We will be taking a cruise to Cozumel soon, and plan to do some snorkeling. I've seen several sites mention that the Mexican government requires "reef-safe" biodegradable sunscreen to snorkel their nationally protected reefs.

Is this something that is easily obtainable locally in Cozumel? I can't find anything at local drug stores that says "reef safe" here in the USA. Should I purchase this on-line before we cruise, or is it something we can get for a decent price when we get there?

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    How does that work? Is there an officier checking the sunscreen on your skin before you dive into the water? – Maître Peseur May 12 '13 at 20:26
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    I haven't ever been to Cozumel, but from forum posts I've seen, they may confiscate sunscreen in your possession that is not reef safe (assuming you have not already applied it). Plus, for many people there is a genuine concern about the health of our reefs around the world. – Ogre Psalm33 May 13 '13 at 12:53

I found a website comparing different biodegradable sunblockers. The quality/price range is quite significant, so it might be worth not grabbing the first thing on the shelf but rather going for a specific product.

The one that the above website gave the best rating is available on Amazon for example.

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    This is probably the closest to the best answer for me. If you're concerned about reef-safe sunscreen, it's best to get it online before you go, and @uncovery lists some useful links. – Ogre Psalm33 Jun 10 '13 at 3:29
  • The link to yahoo is broken. – c.p. Aug 23 '15 at 13:24

Tropical Seas produce a range of reef safe suncare products that biodegrade in oceans, lakes and rivers and are non-toxic to sealife. Its probably best to purchase online however you can always contact them here to ask if their products are available to purchase locally in Cozumel.


After our trip to Cozumel, I can report: I did not do a thorough search, but I didn't actually see an abundance of reef-safe sunscreen readily available. I looked around the shops that were near the port, and the only brand I saw there was called "Caribbean Breeze". This brand did not advertise itself as either "reef safe" or biodegradable.

We did not book ahead for our snorkeling tour, and our boat did not actually go to any of the National Park protected reefs, so I can't validate claims about the parks enforcing reef-safe sunscreen.

This blogger did some research on the affects of sunscreen on reefs, and the link is worth a read. In summary, if you are concerned about reefs, it's probably best to buy your sunscreen before your trip, and you may also want to switch to a different shampoo ;-).

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