YES. San Blas is as famous for it’s Jejenes or “no-see-ums,” as it is for its great birding, but mosquitos are not too much of a problem during the dry season (November-May).
Insect repellents containing DEET will vastly improve your outdoor comfort on this expedition.
Biting insects can seem almost absent on most of our regional expeditions, and for most of the daylight hours, but can appear unexpectedly, so be prepared by arming yourself with both knowledge and technology.
At San Blas, when its infamous biting insects do make their appearances, you’ll know it right away. They have a cultural significance here, and are likely part of the reason San Blas was never despoiled by mass tourism and towering resort hotels. And besides, as mentioned, they are easily repelled using modern insect repellents containing DEET. In a way, we can be thankful for their presence, and the birds who depend on them as food certainly are!
They are most likely to be active during the humid, still, early morning and especially during late crepuscular hours, when it’s cloudy or overcast. This is a time when birders are likely to be outdoors, as well… so come prepared!
Surprisingly, they can even get you while standing in the shade at mid-day here, or while enjoying seafood and refreshments in the shade of any of the covered, palapa-style beachside restaurants that abound at Bahia Matanchén, for instance.
They do not seem to like direct sunshine, and retreat into the shadows for the same reasons you do. So again, be ready for this contingency.
This is why Birding in Mexico discourages you from wearing short pants or skirts during our San Blas outings.
Interestingly, and perhaps counterintuitively, biting insects are not much of a nuisance on our boating trips through the mangroves of the Rios San Cristobal or La Tovara, at San Blas, even at night. Perhaps they are not adapted to expect their “meals” (i.e., YOU!) to arrive via watercraft on the otherwise barren liquid surfaces of area rivers….
To be sure to avoid being bitten by black flies (i.e., “Jejenes" or “No-See-Ums”) or Mosquitoes, we recommended that you carry repellent with DEET as its active ingredient wherever you go on expedition, applying it liberally on an impromptu basis to counter these blood suckers, while spraying your pant cuffs and socks for chiggers before every outing, regardless of the season.
You’ll be glad you did, especially during the wet season (June-October)!
Where chiggers are concerned (as chiggers like and are spread by livestock and livestock may be present at any of the interior destinations we will be visiting from the lowlands to the mountains), you may not even realize you’ve been bitten until 12-24 hours after exposure if you do not preempt by spraying your socks, shoes and pant cuffs; and by then it’s too late and the itching can be formidable.
Thankfully, it’s easy to avoid chigger bites by applying repellents containing DEET, and spraying them liberally, as mentioned, onto your pant cuffs, socks and shoes before every outing, regardless of the season.
We recommend a repellent that is sprayable via a non-aerosol propellent, since the pump style repellents may leak inside your daypack, potentially ruining your food, camera gear, or other often expensive equipment carried. Roll-on-style repellents do not efficiently cover your skin’s surface, nor your pant cuffs or socks, so you are discouraged from using them in favor of a propelled spray.