Mexico » Cancun Packing List: Clothes, Accessories & Gadgets

Cancun Packing List: Clothes, Accessories & Gadgets

From swimwear and sandals, to accessories, sun protection and gadgets, this Cancun packing list has you covered.

Nothing beats that feeling when you book a dream holiday! For you, that’s an adventure to the Riviera Maya. No doubt your excitement levels are building by the day! How I wish I could click my fingers and be strolling down a beach there right now. Cancun and the surrounding coastline is a region of Mexico I know well… and totally fell in love with over 10 years ago.

Holbox Street Art
I’d recommend lightweight beachwear for your trip to Cancun

The pristine beaches, vibrant culture, top-rated hotels and delicious cuisine captured my heart, and as a result, I’ve been back numerous times over the years.

It’s a region where you can enjoy 5-star luxury at one of the many amazing resorts, or plan a more adventurous trip, exploring Mayan ruins, cenotes and characterful towns.

Arriving on Isla Holbox, Mexico
I’d recommend packing a suitcase for your stay in Cancun

Depending on your plans, you should have a good think about your packing before you travel. You wouldn’t want to forget something important after all!

If you’re starting to think about your Cancun packing list, I’m here to help. I’ve got tips for womenswear, menswear, footwear and even some gadgets and accessories that could come in handy. From bug spray and a reusable water bottle, to sun cream and a camera, there’s plenty to think about before you leave.

I’ve also got some examples of outfits I personally wore in Cancun. Ready to start? Grab your suitcase and let’s go!

Arrived in Mexico for my Trek America Tour!
Sombreros are optional!! Here I am on my first trip to Cancun back in 2011!

What To Wear In Cancun: Women’s Clothes

I found it easy to plan my outfits for my Cancun holiday. It’s lovely and warm all-year-round, so this isn’t a destination where you’ll need heavy layers. You just need to think about your holiday wardrobe… and that includes plenty of bright colours and prints!

If you’re staying in one of the luxury resorts along the coast, you’ll need to pack swimwear and cover-ups to wear during the day (shorts, vest tops, beach dresses, flip-flops). For the evenings, you might want to dress a little smarter, perhaps with a pretty maxi or mini dress and smart sandals.

There are lots of great things to do in Tulum Mexico
It’s a beautiful part of the world to visit

As a general rule though, the Cancun dress code is pretty casual. You won’t need to pack a pair of heels unless you’re someone who doesn’t go out without them!

If you think you’ll be exploring further afield, perhaps with day trips to Chichen Itza, some cenotes or a waterpark, I’d suggest taking a quick peek at my broader guide to what to wear in Mexico.

Cenotes Samula in Mexico
Swimming in one of the cenotes near Cancun in Mexico

Here are a few specific items of women’s clothing I’d recommend adding to your Cancun packing list:

Women’s sundress – Something strappy, pretty and not too short for everyday use.
Women’s maxi dress – I quite liked having a longer item or two, especially for when insects were out.
Women’s midi skirt – I live in items like this in warm countries and have them in multiple colours and patterns. They’re comfortable and not revealing.

women packing list

Women’s shorts – I packed a few pairs. I’d recommend something loose and comfortable like these shorts, and then perhaps some classic denim shorts too.
Women’s summer top – I wore a lot of things like this. Neutral colours work best as you can mix and match with shorts and skirts. Plus, you can dress them up or dress them down!
Women’s bikini – You’ll need to pack a couple of items of swimwear. There are so many cute bikinis out there to choose from!
Women’s rash guard – Not essential, but if you burn easily (or plan to surf) I’d recommend one of these. This one is great as it has a built-in bra and comes with a pair of matching shorts.
Women’s sports vest – I’d recommend one or two sweat-absorbing vests like this for adventurous activities.
Women’s sports bra – Ideal for sporty or adventure activities. I prefer sports bras like this Puma one which has some built in padding for extra support.
Women’s leggings – You might prefer sports shorts, but depending on the activity you’re doing, you might want a pair of leggings for a bit of extra protection. These Under Armour ones are great as they’re very lightweight.
Sarong – A really useful item for any travels in warm countries! Use it as a towel, a cover up, to sit on, to lie on or for a cute addition to an outfit!
Sun hat – You’ll definitely want a sun hat to protect yourself.
Sunglasses – I’ve owned a pair of these Ray Bans for a few years now and love them!

A note on mosquitoes in Cancun…

I mentioned the mosquitoes in my post about what to wear in Mexico too. I haven’t found them to be a huge issue in Cancun, but I did have problems a little way down the coast on my first trip to Playa del Carmen. If you feel like you’re that person who always gets bitten, you might want to cover up in lightweight trousers and a shirt.

I’d also advise you to avoid being outside at dusk. Mosquitoes always have a feast as the sun goes down, so if you can stay indoors around that time, it can help a lot.

Personally I love the Bite Away pen, which is a clever electronic device which helps take away the itch after you’ve been bitten. Unfortunately, it doesn’t prevent getting bitten in the first place but I’ve been really impressed with how quickly the itch subsides.

Using the Bite Away pen on my foot
The Bite Away pen applies concentrated heat through the ceramic contact on the end

What To Wear In Cancun: Men’s Clothes

If you’re a guy wondering what to add to your Cancun packing list, I’d recommend thinking light and casual. Your most-worn items of clothing will be shorts, t-shirts, vests and shirts.

Here are a few specific items of men’s clothing I’d recommend packing for Cancun:

Men’s casual shorts – I’d recommend several pairs of comfortable shorts for everyday use.
Men’s T-shirts – Pack a few options of t-shirts too.
Men’s shirts – A few shirts (long or short sleeved) are a good idea. I personally love these linen shirts. They look very cool!

men packing list

Men’s vests – If you sweat a lot, you might find vest tops more
comfortable in the heat.
Men’s sports tops – For active days, something like this is really useful as it’s super-absorbent.
Men’s sports shorts – If you’re doing some adventurous hikes or activities, you’ll want shorts you can move freely in.
Swimming trunks – The more fun the pattern, the better! These ones have pockets and are quick dry too.
Baseball cap – Look for one with a mesh back like this one, so it’s more breathable.
Sunglasses – You can’t beat a classic pair of these Ray Bans!

Men And Women’s Footwear For Cancun

In my opinions, you could easily manage with two items of footwear for your holiday in Cancun – one casual and one smart. There’s a chance you’ll want one sportier item, like some trainers or comfy sneakers if you’ll be exploring the Yucatan Peninsula more.

For women, I’d recommend a pair of smart sandals and a comfy pair of flip-flops. For men, I’d suggest packing three pairs of shoes. One pair flip-flops, a pair of sneakers or espadrille style shoes (e.g. Toms.) and some smarter shoes for evenings out.

If you’re planning a lot of water activities, a pair of water shoes could be really handy. They protect the soles of your feet and give you a bit of extra grip. They’re not essential though, especially if you’re short on space.

Moon Palace Resort, Cancun, Mexico
There are plenty of luxurious resorts in Cancun like this one – Moon Palace

Here are a few specific items of footwear I’d recommend packing for Cancun:

Birkenstock sandals – Really durable, ideal for men or women and come in multiple colours. There are a few different styles to choose from too.
Teva trekking sandals – Really durable, great for travel, easy to take on and off and they come in lots of colours and patterns.

footwear packing list

Skechers lightweight trainers – Really comfortable and they dry quickly too, so are useful for all sorts of travel.
Havianas flip flops – Male or female, everyone should own a pair! These ones for men are fun too.
Cute women’s sandals – Something like this is great for beach clubs, hotels and restaurants.
Tom’s flat loafers – A nice casual shoe for men, easy to slip on and great for exploring or going to restaurants.
Hiking shoes – Only necessary if you’re planning some big adventures. These ones are great as they’re lightweight and breathable.
Water shoes – Again, not essential, but can be useful for rocky areas or hiking around waterfalls.

Cancun Packing List

To help you prepare for your trip, save this Cancun packing list to your phone.

cancun packing list guide

Cancun Packing List: Other Useful Items

Your Cancun packing list isn’t complete just yet! From plug adapters to sun protections, you’ll need to think about more than just clothing.

If you’re planning your trip, you should think about more than just clothing when you start packing. Here are a few items I’d recommend adding to your suitcase…

Insect repellent – There are plenty of really good insect repellents like this one. If you’re travelling with kids you might want to buy a specific children’s insect repellent too.

insect repellent
Insect repellent is a must for your packing list

Bite relief – I usually take an after bite / anti-itch cream like this, that helps to soothe any bites. I also swear by this amazing Bite Away Pen, which sends a small electric shock to the itchy part of the bite. It takes a bit of getting used to at first (and sometimes hurts a tiny bit), but it does work. I’ve done a full review of the item (as it goes everywhere with me!!) so feel free to read more here

Travel towel – A fast-drying microfibre towel like this one will come in handy on your trip. These are great not only for when you fancy a swim, but also when you want to sit down on the ground or to wipe your sweaty face on a humid day!

microfibre towel
Don’t forget to pack a microfibre towel for your trip

Sun cream – It’s important to apply suncream throughout the day. I’d recommend finding a brand which isn’t too heavy on chemicals, or is almost totally natural, like this one made by Sun Bum

sun bum sun cream
I really rate Sun Bum sun cream

Sunglasses – It’s important to protect your eyes when you visit a holiday destination like this one. I’d recommend investing in some high-quality UV protected sunglasses. I’ve owned a pair of these Ray Bans for a few years now and love them!

Ray Ban
I always travel with my Ray Ban sunglasses

Sun hat – You’ll definitely want a sun hat like this to protect yourself on all of those sunny days!

sun hat
I’d recommend buying a sun hat for your trip

After sun or aloe vera – Don’t forget some soothing cream incase you do burn. I really like this one made by Ultrasun. It’s lightweight and feels lovely on your skin.

Ultrasun after sun
Ultrasun after sun is a favourite of mine

Rain jacket – Be prepared for those sporadic rain showers. As you won’t need it for warmth, I’d recommend a lightweight waterproof jacket that packs down small. Something like this would be perfect.

lightweight womens waterproof jacket
If it rains you’ll be happy to have a lightweight waterproof jacket

Umbrella – I’d also recommend an umbrella for rainy season. I’d been looking for a super compact option for ages, and finally found this one which fits in my small handbag and is nice and sturdy.

Daypack backpack – I used a small backpack for day-to-day adventures, which could fit a water bottle, camera, sun cream and bug spray. I also took a small shoulder bag to use for going for dinner in the evenings. If you’re looking for something nice and small, lightweight, water-resistant and that will fit all your essentials, I’d recommend this daypack. It’s got some very handy zip-up pockets too!

lightweight daypack backpack
You’re likely to need a lightweight daypack-style backpack

Reusable water bottle – I always recommend packing a reusable water bottle for travel. Even if you can’t drink the tap water, it means you can top up from giant bottles or water coolers rather than buying lots of plastic bottles. Personally I’d recommend the Chilly’s water bottles. I’ve got a few in different sizes and they are excellent quality! I also really like these bottles with straws. They’re really easy to drink from, they have a strap, never leak and hold a good volume.

Chillys water bottles are great for travel
Chillys water bottles are great for travel

GoPro – This is an adventure-filled country. The best way to capture it is on a GoPro. They’re great for photos and videos, hard wearing, shockproof and waterproof. Whether you’re snorkelling, hiking, white water rafting, wildlife-spotting or zip lining, it’s the perfect accessory. Don’t forget to take out travel insurance that covers your gadgets too.

GoPro Hero 10
I’d recommend buying a GoPro for your trip to capture every special moment!

Power bank – It depends how much you use your phone on holiday, but I used mine a lot during my trip, snapping photos and videos along the way. A portable battery pack is a great idea so you don’t have to worry about running out of charge at an important moment.

I have a few made by Anker and they’re great quality and have lasted for a long time. This is the one I’m using at the moment, which is really small (similar size to my phone) but stores lots of charge and has a fast charging capability. 

Plug adapter – I pack this universal travel adapter for all of my travels. It charges up to 6 devices at once, using a plug or USB sockets. Plus, it can be used anywhere in the world. It’s one of my fave travel gadgets!

Epicka plug adapter

Dry bag – I’m really happy I invested in a dry bag like this. It’s made from a thick plastic and is totally waterproof. These dry bags are perfect for adventures on the water, visiting waterfalls, or if you think it’s going to rain heavily. I’d recommend a small one for your phone and camera gear, or a larger one if you want to use it as your main bag for an activity.

Dry bag
These dry bags are great for adventurous destinations

Waterproof phone case – Similarly, if you want to take your phone out and about in the water, I’d recommend getting a waterproof phone case. There are quite a few to choose from, but I’d recommend reading the reviews! You need this to protect your phone and be 100% watertight after all! I bought these Moko cases myself and my partner and they’ve been great. We’ve used them on several trips snorkelling and to waterfalls now, and no leaks!

waterproof phone case
This waterproof phone case is a great addition to your packing list!

Quick Cancun Packing Lists

In summary, here are my recommended packing lists for Cancun.

Women’s packing list for Cancun

  • Shorts
  • T-shirts
  • Vest tops
  • Midi or maxi skirts
  • Dresses
  • Sarong or scarf
  • Sportswear
  • Swimwear
  • Underwear
  • Sandals or flip flops
  • Trainers
  • Sun hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Rain jacket

Men’s packing list for Cancun

  • Shorts
  • T-shirts
  • Vest tops
  • Sportswear
  • Swimming trunks
  • Underwear
  • Flip flops
  • Trainers
  • Casual shoes
  • Sun hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Rain jacket

Other Cancun packing essentials

  • Insect repellent
  • Bite relief
  • Travel towel
  • Sun cream
  • After sun
  • Rain jacket
  • Packing cubes
  • Umbrella
  • Daypack backpack
  • Reusable water bottle
  • GoPro
  • Power bank
  • Plug adapter
  • Dry bag
  • Waterproof phone case
  • Rash guard
  • Snorkel and mask
  • First aid kit

Did this post give you some fashion inspiration for your Mexico wardrobe and get you excited for your Cancun adventure? If you’ve still got a few questions, feel free to ask me for advice in the comments!

Oh, and for more travel tips, dive into my other Mexico travel blogs! They’re packed full of advice to make your trip extra special. From awesome activities to the very best hotels and more packing guides, I’ve got you covered.

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What to pack for Cancun

Tips For Travelling To Mexico - Where To Visit, How To Get There & More

With a passion for food, fun and adventure, Chloe is the content creator behind one of the UK's top travel blogs Wanderlust Chloe. From volcano boarding in Nicaragua, to sailing around Sicily and eating her way around Japan, her travels have taken her to some of the coolest spots on the planet. Named Travel Influencer of the Year in 2022, Chloe regularly works with a number of tourism boards, producing inspirational travel content across multiple platforms. Find out more about Chloe here.

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