So What Is A Sand Flea?
Mosquitoes and the more prevalent sand fleas/no-see-ums cover the beach of Roatan. If you decide not to prepare, not only will the beach be covered, but your legs will too. Unlike mosquitoes, the sand fleas are like a mix between ninjas and Elijah Wood’s character in Sin City. You won’t see them, you won’t hear them, and worst of all – you won’t feel them.
You will usually find them on the bites ankles if you walking around the beach, as they live in the sand. Some resorts rake the sand and you don’t find as many (like in front of Infinity Bay), but others do not. Even worse is if you decide to lay on the beach, which exposes your entire body to these pesky bugs.
The only indication that them came and went will be the big, round, red bites that you will see hours later. And let me tell you, they itch like hell. Mosquito bites are a walk in the park compared to these.
So How Do I Avoid the Sand Fleas?
Sand fleas in Roatan are worst at dawn and dusk. If you will be traveling to the beach during these times, prepare up! I am usually very tasty to mosquitoes, bugs, flies, fleas, etc. But with the below guide, I manage to only get 2-3 bites per week at Roatan. If you follow the instructions below, I can guarantee you similar results.
The Best Sand Flea Repellent in The World
- Cactus Juice – This product is a leg saver! All natural, reef friendly, and it smells fantastic. Seriously, if you are going to Roatan Honduras, you don’t want to leave without a bottle of this with you. It’s the perfect first first line of defense, and is recommended not only by me, but every local as well. A bottle will last about a week for 2-3 people if you use it every day. Make sure you spray it before you head to the beach, and bring some with you just in case.
- Repel Insect Repellent 40-Percent DEET – If Cactus Juice is the first line of defense, DEET is like the enormous tank waiting in the background. It smells, it’s chemically produced, can erode some plastics, and shouldn’t be placed around your face. BUT, it works. Although Cactus Juice seems to work for the majority of people (plus it smells great and is 100% natural), DEET seems to work for everyone. If you can tolerate the horrible smell, and are careful about washing your hands and not touching your eyes – this stuff is great. The pros of not getting bit, definitely outweigh the cons.
- If you are really want some extra protection, I would bring along some baby oil/coconut oil and some Benadryl. Oil on your skin may be a little sticky, but it will actually drown those Roatan beach sand flea suckers when they try to bite you. The Benadryl will help sooth any bites you do encounter.
How to Prepare for Battle Against Those Nasty Pests
- In the morning, first apply Cactus Juice to your feet, ankles, and legs (don’t forget the back of your knees!). If you plan on laying on the beach, be sure to get your arms, back, and chest as well.
- After applying the Cactus Juice, spot apply DEET to your ankles, calves, back of knees, behind the elbows and any other active spot bugs tend to bite you. After that, WASH YOUR HANDS.
- On your way to the beach, bring your Cactus Juice and DEET. Anytime you exit the water, dry off and reapply your bug spray. I would usually walk back my resort after leaving the water to rinse off, so tended to only used Cactus Juice on my lower half for my short walk.
- At night, reapply Cactus Juice and DEET. If it is cooler, long pants and shirts will definitely reduce your bites. Also make sure you get your lower back well – when sitting down at dinner it is a hot spot for bugs.
- That’s it! As long as you are consistent and take the time you prepare, the sand fleas in Roatan will stay at bay.
Additional Info if You Can’t Get Enough
Rika over at Cubicle Throwdown has a tongue and cheek post about how you can tell the difference between a tourist and an expat. As you can see from the picture below, sand fleas bites aren’t tame.
The Guide includes:
- Roatan secrets only the locals know
- Hand-drawn maps to help you navigate West Bay
- Detailed information about the best resorts, restaurants, and activities
- Money saving tips for Roatan
- And MORE!