Sunburn Prevention: 5 Facts and Tips to Avoid Burning and Peeling on Your Vacation

Sunburn can well be considered one of the biggest disasters of a vacation. Get sunburn on Day 1 of your vacation and you’d need to be drunk the rest of your trip to forget the discomfort.

For kids, that’s not an option. Make it one of your top priorities to avoid sunburn.

You may think, "No point in reading this, that won't be me!" Yet every day at least one guest steps aboard as a happy vacationer, and leaves as a fried tomato. 

The Riviera Maya is nearer to the equator — that means the intensity of the sun and UV radiation is more direct and stronger. Not to mention when you're out at sea and the ocean is shining that sun back at you from  every angle below as well.

For some people, even the part in their hair can burn. It’s not surprising. When you’re on a beach or out at sea on a boat, it’s all sun and sea around you. It’s up to you to prevent the effects of the nearly non-stop sun-kissing-skin that happens!

While on charter with us, every once in a while come under our sunshades, or go inside for a bit. It all helps, and you won’t miss out at all! Music can be heard from everywhere and drinks served anywhere!

Most of our guests go on a cruise in the Riviera Maya when it’s winter or soggy spring (in the case of those from Britain, wet summer). That brings us to Fact #1.

1. Our natural photoprotection, resistance to sun exposure, is down during winter and spring.

For those coming from the north with fair skin fresh from the coolness of winter/spring, stepping out of the airport at Playa is like entering a furnace. It feels heavenly, but your skin doesn’t adjust that fast. If you wonder why the expats don’t seem to burn any more, that’s because our skin has adjusted.

What to do: We all know that tanning beds cause skin cancer. But a tan does give you SPF 4, meaning that it would take you 4x longer to burn than when you have no tan.

Build up your skin’s natural photoprotection by getting a tan before your cruise. We’ve heard from guests that this works. They arrive with what they call a “base tan.” Weeks before your cruise, start with 5 minutes’ worth of tanning, increasing the duration on every session afterward. 

Understand that this is NOT protection. You should still be devoted to sunblock, covering up and seeking shade. Think of tanning as waking up your skin and preparing it to not be a wimp when you sit on the sun deck!

Note: We included this tip because we’ve had consensus that it helps. Doctors recommend that we skip tanning salons. Getting a base tan MIGHT help, and it might not, sensitive skin or not.

 

2. Avoiding sunburn on a vacation or charter means covering up.

What to pick: Kimonos have great big butterfly sleeves to relieve your chest, shoulders and back from sun exposure. Just throw it on over your two-piece. Bonus is you can even swim in them.

Maxi skirts won’t billow and harm (or flash) anybody. They look phenomenal worn barefoot or with sandals. Whites and khakis ooze with ‘cruise’. Go for light colors to repel the heat.

Tilley hats get rave reviews for their sun protection. Guys and gals both get great designs. Hats also protect your scalp, ears and nape — the often-forgotten areas of skin that scream bloody murder if you let them fry in the sun.

For snorkeling, fishing, surfing, opt for rashguards that provide SPF.

If you have really sensitive skin that burns easily, stay clothed and hatted. And you’d need denser fabrics than the usual. The trick: Hold it up to the light. If light gets through, you can get burned if you stay in the sun for too long.

 

3. Waterproof and sweat-proof is not wipe-proof.

This is why sunblock and sunscreen manufacturers tell you to re-apply after swimming and sweating even when their product is waterproof or water-resistant. They assume you’d wipe it off. Rubbing against lounges and patting your face free of salt water is enough to remove your sun protection.

What to do: Re-apply.

Re-apply every 2 hours, or after swimming, no matter the SPF. Re-apply every time you could. The 20 minutes you have to wait before you go out in the sun again is good for you, too. If you want the sunburn-protection without the wait, there are lotions with ‘immediate’ protection (Nivea Sun).  

Choose SPF 75 and up if you have sensitive, easy-to-burn skin. Look for physical sun-blocking ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide for UVA (aging) and UVB (burning) protection.

 

4. Mid-day means micheladas or margaritas. At the bar. Inside. Or under umbrellas.

From 10am to 4pm, the sun is prime for that glorious Riviera tan. Just remember to be careful and vigilant. Put on some cover-up. Come in the shade for longer periods than you’re in the sun.

Better to slowly bronze over your vacation than to go Full Lobster on the first day.

Trick tip: Stand and look at at your shadow. If it’s shorter than you, the sun is at its peak strength for the day. Have no shadow because it’s overcast? Doesn’t matter. You can STILL burn.

 

5. Chemistry and blood affects your skin.

If you take medications, all it takes is one ingredient, or a blend of them, that makes you ultra sensitive to sun exposure, and all your precautions to prevent sunburn would be moot.

These medications can cause phototoxicity (reactions happen within hours of sun exposure) and photoallergy (reactions happen within days of sun exposure).

Source: Laborers’ Health and Safety Fund of North America

What to do: Months before you go on your vacation, talk to your doctor about your meds. If need be, you might have to temporarily switch to alternatives.

Have any other tips about preventing sunburn during a beach vacation or yacht charter? Let us know in the comments!





 

Tips on How To Snorkel in the Riviera Maya (and anywhere else YOU CAN SWIM)

Snorkeling is one of the best experiences to tick off your bucket list. And snorkeling in the Caribbean with its calm, clear waters and living reefs full of coral and fish — ahh!

It's one of the main the reasons why expats end up here. Everyone falls in love with the water, above on the beaches and underneath with the fishes!

Snorkeling always looks so easy, doesn’t it? And it is! All you need is the right equipment, and to relax. Snorkeling isn’t a sport. It’s like watching TV. Interactive TV. And just like TV, you don’t  touch much (aside from the water,, and the sand)!

Flotation Device

If you’re not a sure/strong swimmer, you can still safely and confidently enjoy snorkeling. Vests, or water noodles. They may not be photogenic as you wish, but they extend your snorkeling time! Just float when you get tired.

Wetsuits (optional)

Shorty wetsuits. No, they’re not just for cold water. They also add buoyancy AND sunburn protection. No little bits of stings and nicks on your covered skin either.

Reef-friendly sunscreen 

Whether you go snorkeling with a swimsuit or wetsuit, you need sunscreen. It should be eco-friendly that won’t leave harmful elements in the water. Some areas in some countries check your sunscreen. Look for ‘certified organic’ ingredients, and “certified safe for human, fish and coral health.”

Mask & Snorkel

Tours like ours usually provide quality masks and snorkels, complimentary as a part of the trip. We do!

If you get into it, buy your own set to take with you whenever you travel. Saves you rental costs! And the fit will be even better.

How to fit your mask, snorkel and fins:

  • It should be as narrow or as wide as your face, and should fit your nose size and length. By sight, you can tell if the mask is made for you or not.

  • Try it on. Press it to your face. Does it fit comfortably? Water pressure will press it to your face. All its edges should be just right. Not too high up that it touches your nostrils, not too near your eyes. (Men, shave before trying on masks so you can see properly!)

  • Suction test. (Here’s where men should shave, because stubble/full mustache doesn’t allow a water-tight seal). Put the mask onto your face (without pulling on the straps) and breathe in through your nose. This should seal the mask to your face. Move around a bit-- the mask should stay on without you having to hold it.

  • Now try the straps. The fit should be snug, not tight. The straps should sit high on your head. If they rest on your ears, that will be painful.

  • Try it with a snorkel. Put your snorkel in your mouth. This is enough to shift your face muscles, but it shouldn’t break the seal/suction of your mask. If it does, try another one.

  • Look for semi-dry/dry snorkels. They have splash guards or a valve at the top that seals when your snorkel goes underwater, and a purge valve at the bottom so you can easily blow water out. Don’t forget, the snorkel mouthpiece should be comfortable in your mouth.

  • Defogger. Snorkeling is all about seeing, so it sucks when you can’t see. Your mask will fog up because you generate heat. But it’s preventable with defogger gels, or even your own saliva. Make sure your defogger is also biodegradable, non-toxic, alcohol-free.

  • Enter the water with a dry mask, over a dry face, and do not take that mask off at all during the snorkel. That’s it.

  • Or you can simply use baby shampoo. Dilute 5-10 drops of baby shampoo in 2-ounces of water. Spray your mask with this solution, swish it around and dump the excess. Don’t rinse. The mild soap should coat the mask-- this prevents moisture attachment. And the baby shampoo won’t sting your eyes.

  • Fins. Like your mask, your fins should fit comfortably. Snug, not tight. The big fins may look awesome in the movies, but that’s for experienced swimmers. They require a lot of muscle to use. Opt for smaller fins.

Practice snorkeling

When you’re familiar with it, it keeps you relaxed. You enjoy the water, instead of worrying if you’re doing things right.

Get used to your snorkel. Don’t bite. Rest your teeth on your snorkel. Avoid a sore jaw by staying relaxed.

Practice deliberately flooding and clearing both mask and snorkel. When water comes in, you might get a salty surprise, especially for first-timers! So practice calmly reacting to this scenario and blowing out all the salt from the snorkel.

  • Simply get out of the water and let the water out.

  • Or, without leaving the water, press the top portion of your mask to your face and blow air out through your mouth. The air will force the water out through the looser lower portion of your mask.

Practice floating face down and breathing. This is the best part of snorkeling. Just lying on the ocean, letting the salt water carry you, and watching everything underneath. Beginners get plenty of encouragement and excitement from this! It’s so easy!

  • Keep the snorkel upright. Get help from a friend with more experience. At H2Oh, we help you out with this!

  • Gently kick with your fins to get yourself moving. That’s it! You’re snorkeling!

Practice looking around. Get familiar with your mask and your surroundings. You lose some of your peripheral vision because of the mask. Always look around so you don’t bump into other snorkelers.

They learned to snorkel watching the Little Mermaid.

They learned to snorkel watching the Little Mermaid.

 

Snorkeling safety and etiquette

When you head out with us, we go in groups with guides, so stay close. Or if you’ve chosen a beach, make sure you have a spotter or a lifeguard, or better yet a buddy system and only go out together. Watch out for flags or anything indicating rough conditions. You may see whitecaps or heavy winds, red flags or yellow flags.

We don't have much of this in the Riviera Maya, but elsewhere watch out for jellyfish and undertow or rip tides

Touch nothing and take nothing. Even a shell can look harmless — but if everyone took just one tiny shell, what would be left? 

Touching nothing applies to your feet as much as your hands. Be careful to swim a safe distance so you don’t kick corals. This could damage your skin and your fins. But the damage to the coral is worse. Corals are living creatures and so essential to marine life. It’s up to us to preserve them. It’s so tempting to touch them, but don’t. It can poison them.  

Certainly don’t stand on them to rest from swimming! One second’s damage could take one decade to grow!

Every creature deserves its personal space. Don’t go too near. If they’re used to people, they’d come to you instead! Let them, but don’t stress them with cuddles. Remember, no touching.

No feeding either. It turns out that feeding fish creates havoc on the ecosystem. Think about it. If certain species are too full from feedings, they won’t eat the creatures they’re supposed to eat, and they’re supposed to eat those so they have the nutrients needed by those that eat them.  And so on. It has a rippling effect. 

A trick is to move your fingers as if you have food! The fish are tricked by that, and you’d have gorgeous underwater photos without damaging the marine food chain!

Most of all...

Enjoy snorkeling! Relax. Rest. Meditate. Don’t forget to turn over now and then, getting your exposed back into the water, or you might bake in the sun. And hydrate! The salt water absorbs moisture from your skin.

When you get back aboard with us, one of the crew can get you a water to enjoy while you think of all you experienced. 

After snorkeling... it's time for the high-dive!

 

Meet the Crew: Erick


Hola, que tal? My name is Erick and I am a beachaholic. I am 100% Mexicano. I was born in Veracruz but spent half of my life in Playa del Carmen.
 
Playa is my home. Almost all of my family moved here, which makes me a very fortunate man.  


12 years ago, I fell in love with a Dutch girl and we got married almost 6 years ago. El Mexicano con la Holandesa, who would have ever expected that? Definitely not me! 


We have travelled through Europe and lived about a year and a half in Canada. We truly enjoyed it there, but it was too cold. In 2006, we decided to stay in Mexico permanently. Following that, my wife’s family also moved here, so that makes it even more special. We are all together. We have a beautiful son of almost 4 years old.

Since moving here, I have been working in the hotel industry, starting from the bottom, moving my way up with lots of energy and motivation toward a higher position. For the past 9 years I have worked in one of the most beautiful adult-only, all-inclusive resorts of Playa del Carmen, managing the front service area including concierge, reception, butler and bellboy department. 

Recently, I became General Manager for H2Oh! Sun Cruises. I was glad. I was ready for a new adventure, a new challenge and this job gives me plenty of opportunities to do what I like most: making sure that the people who visit this beautiful country have the best time of their lives so that they will return to Mexico and recommend us to family and friends! 

I love Mexico, I love the music, I love the different cultures, I love the beach, I love everything that has to do with the ocean, I love the hot weather, I truly love life and I love to see people happy!  

A big philosophy of mine is that a beautiful day begins with a beautiful mindset. When you wake up, take a second to think about what a privilege it is to simply be alive and healthy. The moment we start acting like life is a blessing, I assure you it will start to feel and BE like one! For sure, mine is!

It will be my pleasure to assist you with any questions or concerns you have, prior to this beautiful day trip and I will be at your service for anything you need so that this day will be BEST DAY of your vacation!
 
What made you choose coming to Mexico? What do you like about it? 

Su Amigo (Your friend),
Erick
 

Meet the Crew: Deborah

Hi guys, I'm the sales rep at H2Oh. I handle sales and general inquiries. We might have talked before, during and after your booking!

I was born in Scotland, grew up in Texas, and now live in Mexico! I've been coming over to Cozumel since I was 12 — because I fell in love and can't stop coming back. I made so many friends here from all those vacations! They made it great for me when I finished college and finally moved to Cozumel. I was an English teacher for a short while there, before I decided to move to Playa.

In Playa, I worked as a photographer, then the manager of several hotel photo shops. While I loved working in photography and being able to give people beautiful memories in their photos, I began to wish for a job with less stress — I was, after all, managing upwards of 40 people in various hotels!

After looking around, I was lucky enough to get the opportunity with H2Oh. It's awesome to be a part of a company that cares so much to make their clients happy!

This is in Xcaret. I’m in love with the culture here!

I love my job. Who wouldn't? Helping people in general is great, but helping people have a great vacation? That's something else!

It's awesome when you can make someone's day easier, or make them — and their families and friends — smile. It's doubly awesome when a client comments to Michael about me, or mentions me in a Trip Advisor review. I love the feeling of having done my job well. It's addicting! Everything about this is addicting! I'm used to it, but I won't stop being delighted.

Bacalar: the lagoon of 7 colors. A beautiful place with such an awesome vibe! One of my favorite places!

I'm used to it? Well, I live in Playa del Carmen and have been here 13 years! Living in a beach town is like being on vacation year-round. I work, and I work hard! But life in the Playa is so vivid and colorful. The beaches are amazing, and even after more than a decade, it still stuns me that a gorgeous beach is just a walk or a drive away!  

Aside from photography and travelling, my passions are my cats. I have 3. Tito, Titito and Pickles. Don't look at me like that. I'm getting better. I've cut down from 5 to 3. See? I'm good! But yeah, I'm a crazy cat lady! With a camera. Another reason living here is that it’s awesome for photography!

Did I say awesome one time too many? Have you been here? You'll understand and you'll be uttering 'awesome' every five minutes when you're here, I promise you. Hope to see you wandering around the Quinta!

Meet the Crew: Michael

Photo by Lucky Girl.

Photo by Lucky Girl.

Heyo! I manage customer service and all things digital here at H2Oh, which translates to me spending a lot of time talking with our guests and making sure they are completely taken care of.

Once a guest and I begin to talk, whether in the chat box here on the site, by phone or email — maybe it’s corny — but it feels like we're friends, and I mean it. It's not just business around here! 

We'll talk about suggestions for great places to eat in Playa del carmen, favourite beaches, you name it.  

I live down in the Caribbean, I love it. I want you to love it. You’re coming on the best yacht tour in the region and what is very likely to be the absolute best day of your trip (wedding days excluded, of course... But, we host those too!)

My genuine belief is, "This trip is going to make your vacation."

Sometimes guests will not get off the boat after we dock! They stay and chat with the crew, with Mack or myself.

Our guests stay like friends, because after a day at sea with us, they are. If we don’t have a tour afterwards and people are still partying? We are happy to enjoy their company and let them have another round. 

A big philosophy of mine is that you are not our customer. You are our client, guest and friend.

A customer is defined as, "a person who purchases a commodity or service" while a client is, "a person who is under the protection of another."

What this means is we aren't here to sell you a yacht tour.

We are here to take care of you.

Sure, you may have discovered us while searching for a boat tour, but what we understand is that ultimately what you're really looking for is an incredible day with family and friends.

Hosting that amazing day for you is our only goal, the ocean and boats just happen to be the tools we know best.

 

What about you?

Now that you know a little more about me and what I do here at H2Oh, why don't you let us know more about yourself and what you're looking to get out of your vacation.

Ultimate relaxation? Swimming with sea turtles? Partying with new friends? An unforgettable day for your wedding guests?

No commitment, no pressure, just send us a note and kick the tires a bit!

You can also use the chat box on the bottom right of the site. It may not always be me there, but you will always be in good hands!


Some things I sure do enjoy...

No caption needed for this one!

When not at sea on the 72' Yacht, Piratas de Tejas, my wife and I have our own sailboat we cruise the Caribbean with.

A good beer and a nice cigar is all you need sometimes.

What is the weather like in Playa del Carmen and the rest of the Mayan Riviera?

The thing about weather is: Rain or shine, it's going to happen with or without your permission.

That may seem like an obvious thought, but take a second to think about it, accept it and read this guide to apply it to your vacation plans. 

Trust me, your stress and anxiety worrying about the conditions will fade away.

93% sunshine sounds pretty good to me

Typically we see 340 days of sunshine a year down here in the Riviera Maya. That's over 93% of the time. Those are fantastic odds, and a part of the reason we see millions and millions of visitors to the Mayan Riviera every year.

Now, even though it's far less frequent, no one wants rain on their vacation... Or destination wedding!

But if it's going to happen, it's going to happen. At that point, all you can do is focus on how to make the most of it or how to plan around it.

If it rains, what can you do about the weather?

A fisherman from the Pacific Northwest of the US (if you're unfamiliar, a particularly wet climate) once told me, "There's no such thing as bad weather, just a wrong choice in clothes."

I'd never thought about it that way until then.

My very first trip to the region with my wife was during the rainy season. It rained almost the whole week we were here. Upsetting? Not at all. Do you know what we did?

We grabbed some cocktails, jumped in the pool and swam in the ocean in the rain. Everyone ran for cover inside the dark lobby bar. We were the only ones on the beach splashing around and loving every moment of our newly private beach, cocktails in hand.

Your vacation will be what you make of it.

Let's talk about the weather (apps!)

The weather you check in many apps and websites for the most part is presented very simply.

They show you graphical representations of the forecast. Sun, clouds, rain, lightning and whatever else mother nature is deciding to do at the moment. 

Don’t be so quick to trust your weather apps!

Sure, in many regions you can rely on the weather report you see. Southern California? It says sunshine, you’re probably getting sunshine! The very few times it says rain? You're getting rained on.

We are in a very unique location, weather wise

Because of the very peculiar and ever changing nature of the coastline down here in the Mayan Riviera, I would never recommend strictly trusting one source.

The weather here can literally change within minutes, or stay the same for days on end. It may never reflect what you see when you look online to check.

I have personally had friends checking the weather for Playa del Carmen every single day before coming down on a vacation calling me saying, “Are we in trouble? It’s been storming there all week, we’ve been checking the weather every day!"

My response was, “What? I haven’t seen a drop of rain in weeks."

I have seen torrential downpours for ten minutes that could fill an entire pool, and the clouds part moments after to reveal sunshine for the rest of the day. I have also seen it rain for days and days on end.

The truth is...

The truth is, weather is tricky here. We have warm Caribbean waters and one of the world’s largest ocean currents in our backyard that alter the conditions by the moment.

In winter we have hot days and cooler nights, which can cause predictable but drastic changes in weather and wind direction. We have a wet season, a dry season and everything in between. 

Real world example, and this actually happened yesterday, September 15th, 2015. There were loud claps of thunder, lightning and rain in Playa del Carmen around midday. When I called down to the yacht to see what the weather was like in Puerto Aventuras (20 minutes away), there was no such weather. 

Weather Tips

Here are our tips on knowing what to expect for your vacation in the Mayan Riviera, whether you’re visiting Canucn, Playa del Carmen, Tulum, Puerto Aventuras or anywhere else.

How to check the weather before you come:

Weather Sources / Apps

One source probably isn’t enough. Double check multiple weather sites. My favourite free one is Weather Underground.

Here is a link to Playa del Carmen's weather, via Weather Underground.

You can also download the app for your mobile device here.

Not only do they have lots of detail should you choose to read into it more than the temperature and the image of the prediction, but they have localized reports where any user in an area can confirm or deny the current conditions it is forecasting.

Boat / Ocean Specific Weather Forecasting

Don't worry about this part! It's a bit more technical than most people would care to be interested in.

Just know that we have some top of the line services that we pay for subscriptions to to ensure we receive the highest quality reports. That way we know exactly what to expect at sea for our guests.

Webcams (The most reliable for current conditions!)

Above I mentioned some friends who had been seeing terrible weather reports ahead of their vacation when in fact it had been beautiful all week.

I told them that the best thing they could do while checking the weather report was to look at a beach webcam, then reference that with what they were seeing reported.

That way you can see in real-time how accurate the forecast is, and for those times when it says thunder and lightning and it’s actually as sunny as could be.

Bookmark this webcam facing the beach at Playacar Palace.

We have two main seasons

Seasonal predictions aren’t perfect, but they’re historical enough to bet on with confidence.

Down here despite it “feeling” like summer all year round, we do have seasons. You get to know them and appreciate them as you live here. But, as a vacationer you need to know which season may work best for a specific time of year.

Let’s break the Mayan Riviera up into two seasons: High season with its sunshine and low season with its unpredictability, also known as "Hurricane Season".

Don't let the name frighten you, it doesn't mean we get rolled over by hurricanes all season long. The last hurricane to touch ground here was ten years ago! More on this below, but let's get to the sunny stuff first.

High Season (December 1st to May 31st)

High season is typically from December through to the end of May. During this time the weather levels out to consistent sunshine and moderate temperatures in both daytime and evening. Click here for a breakdown of annual weather averages in Playa del Carmen.

If you absolutely, no questions asked, must have pure sunshine for your entire trip, this is the time of year to bet on! It’s high season for a reason.

Besides, it’s probably cold where you are while we're having all the fun with margaritas and sunshine.

Hello, sunshine!

Hello, tequila!

You probably won’t find too many deals on flights and hotels during high season, but that doesn’t mean it’s break-the-bank expensive.

There is something in the Riviera Maya for everyone. We have everything from hostels and $0.50 tacos to 5-star resorts with steak and lobster dinners.

Low Season, Hurricane Season (June 1st - November 30th)

As I mentioned above, don't let the name scare you off. It's been 10 years since our last hurricane, all the name implies is that if one were to make its way here, this is the period of time it would happen in.

Bonus points for low season: Here is where you find the best deals!

Hotels, airlines, tour operators and vendors seem most willing to lower their prices between June to mid November.

When booking, know that low season weather can be hard to predict. I have been in the region for summers where it felt like from June 1st all the way to December it rained at least once every day, even if it was only for a little bit, to other summers where it was very dry and it almost never rained.

If you’re coming for a week in the low season just know that you may wind up with all sunshine, all rain or a little bit of both rain and sunshine.

It may be completely overcast up above, but the fish don't care down below!

It may be completely overcast up above, but the fish don't care down below!

If low season months are the ones that work best for you, it helps to come with the attitude, “Who cares, we’re on vacation!”

It may rain, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t palm trees everywhere, good company and great food to enjoy. Plus, there's something kind of wonderful about warm tropical rain!

Vacations are great in the pure sun, but they can be just as good with the company you bring.

Too busy jumping off boats to worry about those giant clouds in the background.

Too busy jumping off boats to worry about those giant clouds in the background.

Yacht Tours with H2Oh Sun Cruises

If you’re wondering how weather works with us, we have a 100% inclement weather refund policy.

If the conditions are unsuitable or unsafe for a day at sea, we offer complete refunds no questions asked. We of course can also do our best to reschedule around the weather since you may still want to head out to sea! 

Our whole goal is to serve you first and make sure you have the best day possible on the water. It's that simple.

If you have any questions about our tours or policies, check our FAQ out or drop us a line.


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Vacations can be expensive! Here's how to save money while visiting the Mayan Riviera

I wanted to share a helpful little document we put together for you.

We all know how the cost of vacations can add up rather quickly, especially when you are paying for a whole family, eating out a bunch or even planning to join in on fun activities like our boat tours. 

With that in mind, we created this guide on how to save some extra cash while visiting our region down here in Mexico.

The guide ranges from food tips, taking taxis, shopping, tipping and more. Click the image of the guide to the right, or the big button below to download the PDF. 

It was our pleasure to put it together for you just for being so awesome.

Save it and refer to it when you're on vacation, it will come in handy, we promise!

Do you have any other ideas on how to save money on vacation? Comment below and let me know, I'd love to hear how you make the most of your vacation while also saving!

Thanks again, and have a great week,
Mack and your family at H2Oh!

What is a typical snorkel and boat cruise like?

Around the website there is a lot of detail on what is included when you decide to join us on a Public Sun Cruise or have your own private charter.  However, I thought it would be a good idea to write out the day's events in a simple and chronological order here so you can get a better feel of a day at sea with us!

Welcome Aboard!

We begin at the dock with a cocktail and some photos as you board the boat. Once everyone is on board, our crew will quickly prepare to head out. As we head out of the beautiful marina into the Caribbean, we prep the fishing lines and get those in the water so that we can troll for game fish our whole way north to this beautiful, secluded reef.

At this point, your group can be enjoying cocktails, enjoying music from our huge catalogue on a 6,000watt system, picking your favourite karaoke songs with lyrics to be played on our HD TVs (indoors and out), or just relaxing on one of the many decks and enjoying the sun.

When we get to the reef, we’ll drop anchor and give a quick safety demonstration with the snorkelling gear and get you guys into the water!

We also have a second level high-dive if anyone feels like jumping from the top into the turquoise waters below.

As you snorkel, you’ll see an endless amount of beautiful reef fish and often some sea turtles swimming around!

After a good amount of time at the reef, when everyone’s back aboard we’ll pull up anchor and start heading south past the marina we came from (while trolling for fish again). We then pull into a private canal for the architectural tour, which also happens to be time to eat. As we slowly motor by boats and beautiful homes in this canal you will enjoy a full Mexican cuisine style lunch on the bow of the boat.

After this, we pull back out into the sea for a short final cruise into the marina where we’ll dock.

During all of this, remember that the boat is your home! Let us know if there is anything we can do for you to make it an even better experience and we will always do our best to accommodate you.

We have full staff to make sure your drinks are never empty and to set up any songs you’d like to hear, and maybe to even encourage a bit of karaoke! 

Join us for a day at sea, and you might just walk away feeling like family after the best day of your vacation!

or, if you're looking for a private charter...

Reef Fish of the Mayan Riviera

Taking a swim in the reefs of the Mayan Riviera can show a lot of color and excitement. The reefs are amazing with the largest variance of species in the world!

Taking time to snorkel through the reefs is time well spent when on vacation, and every one of our public boat tours and private charters includes snorkeling and gear for all.

Use this guide on your next snorkeling adventure to identify some of the most unique fish species of the Riviera Maya.

Queen Angelfish

The queen angelfish is seen frequently through the reefs of the mayan riviera. They can be spotted by the color of their electric blue bodies and have been know to be a fish. They are usually seen by themselves or in pairs. Watch for their rounded head and beak like mouths for distinct identity.


Black Durgon

The name of this fish can be quite confusing because the black durgon is actually a greenish-black tropical fish with purple overtones. The durgon rear scales will have prominent keels that form longitudinal ridges to help make them more distinguishable. They can be found eating small bits of algae from the top of the water or small plankton around the reef.


Queen Triggerfish

This fish is a striking fish to see swimming around the Mayan Riviera reef. The queen trigger fish if stressed will slightly change colors, so be careful when approaching this majestic sea creature. The diet of the queen triggerfish consists mostly of sea urchins and other small creatures such as krill and hard shelled shrimp.


Glasseye Snapper

This unique fish can be seen swimming around the hundreds of other species. Although it is not always the brightest fish it still adds appeal to the reef community. The glasseye snapper can be easily distinguished with its pinkish red color, and dark red spots. What makes this fish more appealing is how rare it is. If you see this fish consider it a honor.               

These are just a sample of the many species swimming in our waters here on the Caribbean coast of Mexico.

Bonus: When snorkeling with us, you will often see sea turtles swimming around the reef, snacking on the sea grass. Read this post to learn 7 Fun Facts about Sea Turtles and check out what we see when we go swimming!                                    

Sunrise and Sunset times and dates in the Mayan Riviera

We often are asked by our guests when sunset happens here in the Mayan Riviera. This is so they can plan out departure times for sunset cruises or know when to have their wedding ceremonies aboard our boat.

A handy guide that we often refer to is timeanddate.com's chart for the region. Time & Date shows you everything you'll need to make the right decision for activities and timing while on vacation.

There is a column for sunrise, sunset, day length, even the angle of the sun at certain times of day! Some of it is probably more info than you may need, but it's definitely a handy tool, with sunrise/sunset/day length probably being the most important details for visitors to the region.

The chart shouldn't just be for those planning yacht tours, though...

Are you having a wedding on the beach, planning to propose to someone here in Playa del Carmen or even just wondering how much sun you can pack into a day?

Wedding tip: Check the sunset time to see when the best hour is for your photographer, also known as "Golden Hour."

Follow this link to see a sample of April 2016's details. At the bottom of the chart on their website you will find links for the sunrise and sunset times for the rest of the months as well.

Enjoy your vacation, and if you have any other questions about the region, feel free to get in touch!

Sample chart of April, 2016

5 Tips for your Destination Wedding in the Mayan Riviera

Have you ever given thought to having a destination wedding? How about turning that thought into a reality! Making plans to have the perfect wedding in the Mayan Riviera can be a wedding of a lifetime.

Knowing what to expect when planning your destination wedding is crucial and can save you from potential problems. Below we have listed six tips you need to know.

1. Know the Requirements for a Legal Ceremony

When you travel to a different country to get married, there may be a different process than back home.

In Mexico there are two options.

1. Legal Ceremony, also called Civil Ceremony

This ceremony will have to be spoken first in Spanish by an officiant who is also a government representative, then spoken in English. 

There are a couple other rules if you plan to get legally married in Mexico.

  • You must be in the country for at least three days prior to the wedding.
  • The bride and groom to-be are required to have a blood test.
  • Your marriage certificate will be in Spanish, which will then need to be translated into English.
  • A valid passport.
  • Tourist Card (provided when crossing the border)
  • Single Status Affidavit from back home.
  • Health Certificate.
  • Have 4 witnesses picked.

While these may seem like big tasks or maybe just different than what you are used to hearing about back home. Don't worry! It is a simple process that your resort or wedding coordinator can help sort out for you. They do it all the time, and can make it easy and stress free.

2. Symbolic Ceremony

With a symbolic ceremony, everything can look identical to a legal ceremony, only with less hoops to jump through down in Mexico. 

You can take care of the entire legal side of your marriage back home in private before even coming down to the Mayan Riviera. The process is different for each region, but look into the process in your home town.

With this method, once you get to Mexico for the wedding, your ceremony can be in English (or your native language), and you don't even need to tell your guests you were "officially" married just before coming down! As far as everyone will know or can tell, you are getting married then and there.

2. Know when the sun sets

The Mayan Riviera is comprised of well known locations such as Cancun and Playa del Carmen. If your choice of wedding is to be towards the evening be sure to look up sunset times to give your photographer plenty of time to capture the perfect moments in the perfect light.

Photo tip: Shooting photos at "golden hour".

Here's a link that will tell you the time and date of all sunsets throughout the year (just select the month near the bottom): Sunset times in the Mayan Riviera 

3. Pick your resort

When deciding where you would like to get married a big decision is which resort you will stay at. Spend time reading Trip Advisor reviews or even searching forums like Best Destination Weddings or Facebook for relevant groups that you can join and talk to brides who have had or are having weddings at these resorts.

Your resort should be carefully chosen based off of your own personal tastes, location and budget. The coast stretches from Cancun south through Playa del Carmen to Tulum and beyond, and most are on the water or very close to it.

4. Plan some activities (and relaxation!)

Before leaving on your dream vacation, know your surroundings.  You can do a quick Google search of things to do in the Mayan Riviera and it will turn up tons and tons of results. There are endless adventures to be had in the Yucatan.

Water activities are a huge hit in the region as the entire coastline is along the Caribbean Sea. Fishing, snorkeling, diving and yacht tours are among the most popular things to do in the region — and for good reason: Sea + sun + friends + family = good times!

If you have various family members and friends flying in to join the celebration it helps to keep everyone entertained and happy while on their vacation to celebrate your marriage.

However, you probably don't want to over do it by planning activities for every single day. Of course everyone is there to see you married and be a part of the group, but they're also there to relax.

Down days laying by the pool or beach are just as important as the adventures.

 

5. Find time to relax!

After the big day has happened it is time to relax. You have made it past the stress and now you get to spend time alone with the person of your dreams.

Take in the sights in the Riviera, Cancun, and Playa del Carmen surroundings. Spend a day on the beach in the sun or snorkeling in the ocean. Time is on your side and the drinks are waiting...


New Year's Eve Yacht Party in Playa del Carmen!

Looking for a truly memorable New Year's Eve?

Hop aboard our 72' yacht for an unforgettable evening and party from 10pm to 2am, and ring in the New Year from the Caribbean Sea!

Included in your ticket is:

  • Open bar for the whole night
  • Food
  • Fireworks at the Hard Rock Hotel from sea
  • Champagne
  • Transportation to and from the yacht in Puerto Aventuras (meet at the Royal Resort in Playa del Carmen)
  • An amazing evening to remember!

Tickets are only $100usd per guest and include everything listed above. Book below...

Seven Quick, Fun Facts about Sea Turtles in the Mayan Riviera

  1. They live an estimated 70-80 years!

  2. Mother sea turtles lay their eggs on land, returning to the same location that they were hatched. They'll even return over huge ocean crossings to lay their eggs.

  3. There are seven species of sea turtles (not all native to the Mayan Riviera): Leatherback, Green Turtle, Hawksbill, Loggerhead, Olive Ridley, Kemp’s Ridley and Flatback. Learn more about them here.
  4. Male sea turtles spend their entire lives at sea, while females return to their birthplace on land to lay their own eggs.
  5. A sea turtle's gender can be determined by the temperature of the nest in which they are laid. Warmer temperatures tend to hatch female sea turtles while colder climates produce more males.
  6. The first marine turtle is thought to have lived 220 million years ago!
  7. The largest sea turtle on record (a leatherback) was found on the coast of Wales in 1988. This leatherback weighed over 2,000lbs and measured 9 feet in length and was estimated to be approximately 100 years old. 

Sea turtles are incredible creatures and swimming alongside them can be experienced on our snorkeling tours. While you can get close to them while snorkeling, we do ask that you please do not touch them and simply enjoy the view and experience!

Ride or Dive: Beautiful views filmed from a drone of the Mayan Riviera

Take a look at this absolutely beautiful video of our region here in the Mayan Riviera. There are shots of Playa del Carmen, Puerto Aventuras, Akumal and more areas around here. 

It's all shot from a drone, so you get to see a unique perspective of the area that you might not otherwise get anywhere else. 

You should follow these guys on Facebook to see more great stuff from Playa del Carmen and surrounding areas, including great footage of cenotes and other activities.

Visit their website here for more videos.

Let the Boat Tours Begin! Introducing the all new H2Oh Site

We're getting ready to enter high season down here in the Mayan Riviera, and what better way to greet it than with an all new website?

We launched it last night and I thought we'd take this opportunity to tell you about our plans for the site and how it will become much more than a site about our boat tours here near Playa del Carmen.

How will it be more than just a promotional site?

Well, here at H2Oh, we love the Mayan Riviera and we love taking our boat out to sea, and we want to share it all with you.

Over the coming season we will be posting all of the best type of content we can think of to help would be travellers (and even locals) to learn more about the region.

Some upcoming posts to look out for...

  • 50 Things We Love about the Mayan Riviera
  • Fishing tips
  • Snorkelling tips
  • Info on safety in the Mayan Riviera (hint: It's a very safe place to travel to!)
  • Photos and explanations of all the types of reef fish you'll see in the area
  • And more...