you get wet, and it even doubles as a moisturizer! Isn’t it nice when you can find a sun lotion that doesn’t feel gross to wear?!
Reef-Safe SPF Lip Balm
SPF lip balm isn’t just a nice-to-have; it’s your on-the-go shield against the Mexican sun. Your lips are just as susceptible to sunburn as any other area of your skin, and we all know how miserable chapped lips feel. Pick up a reliable SPF lip balm for your trip!
I like these ones.
1. Sun Bum SPF 30 Mineral Sunscreen Lip Balm
Apply this zinc-based mineral sunscreen balm, and you’re set with broad spectrum coverage that protects your lips from the harshest rays. This lip balm has a lovely tropical scent — no chemical notes here!
Now, this product does have a slightly oily feel, but that’s because it functions by forming a physical barrier against the sun on top of your skin.
If you check reviews, some folks say it left their lips feeling dry after wear, but for what it’s worth, that hasn’t been my experience!
2. Headhunter Sport Chapstick SPF 30
The Headhunter Sport Chapstick stands out with its non-nano zinc oxide formula, providing SPF 30 protection without putting local coral reefs at risk.
Ideal for long days spent in the water, it offers long-lasting, water-resistant coverage that shields lips from harmful UVA and UVB rays.
It comes in three tropical-inspired flavors: pineapple, mango, and coconut! With its smooth application and nourishing ingredients, it keeps lips moisturized and protected in even the most extreme conditions.
I’ve used Headhunter chapstick (and their face stick) a ton over the years, and I’m always blown away by how long-lasting they are. The products are often sold in surf shops, which is a pretty good indicator that they’re suitable for wearing in the water!
3. Hurraw! Sun Lip Balm (SPF 15)
Hurraw’s Sunscreen Lip Balm boasts SPF 15, ensuring your lips are safeguarded against the sun’s glare, but it also prides itself on using non-nano zinc oxide. This means you’re protecting your lips with a natural mineral that won’t harm marine ecosystems!
With broad-spectrum protection, you’re covered from both UVA and UVB rays, which is a big win for your lip care.
Hurraw’s formula is designed to glide on smoothly and stay put without a sticky feeling. It also has a lovely fruit-infused scent, so it doesn’t feel icky to wear like a regular sunscreen lip balm often does.
Extra Forms of Sun Protection
Sunscreen isn’t the only way to protect your skin from harmful rays. Having a selection of protective clothing and accessories will help you escape lobster status on vacation. Here are some items to consider.
A sun hat is super handy for keeping the sun off your face and out of your eyes. Of course, you should still wear face sunscreen with your sun hat, but it will give you an additional layer of protection against sunburn.
This hat is great because you can roll it up and stick it in your suitcase!
A rash guard
If you’re planning to spend a ton of time in the water, a rash guard is advisable. If you’re headed on a snorkeling trip or a boat trip, a rashguard will have your back (literally), so you don’t need to remember to reapply your sunblock.
Don’t overlook packing a pair of polarized sunglasses. Not only do they cut through the glare of the sun on the water, but they also protect your eyes from harmful UV rays. This robust protection means your eyes won’t feel dry and strained at the end of the day.
UVA/UVB protective clothing
If you want to avoid slathering on sunscreen every morning, slip some UVA/UVB protective clothing into your suitcase! It does the same thing but without the tedious application. Of course, you’ll still need to apply sunblock to your exposed skin. Most outdoor stores and athletic brands offer a good selection of this type of clothing.
A water bottle
Staying hydrated is key to avoiding sunstroke, so make sure you pack a reusable bottle for your Mexico trip. You’ll be able to fill it at your hotel or Airbnb (most places have water refill stations readily available), which will help you cut down on single-use plastic bottles while you stay hydrated.
How to make the most of your sunscreen
Sunscreen is the number one safety precaution against nasty sunburns and preventing skin cancer. The problem is… most of us are applying our sunscreen incorrectly or buying the wrong products altogether.
Let’s look at how you can get the most out of your sunscreen. You don’t want the sizzling Mexican sun leaving you looking like a tomato! And you definitely don’t want to spend any of your precious vacation days stuck inside with a sunburn or heatstroke (I’ve been there, and it’s the worst). Make sure to follow these sunscreen tips on your next Mexico vacation!
Make Sure You’re UVA And UVB Protected
Check the label on your sunscreen and ensure that it protects you against both ultraviolet-A (UVA) and ultraviolet-B (UVB) radiation from the sun. The bottle could say UVA and UVB, or it could say that it’s a broad-spectrum sunscreen, which means the same thing. In the ingredients, it should also have either titanium oxide or zinc oxide.
Protecting against both types of ultraviolet radiation is essential as they cause different types of damage to your skin. UVA puts you at risk for skin cancer, and UVB causes sunburn and sun damage to your skin.
Go For SPF 30 Or Higher
To enjoy your time in direct sunlight without doing damage, you need sunscreen with at least SPF 30. SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor, and the number indicates how much of the UV rays are absorbed or reflected by the sunscreen. The SPF number also indicates how long you can stay out in the sun before the UV rays start to impact your skin.
If you use the product exactly as indicated, you should be able to stay outside for 30 times longer than you would without an SPF 30 sunscreen. However, it’s important to note that everybody’s skin is different, and this length of time is not guaranteed.
Another important thing to note is that studies have shown a sunscreen with SPF 30 can absorb around 97% of the UV rays that damage your skin. This number then doesn’t increase too much—only reaching 98%—when you use an SPF of 50.
Yes, you do get a bit more protection the higher the number, but once you go over SPF 30, the difference between products is greatly reduced.
Slather That Sunscreen On
How you apply sunscreen is just as important as the SPF that you go for. It’s easy to see how much you’re putting on if you use a cream-based sunscreen. Just for your face, you should use an amount equivalent to the size of a nickel.
For the rest of your body, if you’re in a swimsuit, you should use about an ounce of sunscreen. This is the same amount as you would get in a shot glass 😉
Apply Sunscreen Everywhere
It’s really important to ensure that you cover every part of your skin that’s exposed, especially the bits that don’t see the sun that often. Make sure that you go past the line of your clothing or the edge of your swimsuit when applying sunscreen.
Too often, people go up to the line of what they’re wearing and stop. But as they move throughout the day, a patch of skin with no sunscreen on it gets exposed and starts to burn.
Apply Sunscreen 30 Minutes Before Going Outside
Don’t wait until you get outdoors before applying your sunscreen. The Skin Cancer Foundation says that it takes about half an hour for sunscreen to absorb into the skin properly so that it can protect you. If you wait until after you get into the sun, it could be too late to prevent a mild burn or worse.
You also need to consider when you’ll be swimming. You want your sunscreen to absorb into the skin before you hit the water. Otherwise, it’ll just wash off, and you’ll get burnt. Make sure you apply sunscreen at least 30 minutes before you take a dip.
Reapply Sunscreen Often – Especially When Swimming Or Sweating
We’ve already mentioned how long sunscreen allows you to spend in the sun. However, if you’re outside for an extended period of time, you have to reapply your sunscreen. How often ranges between every hour and every two hours, depending on the product you’re using and what you’re doing in the sun.
No matter what a sunscreen brand might promise, it will never be completely waterproof. If you go swimming—even if you don’t towel yourself off—you must reapply it when you get out of the water and dry off. If you’re sweating a lot, you should opt for a water-resistant sunscreen and reapply it every hour.
No Sun Doesn’t Mean No Sunscreen
One of the basics of sunscreen is that it’s not just for use on sunny days. You need to wear sunscreen every day, even if it’s overcast, windy, or threatening to rain. When there’s cloud cover, the sun still emits harmful UV rays. Although clouds reduce the rays, they can still lead to a nasty burn.
Don’t Rely On Sunscreen Alone
Sunscreen will always be your number-one defense against skin cancer and sun damage. However, it should never be your only method of protection. Your best bet is to get out of direct sunlight for as much of the day as possible. Look for shady areas, as even dappled sunlight is kinder to your skin.
The next step is to cover up. If you’re going to be swimming or playing in the water for hours, invest in a UV-protection swimsuit or top. Throw on a hat to protect your face and shoulders, and make sure you have a pair of good-quality polarized sunglasses that offer proper UV protection.
Make Sun Safety A Priority
Whether you’re exploring Mexico or anywhere else in the world, make sure you’re sun safe. Making the most of your sunscreen means that you don’t have to worry about sunburn or skin damage, and you can still get a healthy dose of Vitamin D.
Obviously, there are benefits and downfalls to each of these sunscreens. The best sunscreen for you will also totally depend on your skin type. It’s good to try out a few so that you find one that works the best for your body.
Before you know how a particular sunscreen works with your body, be sure to reapply more often than you think you need! No one wants to walk around looking like a lobster for half of their vacation.
FAQs about Sunscreen in Mexico
Is biodegradable sunscreen required in Mexico?
No. Biodegradable sunscreen is not required in Mexico, but it is strongly encouraged as a way to reduce the impact of sunscreen on the natural environment.
After all, anything you wear on your skin will wash off into the local water systems, whether through the shower or when you swim in the ocean or natural water source. Be mindful of this when selecting your sun protection products!
Can you bring sunscreen to Mexico?
Yes! Just make sure you review the liquid allowances for your airline. Typically, when traveling with carry-on luggage, bottles must be 100mL or less. In checked luggage, you can usually pack a full-sized bottle of sunscreen, but the allowances may vary depending on your country of origin.
What SPF should I use in Mexico?
It’s recommended that you always use at least SPF 30. If you have light skin, want additional protection, or plan to spend long periods in the sun, SPF 50 or higher is even better.
How do you say sunscreen in Spanish?
The Spanish word for sunscreen is bloqueador.
How can you tell if sunscreen is biodegradable?
A simple way to check that a sunscreen brand is biodegradable and reef-safe is to ensure that it does not contain the chemicals oxybenzone and octinoxate. These chemicals have been linked to coral bleaching and other harmful effects on natural environments and marine life.
Where can I buy biodegradable sunscreen in Mexico?
Biodegradable sunscreen can be harder to find in Mexico than it may be in Canada or the US. That said, major pharmacies, grocery stores, or box stores, such as Walmart, Superama, or Farmacía de Guadalajara, usually have at least one reef-safe option.
The selection of reef-safe sunscreen is better in popular tourist destinations like Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Puerto Vallarta. You’ll likely have a tougher time tracking these products down in smaller towns, which is why it’s smart to bring your preferred products from home!
Mexico Travel Planning Resources
🌡️ Do I need travel insurance?
Yes! Healthcare in Mexico is affordable for minor ailments, but travel insurance will give you peace of mind if an emergency arises. Plus, you can add coverage for trip interruption, theft, etc. Get a quote from SafetyWing.
🏨 What’s the best way to find accommodation in Mexico?
I use a mix of Booking, Airbnb, and Hostelworld.
💸 How should I exchange money in Mexico?
Use local ATMS to withdraw cash. US travelers should open a Charles Schwab bank account because they’ll refund ATM fees at the end of the month.
Travelers from outside the US should open a Wise account to secure the best currency exchange rates.
📱 Where can I buy a local SIM card in Mexico?
Pick up a Telcel SIM card at any convenience store. Or, buy an Airalo eSIM online so you’re connected as soon as you land.
🗣️ Do I need to speak Spanish in Mexico?
No, but it definitely helps you feel more confident and connected.
✈️ What’s the best way to find affordable flights?
I use Skyscanner because it makes it easy to compare rates across different travel days.
🚖 How do I find a safe airport transfer?
I recommend GetTransfer for airport transfers anywhere in Mexico.
🚗 What’s the best way to find rental cars in Mexico?
I recommend Discover Cars because they aggregate prices across rental car companies, making it easy to find competitive rates.
🚐 How do I book bus tickets online in Mexico?
🤿 How do I find cool activities and tours in Mexico?
🇲🇽 How can I experience Mexico like a local?
Solo female travelers can hire a local female guide through Greether. Greeters will tailor tours based on your interests— it’s basically like experiencing a destination with a local bestie!
🧳 What’s the best luggage for Mexico?
Unless you’re staying at a resort, a travel pack is recommended. I’ve used this one from Osprey for the last 8+ years.
👯♀️ How do I connect with fellow travelers in Mexico?
Join my Female Travelers in Mexico Facebook group, a supportive community of fellow Mexico travel enthusiasts, where you can find answers to all your travel questions!