Did you know that 25% of marine life calls coral reefs home? As “the rainforest of the sea,” coral reefs are more than just something pretty to look at. They’re an essential part of our ecosystem–and it’s our job to protect them.
When you’re soaking up the luxurious accommodations offered by the Four Seasons Resort Los Cabos at Costa Palmas, a trip to nearby Cabo Pulmo National Park is a must.
Snorkelers and scuba divers can feast their eyes on a menagerie of magnificent creatures like sea turtles, snappers, octopuses, eels, manta rays, bigeye jacks, and many more at this protected marine sanctuary.
To protect and preserve this bountiful underwater paradise, eco-conscious travelers do their part. The next time you’re traveling to East Cape, use these tips to protect Cabo Pulmo’s enchanting coral reef.
Leave no trace
Whether you’re diving beneath the surface on an aquatic adventure or lounging onshore at the beach, one way to keep the coral reef in tip-top shape is to leave nothing behind.
Be sure to pack up and take your belongings with you, properly disposing of trash and recycling as much as you can.
As far as the water goes, take care to remove any remaining fishing lines or nets to reduce the risk of harm to reef-dwelling creatures.
Want to make even more of a lasting impact? Consider joining organized beach or reef cleanup efforts, or show your support from afar by donating to organizations dedicated to keeping the beach and ocean clean and free of damaging debris.
Carving even an hour or two out of your vacation schedule to clean up the environment sets the wheels in motion for a brighter future.
If you have kids in tow, volunteering also sets a great example by promoting responsible, positive philanthropic behavior.
Use eco-friendly sunblock
Another way to protect the reef when traveling to East Cape is by using sunscreen products that won’t damage ocean life. Think of it this way, anything you have on your body will eventually make its way into the water and reef, potentially affecting the fish, other sea creatures, and plant life that depend on the reef to live.
Simply scan the tube or bottle’s list of ingredients and opt for physical UVA and UVB filters instead of chemical ones. Shop for a reef-friendly sunblock that lists non-nano zinc oxide as its active ingredient, as it won’t contribute to coral bleaching.
Avoid buying products that contain harmful ingredients like oxybenzone and octinoxate, commonly used chemicals that have proven to be toxic to coral reefs.
In addition to keeping the ocean happy, reef-friendly sunscreen lotions and sprays actually do a better job of protecting your skin and overall health, providing an actual physical layer of protection from absorbing harmful rays in lieu of chemicals.
Sunscreen isn’t the only product you should be smarter about packing.
Other eco-conscious items for your suitcase include reusable essentials like water bottles or coffee cups, shopping bags to tote your newfound treasures, straws, and other portable utensils for sipping and snacking, and toiletries.
Reduce your carbon footprint by putting more thought into the products you use and eliminating unnecessary trash that can end up in the ocean. The less waste, the better.
Eat sustainable seafood
Enjoy the bounty of the sea by feasting on fresh, locally-sourced, sustainable seafood.
Be careful when choosing what seafood dishes to sample and research the impact of certain fish on their ecosystem. For example, parrotfish play an important role in helping coral reefs thrive by eating algae off of them, so skip ordering the parrotfish during your next visit.
Preserving an array of algae-eating fish is a surefire way to help coral reefs flourish and rebuild as needed.
Patronizing local establishments also supports the economy by boosting the tourism industry and putting more money back into the pockets of small businesses.
Local fishermen only catch what they need, as opposed to massive fishing vessels that can overcatch, accidentally kill other species, and further pollute the water. Additionally, local fishermen use what fish they have available to them–so the “catch of the day” is guaranteed to be fresh and delicious–it’s a (delectable) win-win!
However, sustainable fish species will vary depending on where and when you’re visiting a particular area. Prior to your regal retreat, check out the current list of specific seafood items to make the smartest choice based on your destination.
While coral reefs are certainly a delight to the senses, they’re also incredibly delicate. When snorkeling or scuba diving, you can look–but definitely do not touch.
This includes not anchoring your boat on the reef, which can also cause damage. Plan ahead and pick a safe spot to drop anchor.
Coming into physical contact with the reef in any way can damage fragile coral creatures and puts dependent sea life at risk.
Going on a snorkeling or scuba diving adventure with a local tour guide or group also works to support eco-tourism in the area.
When you’re traveling to East Cape, be mindful of your water usage, particularly outdoors. Excess water becomes runoff or wastewater that pollutes the ocean.
Small steps like turning off the sink while brushing your teeth or washing your face, filling up smaller baths (or skipping baths altogether in favor of showers), and taking shorter showers can all add up to less water waste and a healthier ocean.
Another way to conserve water is by placing your “Do Not Disturb” sign on your door when you leave your decadent accommodations. When you’re out and about exploring Los Cabos, housekeeping will likely come in to clean daily, using water to do so.
If your room isn’t in dire need, consider skipping a day or two of services by leaving the sign-up to save unnecessary water usage. Similarly, you can opt out of having your linens and towels changed out daily, which means less water is used in the laundering process.