Natural Habitat Adventures

Know Before You Go

What to Pack for Isla Holbox

The following packing list contains general recommendations for Swimming with Mexico's Whale Sharks. If you are currently booked on a whale shark adventure with Nat Hab, please consult your pre-departure materials for the most up-to-date packing list specific to your trip. You will receive these materials 60-90 days before your departure.

Simplify your packing—shop at Nat Hab’s online Gear Store for key items recommended for your adventure. Look for this icon in the list below, then go to the Nat Hab Gear Store to start shopping.

Clothing

  • Face masks
    —High-quality masks such as N95, KN95, or 3-ply surgical masks offer the best protection.
  • Lightweight neck gaiter (included in your pre-departure package)
    —Provides sun, wind and/or dust protection.
  • Lightweight, waterproof rain jacket
    —Your rain jacket should have a hood and be fully waterproof, not just water resistant. Rain ponchos also work well and can be more comfortable in this humid environment.
  • Water-resistant sport sandals or water shoes/aqua sox 
    —We will enter and exit our boats in shallow water—your feet WILL get wet. Teva, Chaco, and Keen all offer appropriate footwear.
  • 3–4 short-sleeved T-shirts 
  • 1–2 lightweight, long-sleeved shirts
    —To protect you from the sun during our outings on the boat.
  • 2–3 pairs of shorts
  • 1 pair of lightweight pants
  • 1–2 dressier outfits (highly recommended)
  • Lightweight sleepwear
  • Underwear
  • Swimsuit
    —You may wish to bring two suits.
  • Comfortable walking shoes
    —Some people choose to bring tennis shoes in addition to water-resistant sandals, as we will be doing a fair amount of walking during the adventure. Hiking boots will not be necessary.
  • Sun hat (with brim for protection)

Additional Items

  • Cash
    —For discretionary gratuities (you may want to bring envelopes for discreet presentation).
    —For personal spending (souvenirs, Internet use, or food and beverages not included in your trip fee).
    —For optional activities/tours at Zoetry Paraiso de la Bonita Hotel if you are spending additional time in the area (credit cards will also be accepted).
  • Water-resistant daypack
    —To carry gear during outings.
  • Snorkeling gear
    Snorkeling gear (mask, fins and a brand new, unused snorkel) will be provided. However, we recommend bringing your own gear if you already have it to ensure a better fit. If you have had issues in the past with snorkeling masks fitting your face, we highly recommend bringing your own. Also, if you wear glasses for distance, we suggest bringing disposable soft contact lenses to wear while snorkeling, or bringing your own mask with built-in prescription lenses, as it is nearly impossible to snorkel while wearing glasses under a mask.
    —If you have never snorkeled before, we recommend practicing using your mask and snorkel in a pool before your trip to get acquainted with your gear.
  • Rashguard and/or wetsuit
    —As most people find the water warm enough for snorkeling without the use of wetsuits, they will not be provided during the adventure. If you are particularly sensitive to water temperature, you may choose to bring your own wetsuit.
    —We highly recommend bringing a long sleeve rashguard for multiple reasons: it will help protect you from the sun and means less use of sunscreen, which is better for the marine environment.
  • Life jacket (provided by Nat Hab)
    —Regulations require that all guests wear a life jacket during whale shark excursions.
  • Biodegradable (required) sunscreen & lip balm (at least SPF30)
    —To help protect the whale sharks and their environment.
    —The Mexican National Park System requires all swimmers to use biodegradable sunscreen as a measure of protection for the whale sharks and the marine environment. This can be difficult to find in retail stores, so it is advisable to look for biodegradable sunscreen online before your adventure. Brands that are biodegradable include: Mexitan (mexitan.com) and Carribean Solutions Sol Guard, (carribean-sol.com). Be sure to look for the word “biodegradable” on the product label, as there are many “all-natural” sunscreen products on the market that are not biodegradable.
  • Headlamp or small flashlight
    —For use around town.
  • Water bottle
    —In our continuing effort to operate adventures with as little impact on the environment as possible, we will provide you with a reusable water bottle upon arrival.
  • Hairdryers will be available at both accommodations.
  • Electrolyte/flavor crystal packets (optional)
    —Can be added to water to replace fluids in case of intestinal illness and/or enhance the taste to encourage hydration.
  • Binoculars 
    —For those interested in birdwatching.
  • Sunglasses
    —With UV filter and secure strap.
  • Toiletries in reusable bottles to minimize waste
    —Shampoo, conditioner and soap will be provided at both accommodations.
  • Washcloth
    —Only towels will be provided at our accommodations on Isla Holbox.
  • Insect repellent
    —Mosquitoes and gnats are very common this time of year.
  • Anti-itch ointment (for insect bites)
  • Hand sanitizer (included in your pre-trip package)
  • Medication for motion sickness
    —While we don’t anticipate rough seas during our snorkeling excursions, it’s always best to be prepared. If you are susceptible to motion sickness, we recommend bringing medication with you as a precaution, as none will be available onboard. Ginger candies are a great option to avoid nausea, and they do not cause drowsiness like some medications can.
  • Prescription glasses/contact lenses
  • Reusable waterproof bags
    —Bring several sizes. These are great for wet or dirty clothing and
    for protecting camera equipment.
  • Spanish/English dictionary
  • Lock to secure your belongings when you are away from your luggage.
View Marine Life on Our Mexico Adventures
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A genuine once-in-a-lifetime experience! Snorkel in warm Mexican waters with the largest fish on the planet—gentle 15-ton, 40-foot-long whale sharks!
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