THAT SAID, we won’t abide them biting us. Now, Isla Palenque’s not a terribly buggy place to begin with, as we are blessed with strong ocean breezes that keep bugs away. However, at dusk and dawn the wind switches and the island becomes still; this is when the worst offenders come out: chitres, or no-see-ums, capable of causing a remarkable welt for their infinitesimal size – but even these guys and their mosquito brethren are effectively deterred by a basic insect repellant spray.
Since DEET is not something you really want to slather yourself in, we make our own all-natural insect repellant for the use of guests on Isla Palenque. It works quite well — and when combined with a couple of our favorite alternative methods for avoiding bug bites, you’ve got a definite advantage over insects.
Here are a few safe & effective methods for avoiding bug bites in tropical paradise:
Wash with Irish Spring
We haven’t merely included this suggestion on the basis of its previous slogan “Smell like you’re worth exploring” – it actually works! But if you, like the bugs, do not care for this soap brand, skip this tip and choose a different method.
Create a bug-free zone with a ThermaCell device
No noise, no smell, and no bugs for a fifteen-foot radius. A butane heater vaporizes allethrin (a synthetic version of a substance naturally occurring in chrysanthemum flowers), distributing it through the air and sending a “go away” signal to bugs.
Spray clothing with Coulston Odorless Duranon
One application lasts through a couple of washes, too. You can also buy clothing with permethrin (another harmless-to-humans derivative of the chrysanthemum substance) woven into the fabric – the makers of this clothing claim it lasts 70 washes or so. But if you don’t want to make bug-based style choices, Coulston’s a better bet.
What NOT to wear:
Dark clothing. That navy tank is going to absorb heat, and heat is a homing device to bugs. Lightweight, light-colored clothing will keep you cool and comfortable in the tropics, without attracting bugs.
Perfume. Your classic Chanel No. 5 has its place, and it’s not the tropical jungle. However, a slight adjustment to your dab-on-the-wrist routine can actually keep insects away: swap your favorite fragrance for a good-smelling essential oil that actually repels insects. Cinnamon oil, tea tree oil, the obvious citronella oil and peppermint oil are all good choices. Mix one or a combination of these oils with a base (such as witch hazel or olive oil) into a spray bottle and apply like you would normal insect repellant. (This is the method we use for our homemade insect repellant on Isla Palenque.)
What to LOVE:
The bats on Isla Palenque. Our island’s bats are insectivorous, meaning they help keep pest populations on Isla Palenque under control. Go visit their little cave on the Northeast Coast to thank them. 🙂
We hope you make use of our best jungle secrets for avoiding bug bites so that when the time comes to depart Isla Palenque, you haven’t a single itch to scratch – aside from your desire to come back soon!