Is sunscreen safe for snorkeling in Cancun?

Is snorkeling in Cancun in your summer bucket list? Don’t even try to deny it – we know it is! This beautiful destination has waters so clear and so full of life nobody can resists to take dip in them.


But it also has very intense sun rays so you might want to apply plenty of sunscreen beforehand, right? Well, WRONG! Using loads of sunscreen might not be the best idea because it harms the local coral reefs. Here’s why:

Sunscreen contains harmful ingredients

Most sunscreens contain either OxybenzoneButylparaben, or Octinoxate which are ingredients that cause coral bleaching among other consequences.

What is coral bleaching?

Coral bleaching is what happens when the algae, which gives corals 90% of its energy, is expelled from corals. While some corals may recover from this phenomenon, most starve to death.

Other consequences

Have you ever heard of the term ‘Reef Zombies’? Aside from being a cool band name, it is what happens to the corals when they lose their ability to reproduce. While they might look healthy, they’re pretty much dead inside.

Reef friendly solutions

Don’t worry, there are many ways we can help the coral reefs without getting sunburnt. For example, using a rash guard will keep your arms and shoulders more protected than a thick layer of sunscreen. They are great for snorkeling in Cancun! Just complement your look with a hat to protect your face and you’re good to go on any tour.

Reef safe sunscreen for snorkeling in Cancun

Once in the water, you can’t use your hat anymore but you don’t want to get sunburnt… So what do you do if you don’t want to harm the reefs either? Well, the answer is pretty simple: apply biodegradable sunscreen beforehand. The damage done to the reefs is almost zero. 

Snorkeling in artificial reefs

The underwater museum of art MUSA was created as a stress relief for coral reefs – which makes it the perfect setting for snorkeling in Cancun! It is located between Cancun and Isla Mujeres and by visiting it in a snorkel or diving tour you’re helping coral preservation.

¡ The Earth does not belong to us: We belong to Earth !

-Chief Seattle