Dealing With Mosquitoes In Tropical Snorkeling Locations

by Mahonia

I have a question about dealing with mosquitoes in tropical snorkeling locations. May is SUPPOSED to be among the driest of months in the ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao), but just after we arrived, there was a very impressive lightning storm with significant rainfall. There was at least one other major downpour during our stay, plus showers now and again.

We got in A LOT of very fine snorkeling, so no complaints about the rainfall on that score. But whether typical for May or not, there were lots of mosquitoes. By the time I realized this, I was already covered (scalp to feet) with many angry, itchy welts.

Fellow Tropics Travelers, do you just ASSUME there will be a hordes of voracious mosquitoes whenever you're in a tropical spot & make sure you cover yourselves with a serious repellent whenever you could be a target???

Wearing long pants, long sleeved shirts, socks, hats, was sometimes OK. But the temperature and humidity were mostly very high & wearing them seemed unthinkable.

Anyway, I'm sure this is an issue for at least some others & I'm interested to hear what you do.

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Jun 02, 2012
Nasty Mosquitoes While Snorkeling
by: Galen & Nicole

Mahonia, that is an excellent question. We were also just in the ABC islands, and it rained a good bit. Talking to the locals, they can't figure out the weather, because over the last five years it has changed, and they are getting more rain. Not really a bad thing since they are desert islands. It rained so hard on us sometimes snorkeling that it hurt.

We also got mosquito bites, but not too bad over our month long trip.

Most of the mosquitoes come out in the early morning, and early evening. So we kept our room closed up during those periods, even though it would have been much nicer to eat outside. That helped a bunch. And we definitely used Deet when we went out to eat. Restaurants are notorious feeding grounds. But we really don't like using those chemicals on our bodies, so we did not use it much otherwise. For sure, try to rent a room that has bug screens on all the windows and doors.

On a past trip to Belize, we went the full nine yards, always wearing long sleeves treated with a special mosquito repellent. But that was because at the time there was a risk of Malaria. In seventeen days we only got a bite or two.

Unfortunately in the ABC islands there is a risk right now of Dengue Fever. But apparently it is only carried by one type of mosquito, the one with stripes on it's body. We did not see any of those on our trip. So the bites were itchy, but not dangerous.

I am very curious to hear how everyone else deals with this problem, because we also really hate getting mosquito bites.

P.S. One tip. Once in Bonaire we bought this bug killing device that looks like a tennis racket. It runs electricity through it and when you swat a mosquito it pops and smokes. It really works great and is immensely satisfying. Highly recommended.

Jun 02, 2012
Pesky Mosquitoes
by: Susan

Boy, those things can really be annoying and very itchy. I'm diabetic so we have a running joke that they come after me for the sweet blood.

I don't know but when we were in Turks/Caicos in the summer, we didn't have much problem with them, but we did have a screened in porch. However, we were in the Virgin Islands in Dec. a few years ago and our first clue should have been the bug spray as you go in each restaurant. Of course, go in meant cross a threshold because nothing was inside.

I got some of the OFF Familycare. It's not oily and smelly and it does the trick. I didn't feel like I was carrying it in my skin with the sunscreen. I didn't wear long sleeves but at night I did wear long pants and NO tank tops. I got bitten mostly on my ankles and neck.

Of course, I don't think I ever had a problem in Hawaii that I can remember and we went all times of year. Oh, and the last thing I got because of plane regulations about 3oz. stuff, they have Deet wipes in the sports section of Walmart that are really good too and you don't have to breathe it in. Hope this helps a little.

Jun 29, 2013
Alternative to DEET
by: Colin

There is an alternative to DEET that is much more pleasant to use. It is equally effective but doesn't last quite as long, but this is usually not a problem on snorkeling vacations since we are in and out of the water. The active ingredient is Picaridin and it is available from various suppliers in the US but not in Canada for some reason. It has also been used in Europe for a long time as well. Doesn't melt plastic and is registered by the EPA. Worth looking at.

Jun 29, 2013
New Homemade Mosquito Repellents
by: Susan

Ok. Since I wrote the comment above I have found a couple homemade mosquito repellents. My husband is a plumber so you can imagine the mosquitoes he comes in contact with.

I won't keep you in suspense any longer. It's Bounce dryer sheets. He just put one in his cap and shirt but I think you're supposed to just rub it all over the target areas. Since you already wear it in your clothes from drying them it shouldn't be harmful and he says it works.

A friend of mine sent another remedy. It was Vick's Vapor Rub. You put a little on somewhere (unspecified) and mosquitoes hate the smell but most people do too. But hey, if it works and you clear your sinuses at the same time. :)

I can't wait to get back in the water. Grandbaby just turned 1 so maybe some of the new will wear off soon and I can take a trip to Bonaire. :D If I can find the article about the Vick's I'll put it on. Hope it helps.

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