Cancun Packing List: 25 Items not to Forget
Cancun is a great place to visit on the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. It’s truly a tourist hotspot with tons of all-inclusive luxury hotels along the beach. It’s also a super popular spring break destination.
There are many things to do in Cancun, Mexico, from visiting cenotes which are fresh groundwater swimming pools only found in the Yucatan Peninsula, to swimming in the ocean, to exploring ancient Mayan ruins, to relaxing on the beach.
Depending on what you have planned, you might need a range of clothing and accessories to accommodate all the activities you have in mind.
Your Cancun packing list might be shorter or more in-depth depending on what you plan to do but you’ll find everything you need here.
If you’re headed to this beautiful beach destination, we’re here to make your life easier by providing the ultimate packing list.
The dread of packing can easily take away from the excitement of booking your trip, so this will help ease your mind.
There is no reason to stress! We have a list of everything you need so that you won’t forget anything for your epic trip to Cancun, Mexico.
Whether you’re an organized packer who creates a checklist or needs all the help you can get, you’ll find everything you need here.
This will also help you stay on track and realistic with the items you’re bringing by preparing for the weather you can expect.
We’re here to remind you that you don’t need several sweaters because, no, it won’t cool down immensely at night.
Below is your list of things to pack for Cancun, Mexico, and what not to forget. Once you’ve got the packing out of the way, you’re in for a treat in Cancun!
- What kind of weather to expect in Cancun
- Essentials to Pack for Cancun
- The Most Popular Can’t-Miss Tours in Cancun
- Ultimate Things to Pack for Cancun List
- 1. Bathing Suits
- 2. Coverups
- 3. Polarized Sunglasses
- 4. Sun Hats
- 5. Beach Bag
- 6. Sunscreen
- 7. Waterproof case for your Phone
- 7. Sandals
- 8. Comfortable Sneakers
- 9. Dresses
- 10. Makeup & Toiletries
- 11. Travel Sized Bottles
- 12. Travel Towel
- 13. Waterproof Bag
- 14. Portable Charger
- 15. Travel Insurance
- 16. Water Bottle with Filter
- 17. Emergency Medication
- 18. Travel Pillow
- 19. Eye Mask
- 20. Noise Canceling Headphones
- 21. Bluetooth Adapter for headphones
- 22. Travel Adapter
- 23. Face Wipes
- 24. Day Backpack
- 25. Copies of Important Documents
- Things to Put in Your Personal Bag While Traveling
- What Not to Bring to Cancun, Mexico
- Helpful Tips for Traveling to Cancun, Mexico
What kind of weather to expect in Cancun
Cancun is a tropical destination. The rainy season occurs from May to October and the dry season is from November to April.
Though November through April is much drier, it’s also cooler than the wet months. The average temperature from November to April is in the mid to high 70s, with the two ends of the season, November and April, being the warmest months.
This is a great time to visit Mexico if you want to ensure nice weather. The average temperature from May to October is in the low 80s but often experiences rainfall.
June through August are the warmest months in the mid-80s. September is the month with the most precipitation, while March and April are the driest months.
During the wet season, storms and rain are usually short but intense and often occur mid-afternoon. Hurricane season runs from June to November and is rare but devastating.
Ultimately, it’s best to visit during the dry season to avoid the rain, but it’ll be a bit cooler. The best months to visit are March and April because they’re dry and warm.
Essentials to Pack for Cancun
There are only a few items you cannot live without and truly can’t forget. These items include medicine, eye contacts, and other toiletry and necessities that you wouldn’t be able to replace in Mexico easily.
The rest of your items could be purchased if, for some reason, they were forgotten. You don’t need much more than some bathing suits, coverups, and an outfit for each day unless you plan on snorkeling, surfing, or hiking and need additional gear.
Activities to Pack for
There are so many fun things to do in Cancun, Mexico, that you may want to consider packing for if you plan to do any excursions and activities.
If you plan to snorkel, you can again choose to bring your own gear or rent. If you’ll be going on a guided snorkel tour, the gear is almost always provided to you, but if you’re going solo, you may want to bring your snorkel, goggles, fins, and/or wet shoes with you.
Again, there will be places to buy or rent the equipment if you leave it behind.
If you plan to hike or do other activities where you’ll be on your feet a ton, you’ll want to bring a good pair of walking shoes.
Hint: wear these shoes on the plane, so they don’t take up extra room in your luggage!
The Most Popular Can’t-Miss Tours in Cancun
- Cancun Underwater Museum – If you think normal museums are boring. You should check out Cancun’s underwater museum. Spend the day snorkeling and out having fun in the sun.
- Taco Tour – If you are coming to Mexico, you can’t lease without a taco tour. Skip the hotel zone and head to downtown Cancun for some real authentic Mexican Tacos
- Mexican Boat Tour – Experience the Mexican Riveria on a boat tour, filled with a mariachi band, Mexican food and of course Tequilla.
- Zipline, ATV and Cenote Tour – You can’t come to the Yucatan without seeing the cenotes. They are freshwater sinkholes that were created with the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs. So why not add some ATVs and ziplining to spice things up.
Ultimate Things to Pack for Cancun List
Now onto the good stuff: below is the packing list for Cancun, Mexico. Keep reading to find out everything you will need.
Clothing and Accessories
If you’re going to spend your days on the beach, the list might be shorter for you than others. All you need are some cute bathing suits and coverups and you’re good to go!
Cancun does have some nightlife, and if you’re staying at an all-inclusive resort, people often dress up for dinner, so keep these things in mind when you’re packing.
During the day, you can easily mix and match shirts and shorts, wear dresses as coverups, and get extra use out of your clothes. Realistically, you’ll be in the water and in your bathing suit most of the time anyway!
It doesn’t cool down much at night, so a single light sweater and a long dress or pair of pants should suffice.
Lastly, a thing to note, don’t forget your accessories!
Hats, jewelry, sunglasses, and bags are great ways to spruce up your outfit while keeping it simple and they don’t take up very much space. Feel free to express yourself a bit and have fun with it.
This is the most important item on the list. Mexico is warm, and so is the water. You’ll be very disappointed without a bathing suit for the ocean, pool, or cenote.
Bring at least a couple with you.
This is the easiest thing to wear over your bathing suit. When it’s super hot, it’s not fun to take jean shorts and a t-shirt on and off.
Instead, it’s way more comfortable to wear an easy, breezy coverup. Perfect for when you are at the pool or beach and need to head to the bar.
Polarized Sunglasses are essential. You need to protect your eyes because you only get one pair of them.
In the bright sun, your eyes will hurt, and you’ll be non-stop squinting if you don’t have a pair of sunglasses. Pack a pair of polarized sunglasses and you’ll be good to go!
Yes, Mexico has vendors on the beach selling knock-off sunglasses, but they are not UV protected so buyers beware.
Another great way to shade your face from the sun is with a hat. It will help keep you protected and give your face some shade.
There are tons of options from baseball hats, bucket hats, large sun hats, visors, etc. Pick two styles to pack, and there, you’ve accessorized and kept yourself cool! If you plan on lounging by the pool or beach a good hat is a must.
Want more inspiration on the best sunhats.
Whether you’re headed to the beach or the pool, a bag is necessary. It will store your phone, sunscreen, sunglasses, hat, towel, and more while you’re off galavanting in the water.
Preferably a mesh-style bag is best so that it’s not filling with sand constantly. They are also super easy to pack and don’t take up much room at all.
Sunscreen is an essential item you need while in Mexico. The sun will be hot and you’ll surely burn without proper sunscreen coverage.
If you forget this item, you will be able to purchase it in Mexico, but it’s easier to bring with you, especially if you have checked luggage because you’ll be able to bring your own full-size bottle.
Also, it is hard to find good quality reef-safe sunscreen in Mexico, which you will want, especially if you are doing any snorkeling.
Don’t want to invest in a gopro. Why not buy a special case for your phone that makes it safe to take underwater? If you plan on doing any snorkeling or water activities and want to remember them, you will want a way to take some photos.
You’ll want sandals or flip-flops for the beach. Sandals will also be light and airy, perfect for the warm weather.
If you choose a good pair of sandals, you can dress them up for dinner and down for casual wear during the day. Plan on going to a fancy dinner? Then you want to make sure you have a nice sandal to wear, because some places, even in Cancun will have dress codes not allowing flip flopes.
You may want a pair of sneakers if you plan to hike or do a ton of walking. This will help you be more comfortable, so your feet won’t hurt.
Also, be sure to wear your sneakers on the plane to save room in your luggage from having to add this bulky item. Yes, you will wear flip flops or sandals most of the time, but not the whole time.
Dresses are fabulous for many uses, including a coverup, dinner, and walking around during the day.
They can fill so many roles and are the perfect everyday item to wear in Mexico. You won’t have something sticking to you all day, and you’ll be much more comfortable in a dress over jeans and a shirt.
Dresses can also be dressed up and down and quickly go from day tonight.
10. Makeup & Toiletries
Be sure to pack your everyday makeup and toiletry items. While you can easily replace your shampoo and conditioner if you forget yours. It’s hard to replace your favorite mascara or foundation with something at a convenience store.
In addition, these items can be more expensive to replace if you have to purchase them in Mexico. Things to not forget include:
Hair clips, ties, and accessories
Mini first aid kit
Plan on only bringing a carry-on? Then you will want these small travel-size bottles, so you can fit your toiletries into them. They are great if you are a minimalist packer like myself. You can also save money by saving old travel-sized bottles and reusing them. Its also good for the environment.
These are a must when traveling. They are so convenient if you are out and about and don’t want to carry a bulky towel with you. I love my travel towel and never go on vacation without it. Yes, towels from your hotel or Airbnb are nicer, but they can be a pain to take out if you are active. These lightweight travel towels are easy to throw in any daybag.
If you are going on excursions like snorkeling, surfing, or on a boat tour, you may want a waterproof bag to protect your items from getting wet.
It will also provide you with ease of mind. Keep your valuables dry, as well as your towel as you are getting in and out of boats.
These are a must when traveling. They come in handy not only while traveling, but also when you are out all day taking photos and enjoying yourself. The last thing you want to happen is to miss a photo because your cell phone was dead.
These Anker portable chargers are my favorite. Super reliable, light weight and easy to throw in almost any day bag.
This is so important. If covid has taught us anything, it is that we never know what is going to happen and it is always better to be prepared than to not be prepared. Travel insurance can help save you money on canceled flights, lost luggage, and medical situations.
You never know when you are going to need it and when you do need it, it’s better to have it than not.
Drinking bottled water in Mexico is a MUST!. Even if you are staying in a fancy hotel and they say their water is purified, I would double filter it. These are great for traveling anywhere outside the US or Europe when you are unsure how safe the water is.
Water bottles with filters will help prevent you from getting sick.
While we are on the topic of getting sick in Mexico, let’s prepare ourselves in case the worst happens. You are going to be introducing all-new kinds of bacteria into your body, and probably eating foods you normally don’t eat that much back home.
It is best to be prepared in case the worst happens. The last thing you want to be doing is walking around trying to find a pharmacy when you really need it.
Traveling on a redeye or just have a long flight to get to Cancun. You will want to make sure you are comfortable and able to get some sleep while you are traveling. Travel pillows are great ways to help you get some sleep without waking up with a stiff neck.
There would be no point in a travel pillow if you didn’t have a trusty eye mask to go with it. If you plan or want to sleep at all on the plane, you will want an eye mask.
Nothing worse than being on a plane and sitting right behind a screaming baby. I love my airpod pros, and actually replaced my bose headphones with these a couple years ago and will never go back.
They are small and easy to travel with and still block out all the noise of bigger bulkier headphones.
Want to watch a movie on the airplane, but want to use your own headphones.
This adapter lets you sync up your headphones to the screen on your airplane so you can watch all the great airplane movies, without having to use their headphones.
This one is for my international readers only, or those of you who are outside the US and Canada. If you don’t have US plugs you are going to need an adapter to enjoy your can charge your devices while you are in Mexico.
This is a great option and can be used, anywhere in the world, so it is a great addition to add to any travelers packing list.
I love traveling with face wipes. They come in so handy, all the time. I always keep them in my day bag and they are great for the plane or anytime you want to wash your hand and are not near a bathroom, super convenient if you plan on eating street food.
If you are planning on doing a lot of activities while you are on holiday, you are going to want an easy-to-carry bag that you can keep all your belonging in. These are super convenient especially if you plan on being out all day long.
If you are coming to Cancun to drink on the beach all day you can leave this item behind.
25. Copies of Important Documents
Last, but probably the most important. It is always a smart idea to bring copies of your passport and important documents in case anything bad happens and you need them. I like to travel with a paper copy, the original, photocopies in my phone and also my email, you can never be too safe.
It’s also smart to travel with two different credit cards and always keep them separate in case you lose one, you will have a backup.
Things to Put in Your Personal Bag While Traveling
Below you’ll find a list of items to keep in your personal bag on the plane. Your personal bag should be either a bag you can use if you go on excursions or a large tote that you can also use as your beach bag.
Here are items you’ll definitely want to make sure are right with you in your personal bag instead of in your luggage:
- Wallet with cash, credit cards, and debit card
- Jewelry (better opportunity to keep it safe if it’s with you)
- Chargers for your electronic devices
- Lip balm
- Printouts of important hotel addresses, copies of passports/IDs, itineraries
- Downloaded movies/TV Series
What Not to Bring to Cancun, Mexico
First off, you’ll want to be sure to save some room in your luggage for souvenirs so you don’t want to overpack.
It also makes it hard to pack up at the end of your trip and you’ll be playing Tetris trying to squeeze all of your stuff back into your luggage.
It’s very easy to overpack for a trip because you start to feel like you’ll need all these extra items that, trust us, you won’t end up using.
You won’t need any bulky clothing in Mexico because it’ll be super warm. One light sweater and a pair of pants should do the trick.
There is no need to bring tons of full-size toiletry products. This will take up space and add to the weight of your suitcase.
Travel size items should suffice for the week. The only thing you may want full size is your sunscreen because you’ll be using a great deal of it.
There are tons of reusable travel-size liquid tubes you can put your products in too!
You should also consider leaving behind your super valuable and irreplaceable possessions. If you lose an heirloom or have an expensive purse stolen, it can ruin your trip.
It’s better to leave these items at home if you don’t need them.
Helpful Tips for Traveling to Cancun, Mexico
1. Learn a few Spanish words to get around more easily and locals will respect the effort. You can always try Duolingo or this easy Spanish book.
2. Save space in your luggage for souvenirs. It’s hard not to come back from a trip with a new little possession.
3. Bring copies of your important documents and leave them in a separate place from the originals. Leave a second copy with a trusted family member. Items to copy include your credit card information, ID, and passport.
4. Have fun!
Cancun has so much to offer. Enjoy the tropical weather, warm sun, gorgeous beaches, and turquoise blue waters. We are sure that with this Cancun packing list, you won’t forget anything important.
Now that you are all packed. Get ready for your trip to paradise.