Things I Wish I’d Known about the Climate
before Moving to HUX

By Brooke O’Connor

If you come from a country north of the border, here are some things you may not know about Huatulco’s climate; here’s my experience of how I learned to adjust.

The Sun

Full sun in Huatulco means a UV index of 11+ most of the year. Check out this chart to see what that means for your skin type – the chart shows the time it will take before your skin starts to burn.

I did not believe I could burn within 10-15 minutes. I was wrong. We are close to the equator and closer to the sun.

My must-haves:
● Long-sleeved rash guard from 12 pm-4 pm if on the beach
● Wide-brimmed hats
● Good sunglasses with a UV rating
● Reef-safe sunscreen (more on that later)
● Homemade after-sun treatment – aloe gel mixed with generous amounts of lavender essential oil. This is magic and will take out the red overnight if applied liberally after a shower.
● Shop in the morning, stay indoors until late afternoon

Dehydration

All that sun and the abundant humidity make it hot. Heat stroke is a real issue. Cervesas and margaritas are delicious on a hot day, but dehydrating alcohol needs to be balanced out with water.

Fortunately, the needed water comes in many forms. Suero drinks (electrolyte drinks), agua de sabor or aguas frescas (fruit-flavored waters), and good old agua natural from the bottle. Drink some of each daily.

Fortunately, the needed water comes in many forms. Suero drinks (electrolyte drinks), agua de sabor or aguas frescas (fruit-flavored waters), and good old agua natural from the bottle. Drink some of each daily.

I’ve heard of several people going to the hospital for IV fluids because dehydration sneaks up like a pouncing jaguar. The minute I feel a headache, or dizziness, I know I’ve got to kick into gear and guzzle some form of agua.

My must-haves:
● Salt liberally with good natural sea salt, not table salt (which contains only sodium). Sweat drains the body of essential minerals that keep things going – like your heart!
● Drink a good amount of water in the morning, then keep track during the day. Drink half your weight in ounces or half your weight x 30ml per day.
● After every alcoholic drink, have some water.
● Eat more fruit! It contains mostly water and a lot of vitamins and minerals. The ladies selling sliced fruit on the beach are wonderful.

Sweating

Almost everybody sweats, some of us more than others. The crossroads of humidity, heat, and menopause have drastically increased my output. This created the perfect storm for rashes and constantly wet clothing.

My must-haves:
● Only natural fiber clothing – linen, cotton, and silk.
● Lowered my sense of modesty. No one here cares if you have fat arms or cellulite. Be cool.
● A quick rinse-off shower during the day.
● Body powder. I have an assortment, from lovely smells to medicated, depending on the body part and the need. Use liberally.
● Forget makeup. It melts off. Hurray for tattoo brows and eyeliner. Embrace the lip gloss.

Cleaning

Humidity brings mold. It’s that simple. No more waiting to do laundry. No more balling up towels on the floor. Wear it, wash it, dry it well, and store it in an area with ventilation.

The key is never letting the mold take hold. Mold is hard to kill, and many items have to be thrown away after the smell and black spots appear, like my favorite straw hat.

Bugs like dark places where there isn’t a lot of movement. I used to clean my closet every year in the states. Now it’s a weekly job. Under sofas, beds and chairs can quickly become spider hangouts. But there are ways to keep critters at bay.

Things I do now:
● Empty the beach bag immediately. It either needs to be washed or hung out to dry. Nothing waits till tomorrow.
● Never start a load of laundry unless I’m committed to seeing it through to the end of that day.
● I don’t like chemicals, so I use diatomaceous earth powder in the dark corners, and occasionally around window sills. It dehydrates most bug bodies while keeping a nontoxic home for myself.
● We embrace and encourage the house geckos. They don’t seem to harm anything, and they go into dark places to hunt. Diatomaceous earth only harms invertebrates, so I know I’m not poisoning them.
● We have a bat. I only know this because it leaves poops on the windowsill. Although not my favorite animal, it keeps the mosquitoes away, and it hasn’t tried to suck my blood on the full moon, so I think we’re safe.
● Keep as many items as possible in bins, baskets, and containers so it’s easy to pull out and put them back.
● Silicone packets. I used to throw them away as soon as I opened a package. Now I deliberately put them in everything I can. They can be reused by drying them in the oven. Check out this how-to info: http://www.wikihow.com/Reuse-Silica-Gel

Food

Fruits and vegetables grow like crazy here. They also wither and die quickly. They haven’t been sprayed with chemicals or bathed in bleach, so the natural bacteria do their job.

On top of that, fresh produce needs to be washed and disinfected because the soil here is healthy, and has organisms we don’t find in the north. It can cause some tummy upset if your gut biome isn’t used to it. I know some people use a few drops of bleach in the water, but I use a colloidal silver preparation called Quality Day – you can buy at the supermarket in the veggie section.

Things I do now:

● Shop several times a week and keep food rotated.
● I opted for special fridge containers to preserve fresh fruit and veggies.
● Cook large batches in the morning (cooler time to cook), and freeze individual portions.
● Immediately put baked goods into sealed containers and in the fridge.
● Dry my fresh cheese (if it’s wet), and put it in the fridge without a cover. After one day it goes in a sealed container.
● Use thermal bags to do shopping.
● Take antiparasitic medicine every 6 months.
● Make sure the refrigerator is working at the right temperature.

Rainy Season vs Dry Season

When I moved to Huatulco, I imagined the rainy season meant monsoons and months of flooding. What it really means is the possibility of rain. Many times, there are evening showers or overnight pours. Very few days are rainy all day.

Hurricanes don’t usually hit Huatulco. This part of the Pacific is the birthing place of many storms, and because of our unique position, we will only get the tails of it for a day or two.

The dry season is exactly that. Dry. No rain for about six months. So when the rains come, we rejoice. The trees come alive again, the fruits start to grow, and the animals are relieved from the relenting heat.

Coral and Sea Life

Whether you believe in climate change or not, one thing for sure is the temperature of the waters has gone up. This causes the coral reefs to become covered in algae, which chokes them from getting sunlight, and they eventually die. When the coral dies, the fish population dies.

A few things we learned:
● Do NOT touch the coral reefs. Not only can you get cut, but you can damage the reef.
● Treat yourself to good, reef-friendly sunscreen. Unfortunately, they don’t sell it everywhere. When I find it, I stock up.
● Do not take the seashells or pieces of coral home. There’s a hefty fine if they find sand, shells, or coral in suitcases at the airport. Removing these essential parts of the ecosystem is eroding the beaches and damaging sea life.
● Don’t touch the animals in or out of the water. They aren’t pets and can be damaged.

Summary

Overall, we’ve found Huatulco to be one of the healthiest and most beautiful places to live on the planet. With a little preparation, all things are possible in paradise!