Mazatlan Tours by Johann & Sandra



One of the easiest ways for you to help protect the natural ecosystem of Mazatlan this vacation is to use only biodegradable sunscreen and eco-friendly insect repellent.  Regular sunscreens like Coppertone, Banana Boat and the other main brands contain harmful oils and chemicals that damage coral reefs and marine plants and animals.  Every year between 8 million and 12 million pounds of sunscreen washes off of swimmers and goes into our water, and smothers our coral reefs, clouds up the water, and is ingested by our local fish and marine life.  By using only biodegradable eco-friendly sunblock and sunscreen, you can help to conserve this fragile ecosystem for years to come.


Q: Is it allowed to use regular sunscreens in Mazatlan?
A: While only biodegradable sunscreen is permitted in many locations in Mexico, such as Cozumel's marine park, Xcaret, Xel-Ha, Garrafon, and Chankanaab Park, other areas of Mexico do not yet have these regulations, though more are joining rapidly.  Although it is allowed to use your regular sunscreen in Mazatlan, we strongly encourage you to consider using eco-friendly sunblock and help to preserve the marine environment.

Q: What is biodegradable sunscreen?
A:  Biodegradable sunblock is environmentally friendly sunscreen that lacks the harmful ingredients that are destroying the world's coral reefs.  These sunscreens are biodegradable, meaning they break down naturally in the environment, and eco-friendly, meaning that they minimize damage to the environment.  We strongly encourage using only biodegradable sunscreen anytime you are going to be in the water.

Q: Are there certain ingredients to watch out for?
A:  Some of the most harmful ingredients that many sunscreens contain, including some that are actually biodegradable such as those made by Nature's Gate, are PABA, octinoxate, oxybenzone, 4-methylbenzylidene camphor and the preservative butylparaben.  If your sunscreen has any of these ingredients, it is not safe for use on the reefs. 

Q: What kind of damage does sunscreen do to the marine ecosystem?
A:  One of the most harmful things to the natural underwater environment of Mexico and elsewhere is the sunscreens, oils, and sunblocks worn by tourists.  We don't think of it, but when we swim in the water, these oils come off and settle on the coral reefs and other marine life, and in volume can almost act like an oil slick in the water, creating damage to the delicate ecosystems.  The reefs are suffocated, and sunscreens are one of the biggest causes of bleaching to our reefs, and the death of much of the world's coral.

Q: I've never heard of this before.  Are you making this stuff up?
A: See the links below for the latest information.

National Geographic: Swimmer's Sunscreen Killing Off Corals
Discover Magazine: The Biology of Sunscreens 
Telegraph Travel: Tourist Sunscreen Killing Off Coral Reefs
University of California: Sunscreens Feminizing Fish
Indian Ocean Sea Turtles: Sunscreen May Be Killing Corals

Q: Why does coral get bleached?  Is coral bleaching really a problem?
A:  The ingredients in normal sunscreens promote viral infection in the coral, as well as covering it with oils and goo.  As much as 25% of the world's coral reefs are in imminent danger of collapse due to human pressures, and another 25% is in longer term danger.

Q: Where can I buy Biodegradable Sunscreen?
A:  You can sometimes find these products at your local health food store, and at select locations in Mazatlan, though nearly all biodegradable suntan lotion is still purchased over the internet.  We've provided some links in the left column to some of the major brands for your convenience.


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LureLux Biodegradable Sunscreen
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Badger Biodegradable Sunscreen
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Biodegradable Sunscreen
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Suncare Sportblock Lotion SPF 15 - SPF15 Sport, 4 oz
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