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Mexico Schools Kit List


General Items

Main bag – You will need a rucksack or holdall (suitcases especially wheely ones are not appropriate), 50 litre minimum capacity. You need to be able to carry it over rough ground to access some of the forest camps.

Day bag/small rucksack – Needed for carrying water, paper, pens, binoculars, cameras etc.

Waterproof plastic/zip lock bags – These are very useful to keep the water out of your kit and clothes. You can line your rucksack with a bin/garbage bag and have smaller bags for clothes and items like your camera.

Sleeping bag – A light sleeping bag or or sleeping sheet and liner is recommended – the temperature rarely drops below about 20 degrees.

Roll mat or thermarest – Necessary for both warmth and comfort in the forest. Roll mats can be purchased cheaply, whereas Thermarests are more of an investment (be sure to buy a repair kit).

Water bottle/platypus – A combination of leak-proof plastic bottles (total capacity 2 litres) is imperative. The ‘hydration systems’ on the market (Platypus, camelback, Ortileb) have the advantage of packing flat when not in use.

Strong head torch – Night-time opportunistic walks require the strong headlamps. Please note that the small headlamp models are no good for spotlighting nocturnal wildlife such as snakes and amphibians, etc, but are excellent back-up torches. Don’t forget spare batteries!

Waterproof jacket – Rainfall is unpredictable in this part of the world, so a plastic poncho or lightweight rainjacket is invaluable. Expensive heavyweight Gore-Tex raincoats are not recommended – they are hot and may get snagged and torn.

Watch with alarm – It doesn’t have to be anything technical. A travel alarm clock will also do.

Biodegradable soap/shampoo – To minimise impact on the environment we ask all volunteers to bring ‘green’ detergents.

Insect repellent – For any projects where you will be handling or in close proximity to animals (in particular amphibians) you will need a non DEET based repellent. However for other times DEET based repellents are fine. Many of our staff use Mosi-guard which can be bought from Amazon.

Sunblock – Factor 30, minimum, is recommended. Please ensure it is a coral friendly sunblock if you intend to use it in the water.

Talcum powder/antifungal powder – This is invaluable to help prevent and combat athletes foot/other fungal infections.

Sanitary pads/tampons – Please bring a supply even if you do not expect to use them.

Travel towel/sarong – Don’t bring a big thick towel as it won’t dry quickly enough.

Spanish phrase book or dictionary

Binoculars – These are really essential to see much of the wildlife in the forest. 8 X 40 are the best to bring.

Camera – You will have lots of opportunities to take pictures but please bring a waterproof carrying case or zip lock bag for the camera.

Notebook and pencils – Essential for all projects.

iPod/Music player/cards/book The coach journey to the forest is quite long, so bring something to keep yourself entertained


For the forest, you should bring clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty! Synthetic (wicking) fabric is the best as it is quick drying, but cotton is kinder to the skin. Don’t forget to buy your Opwall t-shirt(s) here!

Hiking boots – Should be comfortable, quick drying, and have ankle support.
Flip flops/sandals – 1 pair
Lightweight long baggy trousers – 3 pairs
Shorts – 2 – 3 pairs
T-shirts – 7 – 8
Fleece top – 1
Long sleeved shirt – 4
Hoodie/Jumper For flights and the air conditioned coaches
Swimsuit/bikini/board shorts – 1
Socks – Enough for 1 week. Hiking socks worn over cotton socks can be better for long treks.
Underwear – Enough for 2 weeks.
Sunglasses – A good pair is useful to protect your eyes from the glare reflected from the water.
Hat or bandana – 1 – useful to protect you from the sun.
Nightwear/Pyjamas – You will be in shared accommodation!

You may wish to bring one or more sets of ‘regular’ style clothes for when you are at the hotel in Cancun and the marine site.

Marine-specific equipment

Dive Training Materials – If you’re learning to SCUBA dive on expedition, you will need dive training materials. These are now entirely online so to make things easier for you we’ve arranged them on your behalf. You’ll receive an email from us in the run up to the expedition with login details and information on how to access them. We highly recommend bringing a smartphone or tablet with you so you can then access them on expedition. If you have independently bought dive training materials please let us know as soon as possible by emailing diving@opwall.com.

PADI forms – You must complete these online via the Opwall portal (http://portal.opwall.com) at least 3 months prior to travel. It’s recommended that you bring out a printed copy of the completed form with you on expedition, particularly if you’ve had it signed by a doctor.

Proof of dive qualification – If you are already a qualified diver, we will require proof of your dive qualifications on site. We do accept non-PADI qualifications, as long as it is equivalent to or more advanced than PADI Open Water.

Essential Dive equipment 

Wetsuit or rash vest –If you wish to use one it is essential that you bring your own wetsuit. The purpose of a wet-suit is twofold, to keep you warm whilst underwater, and to protect you from marine life that may sting you. It is for this reason you cannot dive in just your swimsuit or bikini. The water is very warm though so a thin wetsuit is best or you may wish to use a combination of a rash vest and knee length board shorts as an alternative.

Dive watch/computer or waterproof watch – This is a requirement under PADI regulations for qualified divers. However, PADI allows Open Water divers to go off diving in buddy pairs on their own without a Dive Master whereas Opwall regulations require that all divers are accompanied by a Dive Master who times their dives. Under these circumstances we don’t consider it necessary but if you have a waterproof watch or dive computer please take it.

Mask, snorkel & fins – The hire costs of these items are already included in your package price to Opwall so will be provided for you to use onsite. You may however wish to bring your own mask & snorkel if you already have one.

Non-essential dive equipment

Dive torch – If you are an advanced diver or are planning to take your advanced training please bring two dive torches, one main torch and a smaller backup torch.

Rash vest – A good alternative to a wetsuit when it is warm (or if you are snorkelling), and can also be worn under a wetsuit when it is cold.

Medical kit

Although every expedition will have its own medical supplies, you MUST carry your own personal medical kit.

Antihistamine tablets
Antihistamine/hydrocortisone cream
Rehydration salts
Plasters/band aids
Antiseptic wipes
Sanitiser & facemasks
Sea/travel sickness tablets
Prescribed medications – It is vital that you bring any medications that you have been prescribed by your doctor.
Vitamins If you normally take these

Wallace House, Old Bolingbroke, Spilsby, Lincolnshire PE23 4EX, UK
| +44 (0) 1790 763194 | info@opwall.com